Monday, October 30, 2006

The Great Halloween Swindle

About ten days ago, the wife of English Teacher R, who works as a television journalist, called me and asked if we (the foreign teachers) were having a Halloween party this year.

"I don't know," I admitted. "Maybe we will."

"I need you to," she said, "Please, please, please. I want to do a TV program about Halloween."

"Well," I said, "Are you sure you want to make a program about one of our parties? They're pretty, uh, well, not very photogenic. A bunch of drunken middle-aged men, and a bunch of goofy English groupies. . ."

"No, there can't be any girls. Only foreigners."

"Now, that would look even WORSE, wouldn't it, a bunch of middle-aged men sitting around celebrating Halloween alone! What the hell are you thinking?" I yelled.

"SHUT UP!" she screamed. (She and I tend to communicate quite naturally by shouting and insulting each other. She dislikes me since I was always English Teacher R's excuse for his heavy drinking and not going home.) "I know best. I work on TV. I just need some shots of you and your colleagues in costumes, and an interview with you about Halloween."

"No fucking way. Why would my colleagues put on costumes and come sit around somewhere there were no women? It's ridiculous!"

"The girls can come later!"

Anyway, we wangled and argued about this for quite a while. I offered her two options: either I would come over alone, or possibly with one confederate, and it could look like I was preparing for a party, or perhaps with careful editing, even having a party. Or, we could actually have a party, which would necessitate inviting about eight or nine of my unattractive, drunken, middle-aged colleagues and various of their girlfriends, as well as a few girls I know.

After some consultation with another girl we know -- a girl who happens to have inherited a three-room apartment from her grandmother -- she decided we could have a real party, at this girl's flat, as long as I allowed myself to be interviewed, filmed buying a pumpkin, decorated the apartment, and allowed portions of the party to be filmed -- specifically, some halloween games like bobbing for apples or Dead Man's Body Parts of the like.

I was actually excited -- we'd had a couple of really good Halloween parties in the past, but hadn't in a few years, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show the new guys that the increasingly hostile and yuppie-snotty environs of Vodkaberg could actually be fun and amicable to foreigners again.

I shoulda fucking known. . .

So I was filmed buying a pumpkin. I planned a whole list of Halloween games and activities, and even, to that extent, managed to get people who don't normally come to our drunken vomit-festivals to attend. I decorated the girl's apartment with paper spiders, bats, and skeletons, and made cobwebs out of strings and a "corpse" dummy out of old clothes, and ghosts out of plastic bags. All the guests -- 10 to 15 people, I can't remember how many, and they were coming and going in shifts -- arrived between 9 and 10 pm.

I was dressed as Wolverine from the X-Men, with claws made out of tinfoil and cardboard. Some of the other guests didn't wear costumes, but with paper, make-up, tinfoil, and plastic bags, I managed to get everybody into some kind of costume or another after they arrived.

The camera guy filmed a lot of this, and then after they finished filming all the interviews and games and stuff, at around 12:30 am, the girl who owned the apartment asked us all to leave.

Now, of course, our Socttish colleague was drunk and acting stupid, but I had WELL WARNED English Teacher R's wife, and she well knows anyway, that my colleagues are a bunch of drunken bums, and the agreed upon fee for doing all the stupid interviewing and allowing ourselves to be filmed looking like jackasses would be A REAL PARTY.

Of course people were drunk and acting stupid. A couple of drinks got spilled, but it's not like we smashed the place up or anything.

It's fucking typical. Foreigners have gone from objects of fascination to objects of ridicule. I think the party is over here in Russia. For example, the girl who owned the flat -- I had sex with her in a storage closet of a nightclub about two hours after I met her, back in 2003. Every party where there were foreigners, she was usually dancing on a table in her underwear.

No more, baby. The party is over, everyone please leave.

I don't write about politics on this blog, but check out this article on --

OIL PRICES WILL LEAP AGAIN -- BLAME RUSSIA. Just to show that the climate is getting "officially" unwelcoming for foreigners, too.

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