Wednesday, October 7, 2009


My parents claim that this only happens when I'm in town, but I wonder.

On Monday, the electricity went out in my brother's apartment, adjacent to my parents'. Nobody was answering the phone at the municipal administration when we called to request an electrician who comes for free (he's paid by the municipal authorities), so we called a paid service. They came within an hour and told us that it was our good luck that someone was home: one of the wires in the electric meter had been too short, and it wore off and already burned part of the meter. Could've started a fire. They charged 1000 rubles ($35) for a half hour's worth of work. Half an hour after they left, somebody rang the bell from the downstairs door to the building: "Did you call for an electrician?" A scam or a legitimate mix up? No way for me to tell, so I just talked to the guy through the intercom and didn't let him into the building. Four hours later, somebody rang my doorbell from inside the building, offering to sell us potatoes from Pskov. A scam or a legitimate offer? The light bulb on our floor is permanently out (and now the municipal authorities placed a shield around it so that we couldn't replace it ourselves), so when I looked through the peephole all I saw was a dark shape. I didn't open the door. Later that night, my friends told me that it was probably legitimate: people are making money by going from house to house and selling potatoes and apples from the countryside. But I grew up in the 90s, behind two doors with two locks on each one. I only open them when I know who's coming.

On Tuesday, the water went out in my parents' apartment. It went out at 9 am, just after I got out of the shower. I tried to fill up a few canisters, but it was too late. I ended up spending most of the day at a coffee shop. When I left the apartment, I noticed a note posted on the door: The water was going to be out from 9 am on Tuesday morning until the end of the day. I should get into the habit of reading these notes more closely. My parents had seen it but forgot to warn me.

Wednesday was an adventure free day. I went to the MDT (the best theatre in town) to see a play loosely based on Andrey Platonov's Chevengur. Chevengur is a town, the citizens of which have succeeded in building communism. At the end of the performance, everyone picks up a heavy rock and walks into a lake (the theatre is built to accommodate water).

Today my parents went to work, and then my mom came back an hour and a half later. What happened? They never left our block. When they got to their car, parked in the back of our apartment building, their side mirrors were missing. It was a clean, professional job: all the wires were intact and everything. My parents had to report the incident to the police, because without the police report, the insurance company is not going to pay for it. Apparently, my dad had just replaced a broken side mirror a couple of weeks ago. He says, he should've waited for them to get stolen. But: would the mirrors get stolen if he hadn't replaced the broken one? More likely, the people, who had repaired his broken mirror, tipped off the people who stole the new ones today. On the other hand, I shouldn't be so cynical. The potatoes from Pskov, after all, were legitimate. Some police representatives showed up quickly, but after an hour and a half, my parents were still waiting for the insurance representative and for another police commissioner. My mom just came upstairs to use the bathroom. Good thing, the water was running.

Last night, my parents and I watched a part of Dan in Real Life on broadcast TV. The movie is barely watchable (the dubbing is horrific, the intrigue is too corny, anything that's not funny is extremely predictable), but my parents seemed to enjoy it. Where would we be without Hollywood's fairytales?

1 comment:

  1. my parents say this only happens when I am in town....sounds like a great opening for a story