LA Womanpublished: 2010-05-01
Community workers were testing the playground pool and temporarily filled it with water. As none of the parents had expected this, the best option was to let the kids shed all their clothes. They splashed around naked, ecstatic. This is Amsterdam, as it was. We used to be groovy, we used to be wild, we used to be humane and kind and significant in the world when it came to our views on ethical issues.
My son came running up to me with cookies. Organic Sesame Street ones. A little boy on the other side of the pool had given them to him. I said, “maybe you’d like to give him a cookie back?” and off he ran with our chocolate covered ones. Oops, I thought, only a second later. I quickly made my way to the other side of the pool and instantly spotted the most cool-looking of mothers around. Her hair was a mix of peroxide blonde and black hues. It was shaven on the sides and tied together in a ponytail reminiscent of the eighties. Punkish, yet such a gentle face. Sensitive features. I apologized for having infested her son with sugar. She smiled and said, “I told him he was lucky.”
Turned out she was from LA and now lived in Amsterdam. Her toenails were an electric blue. Even her name was cool: Tory.
I asked whether she was a rock star. She laughed and said I wasn’t far off. She had indeed led that life, but had given up on it. She is now a yoga teacher and Ayurvedic consultant, which is why she came to live here. We pauzed for a moment. Then she said, “It’s so different here. When people practice yoga, it’s like a sport. It’s not integrated into their lives. In LA it’s a lifestyle?”
Her husband came along. Long hair and equally as groovy. He made gluten-free andwiches with humus for us. At one stage I asked whether he was from LA too. He jumped up, his shoulders tensed up as he said, “actually no, but I want to live on a boat. I want us to just sail and go wherever the wind or the sun or the current takes us. We’ll home-school the kids. That’s what we’ll do. I actually know someone who lives like that. It’s not impossible.” He sounded angry. A few moments later, Tory and I started discussing schools for the kids. My son and hers were still running around naked. The question being: for how long.