Minding my own business, having just completed two hours of ironing, I decided it was time to go out and get food in for the weekend, as we have a visitor.
I decided to walk to the shops, then when my bags were heavy I could treat myself to a ride on the tram home. Walking passed the park, there was a young man in a phone booth. The booths are like the new ones you get in the UK, not closed it but a bit of a mini bus shelter in appearance. He had taken off his shoes and was attending to his blisters and rough skin. I walked past and crossed a road and could not help but wonder if he had any socks. I popped into a shop run by a Vietnamese man who sells clothes circa 1978, very popular with certain folks in Prague, nostalgia! Anyway he had men’s socks, so I bought two pairs of thermal socks, at 1978 prices, it was £1.60 for two pairs. I went back to the lad and gave him both pairs. My Czech is very, very limited but this lad could speak some English, he thanked me, was amazed I had given him two pairs of socks and smiled. I went about my shopping for the weekend.
On the tram ride home, the tram made a stop near where the lad was in the phone booth. I got out and thought I would give him some bread and smoked sausage, there will be three of us later tonight and I had four smoked sausages. He was truly pleased to have a chat and his English was pretty blinking brilliant. I learned he had been doing well at school when there was a car crash, his parents were killed and he had some brain damage and lost his teeth. His family home was repossessed and he was now living on the streets. He carried with him a little first aid kit, which he had been using to do his DIY chiropody, a few other items were perched on the phone itself, using it like a shelf. He had on both pairs of socks, he told me for two reasons, the shoes he had were too large but if he did not wear them, they would be stolen from him. There was also a white jam jar lid that had lots of holes punched in it. He told me that since he had no teeth, he grated apples and carrots on the perforated lid to be able to eat them. I asked if he had a penknife but he said the Police take knives off them, he did have a screwdriver but a Policeman had taken that from him and told him he needed it for his weekend house. We chatted a bit more and I introduced myself properly and learned his name is Petr, we shook hands. To physically describe the guy I need a biblical reference; he had hair like Samson, dark long curls, amazing condition all things considered. His frame was slight, but not weedy, I guess you won’t put on weight living rough. I can honestly say that I hope I meet him again and we can continue our chat over a coffee or hot chocolate. It has been raining all day and night and as I touched his shoulder to say goodbye, I could feel his clothes were soaking still. I have no idea how he will get them dry without a break in the weather. I am also thinking that perhaps sausage and baguette were not the wisest of choices for a man with no teeth. I will have to be more intelligent about it next time.