"East Europe 2005-06" story # 15

Pietrowice, Poland           December 5, 2005

A free soul mustn't fear the snow and short days of winter. He must put on his thermal underwear, his wool socks his grandpa gave him, and his exra shirts and gloves, and go do something.
     So, I did. But, unfortunately ...
     I can't give some detailed account of the trip I took to Poland, because doing so would incorrectly lead you to believe that eventually something worthwhile and exciting was to happen. I would then earn myself the title of "tease" or "mis-leader" or "non-exciter," or "worthwhiligator," and you would be angry.
     So, I'm going to be blunt: absolutely nothing exciting happens in this story. You'd find more excitement if you laid face-down on the ground and watched dirt. Counting the hairs on your head would be more worthwhile. Rice-cakes are more flavorful.
     I hitchhiked two weekends ago through the Czech Republic to a tiny border booth. And then I was in Poland. And, how was the scenery? Were there twenty-stories-tall mountain cliffs separated by a gorge wide enough only for the road? Did giant starfish arms and plesiosaurus necks overflow from a salty inland sea? Were the hills giant marshmallows upon which the cars could get where they were going only by bouncing from one marshmallow to the next?
     No; the scenery was blue sky above black trees without leaves above white snow above large flat fields.
     I was alone on the road, and cars came seldomly. And guess what happened then. Did Marta Manczak, the spoiled Polish girl who went to elementary school with me, honk angrily and speed by spraying slush on me? Did a clunky, loud, gas-leaking, old communist army jeep drive to the border and push Elvis Presley out? Did I get picked up by a farmer's car driven by a pig?
     No; I walked down the road.
     I eventually came to a small village. And, guess what I saw there. Was there a neon, dancing hologram of Pope John Paul II beckoning drivers to the country's first restaurant? Were fourteen accordianists performing frantically as dizzy couples danced at the World's-Fastest-Polka competition? Had a local forensics expert bred six-foot potatoes that could talk and eat soup?
     No; I saw an old, rectangular church. It was made of fading wood. Outside of town, there was a tall cross with Jesus on it.
     Nobody stopped for me, so I turned around. Two Polish guys picked me up. And, guess what they told me about!???
     Not much; I couldn't really understand them.
     But, they were nice.
     Their names were Piotr and Rapal. They took me back to the Czech Republic.
     The only exciting thing about my trip was that I was incredibly, incredibly happy and excited to be in Poland the whole unexciting time, during which nothing exciting happened. My excitement may have reached its unclimactic climax when I jumped the fence to a campground and slid down its tall water-slide, in the snow, down to its frozen pond. Man, I was excited!
     I was also excited that I could have such an unexciting excursion - but an excursion nonetheless - despite the winter conditions. Thick snow hung in the fields, and rested in the trees like tinsel, beside the road. Almost all the Czech people who picked me up greeted me with, "To je zima!" (It's cold out.)
     Ha ha. Shows what they know. When it's never too cold out for you, it's never unexciting.

- Modern O.

Thanks to Zejta; Ludek; Libor & Alesh; Piotr & Rapal; Zbysek; and Honza Shulek for the lifts!

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