Due to the abusive and expensive housing situation in Moscow, I’ve been living in a hostel for the past few weeks. I intended the situation to be very short term, but my fellow hostel dwellers and the inadvertent entertainment they provide have convinced me to stay for longer.
The first night I was here a huge convoy of tanks and rockets stormed past the window. This was only a practice and we were treated to the same display a week later. It’s called Victory Day, a celebration of the smashing of The Third Reich. As far as I could tell, they were more than capable of merking Angela too.
During my time here, two religious fanatics have tried to get their claws into me. The first was a Muslim who sat me down in the kitchen and softened me up with small pieces of apple. He told me that he has nothing to worry about in life and just lives day to day, a notion that seemed fairly appealing. He said that as a non-Muslim I probably think about tomorrow. I agreed. If I had some food and didn’t eat it all, I would put it in the fridge for the next day. I agreed. He said that if he had some food and didn’t eat it all, he would give the rest to me. I thought this was wonderful and that perhaps everyone should become a Muslim. As the explanation unfolded I was less impressed. He said that Allah will provide for him as long as he sees fit so he doesn’t have to worry about the next day. One day Allah will decide to stop providing for him and that is fine and he won’t complain when that happens. I realised that I would rather trust myself than trust Allah, so ultimately all those seductive promises are worthless to me.
An incredibly calm looking Buddhist approached me one day and asked if I was looking for a flat. I said I was and he said he knew a lady who was looking to rent two rooms out and asked if I would join him. I said that would be perfect. He asked if I was a Buddhist and I said no. He told me that wasn’t a problem since I seemed to be a remarkably calm, reflective young man. I was somewhat puzzled, but eventually realised he thought this because the two days he had seen me, I was curled up in a ball with a brutal hangover. He had mistaken suffering for meditation. Eventually I recovered, the false aura of calm disintegrated and he disappeared.
One day I encountered two topless thugs in the kitchen. One had some cruel scars on his back and flanks which he was displaying proudly. The other had smooth beige skin and no fur but he was frightening nonetheless. They were both destroying pot noodles and staring at me. I wanted to retreat but I was so thirsty. I skirted around them and avoided eye contact. But one of them stopped me at the tap and demanded some information about Chelsea FC. I gave him everything I had on Chelsea and before I knew it I had taken a seat and soon they were no longer thugs but friends.
For a while there was an old American guy who looked like a frail version of the hulk but his wife was long, lithe, sexy and Russian. I wanted her but unfortunately so did he. One guy keeps plying me with John Digweed and boiled eggs. Another fat old man gravitates towards the spot where he will be most intrusive and promptly falls asleep and snores manically. At night I’ve become so used to the snoring that it’s soothing. The worst is when the snoring stops and an eerie silence ensues. There is a constant stream of friendly faces on rotation, but sometimes these faces smell quite bad. I deliberately leave my toothpaste and deodorant in the bathroom hoping people will make use of them.
I awoke the other day to find the roof had burnt down. Apparently it was nothing serious, although there was no roof and the staircase was an ashy river. The hostel is on the second story, and the roof is about three stories further up so they said it wasn’t worth disturbing me. The electricity was back on by the evening and today they’ve been carting burnt timber down and fresh timber up to put a roof back on this madhouse. I hope they fix it up before it rains because I never want to leave.