Thursday, July 12, 2007

Czech Windows

In the summer, workers dug the road - vrrrrrrrrr - early in the morning, stopping for a bit at noon. They’d crater the whole street in a week, including the sidewalk. Improvements, we were told. By the end of the week, you’d be making your way in the hole, the large coffin of your street hole, if one was so inclined to see it that way. And I was.

The men, in their green/blue cotton scrubs, similar to the ones doctors wear, became nearly indistinguishable from one another – a great fuzzy whirl of gravel doused them, neutralising their differences by noon. At some point in all that digging and drilling, they’d have enough. The street would grow quiet again.

And so I stretched myself on the wide sill, wiggling my toes, drinking my coffee, taking a bite of the plump, sweet apricot from the bag on my lap, and closed my eyes at the scrumptiousness of it all. Ahhh…even that twangy bird accross the street, deafened till now, let out a note.

Vrrrrrrrrrrr – what was that! They’d started up again, and I nearly dropped the coffee along with the two apricots which did bead down – squash – onto the dirt path. Someone looks up; I think to shimmy down the sill. Soon the same sun would prompt them to get rid off their shirts, anticipating the beer and roll with salami they’d have at lunch.

One would get an urge to sweeten his palate, swiping a candy bar from a grocery store on the parallel street, subsequently causing so much fuss, you’d think he raped a babushka. But not here. Subtle crimes within private revolutions was more like it. Everyone’s wary of the big showdowns. At least in the public glass. And on the sill I sat, peering at the animated figurines below in all their myriad forms. I was not a misanthrope then.

Cars whizzed past, near or actual accidents every morning and afternoon – scrrrreeech became my alarm, raising my heart beat just the same. Funneling my breath for a second just the same. On the days of accidents, I watched two cars, as they were usually two, swivel to and fro after the collision, nestling maybe at the curb.

Suddenly a man with long curly hair and a floral shirt would emerge and he’d go over towards the offending car. Then a woman dressed as if for a safari would step up, so shaken she’s all bramble in front of your eyes, below. She says nothing but nods as he talks and talks, his ponytail swinging, providing the punctuation. She could hear that.

They go on like this a while. When a broom appears and a traffic cone. The cone gets plopped in the middle of the road by the man who walks along it with the woman, sweeping up the fragments of the day. The street with them on it, was clear and vast.

7 comments:

David Hodges said...

I liked very much the moment when the general (days of accidents) becomes the particular (a man with a ponytail) and other similar sudden shifts in focus and amplification. You have a nice touch for the fantastic in the mundane and vice versa.

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you for linking to my indeterminacy site. Your blog looks very interesting to me, and I want to start reading through it tonight, when I'm home from work. I saw your post "sedmikrasky (daisies)" - that's one of my favorite movies!

Lucy said...

Wow! I've always wanted to go to Prague, but never made it that far east when I was last in Europe. And being black and female and not speaking a lick of Czech, I've always wondered how it would work out. But glad you're there! I will have to hit you up once my comedy tour makes it over there! Ha ha! Great blog! Thanks again! (I know I should make reference to Noah Baumbach's film, Kicking and Screaming, but I think it might just end up as a non sequitur.)

Anonymous said...

Solid writing and I like your approach. I haven't seen anything quite like this on the net.

Raafi said...

Interesting range of posts here. Blog? Journal? Travelogue? Some of these pics remind me of the year in walls.

sandra said...

Reliving the same accident again and again --- how do you differentiate the days? No telling what you'll see from your perch on the sill. I especially liked the man and the woman walking along together. His work? To clean up after the customary accidents. Her work? To keep an eye on him.

Natalia said...

Thank you so much! I adore your blog.