That’s Entertinment

19th June 2006

Between jet lag and three days of 24-hour sun in Iceland, we roll out of bed on our first day in Amsterdam at around 1:30 p.m.

This same afternoon Bryan needs to look at the theater where Adaptive Path is holding its workshop, so we set out together. We are groggy, hungry, cranky, and mildly disoriented. It’s times like this when Bryan decides to be wrong about everything.

We bicker all the way to our destination, where I decide to leave him to his work and have breakfast without him, as I have obviously married an insane person and need some time alone to think about what Jennifer Connolly would do in my situation.

I mope my way over to a quiet table at a restaurant situated on a cobblestone square. I order, open my magazine, and settle in to nurse my wounds over a long, peaceful article about scandal in the world of ornithology.

At just this moment, a guitar player stops in front of me. He begins to strum. I press my lips until they are perfectly horizontal with distaste. He strums louder. I glower at him from under my eyebrows and furrow my forehead. He moves a few steps closer.

He is strumming a Beatles tune. Such a familiar one that it’s difficult to concentrate over the noise. I hold my magazine in front of my face and begin to count backwards from ten.

Then, a singing midget strolls from the square to join him.

You heard me.

This, of course, is a personal insult from the universe delivered with a small white card on which my name is inscribed. It is the perfect storm of busking. As the little person launches into her version of “Crazy Little thing Called Love,” I slouch deeper into my chair and begin to whimper.

By contrast, the couple at the next table gives out a whoop and claps in time, bouncing in their chairs. What is this crazy thing, they wonder? This crazy little thing called love? As it turns out, my psychic powers are not strong enough to cause them to spontaneously combust.

As each song ends, I will it to be the last. Instead, the midget waxes philosophical about love, smoothly transitioning into the next ditty. “Ladies and gentleman, while it’s true that money can’t buy me love, it’s something each and every one of us needs. After all, without love where would we be now?”

My breakfast finally arrives, and I fume over my eggs, as they croon two more Beatles songs, “Eternal Flame,” and several Doobie Brothers classics.

At each new song, the couple next to me whoops anew. They have begun to sing along. I contemplate throwing my knife at them, and decide it would be too risky. I contemplate throwing my fork at them. Finally, things seem to be wrapping up.

“And we thank you, ladies and gentlemen for ‘listenin’ to the music,’ and we ask you, isn’t it a ‘wonderful world’?”

Midway through the song, just as you can hear Louis Armstrong moaning softly from his grave, Bryan arrives. Comforting, sweet, mobile Bryan. “Wow,” he says. “You lucked out.” I sigh heavily, drop my head to his shoulder, and reach for the bill.

898 thoughts on “That’s Entertinment

  1. Bryan Mason

    No one likes to see their loved ones in pain.

    Unless it’s just a very little bit of pain. After a fight. At the hands of a Dutch-midget singing classic-rock phonetically.

    Then it’s pretty funny.

  2. jonez

    Right on, Bryan. That was positively Fellini-esque. Maybe a dash of Robert Altman thrown in.

  3. Melanie

    Nothing in the world could have prevented me from flinging, if not my fork, at least my magazine, at those two idjits at that other table.
    Thanks for the smothered grin this afternoon.

  4. Fadzilah

    “After all, without love where would we be now?”
    Deep.
    Did you reply when he asked ‘isn’t it a wonderful world?’ How did you manage to restrain yourself?

  5. Amethyst

    Jennifer Connelly would have given David Bowie a call and charmingly (and slightly chantingly!) asked him to take her husband away to the castle beyond the Goblin City.

  6. Kelsey

    I would have thrown the knife at the irritating couple and hit the guitarist with his singing midget friend. But that’s just me.

  7. erin

    In amsterdam, thin-lipped expression of distaste actually means, sing louder. You should have done your research….

  8. V-Grrrl

    I’m an American living in Belgium and turn into a simmering bitch whenever street musicians invade my space. Irritainment indeed! (Go Ralph!) When they pass the cup on the metro, I want to throw a lit match into it. The schmaltzy accordion players are the worst. Well, maybe not as bad as singing MIDGETS!

  9. amy.leblanc

    wow – you must have been really tired to not get up and leave. i would have been out of hearing range in 90 seconds flat. did they sing with weird accents?

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