In the run up to Halloween, my favourite holiday to not celebrate, I have been pondering the ins and outs of being a vampire. Not me, of course. I would make a terrible vampire. But, if vampires were real, what would their lives be like in our modern day society from a practical point of view?
Now, let me begin by stating that when I say vampire, I refer to undead creatures before the Twilight era. Anybody with even a smidgen of respect for the undead knows that vampires are not sparkly. Nor would they maintain the status of misunderstood broody teenager for centuries. It’s just not possible. Heck, I’m only in my thirties and I have already forgotten what it was like to be a teen drama queen, so don’t try convincing me that a 300 yr old soul is going to pout like a schoolgirl when her human boyfriend gives her the cold shoulder.
So, imagine you are somewhere between 200 and 500 yrs old and you find yourself looking for new digs. Perhaps you’ve been found out in the remote Kenyan village you’ve been haunting for the past few decades, or you just want a change of scenery. You decide on Rotterdam. You like the water and have a fondness for old boats and new architecture. Seems like a great place to spend a century or so, right?
Well, yes and no.
On the plus side, Rotterdam is a bustling little city. There are plenty of attractions for the undead blood sucker. Hundreds of youngsters from all over the world descend on the many clubs and bars on a nightly basis, so there is always somewhere to hang out and find a stoned or drunk nibble. But no killing them. Thanks to overzealous bureaucracy, everyone here is registered and accounted for. Anyone going missing would be missed.
This includes you, by the way. You need to have ID on you at all times or the cops could lock you up in a cell with north facing windows. Not recommended.
Also, youngsters spend their entire lives updating their online status, so if they don’t Facebook or Tweet within an hour, someone will notice.
Need to earn some money? There are plenty of industrial areas looking for night watchmen, so if you are the more work oriented type of vampire, you can easily find employment. You will however need a social security number and a registered address for most of these (see comment re bureacracy). Luckily, these can be bought for the right price and you don’t even need to live at the address. A good alternative would be to buy an old barge and moor it one of the less populated harbours. It is not unusual to see these boats looking unattended and a little shabby, and it’s a generally accepted practice to move them to different spots whenever the mood takes you. They are also ideal for staying out of the sun’s ever so harmful rays.
If this seems like too much effort, you could try to work your way into one of the organised crime groups, but that could be a little intrusive and the vetting process is even more bureaucratic than the government’s.
The biggest downside is that unless you’ve got something to combat daylight (a mystical ring maybe, or some form of factor 500 vampire sunscreen) you only really want to be here for the winter. The days in summer are very long and only leave a small window of darkness between the months of April and October. If you’re more of the basement-dwelling solitude-loving type of undead, this may not be a problem for you. But if you like to party, summer will not be kind.
Another thing to worry about is the unreasonable number of mirrors and reflective surfaces in this city. Entire buildings are constructed of them. This could prove tricky when interacting with the populace. Your lack of reflection would be spotted quickly.
All in all, for the modern vampire, Rotterdam would be a great place to visit, but perhaps not the best place to stay indefinitely. Spain would probably offer more long term opportunities, and the food there is so much tastier.