October 23, 2013 «A Cultured Lifestyle»

 I used to love meeting people online and going on blind dates. Well, this one time I met a girl at the top of an escalator. She looked around 25, with average looks. On that day, at least, she was pretty sexy. We were trying to decide where to go when she suggested going to Coffee House, which was nearby. I figured that she would order a coffee for 130 Roubles, cheesecake for 180 Roubles, and ice-cream for 120 Roubles. I’d have to order a cheap tea for 110 Roubles and a cheap pastry for 85 Roubles…and that’s not even counting the tip. The café was open 24 hours a day, so we could sit there for hours on end, but I only had 500 Roubles in my pocket - including 150 Roubles for a taxi, in case I missed the last metro. So, I said: let’s go to a doughnut shop instead, they have tea and coffee there too, and anyway I don’t like these corporate monstrosities from Moscow that have flooded the market in St. Petersburg and disrupt our cultured lifestyle.

We sat down to drink rosehip tea and started to figure out who did what, which we had never gotten around to doing on the website for some reason. She said she worked as a… Well, I can’t remember what exactly. A manager of…management? Nope, that doesn’t exist. No, wait – she was a marketing…person… Well, it’s not important anyway.  Basically, she sat in front of a computer emailing people and sending invoices, went to trade shows, made Powerpoint presentations; she loved sending and receiving virtual gifts and funny videos, went to the gym next to her office, went skiing once a year and went on a beach holiday once a year. She rented a flat with a colleague in the suburbs. In short, she had a very successful life. The only thing that was missing was her Prince Charming. But her prince had to be an interesting, intelligent guy, not like all the rich jocks who had been hanging around her since 10th class.

I realised that this was my time to shine. I started telling her about myself, how I played guitar, sang and composed music, how I wrote poetry, drew, wrote plays and scripts for skits on the television show KVN. She listened to me carefully, and said “That’s great, but where do you work?” It was like a punch in the gut. “Well, I’m studying in graduate school, I’m writing a thesis” I admitted. Her face fell. “A thesis, huh… well, sure, that’s great…so you’ll get a PhD, wow. Good for you.” She sounded a bit unsure. “And where do you live?” she asked, probably trying to make things less awkward. “In Petrogradsky district, between Vasilyevsky Island and the Peter and Paul Fortress.” I took out a 50 Rouble note and showed her where I lived, to the right of the right Rostral column.  “Cool, are you renting a flat there?” “Well, no. I live with my mum.” “Oh…with your mum. Of course, I should have realised that, you’re still writing your thesis after all…!” And I never saw her again…