“There is an 75% chance you are catching the next train to Berlin”

Was a time when my life was far more chaotic and exhausting than it is now.  At this time i often did not know where i would sleep in the evening when i got up in the morning and most weeks had visiting at least three countries in them. During quite some of those years i worked with Erik Piper in a strange office in Brno.

Olga, Anna and Erik

Erik was a volunteer from the US who came to help a Czech dark green ecology group.   This group had me in it and i snapped up this foreigner, not knowing at first what he would be good for.  Erik turned out to be invaluable for a number of unpredictable adventures, from doing graphic design in cities bereft of vowels, to myriad logistics and support work for actions, and ultimately gifted translation of Czech into English, as he did so quickly today with Jakub’s article on Havel dying.  And for me as a somewhat disorganized organizer, what made Erik especially precious was he was willing try almost anything often on short notice and that he had an extremely helpful (tho slightly quirky) demeanor.

I caught up with Erik at the end of 2008 and he came with the Stars to the New Years celebration outside of Berlin.  As we were talking about the “good old days” of our working together he reminded me of an aspect of our relationship which i had nearly forgotten.  “I would walk into the office in Brno and you would say something like ‘There is a 75% chance you are catching the next train to Berlin.'” Erik said.  And  to his credit, Erik would turn on a dime and often go off pursuing whatever stranded activist or fumbling project which needed immediate assistance or perhaps some poorly formed pipe dream which had been recently concocted.

And there is a certain romance to catching the next train, at the last minute.  It was all justifiable because we thought we were changing the world, and on good days we actually did.

Thanks Erik for everything, including the memories.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

5 responses to ““There is an 75% chance you are catching the next train to Berlin””

  1. anissa ljanta says :

    yep, on good days we really did. On good days we still do. Hey Erik, so great to see a peek of you from across the years…they were good times those unpredictable ones back there on the frontlines of the new world in Eastern Europe.

  2. Erik says :

    Hi Anissa,

    Nice to see from you. 🙂 Good to hear I’m remembered in a good light — I got caught in an emotional tailspin in the days when I was making the transition from life in DUHA to the the rest of my life, and in during that I did some things I regret, including stealing your good friend Jen’s (if I remember her name right) cookies when she was so kind as to accommodate me in Prague!

    I eventually got back on my feet. I hope Jen eventually got sent some more cookies!

  3. paxus says :

    Part of the story i left out in this post was that we were crazy poor during these good old days, i had no salary (despite being quite successful raising money for the revolution – but there were always Czechs to pay before pesky internationals) and Erik got paid out of my non-existent salary. Some cookies and other things got stolen along the way.

  4. paxus says :

    And of course Anissa is right, on good days these days, we still do.

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