At this point, I’m not sure that I will ever quite understand the coldness that so many Czechs and Slovaks have toward…well, basically everyone.
The thing about traveling, and about being an avid reader-writer while traveling, is that occasionally you have to send a package home. I’ll admit, I overpacked when I left for Berlin, and over the past month, I’ve had to carry around a bag of extra clothes and notebooks that I wasn’t using, in the hopes of finally getting a moment to send them back to Malta.
Finally, in Brno, I had my chance. Before catching the train this afternoon to Prague, I stopped in the Posta just next to the hostel, so that I could finally mail that bag of dead weight back to my dad. After asking for help with the numbering system (there are literally 14 options for checking into the Czech post office, only one of which is related to sending packages) and waiting for a good twenty minutes for my number to show up on the screen, I was able to talk to one of the workers.
“Dobry den!” she says, followed by a stream of Czech that I can only assume translates into something along the lines of “How can I help you?”
“Anglicky?” I ask, because if I can’t understand a word of Slovak, I most definitely cannot speak a word of Czech. I smile, hoping that’ll help.
She nods awkwardly, before referring me to her coworker the next window over: a blond woman with an injured thumb.
Her co-worker doesn’t even say “Dobry den,” but instead gives me the death glare of all death glares.
“What do you need?”
I hold up my bag of clothes. “I need to send a package.”
Czech Post-office Lady is already so done with my shit, and all I’ve done is told her that I need to send my clothes back to Malta. She’s annoyed when she has to get me a box; she’s annoyed when she has to give me the form for addresses; and don’t even get me started on how she deals with having an English-speaking international bum filling out a form for her:
“Put your address.”
“I don’t have one.”
“You need a sender’s address.”
“I don’t have a sender’s address.”
“Street, city, something.”
I shrug at her, not really knowing how to inform her that I’m basically a professional homeless person. She ends up copying my dad’s address into the sender box. As she prints receipts, wincing when she has to put the box together because of her thumb, I get the sense that she’s not having the greatest day. I pay for the package and get the receipt. Before I leave, I ask how long it’ll take for the package to get to my dad.
“Like a week.”
I smile and nod, which I’ve found is the best way for dealing with these situations. “Thank you so much. Hope your thumb gets bet–”
She doesn’t even let me finish before saying, “whatever,” and walking away.
In any case, I really hope I didn’t just pay fifteen euro for my clothes and notebooks to end up in the Czech Posta trash.