Across the aisle from me were two young women dressed in skimpy dresses of the type that make young men feel the urge to buy them drinks and women like me want to vomit. It was easy to block them out by closing my eyes and nodding off… until they asked the bus slave for tips on what to see in Prague, bringing the eighth assault down upon me.
Every Student Agency bus has the equivalent of a flight attendant, a young person in a pink shirt (required to speak a certain level of broken English) who checks tickets when you get on board, brings you hot, sugary approximations of caffeinated beverages to make you thirsty enough to buy a water, and makes the occasional announcement advertising their other bus routes. I have no idea what their correct job title is, but “bus slave” has a nice ring to it, so I’ll stick with that.
Our bus slave for the day was a young man, tall and thin and fairly attractive, if a bit young for me. At one point I considered striking up a conversation with him to practice my Czech, since I was sitting right behind him, but after considering my current level of mental acuity I decided against it. But when the two twenty-somethings sitting across from me batted their eyes at him, giggled, and asked him if he knew any nice places to visit in Prague, he sat in the empty seat next to me and immediately began several hours of clumsy flirting, ignoring all the other passengers and even forgetting to make the announcements until the bus driver yelled at him that we were arriving in Prague.
By the time we pulled into the station, he had persuaded the girls to hang out with him that evening in a touristy spot by the river as well as awkwardly revealing that he had a girlfriend (but that it “wasn’t a big deal”), and I still had not slept. Though I was seated far from the doors, I was one of the first people off the bus.