“There is an 75% chance you are catching the next train to Berlin”

Was a time when my life was far more chaotic and exhausting than it is now.  At this time i often did not know where i would sleep in the evening when i got up in the morning and most weeks had visiting at least three countries in them. During quite some of those years i worked with Erik Piper in a strange office in Brno.

Olga, Anna and Erik

Erik was a volunteer from the US who came to help a Czech dark green ecology group.   This group had me in it and i snapped up this foreigner, not knowing at first what he would be good for.  Erik turned out to be invaluable for a number of unpredictable adventures, from doing graphic design in cities bereft of vowels, to myriad logistics and support work for actions, and ultimately gifted translation of Czech into English, as he did so quickly today with Jakub’s article on Havel dying.  And for me as a somewhat disorganized organizer, what made Erik especially precious was he was willing try almost anything often on short notice and that he had an extremely helpful (tho slightly quirky) demeanor.

I caught up with Erik at the end of 2008 and he came with the Stars to the New Years celebration outside of Berlin.  As we were talking about the “good old days” of our working together he reminded me of an aspect of our relationship which i had nearly forgotten.  “I would walk into the office in Brno and you would say something like ‘There is a 75% chance you are catching the next train to Berlin.’” Erik said.  And  to his credit, Erik would turn on a dime and often go off pursuing whatever stranded activist or fumbling project which needed immediate assistance or perhaps some poorly formed pipe dream which had been recently concocted.

And there is a certain romance to catching the next train, at the last minute.  It was all justifiable because we thought we were changing the world, and on good days we actually did.

Thanks Erik for everything, including the memories.