I went out with Jesse to Joe and Jo’s last night. We sat in the cool, misty night air under the awning on the front patio and enjoyed the smoke-free atmosphere. We talked about a lot of stuff, like being happy and liking beer, about the perfect buzz, about the past and about the future. There was no table service out there, but Kelly brought us one round after I reminded her that we were her favorite customers. How that fact had up until then escaped her I’m not sure. It was a fine evening, and most congenial.

After a while a large group of kids (they seemed like kids to me anyway) gathered on the patio, all in costume. It was a birthday party. I remembered why I like Halloween so much. I’m not into getting all dressed up myself (the time I went as a ho to a Pimp ‘n’ Ho party notwithstanding), but I do enjoy seeing other people all dressed up. Especially people younger and more attractive than I am.

“That girl in the black angel costume is really cute,” Jesse said. “You should hit on her.” I just laughed. Jesse perhaps had been misled by my easy banter with Kelly the waitress and thought I could use that ability to cut a particular woman out of her party and strike up a conversation. I bet you could train a sheepdog to help with something like that. It would make a good beer comercial anyway – you could start with footage from a real sheepdog competition where the dog is separating the indicated sheep from the rest of the herd and cut to some jolly happy outdoor party scene and have a guy indicate which girl he’s interested in. The dog would run off and be cute and adorable and all that, and slowly pull her out of the party so the guy could strike up a happy jolly conversation with her. It has nothing to do with beer, but not many beer commercials do.

But I digress. Something about the beers last night is making it hard for me to stay on one subject this morning. I had no specially trained border collie, and really no urge to even try. Anyway, there is a crucial difference between chatting with a waitress and striking up a conversation with a stranger. The hired help has to laugh at my jokes and at least stay close long enough to see if I need anything. They’re a captive audience. That gives me the time I need to wear them down to the point where someday they actually are happy to see me. I estimate that takes about three and a half weeks of regular exposure.

In fact, this is a measure of just how successful I was with Kelly. I had the camera with me last night, so I decided to take her picture. She was bussing tables on the patio and I held up the camera and said, “Hold still.” She held still and smiled dutifully, but it was gloomy outside and my first attempt didn’t come out well. “Can I move yet?” she asked. “Hold on one more sec,” I said. “Because it’s raining out here,” she finished. I made some big points then. (In my own defense she did come in under the awning and give me another chance to take her picture.)

It will be interesting to see how much the process is further slowed when I’m unable to flash my rapier wit in Czech. (When I put it that way, maybe it’ll help if they can’t understand what I’m saying.) I should be working harder to learn the tongue of my soon-to-be-adopted home. They conjugate nouns there, those wacky czechs.

I wonder if American Culture Poisoning has grown in the Czech Republic to the extent that people dress up for halloween. I hope so. That’s something I’ll miss.

See? I got back to the original topic eventually.

I’ve noticed a lot of people here in the coffee shop with buck teeth this morning.