I've been moving since the beginning of the month. The idea of having an entire month in which to complete the process sounded great at the outset, but has actually just prolonged the agony. Like watching all of "Runaway Bride" instead of just puking during the trailer ("In a world where brides run away...").
I've been living in the old apartment while I "clean" it - i.e. lie on the couch and watch "Friends" and wish cats could vacuum - but I actually moved most of my worldly possessions to the new apartment on December 2.
That night, having once again had to do a ridiculous amount of the lifting and carrying although I'd hired two movers this time (side note: you know you've been rattling around a town too long when your Albanian mover takes a good look at you and says, "I'm sure we've met somewhere before.") I bought a bottle of wine to have a glass and relax at the old place, forgetting I'd moved all my corkscrews to the new place.
Exhaustion battled desire for drink and desire for drink won, so I went in search of a corkscrew. I returned to the store where I'd bought the wine, realizing as I approached the clerk that I did not know the Czech word for corkscrew (I chalk this up to being a beer drinker rather than stinking at Czech, although I also stink at Czech). I successfully mimed opening a bottle, however, and the clerk got it but told me she couldn't help me. She suggested I try the Chinese store up the street. "They have," she said, then paused, as though mentally cataloging all the things they had, "Everything?" I suggested. "Everything," she agreed. And that's true, because I'd hit the them up up earlier in the day for packing tape, and they'd had that.
So I returned to the Chinese everything store and used my miming abilities to ask the extremely uninterested girl behind the counter for a corkscrew. Rather than answering me, she yelled to a guy in the back room in Chinese, and judging but what followed, I'm guessing what she said was:
"Hey, Hung Li, whitey here want to drink wine out of ice cream scoop, you got one?"
To which Hung Li apparently replied, "Now I hear all! Send her back I fix her up."
So, nodding and smiling the way I do when I'm not sure what Chinese people are saying but I want them to realize I respect them and their ancient culture, I went into the back room where Hung Li handed me an ice cream scoop.
"No," I said, in my halting Czech, "Have wine. In bottle. Need to open. Need..." (and here I did my bottle-opening mime, being careful to avoid any hint of a scooping motion).
"HA!" said Hung Li, then rooted around through a shelf containing every kitchen implement known to man and produced a corkscrew. I thanked him, and, trying desperately to ingratiate myself, asked him the word for corkscrew in Czech. He immediately yelled to the girl at the cash desk:
"Now she want CZECH LESSON! Stupid melon! Don't she know two day ago I in Shanghai stick KNIFE in white people???"
Girl at the cash desk (to guy in back) "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Corkscrew! Corkscrew!" (then to me) "29 crown" (then to guy in back) "Corkscrew! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
"Thank you, goodbye," I said, still gamely smiling and nodding.
[Pictured above right: Something I probably could drink wine out of, if I had to.]