Finding Everyday Inspiration: My Place on the Map

23 comments

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s writing prompt is a shameless advertising of Google Maps, which we are supposed to use as a starting point for our story. I’m not doing product placement. I don’t even like Google Maps. They’ve led me to unspeakable places where I didn’t want to go in the first place. They always get me lost. I wonder whether it’s the product’s feature (mind you, not a bug) or whether I’m just so clueless. (I don’t wonder, I know I’m clueless.)

There’s no place but where you are.

What I seriously wonder about now is where I got this quote. I couldn’t have invented it. Come on, you can’t invent anything original anymore. But since I can’t find the author of the quote, let’s attribute it to myself. You’re welcome. Thinking of the place where I am and how it happened that I am here—apart from the unfortunate coincidence that I happened to be born here—I recalled my nation’s foundational story. In the light of the story, no wonder I’m clueless. I took after my forefathers.

Cloudy: just like the vision of my ancestors

If Google Maps did their job, they would place me correctly in the Czech Republic. Lazy people call it Czechia nowadays, which leads to a common confusion with Chechnya. Well, close enough, one Soviet satellite state or another, whatever. We used to be Czechoslovakia. That’s when we were pals with Slovakia (not to be confused with Slovenia), but we had a little domestic and split states. Shrug. Here is how Czechia came to be according to a legend.

Once upon a time, there was this guy called (wait for it) Czech (surprise!). Today known as Forefather Czech (I dub him the Lazy Sod, you’ll soon see why). This First Czech and his tribe resided in what is now Croatia. (Which is where our foundational story really should end: so we are descended from Croatians and that’s it.) However, the mythological First Czech felt frisky, gathered his people and led them towards the setting sun. (People with sense would follow the sunrise but not the Clueless Czech.)

Our Frisky Forefather didn’t anticipate that the hike would be such a bugger. He and his tribe were soon totally wiped, so, probably in imitation of Moses on Mount Sinai, Forefather Czech climbed the nearest mountain. There, he didn’t receive any instructions, but he was hallucinating the vision of a rich and fertile land. He rolled down the mountain and, the Lazy Sod that he was, he told his people they could just as well stay where they were because it wasn’t getting any better.

He was so wrong. I wish he had the sense to move a bit further west, and I could have been born in Canada. Also, please bear in mind that this is a creative retelling which utilises a degree of poetic licence.

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23 comments on “Finding Everyday Inspiration: My Place on the Map”

  1. It cracks me up when people say something and then say ‘You’re welcome.’ Ha! So….yeah. confused. But not clueless. God forbid that should happen.

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    1. I use “You’re welcome” in lieu of a punctuation mark when I don’t know what to say… And the effect is intended to be funny, so good it worked 🙂 And even better that you managed to get just a bit confused and not clueless, which I can’t say for myself…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you for your lovely comment! I don’t think I dare to desecrate other myths, I only had fun with this one because it’s inherently funny and, ultimately, I’m making fun of myself as a member of the clueless nation 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment. I am tempted to print it out and pin it on my board. I’m afraid I don’t deserve such credit though: while I did spice the story up a bit, the structure is true to the legend. My nation’s legend really is about a guy who walked from A to B, got tired and decided to stay there…

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  2. Excellent post Mara. I had some Couchsurfers from Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia) and they told me that, when traveling,
    they always had to point out that Slovenia and Slovakia are two different countries.
    Austria has a similar problem and that’s the reason why in Austria, you can get stickers that says: “There’s no kangaroos in Austria”.

    What if you were friends with Slovenia instead? Czechoslovenia? 🙂

    “He rolled down the mountain and, the Lazy Sod that he was, he told his people they could just as well stay
    where they were because it wasn’t getting any better.”
    I don’t think he was lazy. He was just being realistic.
    (be aware: some people confuse realism with pessimism)

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    1. Yeah, Austria vs. Australia, I forgot this one! For some reasons, I keep on confusing all the Scandinavian states. I feel pretty dumb about it. So I always tell myself: Max – Norway – Oslo; Rebekah – Sweden – Stockholm; and now I need to find some bloggers from Finland and Denmark too to remember it.

      Anyway. I like your definition of realism. I always say I’m a realist but I’m told I’m pessimist, and a depressing one on top of that. Whatever. Thanks for reading!

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      1. Hehe. you fucked it up again, but don’t worry, most people that aren’t from Scandinavia do: Finland isn’t a part of Scandinavia, it’s a part of the Nordic Countries.
        People from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway will say that Finland isn’t a part of Scandinavia, but if you’re from any other country than the mentioned: you’ll say that Finland is a Scandinavian country.

        I’ve also heard that I’m a pessimist, but people are confused – or most likely they are too dumb – to know the difference between realism and pessimism.

        A pessimist might say something like. “Everything is going to hell.”
        While a realist would say something like: “Hell is just a figment of your imagination and it doesn’t exist, but the current status quo aren’t really something to be super excited about.”

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        1. I’m such a fuckup. And I thought I was being pretty smart when I was memorising Scandinavian countries and their capitals. That’s good news though, now I can forget about Denmark.

          I’d never say that things are going to hell. Because this is hell. I read it in my favourite book, so it must be true. (The book also said that there were worse hells, but I’m selective.)

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          1. Cool! So you Vikings take the north, and we Slavs take the central strip, from Czechia, through the Balkans, to Russia. Feel free to grab Britain too. And Iceland, obviously.

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