Sunday, December 28, 2008

War with Snezhok Continues!!! (Also, a picture of my father)

Dear fellow human beings,
I call on you all to boycott the Feline menace. And also to be afraid.

This past weekend, I had another one of those "visit my father once every three weeks" visits, where I have to sleep over at his crib and deal with the cat. Remember this spiteful bastard from the last visit?

Yeah, so during the last visit, I kind of kicked him because, no Snezhok, I don't enjoy waking up to someone eating my fucking feet. So during this visit, I closed the door to my room really tightly, and wrapped my feet in the blankets so that they constituted a soft but impenetrable fortress for my feet.

Did this help? Hell no! In the morning I had this dream that my mother was biting my ankles. At some point I realize that crazy as she is, this just doesn't sound like something that she would do, and immediately figure out that in fact, the damned Snezhok must have broken through all of my defenses and gotten to my feet somehow. It's like in that movie "Ravenous", where this guy says "he was licking me!" in this really small voice. Yeah, that's how it felt to realize that my precious feet had become an entertaining supper for this bitch, yet again.

But I refused to be a victim. I bundled my feet in the blankets so tightly that Snezhok couldn't reach them. It was like the Fort Knox of feet in there. So you know what this bastard son of a bitch does? He proceeds to meow very loudly until I have no choice but to get up. It was 8 a.m.! On a Saturday! Bitch!

Anyway, I figure since I'm up already, I might as well make an omelet for my father and his wife. So I turn on the stove, ONE of the burners, to the LOWEST setting and leave the kitchen to get some additional ingredients for the omelet from the pantry. When I return, the albino son of a syphilitic whore is standing by the stove. The minute he sees me, he tears out of there like all hell has just broken loose. I come up to the stove. It's one of those electric stoves, that don't actually have fire. Here's what I see: The burner that I had my frying pan on is turned up to the HIGHEST setting, and there's ANOTHER burner on, also on the highest setting. What??? I just kind of stare at it for a while in disbelief.

Snezhok knows how to use the stove. I almost shit myself, seriously.
I mean it's creepy enough that he can open door handles and stuff, but the stove?

And not only has he figured out how to use the stove, but I just know that the bastard did it on purpose. He was totally trying to set the kitchen on fire and frame me for it! It's no joke people, this cat is completely horror-movie-scary-satanic.

I was afraid to leave the kitchen from this point on. When my father's wife woke up, I told her about this and she totally didn't believe me and said that I must have turned the second burner on and turned my burner up accidentally. What am I, retarded? How would I have done that accidentally? No, it was the cat.

My father fully believed me thankfully, because according to him, he's actually observed Snezhok get on the toilet, perch on the edge, take a dump inside, and then flush the damn thing.

Anycat, if Snezhok pulls any shit with my on my next visit, he's going to find a pound of fish bones in his cat food next time. I mean it. I'm going to poison that son of a bitch. See, I can't really get rid of him in any obvious kind of way because the kids would never forgive me. They like him for some reason. But one way or another, if he keeps fucking with me, he's going down.

Oh, here's a picture of me and my father. It's not a very flattering shot of me, but I'm not so vain as to not post it.

Beware of cats!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pictures from Frozen Hell

Yep. Took some pictures today y'all. It was hard because, and I can't stress this enough, the devil camera won't charge all the way and keeps taunting me by turning on for 3 second at a time, and then crapping out and taking a five minute smoke break. Also, I hate taking pictures with flash. Everything looks even colder and grayer than it already is. I'd rather the picture have the blurry, but warm quality to it. It's cold enough here as it is. So without further ado, here are a few pics from a day in the life of Plusha:

Alright, now the one above is a photo of the escalator leading out of the Metro here. For those of you not in the know, this lovely city was built on a freaking swamp back in the day (which explains the massive amounts of mosquitoes here during the summer). As a result of the swamp, when it came time to modernize and build them some subway stations, they had to dig real deep to get underneath the swamps. So the subways here are way further down underground than they are in NYC. And consequently, the escalators are frighteningly long and fast. I swear, when I have to ride that thing in the morning, it feels like I'm heading down to some level of Dante's inferno, only mechanized.

The weather conditions today were great. I believe the word for it here is Metel. That's like snow wind that blows in your eyes and your face and is everywhere and you feel like you're getting your ass kicked by little pieces of white Satan the whole way to work. But by the time I got out of work, this is what I saw:

And this:
I'm not sure if this comes across through the pictures, but it totally made me think of nuclear winter.

Later, I saw a little bit of pretty on a large street. Someone had lit up some trees with colorful lights:

Naturally, I had to take the escalator again, so here it is just in case you didn't get a good enough impression of it from the first picture. Only difference is that in this one I'm actually going down. Hey, if I have to deal with this shit twice a day, then you do as well, if you love me:
This is me after I bought some pine tree branches (that's going to be our "Christmas tree" this year), and was trying to get home through the throngs of people and freeze:

And then finally, at home, thawed out, with my new "Christmas tree" I'm just grateful that I can feel my hands again:

Happy Hanukkah everybody!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In my Previous Life I was a Russian in America (Or, Shit I Miss About America)

Dear Friends,

after spending two weekends in a row hanging out with foreigners and being called a "bloody Yank" every five minutes, I've come to realize that while in the States, I was a Russian living in America, here, I'm an American living in Russia. Or "Yank". (Whatever British Tim, New Zealand Joe, and fucking Irish Dunna!).

It's really an odd sensation to become so painfully aware of how foreign you are in the land that birthed you. Thankfully, due to my lack of accent in Russian, most people, when first meeting me, have no idea that I've spent the last twenty years of my life living abroad.

But anyway, seeing as how I've been all gushy about how wonderful life is over here throughout the bulk of this blog, I figured that it's high time to go ahead and list a few things that I miss about my past life.

1) Jew Reminders
Because it's Hanukkah tonight, I miss being reminded of all the Jew Days. Seriously, in New York, you can't miss it because there are giant gaudy Menorahs gracing every square and corner of the city. I'm not celebrating it or anything, but still, I miss the sense of legitimacy.Here it's all "Christmas this, and Jesus that, and vodka this."

2) T.V.
Fuck, I know it's evil and everything, but I haven't watched TV in a month and a half and I miss that bitch. I even miss the anti-depressants and erectile dysfunction ads. I miss laying on my ass and watching some brainless plot-less bullshit filled with explosions and bad jokes. I'm glad that I don't have access to it, and I've finished going through withdrawal, but still, on a stay-in kind of Sunday, I miss it.

3) Being a Russian Immigrant
Yeah, I miss being a Russian immigrant. I was all exotic and shit and always had a great excuse for not knowing certain bits of information about the U.S. It's not all that much fun being an American expat and having to spend an entire evening being schooled on European geography by some U.K. bastards. (At least I finally got them on not knowing what the capital of New York state was. They were all like "New York!" and I was all like "Wrong motherfuckers!")

4) Daylight
And sunshine. This is an obvious one. No further explanation needed.

5) Large bathrooms and drivers scared shitless of pedestrians
previously mentioned so also no further explanation required.

6) Period Discussion Acceptability
Ok, I know that this is a totally retarded thing to miss, but apparently here discussing a lady's time of the month is about as unacceptable as discussing a lady's farting/shitting. This kind of attitude pisses me off a little just because those things aren't the same damn it. I mean, I don't need to walk around and discuss bloodflow every five minutes, but still, here you can't actually speak of it out loud. It's like this dirty disgusting secret thing that women have to keep to themselves. Whereas in the States, we can do jumping jacks and go skiing, and sure as fuck discuss it, all thanks to Tampax and the incredibly powers of advertisement.

You know what? I think that's it. I'm kind of amazed to be perfectly honest. I thought there would be more. Obviously, since I still don't have my own place (keeping my fingers crossed for an apartment on Millionnaya street), I miss privacy and being left alone, as well as being able to listen to music out loud (Crazy doesn't really listen to music much). But that's about it.

Last one:

7) Tea with Friends in Your own Kitchen
I miss this most of all. But I think that with the acquisition of an apartment, this can be obtained as well. I miss hanging out with friends at home. All this party/bar hopping with new acquaintances until 6 a.m. is fun, but it's not really my thing. I miss quiet time with friends where you get into long discussions about whatever into the wee hours of the morning. I haven't written about this before because this blog is pretending to be funny, and not here to depress anyone, but I guess I miss friends.

Now you all go home, and think about how lucky you are, and go get one of your friends and give them a hug or a titsqueeze or something.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Birthday, or How I Spent the Night with Some Foreigners and A Batshit Crazy Russian Bitch - PART II

And now, the continuation... (By the way, everyone is getting hammered at my office again. This isn't anything new, but still, these people do this everytime they release a book. They are a PUBLISHING company, so do the math. Rampant fucking alcoholism is all I'm saying).

So Katya, (my friend, not Joe's girlfriend) and I went to Joe's birthday party together.

Now I think that it's important to note here that after the intial attack from me, and invite from Joe, all communication regarding the party was done through British Tim via text messaging. I just figured that it was done this way for propriety's sake because Joe's a taken man and Tim must be available.

We get to the party, and it's Tim, Joe, and an assload of Russian girls. So naturally I speak with the Russian girls in Russian. One of them introduces herself as Irra and then says something along the lines of "I live here. With Tim." "Ok" I think, "so this must be Tim's girlfriend. No problem." Since Tim is also taken, and I didn't want to step on any toes, I proceeded to devote the same amount of conversational attention to Joe and Tim. Later a few more men showed up, also foreign, and I talked to them approximately the same amount. Katya seemed to do the same thing. The other ladies at the party, for the most part were all Irra's friends.

At some point, while talking to Tim about what the hell exactly was up with Wales (i.e. is it a country? Is it part of England? What's up with that place?), Tim goes to show it to me on the map, when I hear his girlfriend's bitchy voice yell out "So, you're going to bed this chick tonight?" Tim responds with something along the lines of "stop it Irrina, be quiet." What the fuck???!!! First of all, how is this normal? This bitch just basically implied that I'm some sort of whore, but more than that, how insecure is she in her position as his girlfriend? And furthermore, what the hell kind of relationship do these two people have, and why am I suddenly involved in it? Let this be a lesson to all the girls out there. This is apparently very common for Russian women. They have absolutely no problem with insulting other women while in the process of sorting their feelings out with dudes.

But, I decided to let that go since I was a guest there and all. I figured that it was an isolated incident. Later, there was pizza (I only mention this because I promised to in the previous post) and an assload of drinking done by all. At some point, this Spaniard showed up, and Tim's cunt girlfriend took off with him and her coven of equally bitchy friends to some club. Me, Katya, Joe's Katya, Tim, and Joe, took off later to go out on the town. Katya later told me about other incidents of bitchery from that whole crew that I didn't even get to witness.

At some point while we were out, Tim mentioned something about Irra, his ex-girlfriend. Wait a minute now. What? Ex-girlfriend? Things slowly began to make sense. I told Tim that his so-called ex led me to believe that she was quite current. This sent the poor Brit on a, and I shit you not, 45 minute tirade about how she's a batshit crazy bitch and tells any woman that he goes anywhere near that they are together and have a daughter named Charlotte. I thought that was rather clever of her. She gave their imaginary lovechild a British name. The revelation that Irra has scared off another potential lay with her crazy, put Tim in a foul mood for the rest of the evening, and he proceeded to drink himself blind. (By the way, I should explain here that Tim owns a Hostel, and that half of the crew, including Irra, live there in seperate rooms).

Later that night, we ended up in another bar (we went to about 10 of them I think altogether), and Batshit Crazy was there. And drunk. And crying. And trying to get British Tim to take her home. He flat out refused, and after she left, tried to pick a fight with two Russian dudes by attempting to sit on one of their laps. "Dude's gone native" is all I could think. I somehow managed to talk them in to letting him sit down for a few minutes, instead of breaking his nose.

Eventually, it was just down to me, Katya, and Tim. Tim by the way was sort of blindly firing game in any direction that he thought was worth it. Meaning, he tried to warm up to me, Katya, and another chick all at the same time. I really don't blame him, given Batshit Crazy's magic cockblocking abilities. Anyway, Tim suggested that we all go back to his place for a nightcap. I agreed purely out of interest regarding Irra. I just kind of wanted to see what would happen if I went there. It was already 5:30 a.m.

When we showed up, Irra was trying to beat the crap out of one of her own bitchy friends. Joe had to get between them and break it up. "This may not end well" thought I while trying to figure out if I could take her. She was meaner, but I was more sober. After everything quieted down, Katya and I were sitting in the kitchen drinking tea (Tim was leaning against something and trying not to fall down) and I hear another golden nugget from Irra's camp. "So Tim, you've brought these two broads home, and I guess now you just need to see which one will do you, and take her to bed with you." Wow. Just, wow. She just implied that I'm a whore, again! And she did it in this hit and run sort of way where she said it on her way to a room with a lock on the door. So I didn't even get the chance to respond to that shit. Katya and I just sort of gave each other this "what the fuck?" look.

Later, this very same Irra comes out, and while I'm engaged in a very lively conversation with JOE (not Tim), politely asks us to leave because it's late and everyone is going to sleep. Mind you, there were at least three roommates from that place that were still up and involved in drinking and conversation. At this point, I took my Alphaest stance, looked her straight in the eyes, and very politely said "Naturally I understand. It is late, and we've got to get going anyway. I'm just going to finish my tea, have a smoke, and then we'll get going." I then proceeded to stay for another hour without another peep out of this bitch. So there. And that's how the evening ended.

I just wanted everyone to be aware that these kind of women exist here in troves. We've even all met one or two of them back in New York. They'll basically claw, chew, and bite their way through an army of women to get to a foreigner's cock. Irra's what one might call provincial peasant trash. Which is why she wasn't even really worth a proper response. It would have been equivalent to getting into a fight with a ghetto bitch that's pissed because you looked at her baby daddy.

All of the above made my birthday interesting and super fun. So thanks Irra, you cunt!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Birthday, or How I Spent the Night with Some Foreigners and A Batshit Crazy Russian Bitch - PART I

Dear Friends,

so I had a lovely birthday Saturday night. The celebration actually began on Friday night when I, along with my new awsome little friend Katya, set out on a mission to hunt me down some English speakers. Because damn it, I miss speaking English, and good and native as my Russian is, I get tired of sounding only half smart most of the time (a result of my not being able to completely explain myself in Russian, once we get on complicated topics such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc.). So there we were, on the hunt. We went to this once place that my mother swore is full of foreign students. It was. We figured this out right away based on the fact that there was a circle dance of not very attractive girls all clad in flat footwear and hooded sweatshirts. "Ugly" thought Katia. "American!" thought I, happily. Turned out the bitches were German and couldn't really speak English all that well. Then we ran into a couple of Swiss girls who were really nice, but still, I wanted someone that I wouldn't have to dumb down my English for, so the quest continued. By the way, this place was the first place where I encountered Facekontrol. As we were walking up to the place, I heard the bouncer tell a whole trove of Russians that it was a private party and he didn't invite them, so they can't come in. I walked up and asked in English if I could come in. He replied in the affirmative and did this "you're always welcome" hand gesturing. Score!

After a couple of more places that were total crapshoots in terms of native English carriers, we finally gave up and went to Chort Poberi to meet up with some of Katya's friends. When we showed up, they were all drunk and happy, and upon learning about our hunt, giddily informed me that there were definitely some foreigners in the back of the bar and that I could probably find them waiting in line for the bathroom, because that's where they seem to have spent most of the night. I went to look for them but couldn't find them. I gave up yet again. But then, just as I was on my way to the bathroom, I heard English. Beautiful, pure English! I immediately and quite literally jumped on them and screamed "so you're the foreigners!" This was met with honestly frightened faces and a response of "we're THE foreigners? wha?" Anyway, to make a long story short, I explained to them who and what I was, and about the hunt and we exchanged numbers, and they invited me to come along with them to a different bar (which I declined), and also to one of their birthday parties the very next night (which just happened to be on my birthday). Then they left. Here's a brief description of what I met:

1) Handsome tall very aryan British Tim

2) Stocky but attractive dark and scruffy New Zealander Joe

3) Super blonde Joe's Russian girlfriend Katya (obviously educated and from a nice family)

And now, without further ado, onto my actual birthday.

So Katya, (my friend, not Joe's girlfriend) and I went to Joe's birthday party together.

To be continued in the next post... Ha!

(there will be insults, and alcohol, and total Russian bitchery, oh, oh, and pizzza)

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Feature : "Overheard in SPB"

Ok, so I'm going to start a new little feature on my blog here. It's going to be called "Overheard in SPB".

Overheard this morning in the office, from one of my older female co-workers:

"Sergei Leonidovich, don't you know that statistically, only ten percent of the male population likes fat women? The other 90 percent likes REALLY fat women."
(-said during a conversation with male co-worker regarding wheather the above female co-worker needs to lose some more weight or not. )

Also a joke today at the office:

"So there I am, coming out of a restaurant like a decent person, when some swine has the nerve to step on my necktie."

(just in case someone didn't get the joke, because there are no nuances of the voice and shit, in order for someone to have stepped on dude's tie, he had to have been drunk and crawling.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shitty Opera Last Night, Corpse this Morning!

I went to the Opera last night. People, if you are ever offered the chance to hear a mezzo soprano by the name of Angela Gheorghiu, don't take it. And tell the person that's offering it to you to go fuck themselves because this bitch sings about as well as a cat in heat. I couldn't believe how bad she sucked. And she got so much hype that it was doubly disappointing. Her boyfriend sang with her, and apparently everyone at the Opera house made fun of him because supposedly he only got to perform with her because he's banging her, but in reality he actually ended up being a much stronger singer than her. Still, it was nice to go to the Opera and I had a good time anyway, because at least the conductor was amazing.

Also I got to see lots of creatures that I like to call "cheap trophy wives with no class, that go to the opera to get some, because they think that that's how you get it." They basically look like this:

And are wearing this outfit:
And then this morning, I had the hardest time getting up. It was all dark and shit outside, plus Crazy doesn't sleep at night and I end up waking up several times throughout the night because she's scurrying around the apartment. So I'm basically half asleep on my morning commute, listening to the ipod, just walking down Moscovsky Prospect when, wait a minute, what's this? A fucking corpse! Dude's lying there, with a garbage bag over his face in front of a store. Judging by what could be seen of his outfit, he was very homeless. There are a few people (alchies) standing around. I take out one of my earphones and ask the people if he's alive. They eagerly shake their heads back and forth. I put my earphone back in and get on my way to work because I'm running late. There was no ambulance or anything. Just these three "people" standing around (i.e. probably hoping to steal his boots). When I showed up to work, I confirmed with Ksusha the secretary that he really was dead, and was just as dead about an hour ago when she walked past him. So dude's been lying there for at least an hour and no one has called the authorities! Welcome to Russian winter everybody. Apparently homeless drunken deadmen are a fairly common occurence here in the wintertime, so let's all get ready for me seeing some more dead bodies on my way to work, during the next few months. Ah, my very first Russian homeless man corpse. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about being here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

No Electricity, No Salary, Welcome Back to the U.S.S.R!

I woke up yesterday feeling good. For the first time in a long time, nothing hurt, there was nothing to cough up or blow out or stretch out. It was aaaallll good. Crazy was sleeping, so I, quiet like a mouse, got on the internets and proceeded to send out various emails and do general internet doings. Then, suddenly, as if struck by god, the laptop beeped a pitiful beep, once, and then died. I went to investigate. Turned out the fridge had suffered a similar fate, and none of the lights would turn on. So there you have it. No electricity. At this point I'm thinking "Oh, the fuses must have blown out." So I briefly wake up Crazy to find out where the fusebox is located and go to check it out. Nope. It's not the fuses. I go back to Crazy and inform her that we must have not paid the electricity bill because the electricity has been turned off. Crazy gets full-on angry and goes to check on the fusebox herself. I follow her and only at this point do I notice that none of the hallway lights are on either. Oh! Duh! This is the Soviet Union, where they just randomly turn off your electricity wheather you've paid your bill or not. Truth be told, it kind of reminded me of my childhood, so it was a bit nostalgic at the same time.

As it turned out, one of the apartments in our building was being renovated, and the Dagistani gentlemen working on the project decided to use enough power tools to literally set the electrical board for the entire building on fire. So technically, no one turned off our electricity. It turned itself off. It also took the heat with it for some reason. It then proceeded to stay off for the rest of the day. Welcome back to the U.S.S.R!

I also had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of this very nice young Russian girl a few days ago, who explained to me that no one gets paid here until they've been at a job for at least a month, and sometimes even then you kind of have to beg your boss to pay you. So no salary yet. Welcome back to the U.S.S.R!

On a positive note, I went to get some personal grooming done in the nature of waxing, and to my total surprise discovered that they use a completely different kind of wax here that doesn't rip of ten layers of your skin along with the hair. I was surprised because I generally expect everything here to be like in the U.S. only crappier. And yet here it was. Something like in the U.S. only better. They use some kind of wax from Spain here that's painless and not sticky. Welcome back to Europe!

It's not all bad though. As I've said before, there is always this lovely element of the unexpected in this country. You wake up one morning thinking that you're going to spend your whole Sunday lazily lounging around the apartment with a book, but because your electricity and heat unexpectedly get turned off, instead, you get forced out of the apartment and into a nice Japanese restaurant and then a gazillion photography exhibitions. Life is just nicer and more productive this way, so I'm not really complaining.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fucking Bathrooms!!!!

Dear Friends,

I had a whole post prepared about how this amazing, beautiful, incredibly talented young musician came over to our place last night, and we had a lovely time and jammed, and even recorded all of it, and how he said that he knows this chic that I should sing with and all was well with the world. But I'm not going to post that shit. Instead, having woken up this morning, sleepily gone to the bathroom, and walked out of there once again seething with rage and hatred, I'm going to do an entire post on how much I hate the bathrooms here. That's right. I hate the fucking bathrooms here.

Now I'm really sorry about this. There are plenty of things that I choose not to write about here, such as the fact that I've been sick with something or other every single day that I've been here, or the occasional bouts of seasonal depression that I get because it gets dark at 4:15 in the fucking afternoon. But this bathroom thing, I just can't hold it in anymore (no pun intended).

Lets start with the toilets. And this is universal here. They are all exactly the same, no matter where you go. They are designed for midgets or something. Seriously, they are fucking tiny. And Slavs are not tiny people. This country isn't exactly populated by petite Asian people. So who the fuck decided that the toilets should be of a size that in order to fit your whole ass on them, you have to sqeeze yourself as if you're trying to birth a diamond out of your ass? Was it Stalin? I can just picture it. It's the late 1940's, there's war raging, mass starvation and death. The great Joseph Stalin wakes up one morning with his full-on schizophrenia and thinks to himself "Let's see, how can I torture the Russian Narod a bit more? What more can I take away from the Proletariat? I already took their water, heat, lives, children, food, and all the other comforts that a person needs in order to be psychologically healthy. Oh, I know, I'll make the toilets tiny and uncomfortable! Also, I'll make it mandatory that all the bathrooms be the size of a matchbox. That way, on top of being generally uncomfortable and unable to perfom their morning doings, they'll also be forced to inhabit a claustrophobic nightmare! Because we are Russians and the great Russian Peoples are strong and don't need comfort! Discomfort will set you free! We will win this war!"

This is exactly how I picture it went down. He then made it law. And anyone who's toilet and bathroom didn't conform to his ridiculous measurements, or complained about them, was immediately taken out back and shot. And somehow, even though Stalin is long dead and communism toppled, the bathroom torture continues...

Also, you think that you're flushing the toilet, but it's just fucking around with you. It's just kidding. It only takes your attempts seriously on the tenth time or so. Thanks shitty water pressure!

I'm just saying. I'm sick of the midget toilets and the matchbox bathrooms!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How I Spent Another Night with Uber-Boss, and Madame Sex

People, I finally got to meet my very first famous author last night. Actually, that's not entirely true. I've met a few before back when I was in college, but this lady that I met last night is super famous all over Europe, and has some fame in the U.S. Her name is Catherine Millet. Google her ya'll. She's also known as "Madame Sex" because even though she's the editor of a huge art magazine in France called "Art Press" and a respected Art Critic, she wrote this book a few years back called "The Sexual Life of Catherine M", which is supposedly some of the dirties, and yet unerotic/mechanical, hardcore porn ever written by a woman. I haven't read this book yet, but I'm certainly going to now.

Anyway, my day started out uneventfully enough with me having to take a little trip to the Russian Author's Organization to get some paperwork signed or approved. I didn't really understand what was happening, or who I was supposed to see there. The place was filled with millions of doors that all looked the same, and were all filled with what looked like the same woman. I was looking for some woman named Ekaterina. I had to talk to four frumpy, irritated Ekaterinas before I was directed to the one that I actually needed. I came out of that place feeling like I just spent 30 minutes in the movie "Brazil".

Eventually, I made into the office, where I was promptly informed by bosslady that I was to accompany her that evening to Uber-boss's house for dinner with Catherine Millet, in the capacity of translator/conversation filler. I immediately got my ass on the internets and found out everything that I could about Millet. Around 4 p.m. we went to pick up Millet and her husband and drive them to Uber-boss's sweet crib. Uber-boss ended up being about 40 minutes late to a dinner that he was supposed to be hosting. Instead, when we got to his place, we were greeted by a disheveled Russian cook/housekeeper named Lena. When I say disheveled, I mean that someone had stuffed her rather short and wide physique into a ridiculous french maid outfit. Uber-boss sure is classy!

Dinner was made up of four courses (as usual, because this is how Russian people roll with their food), during which I had a very pleasant time conversing with Millet, her husband, and bosslady. Then rolls in Uber-boss. This is when the evening gets a bit dicy for me. Dude immediately sits down, unshaven and clearly not really treating this as a momentous occasion, and begins stuffing himself with food. He also kept his hand on my shoulder for, what I perceived, to be an inappropriately long time. Now, I'm a patient girl, but I'd gone without a cigarette for a very long time at this point, and had to go have a smoke. I tried to discreetly excuse myself from the table because I remembered Uber-boss's sentiments towards smoking. Of course all attempts to go unnoticed failed. As I walked out of the diningroom, Uber-boss was yelling something along the lines of "God damn dilettant!"

When I returned, calmer, but not unaprehensive, upon sitting back down at the table, I was greeted with the following question from Uber-boss (in English so that Millet and husband could understand):
"Polena, why you not tell us, why do you start to smoke?"
Millet, having a sense of humor, promptly suggested that I stand on a chair in the middle of the room in order to answer this questions with the appropriate amount of pomp. I responded with something along the lines of "started smoking at 14 to be cool like my older friends." Next question (in Russian):
"But Polena, do you realize how many men you have missed out on as a result of your smoking?"
I translated this to Millet. Not missing a beat her response was "Ah, I understand, zis man whants to marry you, yes?" I said that no, he doesn't want to marry me, he's just mean. At this point, I fully understand that Uber-boss has picked this very inappropriate moment to hit on me/publicly humiliate me in a ridiculously thinly veiled guise. This is how the conversation actually went:

Uber-boss: "Polena, why you not tell us, why do you start to smoke?"
(Polena, why do you smoke when you know that I hate smokers
and would never take a smoker as a lover?)
Me: "I started smoking at 14 because all my friends smoked and I wanted to be cool like
(I totally don't understand that you're hitting on me)

Uber-boss: "But Polena, do you realize how many men you have missed out on as a result of
your smoking?"
(I am not adding you to my harem until you quit smoking.)
Me: "If a man asked me to quit smoking or else he would leave me, I probably would,
but no man has ever asked me to do this, so I don't think that there's really a
(I understand that you are hitting on me, but I have no intention of quitting
smoking for you)

Uber-boss: "Come on, stop fucking around and answer the question seriously"
(Seriously, quit smoking immediately so that you can be my new concubine)
Me: to Millet's husband " Have you ever left a woman or not been with a woman
just because she was a smoker?"
Millet's H: "No, of course not. I smoke cigars myself."

Me: "So, I think that this should answer your question. I smoke, and I prefer men
that smoke because then there's no problem. And I wouldn't want to be with a
man that doesn't want me just because I'm a smoker"
(Fuck you Uber-boss!)

The conversation ended on this note. Fuck! Now I'm probably going to get fired, but all in all the evening was really fun.