First, this anecdote I found in my journal from February 14, 2009 (I spent Valentine's Day finishing chapter 1 of the thesis).
I just went to get a coffee, still in a rage. Walked into Zeke's.The proceeding are excerpts from the journal entry dating to Valentine's Day, when I nursed a champagne hangover in Prime Star in Kitai-gorod, Moscow. It explains why:
Andrew to himself: "Fuck Valentine's Day. If I see Cupid, I will slap him square in the penis."
Cashier lady: Happy Valentine's Day!
Andrew: [momentarily flabbergasted. Can he say 'slap him in the penis' to a cashier?] Thanks...you...too?"
Thursday (2/12) Briullov and I went to Arte-Grim to get masks. I got a demure and typical Zorro mask of black velvet, and a plasticky green flat-top Savannah hat. Briullov got into a fight with the saleswoman, who had told him the mask he wanted was, "Of course, a woman's mask." Not the right thing to say to Briullov, obviously. He, then, not even looking at it, said: "I'll take it!" He ended up with a different one, but the dynamics of the exchange were amazing: the saleswoman, trying to help this 'boy without taste,' was caught between professional duty (what should be a position of power) and the male-female dynamic (where, in the stereotypic context, she would not have as much bargaining influence).Valentine's Day 2011, and The Animus gets into town the 16th.
...Like any situation, we almost didn't even get to our destination [on Friday, the 13th, a multinational Carnival hosted at an embassy], because the employee at the security checkpoint wouldn't check our names against her list, although we all had passports and could tell her precisely which number was ours: the physical tickets were inside, at the party. Finally a Stalin look-alike (played by a German) came over. He and Briullov's Realtor spoke to each other through triple-paned glass in accented English.
Let the awkward drinking begin. I never lost myself, but it hurts my organism to think back on the party itself because there was no point where I stopped drinking. I would finish champagne if I wanted to get on the dance floor, run away from an awkward situation by going to help myself to another drink...
The other day I said 'autoportrait' to Sasha. There's actually something logical about that mistake even on top of it being an Anglicism of the Russian. We have autobiography, after all. Autopilot.
...There were a lot of great costumes (Briullov discusses the gendered implications of who was wearing what kind of costume here), including cowboys and Arabs (never by US citizens; apparently the new cowboys and Indians), a man who looked like a bondage star, a Hitler's Youth Organization candidate who unintentionally dressed as BFlow, a Merman king, a mouse in a trap, a cat, a bird, a Viking, three tigers, and a queen.
Ugh, my head. Thousands of dead juice bottles strew the floor around me, and I still feel light-headed.