I had a pretty strong feeling of disconnect tonight. Maybe it was from sitting in Picante, a Mexican food take-out in the center of Kafkaville, trying to enjoy my burrito and being annoyed by a herd of EasyJet British lager louts insistently asking “‘ave yew go’ enny CHIPS?” Over and over again.

The Slovaks behind the counter acted like they don’t speak English. Nobody in the place admitted to speaking English. Eventually the herd moved on.

But the feeling of disconnect came strongest from the movie I saw, “Lost in Translation.” It’s all about disconnects, starting culturally and ending up deeply personal. Missed chances, opportunities lost, things unsaid and maybe uncommunicable.

As I hurried to catch the tram home, I wondered what, if anything, could bring me back, and make me feel connected again. And then, as if on cue, I walked past a tent for “Akce Cihla,” a charity fundraising drive in which donors buy a symbolic brick, with proceeds used to build housing for mentally-disabled people.

The name I saw on one of the bricks said “Dorothy and Erazim.”

Erazim being my friend Dorothy’s husband, Erazim Kohák, a Czech philosopher who once wrote:

“Beyond the point of satisfying need, redundant capacity becomes a burden and not a gain. Greed, the attempt to fill an empty spirit with possessions, is a great producer of depersonalization. Our preoccupation with labor saving, beyond the elimination of soul-destroying drudgery, is no less counterproductive. To have without doing corrodes the soul: it is precisely in investing life, love and labor that we constitute the world as personal… Generosity of the spirit personalizes as greed depersonalizes.”

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