What the F***!


Empty coat rack in a Ruzyne Airport lounge

I was sitting in an airport lounge in Terminal 2 of Prague's Ruzyne Airport when this coat rack caught my eye. It was the second hanger from the left that did it. I identified with that coat hanger, it pointing one way while all its companions pointed in another.

That is pretty much how I feel when I'm traveling. It seems to me as if everyone is going in the wrong direction. Why, for example, are so many people wearing clothes with messages? In Prague’s Old Town Square I saw a girl wearing a T-shirt that said, "I like it like that?" What does that mean? What does she like? And how does she like it? I dislike being engaged in these one-way conversations. If I want to read something, I don’t go for a walk. Nowadays you can't set foot anywhere without being forced to read what people are wearing.

I saw a kid in the same square wearing a T-shirt that said "What the Fuck?" What the f*** was that about? What was on his mind? And why isn't he keeping it to himself instead of involving me in his angst. Maybe that’s the point.  To involve me.

I saw someone else wearing a T-shirt that said, "Thank you." Much easier to take, though I couldn't help wondering "For what?"

There was a soccer game last night. I think the Czech Republic lost. This morning my daughter came back from coffee to announce that she had passed a young man sitting on a corner wearing a big, floppy Mexican style hat.

"So what?" I asked.

"That was all he was wearing," she said. "He was stark naked."

Well, I thought, at least he wasn't sending us all printed messages.

We rented an apartment in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. I met the woman who lives above us on the stairs. Her name is Fletcher. She oversaw the refurbishment of the building. She lives in Prague permanently. She lived in Russia before that. I asked her what she liked about Prague.

"It’s Bohemian," she said.

"What does that mean?" I asked her.

"Relaxed," she said.

I can easily see that. Apparently the cops didn't arrest the naked reveler. They simply told him to put his clothes on.

videoStanding in Old Town Square two days ago, I waited for the clock tower to strike 6pm. I wasn't alone. About five hundred people were there with me. We were waiting to see the parade of the apostles through two windows above the clock. They ride by, turn just as they get to the opening to look down on the crowd below and then motor on out of the frame. I was standing next to a young woman from Bangkok who was showing me the photographs she'd taken on her iPad. A young man came up next to her. She introduced him to me as her tour guide. He said that he had just come from Phuket.

I told him that I had been to Phuket and that I had seen the "girly boys," boys who dress up like women. I told him that in my opinion the most beautiful women in the world were the girly boys from Phuket.

He looked uneasy.

"That's not my style," he said with a gesture resembling putting his finger in his collar to let the heat out.

I guess he hadn't gotten the message that Prague was relaxed.