We got away from the crowds yesterday morning, going to the former Convent of St. Agnes to see an amazing museum of medieval art that John particularly wanted to see. Then we went to the ghetto area to see the Jewish cemetery and several of the former synagogues that have exhibits. We didn’t see all the exhibits—the Jewish museum is spread out over 5 or 6 buildings—but I was left with a feeling of sadness, not a feeling of the bustling life that was once there. My sense of that life comes from Marge Piercy’s He, She, and It, which I taught this past spring and which has a subplot about the rabbi in the Prague ghetto who made a Golem.
We had lunch at a restaurant and dinner at the apartment. After dinner I suggested that we take the trolley to see Wenceslas Square, just to get a sense of the newer part of the city. Our daughter liked the idea. John first said he wanted to go then after we waited for him for a while he decided it would take too long and he wanted to go down to the mall where there is internet access to check his email. A few minutes after we got home from our trolley trip, he came in, needing the password for my computer (which he has been using since we started this trip). The password for my laptop is a logical but slightly tricky one that the computer service people for my part of the university use. I don’t want to change it because there are several minor problems with the laptop I need them to fix. So I gave it to John and he headed off again. I asked him if it was important, as our daughter wanted to use the computer to write messages to send in the morning, but he was determined.
Looking at the computer, which he didn’t shut down properly, it looks like he had to go someplace else to find internet access but did find it. I do worry about him going off alone in the evening that way with my laptop. I think I’m using the wrong strategy. I’m not making it easy for him (for example by not changing the password on the computer) hoping he will get discouraged. But I think he just gets more determined. When we are home it is good for him to have a routine of things he does on the internet, on his laptop. I just wish he could drop in when we are traveling.
This is a longstanding difference—in the days before the internet it bothered me that he wanted to read the newspaper while on vacation in some exotic place. To me a vacation means leaving that world behind. On the other hand I brought the computer this time (I didn't for one vacation last winter) and have been dealing with a fair number of things that have come up at work.