"Israel 2008" story # 1

Rymarov, Czech Republic           July 9, 2008

While I was home in Michigan, my best friend introduced me to Knightmare Chess. It's a version of chess that really challenges your imagination, because you and your opponent have limited power to create crazy rules while you play. Sometimes ... all pawns must MOVE diagonally and ATTACK straight-forward; ... from a designated spot on the board, any piece makes its next move like a queen; ... "hurricanes" push pieces to the left or right; ... ưn addition to a check-mate, someone can win by keeping his king in one of the board's four central squares three turns in a row; etc.
     And I got a job dealing Texas Hold'Em to gamblers in a bowling alley. This poker game attracted intelligent, charismatic players, and you could see deep into their souls as they pondered the cards and made tough decisions/
     And my mom's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Thus, my brother (a traveling ornithologist) and I got to see a bunch of happy relatives, most of whom were born in the countryside. Congratulations, Grandpa and Grandma Bott; I hope I didn't make fun of you too much in my speech!
     I (a traveling student of life, people, and happiness) was even open to the possibility of staying home for an even longer period of time. After all, traveling can get tiring.
     But, Michigan was mostly a disappointment.
     Corporations worked to strip our city of creativity and originality; beaurocracy kept me from getting an old job back, and computerized applications made my search for new work slow and impersonal; our idiotic media industry, and an easy lifestyle, kept our people dumb and weak; loud cars and lawn-mowers (mowing lawns that further weaken us by dividing us) stripped our land of its peaceful beauty; and people continued to buy ENORMOUS motor vehicles, which are ugly and wasteful.
     So, I flew to Europe this late June.

I returned to Rymarov, Czech Republic, a small town with a daily fruit market and very few corporations, where I believe the people are happy. My best Czech friend, Klara, cooked me creamy mushroom soup, and lentils with spicy sausages; she and her friends and I met every day in the park to play soccer or free-style music; I played a peaceful match of tennis on a red-clay court; and at several concerts and art exhibit openings, we could expect to see most of our dear town.
     I thought about staying there for a long time - especially since I became "zamilovani" (Czech for: in love) with a girl.
     Now, there's nothing special about falling in love. It happens all the time. And it's only a bit more interesting when it happens to the mastermind behind the highly-philosophical "Romantic Revolution" (See Rules # 1. care about others, 2. no sex, 3. no monogamy, 4. every guy kisses every girl, 5. no family). Being "zamilovani", I wanted to stay near this girl. I was even willing to be monogamous with her, hopefully for a short time only, if need be. But, I would've let her be free, I think.
     This girl, by the way, was a seventeen-year-old referred to as "Vika" in my last story, so I'll keep calling her that. If I were to describe her in three words, they'd be: gorgeous, unhappy, and "zla" (evil). She's not self-confident. She can be cold to you, even if you think she's your friend, especially if she's wearing sunglasses. But, when she takes them off, her dark eyes burn, the center of the universe, and all other beauty is in a small radius around them: her white face, her inky hair, her pettite body with its weak posture - and nothing outside that radius matters nor is beautiful, not even me, even when I'm right beside her.
     Of course, there's nothing special about a guy like me falling for a girl like her. I, who believe all people share one soul and that we will all live each other's lives and eventually feel each other's joy and pain, worship compassion. Meanwhile, Prince Myshkin, the compassionate main character of Dostoyevsky's novel, "The Idiot", was enamored by Nastasia Filippovna, a girl whom no one had loved during her childhood, and who turned spiteful towards all while still young. And, in real life, the most understanding and accepting man I know is married to a fearful, often mean lady; he loves her very much.
     Perhaps we think we can take someone too vain to love and make them happy and nice. ... I can still remember back when Vika used to believe in love, used to make jokes. Now, she's preconcerned with money, and her schoolmates say hi to her as if they're terrified by her. ...
     I wanted to win this girl over. I faced some problems:
     1. TIME (I only had nine days in Rymarov before I'd decide to leave or stay, and I didn't get in touch with Vika 'til the third.)
     2. HER BOYFRIEND (I wasn't too concerned about him, because they'd broken up in the past, and I figured he couldn't have been too great of a boyfriend if she's so unhappy.)
     But, I hadn't expected to face:
     3. HER DEPLETED INTEREST IN ME (She was much less lively and inspired while talking to me than she had been in the past.)
     4. SHE WOULDN'T MEET ME ALONE (We met one time, at a concert, where we got along well, but her boyfriend came prematurely and took her away.)
     And, finally:
     5. MY OWN "NETRPELIVOST" (IMPATIENCE) (Having limited time, I tried to push Vika into liking me.)
     In the end, I failed to win over my little, suffering Czech girl. I probably wasn't even close. And the last time I saw her, she was cold. But, what had been my strategy? What could I have done differently?
     I figured ... if I could get her to kiss me, she'd fall in love. At the concert, she kissed a female friend of hers and a band member, while posing for pictures, and her face became happy and soft.
     If I could at least get her to dance with me, she'd become more interested. Our dances in the past, at balls and dance lessons, when she wore slim, black dresses and I a suit, had always been emotional and intimate.
     My last-resort strategy would've been to just talk to her. I would've said she'd be happier with a guy who she doesn't have sex with. People don't kiss together with the same happy patience, once they've begun having sex. Vika and Nastasia Filippovna could've felt selfless love, if in intimate relationships free from sex. Vika seemed pretty bored by her current boyfriend.
     I didn't have time to tell Vika these things in person. But, she did give me an opportunity to tell her in our conversations via SMS (cell-phone messages). My biggest mistake with Vika came in not realizing that SMS's are a major means of saying serious and deep (though short) things these days. I still haven't caught on to 21st Century communication.
     Well, all I can do now is hope Vika, and my other friends, will be happy in Rymarov. I'm no longer there. I'm now hitchhiking to Turkey!

peace, Modern Oddyseus

P.S. Don't let me forget to mention that my hometown in Michigan has some great, fresh bands: The Adam Pringle Band, The Mighty Narwhale, Chance Jones, "Hey, Marco!", etc.

P.P.S. Thanks to Muzek & Stefan; Monika & Marius; Bogdan; Peter; Pera; and William for rides!

P.P.P.S. Much thanks to my parents; and Klara for letting me stay with them!

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