07 October 2009

A_typical blogger

My unimaginative stereotype of a blogger has always been one of a scrawny über-geek, sitting alone in a dimly lit cafe, scarf-over-neck, and attempting to sound, uh, all Nietzschean-and-shit. However, I don't quite fit this image, if only because I'm neither scrawny, nor a regular blogger. But, at the moment, I am actually writing from a coffee shop for the first time ever. And, I'm wearing something close to...argyle (although, my cleavage somewhat makes up for it!).

Giant statues of Nietzsche are kind of hard-to-come-by in Moscow, so I've uploaded his sort-of-BFF, Dostoevsky. Although, I've never seen him without birds, as if he deemed himself St. Francis!

This momentary weakness is a result of consecutively dealing with more (poorly alliterated) bureaucratic bullshit at a certain federal archive and then a certain major library here in Moscow than usual. No, I'm not referring to the lack of heat at freezing temperatures outside, arbitrary schedules, smoking indoors, damaged and missing files, malfunctioning machinery, three-hour subway commutes, and the like.

Since my arrival from North America, I've been faithfully visiting these facilities every weekday -- with an occasional Saturday spent at the library and many an evening consumed by tweaking all my simultaneously translated notes. So, I've largely gotten accustomed to all the joys of attempting to contribute to the capital-H History of my Motherland, even if merely in a dissertation format.

The characters inhabiting all the various federal archives would make an odd fairytale. One woman with a well-kept mullet is not a benign closet retro-rocker, but is more like an evil stepmother (who masquerades as a benign closet retro-rocker). By contrast, another woman in large, thick glasses and an even larger MuMu threw me off with her moustache and thick, opaque, yellow fingernails of a deadman. She turned out to be helpful and polite, much like the Fairy Godmother.

I am not about to compare myself to Cinderella-of-the-archives (despite "outstereotyping" my own stereotype today) -- not because I resemble GI Joe's Baroness much more instead, but, rather, because there are so many other characters who won't fit in either.

What to make of the excessively talkative storage staff member, eager to inform me of her husband's drinking problems, her daughter's "tramp stamp" tattoo, her fried-bleached-blonde-perm technique, and her vacation from twenty-five years ago? And what of the militia security guard? He looks like an inept, underweight and giant-moustached movie cop, diligently compares my pass to my passport letter-by-letter, and loudly complains about "the Jews stealing all the heat in the building".

My research is about to take me to a number of municipal archives. I'm sure that their characters will be just as colorful. Although, perhaps I should wait until the city turns the heat on: doubling-my-socks-to-avoid-pneumonia doesn't mix well with high heels.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This isn't really related to your post, but I wanted to express how relieving it is to find another conservative-minded person involved in post-graduate academia... I'm in a masters program at an east coast US school, and sometimes the scarf-wearing "we should 'democratize' corporations" types make my brain want to escape through my ears. So it's nice to know I'm not alone. Anyways, keep up the good work here.