Slow August 23, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
So, yes, the flood. Indeed, I am antediluvian in many ways. I like to think I’m old before my time. My clothes do have a bit of a biblical look about them, now you come to mention it. “Après moi, après moi,” I’ve been shouting to a random French-speaking deity to make the most out of my flood-vocabulary. But it’s pointless trying to put it off. I am well and truly caught up in this flood. I am being rushed in a swirling torrent of work towards god knows where. I expect the journey to peak in my eventual failing strength leading to me going over the edge of a waterfall, but then, by rights, I should be rewarded richly and will hopefully land in a tranquil oasis of milk, honey and temporary unemployment. The oasis will also, mysteriously, have a glut of strapping Russian men wandering around it, doing manly things like repairing cars and stacking boxes.
Work does get in the way of drinking and blogging. And everything else. But fear not, B., and other potential drinking partners. Sometimes, resistance is futile and spontaneity wins the day. I temporarily dam the flood behind a switched off computer and hope it’ll hold till I get back.
I don’t know why the Protestant work ethic is so named. Or, if it is as apt as it ought to be, why Russians aren’t Protestants. Russians love work. And the horribler the better. My very own Russian adores it, especially if he can do it instead of something nice, like not working. But he too is currently being battered around against his will in a frenzied flood of labour. Luckily, Russian education makes for well-rounded folk, and although the Russian was almost ecstatic with labour, he remembered, on Monday afternoon, that life isn’t all about work. No, the physiological must be taken care of too. How long had we been cooped up at our computers? It was absolutely time to go out for a leg-stretching walk. It was 6pm.
We got in at 4 on Tuesday morning. We did walk. But we also did quite a lot of sitting. But that was justified because it’s so utterly freezing at the moment and hardly appropriate being-out weather. And I had to do a bit of smoking of hand-warming cigarettes. Arctic out there, I tell you.
Anyway, there the Russian and I sat, having a bit of horizon-broadening and character-building beer and tobacco, when who should I see at the bar but one of my first Russian teachers from a thousand years ago! I bounded up to him with a friendly, “Well, fancy that…” He looked perplexed and worried that he was being stalked. I gave him hard facts to prove my bona fides and pointed out the Russian to prove I had a life. “Brill,” I thought. “A Russian-speaking Engländer. That’s the Russian’s favourite type of foreigner.” We sat down, and got chatting. In German. In flipping German. I sat with the Russian, the Engländer, his American friend, and we had to speak Deutsch. I’m sure it was a conspiracy to keep me silent. I sat in my corner, thinking about the dam cracking under the pressure at home.
My phone rang. The beautiful friend – tbf – was in the environs. “Would you like to join us?” “Be there in five.” And in walked tbf, just as beautiful as last time we’d seen him. Resplendent in beauty. And utterly German. He switched the conversation to English. Sometimes, you’ve got to be grateful for the Germans’ complexes.
Oh god, but the work! The work! All this spontaneity’s getting me nowhere.