It’s Saturday, and I have made a momentous decision. I am going to go left. I tell my dad and I tell Collin. I almost put it on Facebook until the cat gives me a sideways glance at this suggestion.

A Saturday afternoon means a huge breakfast, a walk into Prague, lunch, beers in the evening. Rather: a walk into areas of Prague I always go to, lunch at a place I have been to a thousand times, beers at a pub where the waiters know my bank details by heart. In any event, Prague is to the right and I am going left. To the left is Braník. A part of the city less than a three minute tram ride and which I have visited possibly three times in the eleven years I have lived in Podolí.

This, if you haven’t guessed, is big. If you are like me, then you are not a creature of habit as much as a Kool-Aid guzzling disciple of the glory of routine. I love my routine. I adore my routine. I am my routine.

Surely routines are a room in the house of comfort zones and I think they can be good. Workout and writing routines mean I get my work done and keep active. They help me accomplish things by being steadfast schedules.

But there’s no doubt they can be like little bullies. My routine suggests that if I don’t adhere to his lusty schedule, then things are not right in my world. If I can’t get two hours of writing done, I furiously consider quitting my day job. If I take trams all the way home instead of the tram to the metro, invariably each miniscule delay is a catastrophe. I can’t go to sleep until I do my dishes and, paradoxically, make my bed. If for some reason I can’t enjoy my Saturday routine, then my weekend is completely destroyed.

The last three times I have talked to my dad he’s brought up an invasive visit from family that will cause a get together in two weeks on a Sunday that happens to fall during an Eagles game. The fact that this is happening is a source of great consternation to the point that he keeps mentioning it with degrading levels of patience. At first it was a side note, then a grumble, and now it’s a full blown Level One Catastrophe. He will mention it all the way up until that day, on which he will come down with a mysterious stomach ailment that will come between him and his attendance. I’d be a hypocrite to deride him for this, as I have the exact same tendencies.

Perhaps that’s why I decide to go left today instead of enjoying my normal Saturday routine. Left, what a tragedy. I walk past the pool that I routinely go to each Friday night, sometimes Sunday. To the left of the pool people look different. There are some glitches. Some other little bullies in my brain try to hijack my attempts at doing something new by telling me that I’ve left the toaster on or that my stomach doesn’t feel well. After checking the toaster, I persevere. To the left, there are places I’ve never seen, restaurants, shops, and pubs I never knew existed that reside less than a three minute walk from my flat. The river is wider this way, there’s an alarmingly sharp cliff. We find a restaurant and have duck and some mix of grains and peas that I have never had. Man, this day is in the record books for new experiences. I’ll probably talk about it all week and maybe even next Saturday, when I go right.

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