words + photos by Eric Lucas
The bumper sticker that caught my eye was on one of those big, glistening, jet-black ¾-ton dual-wheel pickups that are never, ever driven by women. It was named after a horned beast. There was a gun rack on the back glass. Twin exhausts gargled fumes and dripped pustulence. A CB antenna rose skyward. The driver had on a tractor-company ball cap.
The sticker said, “Stop Global Whining.”
What was really strange was the location for this spectacle—the historic center of Amsterdam, right next to one of the city’s lovely canals.
I mean it—if you believed me, even for a few seconds, you have obviously never been to Amsterdam and were fooled by my fictional ruse, which I devised to make a point about the world and traveling around in it. This iconic ultra-American pickup, guzzling diesel like an old drunk, with the sticker sneering at global warming, would never, ever be seen in Amsterdam.
I actually saw it in Eastern Oregon, a beautiful place I happen to like. It’s got towering mountains, secret canyons, ancient trees, hidden stream valleys with songbirds in breeze-tossed willows. It has many fine residents; and also some who are under-educated and have never been to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, not only do people not drive around in massive pickups that could not be parked anywhere, bikes outnumber residents. There are twice as many bicycles in Holland as there are people. While its citizens use their own muscles to get themselves around, unlike monster-truck owners in Oregon, Hollandaise “whining” about global warming is actually alarm. Most of Amsterdam is below sea level.