Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gotta be Mars or stars or somethin'


So I just got back from my local herna* bar and they done did it to me again: drunk. I wasn't thinking I would write another bar piece at the time. Especially since I am not a writer. I'm a photographer, but I've got this weird flirtation with writing. I just want people to know that I'm not another one of those 'American writers in Prague' you've heard about. To be a writer in Prague these days is about as cliche as the waiter/actor in L.A. So I hereby promise you that I'm just recording minor events in Prague as would anyone. So, don't think of me as a writer. I'm not. I've shed my 'Prague writer' skin long ago. So, onto the journal already in progress...

...one of those misty Prague winter nights that could quite easily turn into snow before morning. Not too cold. Definitely not. Nossir. I wore my old crappy polyester raincoat--not to shield me from the mist, but only in assurance that the fucker wouldn't be stolen at the local dive bar. Have I told you lately? They like to steal in the Czech Republic. It's like a national sport. That and hockey. So I stepped into the all night game bar to have a couple of beers.

I sat down after waving to the locals who recognized me. It was Randy Middle-aged Woman Night. They all wanted to dance with me. Nobody wants to dance with me elsewhere. This is just to give a clue as to their intoxication level. There was an aggressive vibe in the air as one woman sunk her claws into my arm in a vain attempt to get me onto the dance floor. Since glasses were breaking on tables every few minutes, you could see that there was in fact no dance floor. Just a cigarette-butt-and-pistachio-shell floor. But they worked it.

I moved to the bar at the request of the barmaid. She also seems to like me. I don't want to give the impression that I'm the kind of guy that women like. Because they don't. Period. That's okay, I went there to drink a few.

Soon the dancing became a fight between two barflies: a woman and a man. The man was faring badly. The woman seemed to have the upper hand. It reminded me briefly of the Bukowski film 'Barfly.' I had to call the barmaid from the back hallway, where she was opening the backdoor cage in flirtatious swings to let in an obviously drunk boyfriend. She let the drunken ox in and went to take care of the fight.

The woman got tired of trying to claw out the man's eyes after a pep talk from the barmaid. The man sat in the corner holding his eyes. He was wearing sunglasses before. Now I saw why: he had black eyes and bandages. Apparently he had done this dance before. Without breaking stride she offered me another beer. I said 'why not? this is better than television.' It was a lead balloon joke. I apologized. Then I asked her if fighting was normal there. She assured me it was not. The Calfornia hippy inside me said 'oh, must be some sky shit, like Mars busting out of the house of Aquarius.' I was trying to make up for the lead balloon joke. Then I told her about last night, where some crazy old man tried to start a fight with me. He had plopped down next to me in a tight-squeeze night bus and kept pushing against me, adding insults in both Czech and English. I am a confirmed touch freak. I've almost hit friends or family who have tried to wake me. I wanted to smash the bus aggressor into the opposite wall of the bus. I resisted my urge and grit my teeth and rode it out.

I'm tempted to think that I somehow brought the aggro vibe into both the bus and that night bar. Soon after I had entered bus and bar, shit started. And this is ordinarily a very peaceful country. Either that or Mars is slamming up against the House of Aquarius, or some such hippy dippy nonsense.

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