A few things about Moscow that I need to get off my chest. First of all, no one has any concept of personal space. No matter where I am, I am damn near run down buy men, women and children alike. I give you wide berth on a side walk, and a strange man still weaves his way toward me like two wonky magnets pulling together, until I have to throw my body in some other direction. Was the 12 feet of space all the way around you simply not enough?
And these old ladies just think they own the place. These discount-at-the-movies women think they are entitled to everything inclusive of your hard won gains. Your space in line no matter long and obviously you’ve been waiting, the elevator for which you’ve pushed the button, the tiny space for one medium sized human in a revolving door. It borders on the ridiculous.
While I waited patiently in line for the Kremlin Museum, some tour guide tried to cut me. Seeing as how I’d been on line for almost an hour and a half, I wasn’t going down without a fight. She tried telling me the line was for vouchers holders only. No kidding. I snarled, “I have a voucher.” She remained dubious, as thought I couldn’t possibly understand the gravity of the actual voucher holding community. So I stood, with my feet two meters apart, claiming my space, while she kept talking about her being an official tour guide. I ignored her because I don’t care who or what she was, and NO, I don’t speak Spanish!! Suffice to say, I got my ticket with my voucher, and was on my way. See you on the flip side, sister.
So far, I have a general feeling of: who do you think you are? I didn’t come here to argue ticket lines. I bother no one, ask for no help, mind my own business. Why can’t everyone else respect that and do the same for me?
I had read about the misery and unhappiness of the Russians. The economy, the hardships, the woeful economy and dicey at best politics. Sounded like a good time to me. I was prepared to come here and smile my big, white smile all over. Spread my American glee far and wide! Be the envy of the toothless masses! (Seriously. Are teeth optional here?) Upon my arrival, I realized I was in the ritzy part of town. A block from Tom Ford and Chanel, up the street from Louis Vuitton and Gucci. What the hell? Anyone in this neighborhood has nothing to complain about as they run through the doors of the local Bentley / Ferrari / Maserati dealership – stacked upon each other, no less. In case you need one of each? One stop shopping, I suppose. I ask again, what’s the problem here?
The reality, at least to me, is that people here seem to trade in misery. Or at least looking miserable. I’ve seen a little joy on people’s faces, they must be from out of town. This works well for me as I, a life long sufferer of Resting Bitch Face, fit right in. Were my hair and sensible shoes not a dead giveaway that I’m not from these parts, I could pass as a local. There are pained faces everywhere. The state bird should be The Grimace.
And the women – judgey, judgey, aren’t we? None wear flats. Simply towering stilettos over cobblestone. Up and down flights of steps, in and around the Kremlin, over the bridges. Overdressed for everything, it would seem. Me? Adidas will do just fine for the mileage I’ve been racking up. I’ve walked into accessory stores, and literally been looked at up and down, with a disapproving nose in the air. I felt a little Vivian on Rodeo Drive before Richard took her shopping. And I wasn’t even in a boutique, I just wanted a scarf! I see the looks I am getting. If it wasn’t for contempt and misery, these people would just be poorly drawn eyebrows and a nose. So I smile with all of my teeth, and skip out the door.