I am having a Tough Day™. I think there’s a domovoy [essentially a Russian gremlin] nipping at my ankles.
I was trapped in my room. I had heard the door close weirdly behind me, but I wasn’t worried because it’s happened before; the gears in the latch seem a little worn, and if it closes improperly I have to jiggle the handle.
I jiggle the handle. It doesn’t move.
I tug at the handle. It doesn’t move.
I twist the handle, scared that I am feeling rubber-metal twisting and bending, and shake the door. It doesn’t move.
In this moment my mind flashes through the plot of Haunted and I worry that vykhoda net - there is no escape - and I will waste away into nothingness that the cockroaches will later consume. I'd forgotten how much I hate feeling trapped.*
One of the worker guys had been puttering about before, and I hear him cutting something in the hallway. In between the strokes of his saw, I try to modulate my voice at the right pitch so it doesn’t sound like I’m panicked, but it’s heard. He pauses a couple times but doesn’t do anything. I think that means he’s ignoring me.
Now I hear more voices. The voice of the dorm commandant. Louder: “Izvinite, pozhalujsta, a mozhet kto-to mne pomoshch’? U menia dver’ slomalas’. [Excuse me, could someone please help me? My door’s broken.]
I hear the worker man’s voice. “Is it locked?” He jiggles the handle.
“No, not locked,” I answer. Neither of us can open it.
Finally the teeth of my side’s gears click into place and it opens, no problem. I look at a group of people, like I’ve interrupted a scene in progress – welcome to epic theater, my name is Bert Brecht, I’ll be interpreting the interrupted action today – and, shamefacedly, I grab my things, lock the door behind me, and walk through the crowd.
I sent Briullov a text message about it. His response: “Amazing. Not very po-muzhsky, im afraid.”
Just now, in buying my cup of coffee, I knocked over three containers of syrup. I’m not sure if spitting over my left shoulder will get rid of this domovoy-bugger…
*Not wanting to interrupt the narrative, but to make it clear -- my fear of being trapped is different than claustrophobia. I'm fine with enclosed spaces, as long as I know I can leave said space. I would not be fine in a huge ball room where all of the doors were locked. Nor am I fine with the idea of having a set supply of oxygen. People who go into space or go diving are crazy people. The end.
po-muzhsky - See translation here.
6 months ago