The Village Life

96 Maison de FéeOur moods are high. It is Saturday night. We have just eaten fried sticks. And we are on our way to the village pub, The Slaughtered Lamb. Things couldn’t be better.

I have decided on a visit in order to escape Prague and, more specifically, the ass monkeys who live next to me and can’t resist the urge to drill into their walls and hit things with a hammer. Still, without the ass monkeys, I thoroughly enjoy coming to the village and enjoying the quiet village life for a day.

We walk down a cobbled street that has no stop light, no commercial activity, and no cars. The only sound is the kvaking of what must be hundreds of frogs in a little pond in the forest. Yes, kvaking. Czech frogs don’t say ribbit, they say kvak. It’s mildly unsettling and one can’t help but imagine a late night frog attack. A neighbor of Lee’s rides by on a bicycle and says hello.

If you’re from the U.S, then you really don’t see villages like this one unless you travel to Europe or watch The Hobbit. And with expanding globalism, you are hard pressed to find a place without a McDonald’s or a Starbucks. At the very least in most towns you find a gentrified pub with all the dull attributes that signify “modernity.” This includes sleek tables, expensive beer, and a glossy menu.

But not here.

We get to the Slaughtered Lamb and order a beer and a shot from the older gent relaxing behind the bar. He is friendly, mellow, slow; he brings our drinks out with a smile. The shots are huge. The news is on TV. A poster of a naked woman is on the wall. The barman sits and watches the news for a while. The scene outside is 100% pastoral: a woman kneeling in a garden, another woman carrying a basket of eggs into a small cottage, a man fixing a shingle in his eave. It’s something out of a Czech Norman Rockwell painting.

It’s as though the 19th century European village still exists in these tiny hidden parts of the Czech Republic.

We chat for a couple of hours and sobriety dances away from us like a jester. I stand to use the bathroom and realize that some of the men from the village have gathered. They are sitting at a large table beneath a cloud of smoke and amongst several pints. I head off to the bathroom and wonder what they talk about. I imagine they gossip and discuss other staples of small town round tables.

The television volume is up, the men have put on a romantic comedy about a woman trying to find love. The men hoot when the main character’s breasts are bared. There is no way to comfortably look at breasts with a group of old men shouting behind you. Still, they are at ease and enjoying themselves.

By the end of the evening I have decided in the pipe dreaming way peculiar to drunken evenings that I will give up my job and move to the village. Lee informs me that he has gotten fresh village eggs for breakfast omelets and my stomach seconds the motion for moving to the village. According to my notes, I decide that I will farm potatoes or dub romantic comedies into English. Or something else with breasts.

The bill comes and I am reminded of how wonderful it is to drink for six hours and spend $9. I feel like a moderately attractive woman. Though my liver cries, my wallet thirds the motion for our village move.

I can get used to the frogs.

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