If someone had asked me yesterday what my personal hell would be, I wouldn’t have known off the top of my head.
It seems like an easy enough question to answer – but those are the questions that are hardest to answer.
How many beans can you hold in your hand? No one’s ever asked me that, but tell me the type of bean and I can make a good guess.
What’s the capital of Ohio? I would probably think of it eventually. Those kinds of questions are fine.
But questions about yourself are tricky.
Answers to the questions about yourself are like feral cats, they sneak up on you when you’re alone and least expect them. And they rub against your jeans and you wonder why, and then you’re nervous to smell your jeans later.
That’s why if someone had asked me yesterday about my personal hell, I probably would have just described the average personal hell. Maybe very loud construction, or being in a cab and realizing you don’t have enough money to cover the fare.
Last night I learned what my actual hell is because we had to try to sleep through it: constant daylight.
People talk a lot about the length of days in Amsterdam, and they complain about the short ones. They complain about how in the winter it’s dark all the time. Bring on darkness. I go to the movie theater and pay ten euros to sit in darkness. No one is paying ten euros for constant light, but here in the summer you get it for free whether you like it or not.
Last night I took a ton of cold medicine and got in bed ready to welcome sleep but the sun was still out, and there was daylight deep into the night until pretty much forever, until somehow it started getting even brighter. Then we called it morning and I got out of bed and changed from pajamas to work clothes and went to work with people who all witnessed the same thing, and we’re all pretending it didn’t happen.
There was no night last night. Can it even be morning if it wasn’t night? How do we know today is today and not still yesterday? How did anyone sleep? This doesn’t bother anyone else. And that’s what makes it a personal hell, I guess.
So, if you were going to ask, now you know.
Here’s a photo of a pigeon unsatisfied by the things it found in the trash: