Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Christine Skarbek: Oh, Poland!

For the first time ever, I was thrown out of an establishment – in this case, a restaurant I have always and forever wanted to go to.

My buddy Yolanta invited me over to Park Café to listen to this wizard on the piano, a 17-yr old skinny fellow.  I cannot tell you how thin this character was or, for that matter, how long and tapered his fingers and what a master he was at the ivories.   A genius in full view of the few people at the outdoor café!  Playing by rote: Pachelbel, Brahms, Chopin… the Golden Oldies… and performing them flawlessly.

Yolanta confessed how she was being wooed to run for office and how conflicted she was – was she worthy?  A guy (she didn’t divulge this guy’s name) called her twice to advise her how to get the signatures she needed to get on the ballot while we sat there listening to the youthful pianist.  So, after the pianist left, this was the focus of our discussion.   Should she run?  Yolanta was torn.

So, I asked her if she had a vision.  No, why should her personal vision be important?  And I thought why should anyone vote for you if they don’t know what your vision is, or if you even have a vision?

It was a long and lively discussion that went on for more than an hour after the kid pianist left.  Finally, she brought up the dreaded m-word – Muslims!   Young Poles were coming back into Poland w/ their young families because they all want to escape the grotesque, vile Muslims in the UK and France!  Crap, I about shit in my pants!  How can this possibly be important when our planet is dying I asked!   The first glacier in Greenland has completely melted away into the ocean and many will follow!

Who gives a damn about religion when our planet is dying?  When wheat and rice is far less nourishing than it was ten years ago and will have little nourishment in another ten to fifteen years?  Fueled by the white wine I had been drinking, I was more than a little animated!

If you are going to have a vision, this is the focus you should have if you care for your Poles!  Now mind you, we were sitting outside and, frankly, I didn’t think I was that loud!   But apparently the people sitting nearby didn’t like what they were hearing and complained to the maître d’ who asked us to leave.

Oh, Poland!  You are dying and you are burying your collective heads in the sand!  Omg!

Yolanta was furious with her compatriots and we walked out and she tried to get away without paying the bill!  Needless to say, she has crossed that restaurant off her list of places to go — as have I.

 But I did love the piano and the wine!  And the conversation!


Christine Skarbek is an American writer who lives in Warsaw.

Old Town in Warsaw

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