Polish Language Blog

Nobody Knows Anything Posted by on Feb 21, 2009 in Culture

Yesterday (Friday) morning we were slowly making our way towards Port Lotniczy im. Lecha Wałęsy aka the airport in Gdańsk. Slowly, because whenever we were there early and on time, my flight was always late. So, no need to hurry.

When we got closer to the airport we could see that something was not right. There was straż pożarna (fire brigade) and karetka (ambulance) with all lights flashing. There was also a rapidly growing traffic jam – thanks to a police car and an officer whose orders apparently only included “don’t let anyone drive in” but no suggestion as to where the backed up traffic should go.

We made an illegal u-turn and drove into the short-term parking lot from the side.

There was a sizeable crowd of people in front of the terminal and an even bigger crowd inside. The entire check-in area had been cordoned off and three uniformed guys stood there making sure that nobody got through.

From time to time a bored-looking uniformed person would walk across the blocked off area and from time to time the three uniformed guys’ walkie-talkie thingies would make noise. I could overhear parts of the conversation:

Tak, z salami.” (yes, with salami)
Walkie-talkie making noise.
“Nie, bez cebuli.” (no, without onion)
Walkie-talkie making more noise.
“No taka normalna pizza. Tak, z pieczarkami.” (Just a normal pizza. Yes, with mushrooms)
Walkie-talkie making more noise and then going silent.

Hmmm… somebody was apparently ordering lunch. Other than that, there was no visible activity.

“Przepraszam, wie pan co się dzieje?” (Excuse me, do you know what’s going on? – when asked to a man) I finally decided to ask another person in the crowd, a man, who looked like he’d been waiting there for quite some time and knew what was up.
The man shrugged and said: “Czeski film.” (literally: a Czech movie.)
People in our immediate vicinity nodded their heads in agreement.

In other words – nobody knew anything.

Later we heard rumors that the lock down was caused by a suspicious package. Or a stuffed animal left behind. Or something of that sort.

But wait, what’s a Czech movie got to do with anything? As it happens, absolutely nothing.

Czeski film” is an idiom used to describe situations where nobody knows what’s going on.

Why a Czech movie, and not for example, Hungarian?
Hmmm… Do you know anything about Czech comedies? (Don’t worry, me neither.)

Once upon a time, there was a real Czech movie, or rather, back in those days, a Czechoslovakian movie, that became quite popular in Poland. It was a comedy with that peculiar Czechoslovakian sense of humor. Its title? “Nikt nic nie wie.” Nobody knows anything, or in Czech – “Nikdo nic neví.

PS. And I’m reading just now that today it was the Central Station in Gdańsk that was evacuated. Also thanks to a suspicious package.

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  1. Aiden Ward:

    I dislike reading lengthy posts, only because i have got a small amount of dislexia,
    but i actually enjoyed this piece