I step out of the bus while I push my son forward in his little babywagon. My son sleeps like an ox. It’s raining pipes of steel and I’m going to the Public Library to find Stijloefeningen from the French writer Raymond Queneau. The square around Central Station is a mess. There’s a building anger in Amsterdam, you wouldn’t believe. Nothing but mud and sand here. Kandahar near the IJ.
Before the library a woman stops me. She has black curles, a well conceived figure and a French accent. She asks me if this is the post office. I have to disappoint her. There used to be a post office at this spot, but it’s been moved. She shows me a little piece of paper. ‘Raadhuisstraat,’ I read. That’s the place where she should go! But when I want to tell her, she turns her head to a car that’s moving away from us. And while I’m trying to explain the way to the post office, she starts to run towards the car. When she turns, I accidentally touch her behind. I watch her run away. She has a very nice, very vivid behind.
Above, on the second floor (or third floor as the Americans say, I believe) I’m looking for Stijloefeningen. But the book is footsy. I look and I look, but nothing. I look on the computer and according to the computer the book is where it’s supposed to be. But the book isn’t where it’s supposed to be. The book is vanished up in smoke. The search for Stijloefeningen is shifted from a ‘yes, but’ to a ‘no unless’. I decide to ask an assistent to look with me. But even he cannot find the book I’m looking for. He advises me to send an e-mail to the magazine. I send an e-mail and fifteen minutes later I receive an e-mail back, saying that the book is on the shelve. You can imagine that my wooden shoe breaks at this very moment.
About one hour later, not far from home, I find baby shoes for my son.