Tram: A Love Story

beautiful old yellow trams !Reginald slips the 9 tram into the terminal station as smoothly as laying a worn dollar bill on a satin G-string. As he does, I scurry to the cockpit to peer out through this window. The 1 tram is parked in front of us and Joyce the driver is moving around the car performing post-drive duties such as bum removal, condom scraping and clearing empty boxes of wine and bottles of Tučnak. As we queue up behind the 1 tam, the 16 tram ticks past us on its way out of the station. The 16 tram driver is Jane, a light-haired brunette with a nose you could land a 747 on, who smiles as the two trams pass each other.

And so, for the third week in a row, the love story continues.

Riding on trams through Prague entails different things for different commuters. For teenagers, it is apparently a place for heated foreplay. For bums, it’s a place to get out of the cold and let out all those farts that etiquette prohibits releasing into the open city air. Old women use trams to tote checkered bags on wheels and playact frailty in a desperate plea for a seat.

For me, it’s a place to read and daydream. I glimpse the girls at the major hubs from beneath the brim of my Jeff and above whatever book I am not reading that moment.

As most people ride a set route from their house to work and vice versa, one gets accustomed to each driver’s quirks, personalities, tendencies and driving habits. In some way we become involved in their lives.

Gaylord (Mon: 8:31, Wed: 8:46, Fri: 14:25) is a heavy-handed driver, full of aggression and anger. He is non-discriminatory with his bell ringing, blasting angry throngs at children, old women and anyone else nearing the street when he’s around. Commuters bounce around so much that riding on his tram is to understand a kidney punch from Mike Tyson.

I have decided that Gaylord’s wife has left him, he has prolapsed hemorrhoids and he was bullied as a kid for having dimples on his knees.

Fillersby’s (Tue: 7:35, Thur: 14:43, Fri: 7:55) meekness comes out through his inability to demand respect even whilst driving a giant metal ramrod around Prague. People traipse in front of his tram and if he lets one car have the right of way, we will sit waiting for ten minutes. His bell carries the masculine ding of an Easy Bake Oven. To ride in Fillersby’s tram is equal to the speed and excitement of walking your grandmother to the toilet.

Fillersby is clearly on the bitch side of a sadomasochistic relationship. He has a collection of dinner linen and a rock polisher.

Reginald (Mon: 8:26, Weds: 8:51, Fri: 8:30) is my favorite. He’s the perfect mix of assertive and kind. He drives with a smile on his face and always waits for the odd person chugging up to the tram. His expresses firmness yet friendliness.

Reginald is a genuinely nice guy who helps old women cross streets and cleans his elder neighbors’ yards. Still, there is some kind of sadness present, as though he lives with his mother.

A few weeks ago I stood at the front of the tram as Reginald pulled into the terminal station and noticed that he waved in a very sweet, yet deliberate manner at the 16 tram driver Jane. She waved back with a smile. However, as she pulled out, Joyce cleaning the 1 tram in front of us also waved at her. Jane waved at him too, and then pulled out of the station and onto her route.

It became clear that Reginald is involved in a tram driver love triangle.

This morning as Jane waves at both Joyce and Reginald, I have the deepest urge to tell Reginald to get up the nerve to approach Jane. The problem is that my Czech is basically conversational and functional. I am not ordering a beer from Reginald, nor am I asking him for a visa to stay in his country. My Czech abilities are nowhere near proficient enough to advise a random tram driver on a love affair I have invented for him. Although I suppose there is no appropriate language for that.

For these reasons, my advice to Reginald is relegated through body language. This morning, I smile at him, nod and wink. I go on to make the international facial gesture for “it’s OK, man, I understand,” which looks as though I have just smelled something really bad while listening to great music. Reginald regards me with trepidation as he begins his post-driving duties and I walk into work.

When I get to my office it occurs to me that Reginald might have thought I was hitting on him.

Damn. Well, maybe Jane speaks English.

  1. #1 by Andy on March 15, 2012 - 3:27 pm

    “My Czech abilities are nowhere near proficient enough to advise a random tram driver on a love affair I have invented for him. Although I suppose there is no appropriate language for that.”

    Damien, I believe that is the PERFECT time to employ garbled Czech (as is that time spent walking to the toilet with Grandma).

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on March 15, 2012 - 3:41 pm

      Oh Andy, we both know garbled Czech is only for cab drivers and drunken prostitutes…in late night bars…in Podoli.

      • #3 by collin on March 15, 2012 - 6:28 pm

        …and police officers escorting you to your front door…

Comments are closed.