Monday, June 11, 2012

In which I'm the kind of the luckiest person ever, times four

1. Tenuous situation: my health. I can't seem to stop eating white bread, cheese, and beer. The occasional red meat. Went for dinner with my CS host, we ended up getting tartare (raw ground beef) served with fried bread. Today at lunch I just pointed to something on the menu; it ended up being a jar (a jar!) of marinated cheese, with bread. Tonight for dinner I thought, I will finally get some good healthy food, and I picked something from the "salatka" section... it was a pasta salad.
Luckily: my stomach is made of friggin' titanium? I don't know. Thanks again, genes!

2. Tenuous situation: my cash. If I get $100 poorer, stuff like buying food gets dire. I'm almost out of Poland, making good time, when a cop on a motorcycle waves me over. Shit! I was speeding! I've never been pulled over speeding in my life! I guess I blew through a god damn two-bit burgh without noticing the sign that said I was officially in a "city", which means the speed limit drops from 90kph to 50. So he has me doing 90 in a 50. (Kilometers, but still.) Yikes. We talk in German because ya nie rozumiem Polski. He looks at my papers. He asks: "Alkohol?" Stunned, I reply "Me? Nie!" He looks at my papers some more.
Luckily: he returns with one German word: "Langsam!" ("Slow") and lets me go. Whew, good thing I passed the sobriety test!

3. Tenuous situation: my bike. It just had its engine replaced, a veritable heart transplant, and now I'm riding it over 1000km at max speed in 4 days. Something's bound to go wrong, right? In the middle of day 1, I am driving down the road, when all of a sudden I lose steering control. Ever have a blowout on your back bicycle tire? It felt like that. I pull over, drive a few more feet to make sure I'm not imagining things, and pull into a gas station. It is 3:02pm on Saturday in the middle of nowhere in Poland. Everything is closed until Monday. You may note that a 2+ day delay would really ruin all sorts of stuff right now.
Luckily, part 1: this gas station has an attached diagnostic unit- for car exhaust or something? Like an E-Check booth? I don't know. There is one guy working there, just about to leave, and he has some wrenches and stuff. He's by no means a motorcycle mechanic, but he's able to look at my bike and figure out what's wrong. There's one particular nut missing. ZakrÄ™tka. You can get one from a mechanic, or a hardware store, but everything is closed. Also there is a bit of hose that has come undone and is kind of just flapping around.
Luckily, part 2: the hose doesn't seem to matter. What?! I still don't know what it does. It's been disconnected for 2 days now and everything still works. ... okay.
Luckily, part 3: the guy's friend, who lives next door, just stops by. He thinks he has something. He comes back with a zakrÄ™tka that just happens to fit exactly. These two guardian angels vanish into the... mid-afternoon... without even letting me pay them. Two days later, the nut is still attached perfectly.

4. Nothing tenuous about this: I'm in the Czech Republic, and stuff's pretty again. I like this country. Here is a bit of Czech humor; my dad will be confused, and Brian Gray will think it's great.

One more day to Munich! In the words of Han Solo, "Hear me, baby? Hold together."


  1. May the force be with you!

  2. Okay the food thing is crazy...glad you're feeling well though! A JAR of MARINATED cheese?! whaaat?
    Also I love the "getting pulled over" story. I think that's an epic one to tell the grandkids. "well sonny, the first time i was ever pulled over was on my bike in Poland, and the cop asked me if i had been drinking, to which i said no, and then i was released." hahaha

  3. For the record:
    Item: I used to say I had a "Cast iron stomach." Glad the genes have improved to titamium.
    Item: I talked an Olmsted Falls Policeman out of a ticket once back in the day..."in spite of all [my] bull____," quoth he.
    Item: I am totally confused by the Czech humor. I would not be funny there.