15 April 2008

a lighter note (eta)

Thank you all so much for letting me share, for your encouragement and your good wishes. You really are too kind in your opinions of me!

I thought it might be a while between posts. But, walking to school today was certainly postworthy.

It was a nice walk to school--a bit crisp, but the sun was up. The streets were fairly empty of both cars and people. I thought I might have spotted my friend walking across the Field of Mars, but didn't want to shout to find out. I started across the bridge.

About a third of the way across (It's a long bridge...maybe...a quarter of a mile? I'll go check. Aha. It's 578.3 meters. That means nothing to me. Wait. I'm amazing! I went to onlineconversion--a fav of mine--and found out it's .36 miles. ) a man stopped and asked me where the Aurora was. This is a common request. I, ever wanting to be helpful, and always a little proud of myself when I can answer in Russian, told him where it was. (Not that amazing. It was, "There. Not far. To the left.") The man thanked me. And fell into step. He seemed friendly and chatty.

Soon the conversation was beyond me and I told him that I only spoke a little Russian. He asked me if I spoke German. (Ususally it's Finnish...) Nein. He asked if I spoke English. I said I did. By this time his arm was around me. I didn't think much of it. It's a narrow sidewalk on the bridge and it just seemed a friendly gesture. Really. Just friendly. It's a touchy-feely walking culture here which I like. Usually.

He continued to speak Russian to me, telling me he was a sailor and lived on the water and then declared in English, "I am submarine captain. I have no money. I want you." To which I replied, "You can't have me." (I can say this in Russian, too.) and laughed it off. (The Russian office staff thought this answer was hilarious when the story was retold.)

He persisted (I'm guessing) in Russian. I stopped, shrugged out of his arm, and bent to tie my shoe. (Um, it didn't really need to be tied.) I hoped this would allow him to carry on walking without me. It didn't. He waited. Patiently. When my shoe had been untied and retied twice, I started walking again.

He went to put his arm around me again and I straight-armed him, firmly but not violently, and told him no. I then looked back and saw my friend approaching full-speed ahead. "Maya padrooga!" I was rescued. He thought was obviously of the more the merrier mindset! He welcomed her to our little walking party and started to tell her about his submarine. She stopped to tie her shoe. (Great minds, eh?) When we started walking, he started to tell her he had no money. I told him she didn't have any money either. Neither of us had any money. (I can say that in Russian, too. ;> )

And we left. We just picked up a little speed and walked the rest of the way to school. He called after us, but we didn't look back. Okay, friend kept a close eye on his progress. He didn't follow us. He headed toward the Aurora and stopped to talk to the street cleaner on the way. Really, he was harmless and probably a still little drunk from last night.

But, it made for a good story this morning. That's certainly one thing that's never happened to me on the way to school at home!

eta: It really wasn't a scary or threatening situation. He was harmless. It was just a quirky little experience.


Maggie said...

"I have no money." That's the worst pick up line I've ever heard.

Annie said...

Ha! I loved the story - I loved Maggie's remark, too.

I almost got picked up on the way to school one morning, too! It was in Portland, Oregon; dawn; I'm waiting for the bus to take me to my Catholic school second grade job. A man comes along and asks, "Want a date?" I thought, "What a poor guy; I feel sorry for anyone who has no more social skills than that." and I respond, warmly, (so as not to embarrass him or make him feel rejected) "Thank you so much for asking, but I really don't have time, I am afraid I have to go to work now." Then he took off hastily. I related this amusing story to my husband that evening and he enlightened me that "want a date" is the line used to pick up a hooker. I have always felt both abashed by my response, but also amused because I doubt such sweetness and light was what he was accustomed to. I hope it made HIM feel embarrassed!

Lauri said...

I agree with Maggie... I have no money is not a real winner... at least he could have elaborated and built himself up a wee bit better than I am broke & drunk.. don't you want me baby?

Tina in CT said...

I would've been freaked out and especially if no one was around. At least it was daytime. Please don't walk around at night for safety's sake.

Melissa said...

Oh my!!

Anonymous said...

You know, Kate...I am disappointed. You could have taken him in, made him some homemade brownies, watched BBC, ...boy, you missed out on some excitement there. Seriously, as weird as that situation was, it IS Russia and it kinda has a weird charm to it. Or am I warped? Oh forget it...can't make sense of what happens there anyway. That's why I love it.

second grade said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Annie said...

How do we get to see your "Second Grade" blog? I used to teach second grade, too. LOVED it!

kim said...

So I guess he would not pass as a "knight in shining armor?" lol I bet you were glad to see your friend.

Tina in CT said...


Saw your comment in my daughter's blog about typing with a cat in your lap. My new dachshund puppy likes to be held and I roll up the bottom on my sweatshirt and it holds her in and I rest her on the keyboard tray of my computer desk while she buries her face under my arm by my left elbow. I found that works quite well for typing and she goes to sleep. I need one of those earthy crunchy baby slings to put her in. She loves being held.

Moscow Mom's Mom

Annie said...

I've never seen a puppy in a baby sling, but I used to carry mine around in my coat and she loved that safe feeling.

Holly said...

Sounds creepy to me. Sorry I've been a rotten blogger buddy, will try better from here on out, honest.

Hope your sailor sets sail soon.

Tami said...

(Sorry...my brain is fried. I can't think of anything quippy to say tonight, although if there is a blog post worthy of a quippy comment it's this one. I'll probably wake up around 3 a.m. with the perfect comment. If I do, I'll let you know. ;>)

Anonymous said...

You're a fox, girl!

Anonymous said...

Mmm...creepy. We were setting up once to play an outdoor concert in Italy, and a gross old guy kept approaching all the women in the band, telling us that he was in the Merchant Marine. I guess that was supposed to be appealing...not sure why. Fortunately, there was a barrier set up, so he couldn't get too close.

Elephant sightings today--I was killing time, window shopping. Several elephants sighted:

- A pillow--it grunts when you squeeze the stomach, and does a cute elephant snore when you squeeze its hand

- A smaller version of the pillow, with just the stomach grunt

- A squeaky dog toy

- A teapot

- Seems like there was another noisemaker, but I can't remember the specifics

Maybe your D2B is a singer, or otherwise someone who makes a lot of noise!

Anonymous said...

- A bath sponge/pouf that squeaks(the elephant I couldn't remember yesterday)