Archive for February, 2010

Slip Sliding Away

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life. I’ve got quite a few Groundhog Day movie lines lingering in my brain.  This one is quite adequate for Prague weather.  Emotionally and visually that quote puts the icing on the cake, perfectly.

Nobody ever cleans the snow from the ground here.  That’s the same for dog shit, but that’s another story.  When it does snow (on top of January’s foot of snow), which has recently been every consecutive day since Groundhog Day, Pragians bring out their plastic dustpans, brooms and shovels.  Not snow shovels, but the beveled shovel you are going to use to dig a hole in the ground with.   Each morning I peek out to see how my neighbors succeed in “shoveling” out their cars.  After about the forth thrust into the ground with the lime green plastic dustpan, the handle is about the only part that comes out clean, meanwhile splinters of the remains are added to the petrified frozen dog shit piles. 

People get a snow shovel! 

Another simple yet immensely effect way of eliminating snow is salt!  It does not exist here!  I’m ready to get out my old kitchen salt now and swamp the sidewalk frozen puddles with it.  My ass would thank me.  I’ve fallen now, too many times to count and to topple that, nobody cares.

I’m walking along a freshly blanketed sidewalk, so visually the frozen over ice puddles are incognito.  With every other third step, my foot slides out.  I slow down my pace to a turtle crawl.  I notice a patch of uneven snow and quickly plot how to cross.  I place a foot in a nook, except I underestimated since my toes were about the only thing firmly places.  As my back foot came forward, it was too late.  My planted of my left foot gave out as I started to slide backwards.  I tried to catch myself, but with an incredible uncomfortable gymnastic split it wasn’t enough to catch my falling weight and I landed firmly on my ass and back shoulders.  I glance ahead and I see a man about 15 feet in front of me,  petrified in his stance, staring at me.  I struggled getting up, I was playing a one-on-one game of winter Twister with Mother Nature.  After about a minute I got out of the frozen mountain puddle and continued walking towards the ogler.

(In Czech) “It’s that slippery there?” he says.

Are you okay? How are you? I think would have been appropriate questions.  No, this  man wants to talk about ground conditions.

“Yeah, watch out for that first step,” I say wishing I knew how to say it’s a doozy.

I’m better now. I’m more tactile and strategic when I walk along Zizkov sidewalks.  I know by what pipe, 10 paces from the Potraviny (mini-mart), and 3rd tree from the intersection is a hidden frozen puddle.  I know exactly when to hasten my pace and when to delay a step. 

Although, I’m thrown off for the one day when the temps go above 32 and frozen becomes wet and the night dips down below 32, thus creating more frozen obstacles. 

I thought I had my pattern down, until I hit a new patch.  This one wasn’t as graceful as my earlier struggling Twister game.  This time it happened so fast, that I didn’t even have time to get my hands out of my coat pockets.  I made such a thud that the two girls in front of me stopped dead in their tracks, turned around and proceeded to stare.  I sat there in bewilderment, wondering how I was going to adequately balance myself on the sidewalk, avoiding using my bare hands, of all days I forgot my gloves.  Plopped on the ground I meet eyes with the girls, they were frozen.  With them so close, I had hoped that one would have lent me a hand.  A few seconds passed.  They continued to stand, frigidly.  I looked like a flamingo getting up from it’s arctic lily pad.  Finally up and dusting myself off, I start to walk towards the girls.  They immediately turn around and dart across the road.  I think of Groundhog Day again, When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

Although, in this case inserting Prague would be more fitting then Punxsutawney.

Whoa Nelly!

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Didn’t realize that it’s been so long since I’ve written on here.  I started pondering about my departure from writing.  There really haven’t been too many things to comment on.   However, I do have an idea that’s been lingering for awhile; the Better Business Bureau.  Not about the institution itself, but more of how it could apply to the Czech Republic and to the numerous experiences I’ve had working for bad businesses.  Although, I smell two topics brewing in the same pot.  Writing about businesses with the Better Business Bureau point of view (commenting on the good, bad and the ugly) or just to throw in my 2 hellers worth of information about the businesses that I have worked for.  That could have bad repercussions though.  I have to think about it some more.