Grandma and the Draculette’s
I am in Prague studying with my fiction writing class. For the first time in my fifty-seven years I have seven weeks of solitude. No adult responsibilities. I have left them at home thousands of miles away. The only way to contact me was through emails and I had control of how often I answered them. However, my younger classmates didn’t understand this. I remember when I was their age. Being with your friends was all that mattered. The old axiom, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” fit the situation. I have been there done that.
After awhile my fellow classmates understand that I am not their mother and didn’t really care what they said or did and they were cool hanging with me. For me, however, could never quite “let my hair down.” I was quite content to explore Prague on my own. After several weeks of glorious solitude my education was going to take a strange turn.
Several of my classmates thought I needed some excitement and invited me out to party with them. Given our age difference I thought maybe they had already been hitting the bottle or smoking something funny to extend such an invitation, but what the hell I wanted this trip to be an experience, so I accepted. When I said yes, I wasn’t sure if the look on their faces was excitement or panic. Remembering visits with my daughter when she was in college I knew this evening wasn’t going to start until my bedtime, so I took a nap.
I think anyone under twenty five has what I call Dracula syndrome. These creatures snuggle into their coffin like covers, hiding from daylight. When the last rays of sunlight disappear these night creatures fling off the covers, jump out of their coffins, meet in mass, and go into the darkness to find their prey, that usually being someone of the opposite sex. Then they party until they see the first rays of the morning sun peak over the horizon. This causes panic and they all scurry back under their blanket like coffins not to be seen again until the mist of the approaching moon light creeps into their rooms looking for them.
But I digress, after taking a nap I did my best to spruce up. Since there was no way I could drop forty pounds in a couple hours and makeup sure wasn’t going to hide the wrinkles that were creeping around my eyes, in other words I could not turn the clock back thirty years, I slapped on some foundation and called it good. Before long there was a knock on the door. The bewitching hour has arrived. I grabbed my purse, took a quick look in the mirror, is that me yawning, I thought. Ignoring the warning from my reflection I closed the door to my room, leaving my sanity lying snuggled in the covers of my warm bed.
The weather is warm and the setting sun casts a calming shadow over the city. As we made our way down the steep hill outside our hostel I make a mental note that it is going to be more like climbing Mt Everest coming home. At the tram stop we gather in a huddle, much like football players do when discussing their next play. The girls all look like runway models, every hair in place, makeup perfect. As much as I tried not to compare myself, I couldn’t help let my mind wander back to a time when one of these gorgeous creatures was easily a reflection of me. While my mind was lost somewhere in the ancient past, my fellow bar hoppers debated which tram we needed to take. These night creatures will spend hours getting ready, yet it never occurs to them to plan where and how they will get to their destination, but hey I’m not worried, after all my life is in the hands of twenty year olds. This was something I forgot about being young. It’s that’s unfailing belief that the stars gather in the cosmos, and all is always right in the world.
The group decision is to take the number 14 tram. Settling into our seats I watched my little Draculetta’s come to life. We rode for awhile weaving in and out of the streets of Prague. I was enjoying the ride. We were obviously out of the heart of Prague, away from the opulent historical buildings among the regular folk. The scenery lost on my young classmates. I could hear the girls chattering about how to get to some bar named Harley’s. Aha, I thought, it’s finally registered that none of them know where they are going. After negotiations that rivaled anything Washington has seen, the group decides to ask a local Prague rider for directions to our bar. The poor soul looks puzzled as he tries to understand our fast paced English. He looks blankly at the girls, shrugs his shoulders and in broken English replies that he didn’t know. The girls kept trying to get him to understand; finally one of the girls produced an address. He still didn’t know. Not one other tram rider moved or showed any interest in this rather funny exchange. This is common in Prague. Left over from years of communist occupation, the locals trusted no one, and kept to their selves when in public. Frustrations were building on both sides. The problem was not his English; it was his age, for he was well over thirty. He wasn’t part of the bar scene, anymore. He didn’t know where Harley’s was. Finally, he told us we should have gotten off four stops back; I think his answer was not because he knew, but an attempt to get rid of us. The sun is fully asleep now, just a few stars twinkling in the midnight blue sky.
Exasperated, one of the girls push the tram button furiously, like it is going to respond by being beaten. The tram finally stops and the doors open. We stood for a few moments discussing our next move, when I noticed a drunken Scotsman’s in his full kilt, just a few feet from us. He was rip roaring drunk. I was amazed he could stand. There were people waiting for the tram and like before no one was paying much attention to his antic’s, that is accept me. Mischievously, I watched hoping he would fall, and I would finally get the opportunity to see if there really are naked balls hanging freely under his Kilt. Camera in hand, I waited for the picture of a lifetime, but alas, it was not meant to be, the drunken Scotsman hopped on the next tram and rode off into the night.
My attention is drawn back to the girls who had decided walking would get us to the elusive Harley’s. This was interesting since we still had no idea where we are or where we are going. It must have looked rather odd, four cute young girls, and a middle age women walking through Prague at 11:30 at night asking random strangers where a bar is. I must look like a madam walking with her girls,” I thought with some amusement.
Right about now I feel like I am splitting into multiple personalities. One personality is a young girl out for a fun evening, another is a mother, yet another an independent female who could take care of herself. They were all clamoring in my head trying to be the one who gained control of the situation.
While I was turning into Sybil, one of my little Dragulette’s swishes her cute little butt toward a group of men standing on the corner across the street. It is obvious, at least to me, they have had more than a few drinks. They are talking loudly to each other, at first not noticing the dark haired beauty in the tight tank top coming their way. There are easily ten to fifteen of them and I would guess their ages, ohhh early to mid-thirties? It wasn’t hard to miss the dress casual pants and cotton shirts that scream businessmen. All of this seems to be lost on our comrade as she walks right up to one of the men and asks the question of the night, “Do you know where Harley’s Bar is? Before an answer could be offered, all the men had now turned toward our comrade, who was dwarfed in their presence. All of them were talking at once, some stuttering, others spoke in Czech, and one or two attempted English. I stood back and watched as the men pass knowing looks between each other. One man in the group put his hands firmly on one of his buddies and pushes him aside. His friend stumbles even though he wasn’t pushed very hard, but he was very drunk. My classmate still has no clue that she may be in danger as she motions toward the rest of us, explaining that she was with us, and we were all trying to find Harley’s. It was a comical scene and it amazed me that people on the street did not stop and watch or show concern for this young girl. I watch my friend in this group of quivering erections, all wide eyed and innocent, asking a serious question and expecting a serious answer.
Now the multiple personalities inside my head have gone from arguing to fighting with each other for dominance. Mother hen was telling me to go get her chickling, while the young independent woman was screaming, “leave her alone she’s a grownup.” I stood there dazed being ripped in three different directions. Mother hen won the argument. She cocked her head with authority and says, “bullshit, I’m going to get her.”
The guys started to close around our friend. Mother hen clucked an order to independent female, who walks up to our friend, hooks her arm, coaxing her out of the salivating lion’s den and back into the safety of the group. Turns out my Draculette’s were getting nervous, too. Our friend is surprised when she is returned to the group, but she didn’t resist.
The girls brush off further advances from the group of men and we were once again on our way. We quickenen our pace, as I mother hen lag a few steps behind giving the evil eye to the group of quivering erections, letting them know it was useless to try and follow the girls. Realizing they were not going to get laid, all the quivering erections deflated, and stopped following us. Independent female, a little sad, watches the group of men point their radar elsewhere in search of easier prey. Independent female sighed, thinking of her lost opportunity, “Damn mother hen,” she thought, turning to catch up with the group. Crisis abated we continued our quest for the elusive Harley’s bar, mother hen calmly in control thinking, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. …