Thursday, June 10, 2010

May 8th: See you at de Bosbaan

Today was a Saturday, and it was all about the Bosbaan. Matthias had his very first crew race, and it was sort of a practice round, like pre-season. But it was a race nonetheless. He had to get up at like, 7 am, so Konrad and I did too in a show of solidarity. (Einar was staying with his Swedish friend because...well, we made his bed for him and everything but, we were asleep before he called to be let in. Sorry Nar.) Anyway, Matthias used to make me breakfast all the time when I had to get up early for dance performances in Berlin and it was awesome. So I tried to return the favor. I knew I should have hopped on a bike to scurry for breadrolls but there didn't seem to be enough time. So while he was packing his bags I made him the only breakfast we had: half a bowl of mueslix, three celery sticks with peanut butter, coffee and OJ. It was pretty miserable, but he figured there would be food there, I did too.

Konrad and I had agreed to join him at the race for the second round in the early afternoon, since he would be biking there and we would have slowed him down for the morning time. Due to the breakfast shortage, I sent Konrad forth into the world with a 20 Euro bill with the instruction "breakfast." He was a great success in the breadroll department, but somehow ended up with Mediterranean flavored low fat cheese slices called "Slankie" instead of actual cheese. Whatev. He was discombobulated. This IS the Netherlands after all, and as Dutch is decipherable for those of us who speak English and German, it's not always easy or straightforward. We realized though, that we would really have to choke that Slankie down if we were to arrive in time for Matthias' race (only goal of the day). Konrad had to ride me on the handlebars of the bike at top speed to the bus station (shrieking with laughter), but we made it.

Konrad politely confirmed with the bus driver that he was going our direction, and we requested day tickets. "Oh, hm, I'm all out of those," he told us "you'll just have to find a seat." He winked as he pointed backward with his thumb. We both looked at each other, wide-eyed in disbelief. Dutch bus tickets are EX-PEN-SIVE! And this magical gem of a man was offering us a free ride. High five. He instructed us to change buses about half an hour into the trip, we thanked him as he waved at the driver of our next ride. Again, Konrad politely confirmed that he was going our way and we asked him for day tickets. "Hm, how did you ride the other bus if you don't have a ticket?" He asked. "Oh, uh, he just told us to have a seat?" Konrad sheepishly announced. "Hm," thought the other bus driver. "Then I say that too." He pointed backward with his thumb and smiled. We couldn't believe our luck. Two free rides AND we were going to make it there in the nick of time.

As Konrad and I arrived joyously to discover the race had been postponed, so we had plenty of time, we found Matthias in a deteriorating state. "Did you guys bring food?" He asked. "Oh, uh, no. Were we supposed to?" He had sent us a text, but I'd already fried my power converter and phone was out of commission for the rest of the trip. Matthias was hungry, and was only halfway done with his racing. Trouble a'brewin'.

I've only experienced it once before in our entire time together, but when Matthias gets REALLY hungry, things go downhill fast. He turns into a shadow of a man, only goal: survival. Nothing will stop him. And it puts him in a TERRIBLE mood, which permeates all situations surrounding him. Again, I've only experienced this emergency once before, but it was BAAAAD. I had a premonition Konrad and I were in for emergency number 2, and I was scared. But I was glad I was not alone. We had a pack of Stroopwaffel in my purse (Dutch cookie treat, two crispy thin waffles with caramel between) and we offered him some. I knew it would only buy us about a half an hour though.

The race happened, Konrad and I biked alongside the river and yelled encouragement in German as Bootje 2 frantically paddled a very close race to an unfortunate last place finish. Matthias and team cleaned up their stuff and we headed out. The slippery slope began. Matthias was frowning, moving quickly, withdrawn. We found a french fry stand near a grocery store, this would buy us another half an hour or so. "I think I'm going barf if I eat these," were the only words out of his mouth. He ate them anyway. We hit the grocery store, purchased everything we needed for veggie burger dinner. A free sample of non-alcoholic beer bought us another ten minutes. His shoulders were slumping. We boarded the train back with his bike and grocery bags. Konrad and I took his bag. He leaned his bike up against the center pole, walked to the next compartment as the train jolted forward and the bike toppled, Konrad and I juggling grocery bags trying to right it. Matthias leaned his back against the wall and slid downward, collapsing onto the floor of the train. Konrad and I made eye contact through the grocery burden and sighed. The situation was looking grim. So at the train change, we continued on and he grabbed his bike with a gruff "see you back there." And bolted.

We found Matthias in his bed with earphones on as we arrived at the flat. So we unpacked the groceries and left him alone. I went to the common room to read, Konrad played Zombie killer on the computer. Apparently, Matthias eventually rose and opened a can of beans. He had his back to the door and his bare hand in the can when Einar walked in cheerfully oblivious to the workings of the day. "Hey Matthias! How's it goin'?" Matthias froze, hand full of beans. "I....just...need a minute." He said without turning. Einar immediately relocated to the common room where I got him up to speed and we remained until Matthias announced that burgers were ready. Things turned around from there :)

P.S. This last photo kind of breaks my heart every time I see it. It's at the french fry place, and pretty much sums this whole story up. Matthias' furrowed brow, the distant gaze, the pouting lip, Konrad waiting in the background, trying to put on a happy face. If the kids ever look like this, I will probably turn into a complete pussy and get them whatever they want.

1 comment:

matthias said...

We just have to make sure they always have enough to eat! Also, kids always are a step ahead of their parents so I sure have hope :)

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