When I started to work at the Golden Prague Hotel, the boss took hold of my left ear, pulled me up, and said, you're a busboy here, so remember, you don't see anything and you don't hear anything. Repeat what I just said. So I said I wouldn't see anything and I wouldn't hear anything. Then the boss pulled me up by my right ear and said, but remember too that you've got to see everything and hear everything. Repeat it after me. I was taken aback, but I promised I would see everything and hear everything. That's how I began.
I Served the King of England Bohumil Hrabal, 1970
Lisa and I arrived in Prague on a Friday in the middle of September, almost ten months after the "Velvet Revolution." I was a Fulbright lecturer assigned to teach American studies at Charles University; Lisa was planning to study Czech language and culture. We were met at Ruzyne Airport by a short, energetic man of about forty with thick black eyebrows and a wiry mustache. Jiří Hanuš swept us out of the terminal and into his red Škoda.
After a few minutes on the road, Hanuš pulled off to the side and reached in the back for his briefcase. Sorting through a mess of papers and books, he found an envelope and handed it to me: "That's your first