REPORT A PROBLEM
We swear it was the slivovice on an empty stomach, but maybe it was also us being stupid? Stealing the canoe wasn't the worst idea I've ever had. I tore the shit out of my pinkie—blood spurting during the caper—and destroyed my new Tombow (another story). We did snap the chain, take the canoe into the river. Thank god it was shallow: When we tipped it and went into the drink, we didn't drown. My camera is fucked, his phone is cooked. We deserved it. Instant karma, as some guy once noted (though in different context).
Response was surprisingly strong. I posted a query and got dozens of emails almost immediately. To revive the dead or not revive the dead? I think not, now, a week later. But to begin again? Yes, yes. New beginnings, all the time. A new project, a new publication. To go print? Maybe not, for logistical reasons. Online? Yes, yes. A new forum for my masturbation, my doubts say. But in the daylight of optimism? People enjoy it. Make them laugh, make them think. In my book, if you have a talent and you don't explore it, you go to hell.
TEFL. I wasn't sure what to expect besides four weeks of full-time work. I haven't used my brain like this since college, which was—shall we say?—a LONG time ago. I enjoy this concentrated knowledge, this learning and challenge. My class is small (four of us) and I expect a lot from my teacher. This next month will be difficult and, I hope, illuminating. I suspect I may have a talent for this: I enjoy interaction, teaching, helping people and I am not shy in the least. Check back June 29, and then check back a couple months after that.
Getting drunk might not have been terribly wise. I didn't go out with my fellow students—though I will one of these days, they're awful nice—but instead with Micah and Barbara and then with Alex. I am the substitute editor for the next issue of the newspaper in Alex's absence, so I really did need to speak with them. But that last hour in La Casa Blu? But I so enjoy Alex's company--he's the first person I've met in a long time with whom good conversations can carry on for hours--that I hate to end these evenings.
The morning was tough, yes, but not impossible. I had six hours of sleep. Plenty, plenty, especially as I wasn't all that drunk. It's different than going to a day-job: I was looking forward to the demands of my day. And demanding it was. Nine hours of lessons. Nine hours of phonology and materials evaluation and level analysis and teaching techniques. Lots of interaction, lots of cognitive challenge. I stood in front of the class for the first time and felt as comfortable as if I were sitting on my couch. I do think I have a talent for this.
I have my eyes on a 1969 Jawa 350 motorcycle. It's cheap, but I still don't know if I can afford it. I owe people some money and since I intend to pay them back no matter what, the trick is figuring out a budget. I want to ride to Istanbul in September, either by way of Hungary-Yugoslavia-Bulgaria or down the coast of Italy. If Italy, then ferry to Greece, ride to Athens, stop in Keliomenos, then head to Turkey. Sell the bike when I'm ready to leave, head to India or Thailand, maybe Japan. Terrifying, exciting. First, the bike.
Where is my beloved, she whom I adore yet cannot hold? Where is she in this world? Where does she walk? Where does she sleep? Does she walk alone? Does she sleep alone? I ask myself these questions not to torture myself, but to test the sincerity I have for her happiness. If she sleeps not alone, I hope only that she does not get hurt and that she feels all the love she deserves. If she walks not alone, I only hope that her steps are still forward. I wish they were with me, but that I cannot control.
Some drugs last night, a good time. Tripped a bit—but not much—with P, with my new classmates in tow. He somehow ended up lost on the metro, I don't know how, and got home to an angry girlfriend at 9am. I was asleep by 5, that fucking Czech sun risen and teasing. Not a crazy night, but a necessary one. I needed my body to feel good and alive, and it did. I danced where I stood—fuck the crowd, fuck the bar, fuck it all—and lost no friends and made no foes. Maybe the opposite, even.
Tonight no drugs, yet more dancing. I hit it off with Jenny, Micah's beautiful, funny and charming friend from college. She's on her way to Paris to meet her boyfriend, but was more than willing to dance with me all night at Akropolis. At this point, I'd still rather dance with and talk to the Jennys than try to fuck them. We must've danced for two hours without break to old reggae and ska, then I walked her back to her hostel. No nonsense. No tension. No angles. A sweet night, a new friend, and a pile of sweat-soaked clothing.
A wicked bad week on the way. The Pill needs editing, BIGnews and Upward need to be created, my class is full-time and my brain feels weak. It will be better than an idle state, I'm sure, but have I bitten off too much? Will I survive? Yes. Will I thrive? Not sure. I have a test on Friday, my first test for school, and it'll be a bitch. This week will demand an awful lot of planning, a good amount of careful behavior (for I know my tendency to say Fuck All and waste time with liquor) and perseverance.
I'm a beaten dog. Working on my two newspapers for NYC, editing the Prague Pill, and going to class full-tme. No time to think (good) but no time to stretch (bad). This is testing me, testing my ability to offer more and more and then yet more. I'm exhausted deep inside, but I must keep going. Persevere. There's reward, though you may not see it. Just do what is right, do what is harder, and you will see the benefits. In one form or another, I swear. If you don't, you're living wrong or looking in the wrong places.
Pizza margarita. Bila vina. Minestrone polevka. A good meal. Deserved. Earned. An unhealthy meal but fuck it. I eat two yogurts for breakfast every day and then some sort of sandwich which I assemble from fresh parts bought at the local deli (or whatever it's called here). I don't pack a lunch as I should because I always get home after 8pm, which is when the supermarket closes. I miss going to the gym and jogging every day, so maybe I'll try to wake up earlier each morning. Shouldn't be a problem, since the sun rises at 4:30 or 5am.
New hearts, new minds, new lives. New territories, all to be explored. Just because things didn't work out the way you thought they could've or would've or should've doesn't mean you can just settle in. Stop feeling bad about the missteps and the losses. Stop hating yourself. Move forward, into the new lands, into the new hearts, minds and lives. And while you're at it, open up the land inside you, let others explore. Don't let your soul become a tourist attraction, but don't think it so precious that it must become a sacred, untouchable refuge. Museums can be sterile.
The paper is done, and it's beautiful. Solid. Fucking solid. I put everything I could into it and I hope it shows. Some will hate it—thank god, else I'm not doing my job—while others will love it. Most will simply read it for the listings and classified ads. That's normal. I did my best to give it heart and guts and balls—let the audience decide for itself.
So many people just living—how do they do it? How does the universe support so much thought and feeling? The love alone is overwhelming, not to mention the hate.
Tom and his college sweetheart are to be reunited. Might as well have told me that my dog had started to talk. His letter was an incredible bit of news, for he has always seemed a bit empty since losing her nine years ago. I knew, at the time of their breakup, that they could not continue but I never thought it possible for them to get it back, so many, many years later. I'm excited and happy for him (and her, too, of course). What a beautiful reassurance, and I wish them all the best out there in Portland.
So many visions, always in my mind. The bike I want to buy. The tattoos I want on my body. The books I want to bear my name. Visions all the time. The man I am, the woman you are, the love we had, the life out there. The past muddles the present which distorts the future. What could have been? What can still be? I feel younger than ever, my body and soul waking up after a slumber they had protested like cranky three-year-olds. But now, alive, fresh, eager. Bring it on—I'm waiting for you. Prove your worth.
I taught my first class of Czechs today. What fucking terror. Twenty-five minutes of verb forms I'd forgotten even existed. Orianne once told me that French has different tenses for past, recent past, far past, with all of the distinctions quite vague. Now I find out that my own tongue has the same stuff. The class went well, over all. I dropped the ball a bit but felt good in general. I got through most of my material without panicking, and I timed it right. But is this something I can do? Full-time? Twenty-eight lessons a week? It sounds impossible.
I taught my second class today. Utter disaster. Fifty minutes of crap. I had them for the first half, then lost them during grammar. My observer gave me good feedback, and I'll work on my shortcomings. Even if I choose to not pursue this as a job (though I think I will), I'm eager to learn how to do it. I admire those who can—it's a good thing to be able to do. So I will persevere.
Got home, worked on the new website, held back some uninvited tears, slept. Or I plan to sleep at least. And soon.
Beer garden, first time in weeks. I had most of the day off from class, the first weekday afternoon I've had free since the class started. But it was also the first really hot day this year, so after walking home (one hour) I was too tuckered to do much else than nap. Which is what I did. Then to the camera repair shop (see previous entry) and a bit of rambling, which is something I miss. SMSd Patrick, made arrangements to meet, then out to Namesti Miru metro. Now the garden, 8pm, two hundred of us doing very little.
On the upswing again. Solid day at school. I taught my third class, and something finally clicked. Midway through, I actually started to have fun. The five students responded, they laughed, they spoke and I think they even learned. I'll head into Monday (my next teaching session) feeling less terror and self-doubt.
I'm sick of doubting myself. Sick of the fear of uncertainty that plagues my every waking thought. I walk with love and courage, and today showed me why that works.
A red dress was before me, and I remembered another red dress noted in these pages. Beautiful today, beautiful then.
Tonight, a big techno party with Balint and his girlfriend. First to D to see some friends and catch up with Alex. I like D, and I like the people I plan to see, but there's one regular at that place who rubs me so wrongly that the thought of spending an entire evening near him makes me sick. He's a loud and obnoxious drunk (fine in my book, of course) but misogynistic. He screams at women minding their own business, making them uncomfortable, while his hangers-on just laugh and laugh. I can't take it, the disrespect. So: techno instead.
Stayed at D longer than expected--that asshole wasn't around to foul the air. Didn't go to the party with Balint; his girlfriend fell ill and he was on the fence. When I didn't try to persuade him, he bailed. From D to R with some friends, there for a couple hours, then to Battalion. I may be missing a bar somewhere in there--I don't recall the exact progression. Sat with Alex at Battalion for hours, working our ways through two more drinks, talking about girl trouble, home at 8am. Slept all day, and don't feel a bit bad.
One more week. My entries for this month are so fucking boring, but what can I do? My entire brain is dedicated to the class, all my energy goes into thinking about teaching. During the week, I do nothing but work for lesson preparation and studying. After this weekend, my jaw aches and aches—too much indulgence. It seems that I've taken to chewing my tongue and the insides of my lips on sprees like this. It hurts to open too wide, hurts to swallow. I gotta change my habits, but naturally I never notice that I'm doing anything harmful.
On my way to class, tram 26, the only regret I have right now is not moving my bowels before leaving the flat. Oh well. I'll be fine.
Alex will end up in New York City in a couple years, I think, and I'd be happy to be there at the same time. We have similar ambitions and similar dispositions, though you wouldn't think it at first glance. I'm as manic as ever, especially when drinking and running around. He's pretty mellow, except for those fantastic bursts of animation which usually result in a broken bottle or cowering cab driver.
I miss lots of people. I didn't realize just how much I miss them because for the last six months I've been missing one person in particular. I miss Jeff and Monica, and Matt and Jon and Joyce, and Lisa and Don. I miss Nick, who became a pretty good friend in the months preceding my departure and proved to be a very good friend during the last six rough months. That's how I know that I will ultimately return to New York: When I think of being there, I feel good. Not yet, of course, but ultimately, yes, return.
The dealer calls cocaine "charley," which annoys me to no end. (I hate cocaine and will never use it again, and I haven't used since making that promise some two years ago.) My friend Zdenek and his friends refer to ecstasy as "baguettes" when talking on their cellphones, but they're justifiably paranoid. "Charley"? Just offer to sell me
, you asshole. Offer again and again, though I've told you again and again that I don't use coke. I dislike this guy to begin with—ah, well, does anyone really like their drug dealer?—but the "charley" shit drives me nuts.
I miss back scratches and long hugs and tickle fights. I miss waking up next to her, I miss kissing her goodnight on the forehead. She always fell asleep with a book, but I never knew when she was sleeping because she had the uncanny ability of keeping the book up in place even while sleeping. It very rarely slipped and fell onto her face, which I always found unbearably adorable. I haven't laid down with a woman since I was with her. I also haven't had a back scratch or a long hug, and certainly not a tickle fight.
"I want to hold you/in my arms and sway". The most beautiful words to ever come from a man's mouth, courtesy Wilco. It's on a CD I burned for this idle time as we wait for our final marks after our final presentations. Also on the list: "I know you don't love me, but you've still been thinking of me". Also Wilco. I'm finally at a point where these couplets don't throw me to the ground, face wet, heart in ruin. I smile when I think of my last years. I smile when I think of my years to come.
Class is done. I got an A, highest honors, a hard grade to get. My teacher is stingy with the marks but was very complimentary of the work I'd done. Fucking A. I busted my ass. Now, I must figure out what to do with this new certification. Teach in Prague for a couple months? Start looking for jobs in Asia? I'm not really sure. I don't want to think of it right now. Today, I plan to return to working on the novel—sit at a café with the laptop, type away for the first time in a month.
Out all night with friends and a trio of Finnish girls we met at Radost. I'd gone there to possibly meet up with some chickie who picked me up last week. Nothing happened, just talking and laughing, but she asked for my number and got it. She was there, with a weak-eyed meatball who wasn't at all pleased when I started chatting his girl. She wasn't the point. She was just a catalyst for the night. Then someone approached the Fins and we ran around town with them, ultimately falling asleep on the hill in Mala Strana under noonday sun.
The Tip Jar