How much water was in my basement? Half a meter. Not because of a leaking roof or porous walls, but because of the groundwater level that had risen sharply after last week’s godless deluge. I now know everything about submersible pumps, ring drainage, hydrogen vacuum cleaners and it has been made clear to me by climate experts that I just have to get used to it. This will happen much more often. I am considering a wine loft.
According to a friend, we have to take massive measures and I have to drive electric anyway. Shame I haven’t done that yet. I am deeply ashamed and have already promised that friend that I will buy an electric car. Although a seasoned car mechanic immediately advised me against it. Those cars are stiff with teething problems that they cannot be vaccinated against. In addition, I read yesterday that the electricity grid is overloaded due to too many charging stations and that we will soon be in the dark en masse. The delivery of a charging station takes almost eight months. So I’ll wait a little longer.
However, I am considering only attaching a charging cord to my fuel cap, because the charging stations in my area are the only free parking spaces. Recently I searched so long for a place that I had to refuel halfway through the search.
Yesterday I was scooping the last liters of groundwater from my house when I received a message. My French holiday home, which we were to go into next week, was cancelled. Message came from the owner. I asked him why? He had another. But I had booked and paid and… It was no different. I asked if this scammer’s name was Sywert, but got no answer. He did respond to the question about my money. I got that back. At least that’s what he wrote.
Angry, I called the French cottage company to ask if they could help this Amsterdam holiday nomad and his wife find another place to live. I got in a queue. Every half minute I was optimistically addressed by a lady who insisted for half an hour that the waiting time was still one minute. When it was finally my turn the connection was disconnected spontaneously. On the second attempt, the same happened after 27 minutes. I was able to make a complaint on the fancier’s site, albeit that only pre-programmed problems were mentioned and not those of an unreliable owner who canceled six days in advance.
Via another site I came to a house that was actually still free. This site wanted to know everything about me. Even how many liters of water was in my basement. They refused my credit card. After some financial wrangling and selling my last crypto shit to a few greedy dumbass, my balance was sufficient. Then the house turned out to be rented out. Meanwhile, the French site of the first house wished me a happy holiday and tried to sell me some nice tourist outings in the area. I was also allowed to fill out a survey. Was I satisfied? In the meantime I have solved it with two other houses and the last hotel room without windows for two days. In a damp basement.
Now I just hope I can watch football there. That it hasn’t been crumpled up behind some shadowy French pay-TV channel. Or bought by John de Mol, who had just been rescued by RTL. Do you also feel so sorry for this Dutch television tycoon that his popular channel SBS has completely failed? As long as that marble game continues. Preferably with sizzling commentary by Jack van Gelder. Then I instantly got rid of my depression.
But now for the really important things. The European Football Championship. Because that gives us wonderful weeks again. What do I hope? Of course that the Netherlands becomes European champion by crushing the French in the final. Preferably with a zero or five. Then I send a taunt message to the owner of the first house in which I scold the scammer completely. Just a question: what is Sywert in French?
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on 26 June 2021
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of June 26, 2021