Friday, July 22, 2011

Opposite Night in Krakow- Hatred and Love

Opposite Night- Hatred and Love in Krakow

Saturday night. My hosts want to stay in for the evening. I want to at least experience some version of Polish night life, I venture out alone. I walk past Wawel Castle, and in the direction of the old city.
I'm soon lost in a maze of streets, seeing where instinct and fate will take me. The roads seem dead, I almost giving up on finding a night club. I make a turn and walk perpendicular to my original path for fifteen minutes. 
If I was a pirate searching for buried treasure, I just found the Mother Load. Bar after bar after packed bar. 

Standing outside a club. A lead weight stomps down on my foot. The lead weight is drunk, and rather than being aware of his actions and jumping away, he presses down with all his weight. I shake him off.
“Sorry, sorry,” he utters in Polish. I give him a nasty look equal to the physical pain he has carelessly caused me, but no more than that. I walk inside, and glance up at the TV for thirty seconds, watching lingerie models walk the runways in Paris. I slowly meander a bit further in, suddenly I feel an elbow in my back. I am none too gently shoved forwards. 
I turn around. Bald, tattooed thug, thirty pounds heavier than me. Is it possible he tripped, that he is drunk? I walk further into the bar, this time his elbow is even stronger.
Realizing that I am in the presence of vast unconsciousness, I turn around, attempting to walk away from the brute. Thug #2 is up ahead, blocking my way out. He steps in as if to block me, giving me a nasty glare, I sidestep and spin around him.  If there is a fight, it won't even be a fair one. Instinct tells me to leave immediately, I quicken the pace of my steps til I am out the door. Safe. Is it possible I just imagined this danger?
Absolutely not. Thuggy has followed me out, his strides getting longer, his shoulders out in front of him, his arms completely straight, his fists taut at his sides. I raise up my palms in front of me as I walk sideways, clearly stating, "Stay away!"
He speeds up even more, almost seeming ready to break into a sprint. I want no part of this, I speed up accordingly. Finally, realizing he is not going to get the fight he is looking for, he straightens and roars like a mad demon having just vanquished an angel back to heaven. That's okay, keep living in your hell.

I walk away slightly shaken. In my life I have never had someone assault me for not even the semblance of a reason . The only thing I can think of is that he picked up on my momentary anger from having my foot stomped on, and that his own inner pain unconsciously recognized something similar, something it could feed on, that which gives his ego purpose, which sustains it. I hadn't even made eye contact with the guy, hadn't even seen him before he elbowed me in the back.

I start to head home. I finally reach the Main Market Square, realizing that despite the time that has passed since the incident, my body is still in way too much of a fight or flight state. I shake it off, literally attempting to rid myself of the nervous energy via some odd arm movements and bouncing around. Tonight's just not my night, is it?
Main Market Square, Krakow
I breathe in deeply five times, starting to feel for more at peace again. I walk through the square. Near the end, a girl, cute face, approaches me, asking for a light.
"I don't smoke," I say in English.
She ebbs closer to me.
"Come on, a light."
"I don't have one, I'm sorry."
She gives me a silly smile and walks alongside me for a second, then reaches her hand around my waist, walking with me as though we are a couple. I cover my pockets in case she is a pick-pocket, who knows.
We walk for ten seconds like this, as I am always curious what's going to happen next, I'm enjoying the relative novelty of it all .
With her right arm around me, she reaches with her left and grabs my crotch. Okay, she's a pro, doesn't dress like one though. I very gently remove her hand, she looks momentarily sad. I keep walking with her. My crotch is gently stroked again. "You want to?" she asks.
Its just a little weird for me honestly. It's happened before, but ... and admittedly, I hesitate, "Ummm ... noooo." I smile at her.
She walks with me for another minute, I'm cool with that. She's not completely drunk, but I'm sure she's  had some alcohol. She removes herself from my waist, and slowly begins to drift backwards. I turn around and watch her approach another guy, asking him for a light. He doesn't have one, she walks away without a second thought. Apparently she's not a pro.

I walk the long journey home, considering the oddity of the night. From pure vile hatred and anger, to love, at least in some form, the rapid oscillation of which, astounds me even now.
Backpack and schoolbook in hand- walking to class in Krakow apparently


  1. Good reading :)
    although you should go for the crotch thing. who knows what would happen :D

    1. hey Deckhard,
      Thank you kindly for your comments, glad you enjoyed the column here. Cheers man


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