My Walk Home Tonight

I left St. Nicholas (the bar, not the jolly elf) feeling a little bad because while I left more than enough money to cover myself, Brad was there at my invitation and I couldn’t cover for him (despite the money I sponged off fuego earlier). So I left feeling a little shabby (although I did teach one of the Drunken English Girls at the next table about shooting without a flash). I also left with an assurance from the owner that if I ever wanted to shoot a film there it was OK by him.

So, emotions mixed, I exited the friendly space into a chilly Prague evening, complete with light snowfall. Prague is a lady who wears snow well; it softens the stone and gives her the blush of a virgin bride on her wedding night.

It also makes the sidewalks really damn slick. Soon after I left St. Nick’s I reminded myself that when I leave this town, my shoes are not coming with me. Weighing disease and frostbite against injury from falling, I probably would have been safer taking my shoes off and walking barefoot over the icy cobbled sidewalks. Yet shod I stayed, mostly because I was worried about being taken in by the cops as an obvious nutjob. Also, my foot was really starting to hurt.

I crossed the bridge and surprised myself with my ability to navigate to a stop where tram 51 went by. For a while I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I passed near Tesco, which for me is the disorientation point of the city. I swear that damn place is rotated ninety degrees out of synch with the rest of the space-time continuum.

Anyway, I got to the tram stop and checked the schedule. Tram 51 runs every half-hour, and passes there at :03 and :33. I hadn’t the slightest idea what time it might be, so I pulled out my phone to check. My phone was dead. “Bummer,” I thought. “I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait.” Then I realized an even bigger bummer: My phone was the only way I had to pay for my ride.

I decided to walk up to the next stop, which was a metro station, more to reduce the chance I’d get caught on the tram than to find a way to pay. I was about halfway there when tram 51 rumbled past. It’s a sound that on a quiet night you can hear from a long way off, the kind of sound that ordinarily gives you enough warning that you need to pick up your pace to reach the next stop in time — except that some stops are farther apart than others, and when you get caught in between and your shoes are skis and your foot hurts and it would be just plain stupid to run, that’s when the night tram is sure to go by.

I am home now, safe and sound (although, did I menion my foot hurts?), and once more I can look out at this city in her light veil of snow, and I forget the pain in the ass of getting home. After all, it’s not Prague’s fault my phone died, or that my shoes have super non-grip soles, or even that my foot hurts. I should be thankful they have a tram, even if it didn’t work out for me tonight.

Though, you know, I can’t think of any other city to blame for my foot.

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