what you see if you are me

Praguers drive like New Yorkers and cut off the streetcars. Streetcars drive like molasses, but they go uphill, and they’re more stylish than buses and more sightseeing-y than subway trains, though Prague has both of those as well. Stoplights go back to yellow again before turning green.

Dresden has buildings that are eight feet of originality and a million more feet of rebuilding after bombings. There is a Protestant church as ostentatious as a Catholic church, and you think that Martin Luther, who is right out front, would be offended. It has a river. It has a bridge where you will be stopped by young men and their parents, and the young men will ask you to have a drink with them or let their friend, who is about to be married tomorrow, clean your shoes. Another one of them will play the accordion. In Dresden, you can buy shot glasses that look like beer mugs. There are clubs that represent the best of American clubs (good music, not techno) and the best of European clubs (no sleazy guys to grab your ass), and they will also have a screen that flashes DJ advertisements and a night of “tits, techno, and trumpets.”

Then you go back to Prague, where there is a museum of Alfons Mucha and Salvador Dali, and you will be obsessed with finding prints of Mucha’s calendar girls and where you will want a large print of Dali’s painting of people made out of flowers and butterflies and vinyl records, but they will not sell them in the gift shop, and the museum will not label the Dali with a title enabling you to google it. You will go to faculty readings twice a week and a student reading once a week, and you will be inspired by how you are among (almost exclusively, with very few exceptions) really smart and talented and creative people, and it feels like it’s been too long.

You will stay up until 3am talking to your suitemate, who goes to school in Michigan and whose roommate there is from Tucson and has 14 friends in common with you on Facebook, and then you will sleep late for the first time in ages. You will miss breakfast, but you will not care, because you can eat the Milka you bought at Tesco. When you are tired of being alone in your double room with no roommate (score!), you will go upstairs to see your friends, whom you adore already. You will not find any boys you feel like hooking up with, and though that is maybe a bit boring, it is so nice to know that you won’t be distracted by angst or sexual frustration. You will have a little bit of asthma difficulty because Europeans smoke like chimneys, but you can deal.

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