Monday, May 19, 2014

People Watching

Blogging is inherently egocentric, but I’m going to take a break from my usual narcissism for today. Moscow is full of interesting characters, so here are some who caught my attention this week:

Patient Zero 
I am not the only Lenin Library regular, nor am I the only one with a favorite desk. Farther down my preferred row is a scholar who always arrives before me, always stays later, and always wears the same uniform: a gray button down and a face mask. Though he has finally stopped donning his germ barrier, I’m still keeping a safe distance. Something tells me America won’t take me back if I try to re-enter with ebola.

Danger lurks everywhere in Russia
The Well-Heeled Mother 
A Sunday afternoon journey on the metro found me seated next to a young couple and their screaming toddler. Despite the fact that the mom had an unwieldy stroller and child to contend with, she was wearing 5-inch stiletto sandals and a see-through tank top and was carrying diapers in her designer handbag. It was unclear whom she hated most by the end of her ride—her child who pitched a fit and threw her shoes and pacifier across the train or the overbearing babushka who tried to give her parenting tips. Personally, I thought the father was the biggest problem—not because he wasn’t helping, but because he was wearing Adidas sweats and looked like he was the one still carrying pregnancy weight. Dude, if homegirl’s putting that much effort into her looks, the least you could do is put on some real pants.

A father ditches his wife and child (not actually, but you never know)
Photo credit: Ms. Neah Monteiro

The Nationalists 
On Thursday, I was walking home from the library by way of Tverskaya Ulitsa. In addition to the normal after work commuters, there were also dozens of people carrying signs, waving black and orange flags, passing out leaflets, and wearing vests that read “Motherland! Freedom!” over a picture of Putin. The signs carried all manner of anti-American epithets, including but not limited to, “Obama is following the path of Hitler” and “America supports terrorists and fascists.” I was handed one of their leaflets, but had the good sense not to say anything in response; I don’t think they would have taken kindly to my American accent. Good thing I’m going home in two weeks?

Motherland!  Freedom!

The Loving Drunk
I was hoping not to come under the scrutiny of other people watchers on Friday night after a friend spilled a pint of beer down my pants.  Even though I looked respectable enough, I definitely smelled like someone with a drinking problem. But my self-consciousness proved unnecessary—a young man crossing my path called out, “Я вас люблю!” (I love you). I’m pretty sure he was drunker than my pants, but I’ll take misplaced ardor over accusations of fascism most days.

An entirely different but equally ridiculous Russian, better known as Pasha

No comments:

Post a Comment