Breathing in Amsterdam
May 10-11, 2003
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So I went with some hesitation to this mini-MBA program -- 3 weeks
and who knows what's in store. Long time away, but Leah laughed at
my reticence before I left: "Dude, you're going to be hanging out in
Amsterdam with 27-year-olds! Go! Have a good time." So I did. And I did.
And I'll risk a cliche by saying that the greatest pleasure was the quality
of the people. Smart, never stuck-up, always game. Who moves gracefully
anymore between telling dirty jokes and dancing salsa well? Where am I?
When am I?
A colleague from Berlin claimed there's an American flag waving somewhere in the screen
during the final moments of most every American film. That's not true, I said.
Yes, it is, said Javiar, from Madrid! Watch and see. Days later, a large group watching
True Lies on video in the early morning hours. Sasan, from Iran,
notes: "Of course! The terrorists look Iranian!" I remind
him: "That's how we say bad guy in America." And indeed, in the final moments
we spot the flag in the background.
Where are the money-grubbers? Where are the capitalists? How am I
with a group of 30 consultants who all turn out to be as liberal as a Sebastopol
organic farmer? Strolling around Amsterdam one sunny afternoon, Sasan
explains to me, "It's impossible! It's impossible not to be! If you have the privelege
to be able to travel around the world, meeting people and working with them,
then it's impossible not to be socially liberal. These people are now your friends.
You want to help them. And you certainly don't want to drop bombs on them."