Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ok, so back to this story…

I am sorry if I have been bouncing around a lot. I have really a lot on my mind and it is really hard to concentrate around here. I just finished having an argument with Tatyana about this. Basically it had to do with Egor and his tonsils and stuff. But she still doesn’t seem to get it that taking them out will benefit him in the long run. I swear that she would not want him to have the operation simply so she would be more needed by him if he was sick.

Did I just say that publicly?

Ok, so back to the story. I had just told Tatyana and Egor to go back inside and as soon as the door closed my drunk decided to make an aggressive move towards me. He took a step, sort of showing me his teeth and balled his fists. Now I want to repeat that I am not one of these bullies who needs to beat up on drunks. I really, really, really needed him to just simply get the hell out of our house. But he made this move toward me so I gave him a short right to the belly. Just one. Clean, soft, white underbelly. His eyes were quite expressive as his nervous system told him that something had just happened. They sort of blanked for a second and then went sad, if for lack of a better word. A tear appeared in the corner of his left eye. It was as if he was saying “Hey, I wasn’t serious. That hurt. Why did you hit me?

“Just get the hell out of here you big baby.” I have no sympathy. I was glad he decided that bullying me was not his answer. I shoved him again towards the stairs. It really was time to go and the conversation was not interesting to me.

“Alright, I am going, I’m going. Don’t shove me.”

“If you are going, go.”

“I said don’t push me!”

“Go! Get out. Be gone. Go and get out of here!” He tried to stop again just before the door and I threw him out and he fell onto the ground. There were several of our grandmother’s out there who came over and started screaming at me that I had killed him. The guy listened to these and then started to agree with the grandma’s that he had in fact been killed. Nothing like a little local support is what I always say.

“Oh, what are you doing? He is a drunk and a fool and I just wanted him not to sleep in the corridor.”

“Yes, but you didn’t have to kill him.” Now, let me take just a moment and try and explain something: There are two Russian words that are very similar. Быть ‘Beat’, which means to hit with the hands and убыть ‘Ubeat’ which means to kill someone. These words are really similar and there is some chance that the women were screaming that it was that I had killed the guy rather than just hit him. I think I have so far translated this both ways, but I want to make things clear. But in any case there were apposed to my actions far more than this guy’s.

“I didn’t kill him. What are you doing? You believe this guy rather than me? He is a drunk. I jut don’t want drunks sleeping in our corridors.” They weren’t listening and I walked away and went upstairs to get the document that needed to be translated. When I got to our door though, Tatyana was waiting for me with a little tidbit of information she says that she had forgotten.

“You know who this drunk is? He was the guy who had forced his way into our house to use the phone a few weeks ago. He was the one who pushed me.” OK, so now I need to back up a bit.

I know I already mentioned that the house next door has no electricity any more because they no longer pay the bills over there. And, I think I also made clear that social apartments can never be taken away, payments or no payments. Now, in a lot of cases this is a good thing, but in our situation, and I speak here of Tanya and I, that Tolic and his crew will not b put out any time soon means that we also have to put up with this crap. In theory, he will eventually be moved to a lesser place somewhere else, but of course the bureaucracy on this is as thick and cluttered as the one to get a social apartment.

So, not only does Tolic not have electricity but he also does not have a phone and had, until recently come to our place to make local calls. We had put up with this, sympathy for human situations and all this, but stopped the policy when we had an incident several weeks ago. This is the incident I am referring to. What happened then was that Tolic had come over and asked to use our phone. This was at about 11 in the morning and just happened to be one of the days when I had gone up at the farm. So Tatyana was alone in the house, Egor was out playing but she agreed to let Tolic use the phone.

So this is where it starts to get interesting for Tatyana. It turns out that it was not Tolic who was coming to use the phone but this other guy. So you know, good people and all, Tatyana says yea, ok, you can come in and use the phone. The first thing the guy says is that he is going to call a mobile phone, this of course is a toll call, but that he will give some money after and it will not be a long call, only a few seconds. OK, she says, just do it.

He dials maybe four numbers, none of them are correct and all of the time he is playing with the phone he is looking around our apartment, seeing what he can see. This of course has Tatyana becoming more and more nervous by the second. “Listen, if you are not going to make the call…”

“No I have it, I have it…” he says. So he then dials another number and gets a woman on the line. Tatyana can here her voice. So they begin talking, but as Tatyana later described it, he is really not saying anything concrete to her. Or, there doesn’t seem to be any real call going on, at least not the kind you make from another person’s phone late at night. Anyway, this call goes on for maybe three minutes or so, and finally, a little exasperated, Tatyana suggests that the guy finish up and get going. So he agrees and hangs up and sits there for a second figuring the cost of the call in his mind. After a second, he comes up with the number of 375 rubles. Maybe 15 cents. Now, a mobile phone call of four minutes would in reality cost something like… well, I really don’t know but it does cost something but this estimate of 100 rubles a minute certainly seems low. But the money is not really the important thing and Tanya says that this would be fine, just pay and go. So he looks at the money he had on him and he saw that he had a 500 ruble note and 175 in other bills. So, he handed Tatyana the 500. She told him this was ok for her and that she didn’t want any more money from him. He did not say anything and left.

Now, at least according to Tanya, she assumed that his estimate was a little watery anyway and that this was a done deal. He left and she closed and locked the door.

But about 10 minutes later there was another knock on the door. Tatyana for some reason did not ask who was there. She told me later that the reason for this is that she was expecting it to be either Egor or me. This is not her normal practice, but for some reason, this time she simply opened the door rather than looking through the peep hole or asking who was there. So she opens the door, sees that it is this guy again and tries to close the door to only a crack. But for some reason, this guy, and we can go back and forth about who is guilty in this progression, but for some reason this guy decided to pushy the door open. The reason he wants to come in is that he has acquired exactly 375 rubles and wants to trade this amount for the 500 ruble note he had left behind. He says to her “Here, I have the money.” But Tatyana is now freaking out that this idiot is pushing against her door. She reaches back with one hand, grabs the 500 ruble note from the table near the door and throws the note at him. He bends down to get the money and she slammed and locked the door.

I heard about this when I came back, but because I couldn’t figure out who the guy was, there was nothing to be done at the moment other than to say that I would talk to Tolic and that their phone privileges were revoked. Which I did.

So this was that incident. And it was just after I had come back upstairs from throwing this drunken bum out that Tatyana told me that he had been the door pusher from this other story.

Oh… Well that is a bird of a different feather, isn’t it? I guess I had a few more things to say to this fellow after all, didn’t I?

And…and, I will retell about what happened next, next time.

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