So soon? Really?

I know I’m not alone in being caught unprepared for the onslaught of teh nasty Prague winter. Everywhere you look, people’s faces are locked in the scowl of shock and they cling to woefully thin jackets while puffing down the last bits of their Marlboro Golds (which are better than Marlboro Lights in Europe now). The scowl of shock is a Prague hallmark, combining the unlikely fellows disdain and resignation in one convenient expression. It’s hard to get a picture of, mainly because those who wear it are usually just half a step from bow hunting, and any quick movements could set them off. This is winter in Prague. The only positive thing about it is that Honza is too lazy to get out of his car to scream, “ty vole, jses normalni??” Instead, he screams it from the inside, which is more funny than anything.

Verily I say unto thee: get thee the heck out and take thee and thine to Asia, lest your disposition become foul and thine knackers be chastened by yonder frost.

Verily I say unto thee: get thee the heck out and take thee and thine to Asia, lest your disposition become foul and thine knackers be chastened by yonder frost.

Last night I didn’t ride my bike home from Gattaca. Instead it sat, all alone in the cold antiseptic colorless space, waiting for me to return this morning. To be completely accurate, it wasn’t alone. It had my house keys to keep it company, safely tucked into the pocket of my waterproof cycling jacket. If I hadn’t been at a room-warming party with my wife (it’s not what you think, I’ll explain…) I would have been locked out for the whole night. As it was, I was locked in for the whole morning. Through a combination of bravado, dutch courage and desperation, I managed to escape the flat, but it’s not a thing I would do again. In fact, I don’t even want to describe how I did it, but I must, as it somehow pinpoints the state of bewilderment I’ve been trapped in for two weeks now.

Our bathroom has a small window that peeks out into the “svetlik” – a space between buildings ostensibly placed to allow light to reach the lower-level apartments. The window is about a meter away from the windows to the building stairwell, which happened to be open because of the interminable work being performed on the building. To make a long story short, I threw my backpack over, then jumped. My backpack made a funny noise when it landed – a noise faintly reminiscent of the jangle of keys. I opened it up and found the extra set of housekeys buried in one of those “handy” secret pockets that you only remember in reference to a chunk of hashish or a spare pocketknife a minute before passing through airport security. I let myself back in the flat, closed the window and headed off to work. I’m hoping, anyway, that I remembered to lock the door behind me.

This is what happens when I don’t ride my bike.

I forget things. I forget a lot of important things. I forget them often. Especially in the depths of winter we’ve been plunged unfairly and preternaturally early  into, I find it hard to concentrate on anything except hot chocolate with rum and a few well-read books.  Even leaving the apartment is a challenge, which made the “room-warming” party last night that much more difficult. Some friends of ours finished the reconstruction on their apartment and invited a few people over to celebrate, but all I could manage to think of was what movie I could be watching on my OWN couch (and whether my bike would freeze in the dark aether of Gattaca overnight.) We successfully warmed the room and headed home, which is when I discovered I’d left my keys at work.

Two lessons learned:

1. It is inhuman to live somewhere the temperature drops below freezing before the end of October.

2. It is common knowledge that black socks stink worse than white socks. This is incontrovertible fact. I bring it up because it was the topic of discussion for much of the evening, resulting in a bald challenge to me to “prove it” today at work by wearing one white sock and one black sock and being forced to differentiate accurately between the two at the end of the day.

I remembered to wear two different colored socks. Welcome to my world.

It is common knowledge that black socks absorb more odor than white ones

It is common knowledge that black socks absorb more odor than white ones

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~ by themicah on October 16, 2009.

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