A few weeks after this experience, I met my friend Larry in San Francisco. Although it's a fairly typical American name (and it's worth noting that it was the name of a spy in a famous American novel), he is my old Slovak friend. He emigrated from deep communism for a variety of reasons. One of them was that his Communist chief had read this book about the U.S. spy, so Larry couldn't publish any of his works because he became an 'ideological suspect'... When we met this time, after the fall of the iron curtain, we hadn't seen each other for years. It was a hearty and altogether pleasant meeting. After a good dinner and long dispute about our destinies, it was time to go to sleep -- at last! Larry arranged accommodation on the 23rd floor of the Hilton hotel in a double bed room (my friend didn't get so rich after immigrating that he didn't have to think economically). We went to our beds and before wishing each other goodnight, he asked me:
"Gustav, do you have earplugs?"
My American friend Larry had given me some to cope with the noise on the plane. "Yes, I have. Why?"
"Then put them in. I am a terrible snorer."
Emigration and years mark people in strange ways. Therefore, I wasn't very surprised. I put the earplugs in and, without problems, drifted off to sleep.
In the morning I woke up refreshed and satisfied. Larry looked damaged, tired and disgruntled. Well what else can you expect from someone who has been snoring all night? However, I asked him sympathetically:
"How did you sleep, dear friend?"
Larry looked at me with resignation and, in a temper, answered:
"I didn't sleep. I couldn't. You snored something terrible. And what's worse, I couldn't interrupt this concert because you had your earplugs in."
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