Livening things up

A couple of days ago I got a comment here telling me that I should liven things up here. It came from someone who had given me props about a week ago. I deleted the more recent comment, perhaps unjustly, but, hell, I run this little corner of Prague Spot, so I can be as autocratic as I like.

Anyway, it turns out my critic wants me to post more practical things about expat life here in Prague, e.g. my experience getting a residence permit, cost of living and so forth. While I’ll be happy to help, I’ll repeat what I posted in my reply to the critique in question – for FAQ-type stuff, it’s best to use the Prague Spot discussion forum for two reasons: a) blog entries eventually end up getting buried in the archives, which are useless for getting really “vintage” DEB material (the process of doing that is explained in comment no. 2 here) and b) to be perfectly honest, it’s not all that interesting for me to write about – and to me, writing a blog means writing about things that interest me.

Having said that, I will keep my word and take requests and put my own personal spin on them while doing my best to make them informative. Though, I don’t think it’ll make for very lively blogging (nothing lively about dealing with red tape in the Czech Republic or anywhere else in the world)

Now, my critic got me to thinking about livening this blog up. And naturally my thoughts turned to Prague’s reputation for 24/7 wanton hedonism. Beer-swilling, blunt-toking, pill-popping, bed-hopping, cash-burning insanity that’s got you rocking and rolling all night and partying every day. Like living in a 50 Cent video without the bling, and substituting slivovice for Hennessy.

Whatever. Been there, done smoked, swigged, screwed and dropped that. You know what? It gets fucking boring. You find you’re ready to move on to the next routine, which is exactly what it gets to be like.

I haven’t really been drinking all that much since my birthday – last night was the first night since then that I’ve had more than two beers in one sitting. I drank a whopping three beers with Lord Nelson at U Zpevacku, and one more at Tulip before going home. Oh, and I’d had one at Tulip before meeting Nelson (Note: be sure to tell your server that you want Bernard beer if you want to take advantage of their Beat the Clock Happy Hour – if you just ask for beer, your server will give you a CZK 30 Gambrinus, which is kind of a bitch move on the server’s part). I got more of a buzz off the nicotine and accompanying toxins in the ten-pack of Marlboro Lights I senselessly indulged in yesterday.

Maybe I’m getting old, maybe it’s more like maturity, but I no longer find any joy in getting utterly bombed out of my skull. That’s not to say I’ll never do it again, but I don’t feel all that driven to go out for the express purpose of getting shitfaced. I don’t like the way excess amounts of booze make me talk and laugh too loud, spend too much money, say stupid shit, get aggressive (only rarely, thank Christ – I’m normally a happy drunk), puke on sidewalks, in bushes, in friends’ apartments, in bed, and so on. All in all, I find getting trashed, whether alone or in a crowd, stupefyingly dull.

I still like getting stoned, but I prefer to do so on my own. I can’t remember the last time I touched a class A (E, coke, speed, pervatin, etc.) – must be well over a year now, and I think I was alone when I did it. Anyway, I can’t say I miss it much. Besides, getting sorted can be such a bloody hassle, especially when you don’t want your girlfriend discovering it.

I’ve got no complaints in the sex department, thank you very much. Ok, so there are a few wants that need a little taking care of, but my needs are being looked after very nicely these days. Having been in a steady relationship practically since I moved to Prague, pretty much all my experience of the city’s expat single life is vicarious. From what I’ve seen, it’s plagued by a loneliness so deep that it actually depresses me sometimes.

So, here I am, comfortable – perhaps a little too comfortable – in a Prague suburb where the only twinge of excitement comes from the pub across the road from my flat, a pub frequented by skater kids learning to drink and failing miserably. Just like we all did when we started boozing.

Smirking to myself whenever I catch whiffs of lousy leafy homegrown creeping up to my balcony, where I’m enjoying a nice tight spliff packed with sweet sticky hydroponic bud. Suffering panic attacks in the local mall while doing the shopping. Having a laugh with the boys at U Zpevacku. Thinking to myself, “Just how well-protected is the Prague metro?” while underground, shuddering, avoiding eye contact and turning up the volume on my mp3 player. Taking a long hot shower after a fantastically brutal workout. Tacking the final period onto the end of the final sentence on the final page of a massive translation job – then firing it off to the client. Waking up and looking at Jitka and hoping she slept well and that she’ll have a good day and that nothing bad will ever happen to her, stroking her hair, kissing her brow, and setting her up for an exclusive French Canadian wake-up call.

Of course the list goes on. Sure it ain’t The Dirt, but it’s a hell of a lot closer to where I wanna be in life compared to when I moved here.

Oct 12, 22:15 (Filed under: Personal )

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  1. Hi patrick,
    There’s a lot that I could say to this, but right now I’m inclined to leave it to the following: What you got sounds about right to me. In fact it all sounds pretty damn sweet. I think I can say this because at the minute I am suffering a bit of a crisis about not liking my job (mostly to do with a twat I have to work with), feeling less in love with Oxford due to the departures of some significant people in my life, lamenting being single (enough with the angst already!) and wondering about my faith. The thing that gets me is that in most cases I don’t see the alternative. In response to that I am going to spend a couple of days by myself in the Arctic Circle looking at Norwegian fjords. Well, actually I am about to do that anyway (currently sitting in the Radisson SAS hotel in Oslo Airport and am flying to Tromso tonight) as I am in Norway for a conference. Nice, I guess. But I am planning to do as my friend JIm says and to go and sit down and find out what the questions I might be asking are. Ooooo. very deep.

    Blah de blah.

    I like what I read in your entry above; it impresses me.

    Oh, and you’re part right about Coldplay lyrics. I like the line that goes ‘lights will guide you home’ – kinda cool when you’re listening to it on a plane that is bound for kiwiland and the plane is barrelling down heathrow’s runway. But then they go and ruin it all by singing ‘and ignite your bones’. What the hell is he on about??

    Richard    Oct 14, 10:38    #
  2. Believe me, I know how hard it is to see alternatives when you’re caught up in a routine. To be honest, I’ve been kind of down about not devoting more time to creative writing and to performing, not so much because of work, but because it almost seems pointless in Prague. I’ll try to elaborate on that in another blog entry because it’s something I’ve been discussing lately with a few expat artists who I really admire.

    I can really dig on your way of reflecting on where you’re at and where your heading – I feel the need to do something like that myself. I miss that buzz of being alone in a completely foreign land – the closest thing I’ve had to that recently was a jaunt to Newcastle for a reading. I spent most of my first night there wandering a suburb looking for a place to buy a few tins of beer after 11 o’clock. I was unsuccessful, and somewhat frustrated (remember, I live in a place where getting a drink in most ‘hoods is possible 24-7, 365 days a year), but I still enjoyed myself immensely.

    I hope your trip to the Arctic Circle provides you with some answers – and questions. I like your friend Jim’s suggestion – I think I’ll try doing the same myself.

    Re. the Coldplay lyrics – I thought the exact same thing about the refrain when I heard it – the “bones” line is downright sloppy, verging on the kind of crap that a lot of English-singing Czech bands get away with here (they excuse it by saying it’s Lingua Franca, which is a posh way of saying Shite Lyrics). Even something as trite as “from wherever you’ve roamed” would have been a more sensible fit.
    Patrick    Oct 14, 11:10    #