Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Authentic Cultural Experience

So a couple Saturdays ago we had a going-away party for one of the new guys around here, English Teacher M -- a 25 year old American. It was a small gathering, consisting of me, English Teacher M, and two other 25-year-old Americans, recent arrivals, English Teachers S and D. English Teacher M's girlfriend was there, and so was a female friend of hers, a girl I had gone out with a couple of times, months and months ago.

This last one, however, invited a friend of hers, a 20-year-old guy from Tajikstan. Unlike most of the Russian young men these days, who dress like rent boys in imitation of Russian pop star Dima Vilan, this guy was old school -- the pointy shoes, the level-one haircut, the sweater.

One of the first things this young doofus said to me was a suggestion that while I was a good looking guy, my eyes were "dead" and he wondered why I did not seem to enjoy life more. Not drunk enough to explain to him that one of the main reasons I don't enjoy life any more is because of morons like himself, I simply said I was a bit tired after drinking all the previous night.

He said that he felt the problem was that I didn't have a wife, and didn't understand why I didn't find some good Russian girl from the village who would be happy to cook and clean for me all the time, but would be "nice and quiet" otherwise. He then pointed out that I had on mismatched socks, and said that a wife would take care of that kind of thing.

Again, I didn't really have the energy to explain why I had no interest in having a silent sock-sorting baby-factory in my kitchen tossing together mayonaisse-drenched Russian salds, so I just started drinking vodka heavily and talking to the girl I used to go out with, who kept drawing my attention to her ample, sunburned cleavage. (At least three times she mentioned it.)

Meanwhile, out on the balcony, the doofus from Tajikstan had started talking to the drunken English Teacher S, and turned his energy towards criticizing S's Russian girlfriend (at the time visiting her parents in the village), who was a classmate of his. He described her as "dirt under his fingernails."

Naturally S eventually got upset at this, although, through the vodka haze, it took him a while to absorb the fact that this doof had actually said something so insulting in front of him. He began expressing his displeasure -- English Teacher M seized control of the situation and asked the Tajik doofus to leave, along with the girl with sunburned cleavage.

Amazingly, that proceeded smoothly enough, but the Russian girlfriend of English Teacher M became furious with English Teacher S for wrecking the party and being so rude to her friends, not having heard the original comment.

After more pointless arguing, S finally managed to explain what had happened; the Russian girlfriend, now angry, called the Tajik doofus to criticize him.

I sat down to drink more vodka with S, when the girlfriend suddenly announced that the Tajik doofus was very angry, and wanted to come back, with a friend, to discuss the issue.

I flew into a rage, called the girl with the sunburned cleavage, and began shouting that she should tell the doofus to bring all the friends he wanted, and I'd gather all my friends, and we could have a good old-fashioned "razbourka," as they say in Russian.

She hung up on me, and the Tajik doofus and a friend "from the militia" turned up back at the door soon after, threatening to break it down. (Nobody was too frightened by his claims of being in the militia -- he was clearly a cadet.)

English Teacher M, whose crisis management skills were at this point rivaling those of trained hostage-negotiatiors, refused to allow them in or anybody to go outside; English Teacher S was incoherently drunk by this point, but I myself had been somewhat sobered up by the adrenalin rush. I began searching for weapons -- I turned up a mop, but it was a good stout Russian one, with a solid wood handle and the other end consisting of a "T" shape of wood (around which one wraps a wet rag.) I figured it would give me distance as well as striking power.

English Teacher M's girlfriend eventually went outside to speak with them, in her no doubt idiotic and annoying manner, and began then requesting to be let back in -- with the cleavage girl and the guys.

I was standing in the hallway with the stick held like a javelin, ready to smash the first person who came through the door in the face -- it should be said though, that getting through the door, a typical steel Russian apartment door, would have required heavy equipment or light explosives. M wisely refused to let them in.

Eventually M's girlfriend got him to come out to negotiate; again, my hat off to the guy, he was cool as a cucumber here, and managed to calm things down somehow, as I stood behind him ready to leap if trouble started; I think, to my credit, I was not threateningly brandishing the mop.

English Teacher S tried to drunkenly fight his way outside, knocking the door into the girl with sunburned cleavage, so I clotheslined him and dragged him back inside.

Then somehow, M convinced the guys to go outside and wait; there was some consultation with the cleavage girl.

I was inside pouring another vodka, which was enough to knock S into unconsciousness. About twenty minutes later I suddenly realized I was fed up with this whole business and decided to leave, and managed to do so without running into anybody outside. (This was by drunken accident, I suppose.) I walked to public transport about dawn, sending a text message to the girl with the sunburned cleavage, calling her a bitch and telling her that nobody would talk to her if she didn't have big tits.

The next day we met at the beach around four in the afternoon for beers.

English Teacher M said his girlfriend had slapped him after I left. When I expressed astonishment at that, he said that it was because the sunburned-cleavage girl had hugged him before she left.

"I told her it was okay, this once, because she was obviously upset, and that I understood, but that there would not be a second chance to do that. It didn't hurt that much or anything."

"You're a cool rider," I said. "It's a good thing she didn't hit me. I'd have broken her jaw, as wound up as I was."

The cleavage girl eventually called and apologized for her role in the proceedings, after saying that the message I sent her was "very unpleasant."

She probably didn't understand it completely, actually, her English isn't so good.


Anonymous said...

Dude, how often have picked up issues at the clubs? Do russians give you a hard time because you are not russian?

Anonymous said...

That dirt under the fingernails jibe is a good one. I'll have to remember it! the reason you never reveal your face because you are afraid of getting in 'trouble'....or because you are a fat, bald, ugly old loser who likes people to think he's cool and good-looking?

English Teacher X said...

Poster one -- yes, chowderheads quite often bother us in public places about being foreign these days. I've posted about the upswing in Naziism -- er, nationalism on more than one occasion.

Poster two -- send me $5 by Paypal and I'll send you the invite to my Flicker gallery, since you seem so curious. . .

zachary said...

Things are a lot calmer here in Brazil, where I'm TEFLing. But in the less chic places at night, local guys sometimes shout out "gringo" when I pass by, and that sucks. And this in a country that is famously "friendly". I guess that happens in Russia, does it?