Welcome back ladies and gents to the show. I trust the accommodations are to your liking. I take my role as host quite seriously, I’ve spared no expense. Make yourself feel at home. That seat you’re currently residing in was recently imported directly from your home just to make you feel all the more relaxed. Lean back, take a load off, and read a minute. The refreshments can be found in the kitchen, and the drinks are free provided you brought them yourself. Go ahead; take that momentary holiday from your life to gaze through the eyes of another. Entertainment at its finest, only instead of being provided to you by paid professionals you get the rustic charm of being entertained by an amateur.
With several days free before the call of employment whispered its way across the winds to our waiting ears, we proceeded to work off the excitement to come the best way two young and awestruck travellers could think. Approximately sixteen hours of uninterrupted sleep later we sloughed off the bonds of weariness to visit curiosity upon our surroundings. The problem with describing a home properly is that it is a thing of rock or wood or metal which is expected to fit so many contexts. It is simultaneously a fortress of emotional respite concealing one’s true natures from prying society and an outward representation of self. In this way it is incredibly difficult to sufficiently comprehend and describe one’s own abode without a great deal of reflection. With near five months of experience, I feel that I have gained the capacity to more honestly discuss this location in which I live.
Every coin has two sides, every rose has its thorn, and every turduckin makes Jesus cry; in this way our new home was more than just location for internal reflection. As a very real Soviet era building, it is rife with fascinating design choices and all of the issues that one would think to exist in a cheaply built mass produced concrete tower.
In addition to whatever oddities may arise from living in a place with an unfamiliar culture and language, keep in mind that I have never lived in a building more extravagant than a two story log cabin. So I was not at all prepared for the rigors of city living. Feel free to laugh along at anything that seems incredibly foolish or undoubtedly obvious, but I wasn’t privy with such highfalutin information as being able to leave the building.
Earlier I stated that there is a security gate as you reach our floor, but this is far from the only security measure in our little fortress. Located at the bottom floor is our lobby you would not be surprised to find lobby like things. It is a square room adorned with mail boxes, two glass doors on opposite ends of the building which lead to the exterior, two doors close together which lead to interior rooms, and lastly an elevator and stairs. To date I only know what the deal is with two of those doors. One of the glass exterior doors leads to a nice little courtyard that I sincerely wish to enter into, but some engineer decided that you needed to have prior knowledge of the five humors followed with a firm grounding in the alchemical arts before you are allowed bear witness to its mysteries.
So with this simple layout in mind I wish to elaborate on how very dumbfounded I became when upon attempting to leave the building to attain a little thing called food I was met with a closed door with no obvious means of releasing the mechanism. A number of minutes passed, a number which if it were to be stated would reach somewhere into the embarrassing. I persevered though. Attempting my most unconvincingly casual, I hang out in shut lobbies staring angrily at locked doors, stance I set to work unleashing my wit upon the predicament which perplexed me so. This pitiful display of brainsmanship gave way to a random passerby entering into the building and providing my escape. I whispered my best Blanche Dubois and was aided to my escape. You see I had no issues with entering with the building. There is a panel that you enter a code which allows you in, a fact that gave me a false sense of confidence before forcing me to accept the fact that I didn’t understand how to door. Few things transform you from possessor of knowledge and future bestower of knowledge to a bloated man baby as being bested by a stationary object that children have mastered. How’s it going foreshadowing, nice of you to stop by. It became such a problem that I was beginning to get panic attacks that I would have to call my new principal so to send someone to let me out of my own house. Because after two days of relying on the winds of fate for my release I had work in the morning and no guarantee that I would be allowed to escape my self-imprisonment.
Now before I reveal the great secret of my deliverance I would like to reiterate that this whole time that the temperature was hovering just below the 100 degree F. mark, and at no point was there respite from the heat. I am admitting right here that I am not a brilliant logistician once the heat creeps past a breezy spring day. Thus it was that through no efforts of my own was there a solution found. By this point, my girlfriend had gotten into the swing of the conundrum and we put our mighty intellects together like some kind of logic Voltron. Our grand experiment essentially boiled down to lying in wait for one of our neighbors to leave and then casually as possible Jane Goodall them. So it was that the evening before our time was up, along came a child neighbor of our who luckily spoke some English. Unfortunately for us that English did not extent to cover, “Oh god, please let us out, we are but souls stranded in this purgatory. Wouldst thou perchance to produce revelation producing our ascension!?”
His response was one of confused glances as he walked over and opened the door to leave. You see as all of the great detectives will tell you, it is the little details which answer great questions, and the thing that we had been overlooking the whole time was the row of light switches near the entry way. When we initially tested one of the switches and it did the likely thing which was to turn on a light and not unlock a door we foolishly thought that all of the switches accomplished similar things. Of course all of the switches had little pictographs of alarm bells on them just to confuse unsuspecting foreign devils.
Another issue similarly bourn of ignorance, was a little thing called trash. Namely where did it go? This was an issue that was solved in a similar way, random happenstance and luck. However, depressingly, it took weeks to sort out which you may realize as far too much time to live with piling trash. In order to not have to wade through a layer of persistent muck to live our daily lives though, we made great efforts to not produce trash so as to postpone the inevitable need to take out the bin. This was solved when I happened to witness someone walk out of one of the interior rooms and leave the door open. Inside were the trash receptacles for the entire building.
I have one more observation about my new home to share with you all before I end for this week. Our roof looks like a Jackson Pollack painting if instead of a famous American artist renowned for his drip paint method, it was an unfortunate mixture of heat and moisture. And instead of layers and layers of paint there was mold, just so very much mold. There is so much of it that I am slightly tempted to hand it a bill for rent, just to see what form of monetary units mold would consider reimbursing me with. The answer is most likely spores.
There you go folks, a little self directed levity to break in the new year and get us moving along. To date I have still not witnessed a single person from our building placing their trash in a bin, and yet it finds its way there somehow. I suspect teleportation lasers. I have yet to discover what lies in wait behind the last mystery door. I can only assume it leads to the golden underwater city of Atlandorado.
The Miscellaneous English corner:
Special thanks to Merriam Webster for telling me the proper spelling of highfalutin. Fun fact, to this day I always thought that highfalutin, which is just the most fun to say, was actually the words high and fluting but just said with the most stereotypical accent. Something new every day you know.
Also a fun note, I know the name Blanche Dubois and the quote, but I have no idea how I know that considering I have never seen any of the versions of A Streetcar Named Desire. It also isn’t as though the youth of my day were busying themselves with 60 year old film quotes what with their Linking of Parks and their Sinking N’s. Fascinating what has pierced the pop culture veil with enough force to stick in my mind.
The Jason Bourne movies have ruined me, because now every time I wish to type the word bourn my brain autocorrects it to Bourne. Good job Matt Damon.