Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I went outside to buy water and witnessed a wonderful scene:

An old woman, skinny, neat but poor, poor but neat, dressed in an apricotish sleeveless cotton dress, was pulling a cloth bag on wheels along the street. A strap of her bra had slipped off her shoulder onto her arm, but she was too burdened to move it back up; somehow, this made her look a lot younger than she was. Her bag was ancient, in use since the Soviet times, and the wheels it rode on were as old: they were making a horrible, deafening sound, impossible to describe!.. I almost wrote 'blinding' instead of 'deafening' - and that's true about the sound, since it was so unbearably loud and constant and disgusting that it seemed to paralyze all my senses and stop my heart as well...

I don't know where this guy appeared from - maybe he'd been sitting in a car parked around the bend, listening to the old woman approach, or maybe he was a worker from the nearby construction. Anyway, a young guy suddenly came up to the old woman, with a bottle of car oil or something in his hands. He told her to stop and wait, bent down and started dripping oil on the bag's wheels. They were strangers but he acted somewhat unceremoniously, as if he was the old woman's grandson. She seemed happy and grateful, and I heard her exclaim, "Oy! Thank you so much!"

That was so sweet - and I feel like saying it was so "un-Moscow" - but if I witnessed something like this in a village, would I pay attention, would I be as moved? Probably not.

So maybe it's a totally Moscow thing, or any big city thing, to feel incredibly happy when something as tiny and unlikely happens as you're walking down the street, minding your own business and really wishing to find a way to get out of this damn city...

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