[I posted this on my blog
on Friday, February 13, 2009. I am an American expat in Moscow.]
Okay, not really. But I was on the Metro today, musing about how I lead such a boring, uneventful life . . . how Friday the 13th means nothing to me . . . and then the following three things happened.
1. There is always a potential for a scrum of people at the bottom of any Metro escalator. I don't understand the algorithms that go into determining when we get to have both escalators working. But usually we just get one in each direction. So we scrum, rugby style, pushing forward into one another's personal space.
Infringement of personal space is not uncommon, and I have grown immune to these intrusions. Yet, today, at the transfer between Sretenskiy Bulvar and Chistye Prudy Metro stops, I felt unusually assaulted from behind.
I was bumpedbumpedbumped by what I initially assumed was a woman. It happens. There is a demographic consisting of older women, those who grew up under communism, who have morphed into Old Bats. They are aggressive and nasty. They drop Metro doors on your face without for a minute considering that someone else may be right behind them. They shove you aside in order to exit a car when you are also, obviously, planning to exit.
This is what I assumed was behind me. So I paid it no never mind at first.
Until, on the escalator, I realized it was still RIGHT BEHIND ME. The escalator is everyone's chance to spread out a little. I can leave a step between me and my fellow passenger.
Whatever was behind me did not.
The geometry of the escalator steps resulted in a nose RIGHT IN MY LEFT EAR.
I assumed my best Big City Vision . . . that ability to don virtual blinders and ignore whatever social transgression is occurring beside me.
I was succeeding, too.
Until it made a loud KISS noise in my ear.
That's it, ladies and gentlemen: EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL!
I decided to climb the stairs, rather than riding along, laughing about the creep behind me.
Ugh. Although I had a shower before leaving the house, I now desperately need another.
2. I change trains. Exiting at Lubyanka involves two, short escalators. As I step off the first, I hear a BELLOW!
Hmm. This should be interesting. Clearly, there is a very angry, very drunk man ahead.
I go around the corner and step onto the second escalator.
The bellowing continues. This is going to be good, whatever it is.
As I ascend, I scan the faces of the people descending into the Metro. They all have that incredulous, Jesus-Christ-On-A-Popsicle-Stick look in their eyes.
Disappointingly, I never get to see the Angry Man. But I can hear him, always slightly ahead of me, as I ride up the escalator, pass through the doors, and emerge in the underpass mall.
This is one mad dude. His voice echos through the passage. But I never get to see who he is, nor speculate about what has caused him to vent his frustration so loudly.
Maybe he got a wet, juicy, uninvited kiss in his ear, too?
3. The finale is a bit of a let down after items 1 and 2. As I walk up the steps that lead me to the street, I hear a crash and turn in time to see a woman fall, face first, down the steps, landing on her knees.
Actually, what I see
are the soles of her black, high-heeled boots. She has tripped.
What I feel
, karma be damned, is schadenfreude
Okay, I am not really that cruel. Call it relief then. Relief that even the Russians get thrown for a loop by high-heeled boots in the winter.