Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Weird Weekend In Russia

Three of my work colleagues share a large 3-bedroom flat above the school we work at, which is lucky for them because Mr. Irish and I have a 20-minute walk to get to work. Those three are Ms. Australia, a funny and rambunctious but cute girl from Perth; Quagmire, an American who looks like the Family Guy character and is also, strangely enough, a pilot; and Wonderpants, a hilarious and witty Virginian guy who already had that nickname when I got here (he's in his second year in Russia).

I spent quite a bit of time at their place over the past week, culminating in a messy weekend. It started on Friday night when I received a text from Wonderpants around 9 pm as I was finishing up my final class for the day. "Do you want to go get a pint somewhere?" it read. "Sure, just one." I replied, because I have a 10 am class on Saturdays and don't like teaching hungover.
After my class I went up to their place. Ms. Australia had a friend over named Ms. California and they had just cracked a bottle of vodka. "Ya, we'll probably just stay in and have a few drinks." Wonderpants informed me. "No problem" I replied. Then a shot of vodka appeared in front of me. Just one won't hurt, I thought to myself (but knowing that there's no such thing as just one shot of vodka).

By midnight we were done the second bottle and I was as drunk as I've ever been or at least it counts as one of the top ten drunkest states I've been in. Somewhere in my mind a voice kept saying "You have a class of adults to teach in the morning!" so I decided it would be wise to go home.

"Hey, do you guys want to go to the local nightclub?" Wonderpants asked. "Sure!" I responded.

I can't describe the nightclub in too much detail because my memory of the place is foggy. I do remember it being a real sausage fest, with ten guys on the dance floor and two girls sitting in a corner chatting.

I lurched home around 2 am and passed out on my sofa in my clothes. At 08:00 my phone alarm went off and I got up, shaky but functioning, to teach a class. The students recognized my hangover immediately and made fun of me and we all laughed. Hardy har har. After class I went back to the Australia/Quagmire/Wonderpants flat (Ausquagpants?). Ms. Australia and Ms. California were still in bed but awake. Ms. Australia had her face buried in her pillow. "I've been crying!" she shouted as I walked by her room. "Crying? Why?" I asked, and climbed into the big bed with the two girls.
"I lost my purse and my passport last night."
"Yes, and look at my face!" Ms. Australia lifted her face out of the pillow and a huge, fist-sized welt on her cheek greeted me. It's a shame, too, because she has really nice skin."Holy fuck!" I shouted. "Did you get mugged?"
"I don't know! I don't even remember going to the club!" was her reply.

Then I walked to the kitchen where Quagmire was washing some dishes. His entire face was red and swollen. "I played a punching game with some Russians." He explained to me. He went on to tell me that Ms. Australia wasn't mugged, she had simply come to a crashing halt at the club and passed out, smacking her face off the ground. Wonderpants got them a taxi and as he was wrestling to put Ms. Australia in it she must have lost her passport. Quagmire didn't see the point in taking a taxi when they live three blocks away, so he decided to walk home. That's when he ran into four drunk Russians.

One of them punched him in the face. Quagmire responded by punching the guy back, who then hugged him and laughed and patted him on the shoulder. Suddenly, a second guy punched him in the face, so he punched him back and this guy laughed and gave him high five. Quagmire was pissed off at this point so he wound up to punch the guy a second time but the Russians said "No! No! Only one time!" And then a third guy punched him. Quagmire was incredibly confused, but punched that guy in the face. Then the fourth guy punched him and Quagmire punched him back. Then he decided that this weird game wasn't for him, so he stumbled away with a swollen face.

A few hours after Quagmire recounted the story to me, a large group of people came over (all teachers but in different parts of Moscow). There were 3 pretty American girls as well as Ms. Tenessee, an American guy and a British guy. Ms. Australia and Ms. California were up by this point, so, together with Wonderpants, we all went to a hockey game.

A weird aspect of this hockey game was the attempt to sexualize it with cheer-strippers on a platform above the rink. These incredibly sexy young women (with fantastic bodies) were wearing the skimpiest of outfits and performed strip-club-like dances throughout the entire game. Whenever the Mytischi Atlant scored, these girls put on a performance that was almost pornographic. Whenever the Kazan Ak-Bars scored they would turn their backs to the ice. I don't believe that cheerleaders have any business being at a hockey game.

Afterwards we all went back to the Ausquagpants apartment and more people came over and everybody got incredibly drunk. At 5 am I stumbled home and, in the park near my residence, a group of Russian men were standing on the sidewalk with beers in their hand. I was really drunk and walking with vigor and determination. They saw me coming at them but refused to move out of the way, and I refused to alter my trajectory. After a hockey game and thinking of Quagmire's story I wasn't in the mood for any potential trouble. The best defense is a good offense. I bowled through the group of them, slamming my body into the press. Russians flew left and right as I went through them like a cannon ball and emerged out the other side. Russian curses flew after me on the night air but I was at my door before they could recover and pummel me.

It was an interesting weekend.

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