The Mechanics of Knowing and not Knowing

Контент 18+
The strange weather we are experiencing was summed up by a Moscow guy I know who answered my question, "When is the *%&#$% summer going to start? -- by answering matter-of-factly, "This is Russia. Do you really expect summer every year?"  On top of that, my hot water has just returned from its annual ten-day 'summer' exodus during which time my apartment was as cold as a morgue because of the prevailing semi-winter conditions. Hot showers being out of the questions and cold showers inadvisable due to the inclement state of the apartment  (why stride naked from a freezing waterfall into an equally icy igloo?), I took refuge in the wonders produced by my чайник. Thus it was possible to have a cup of tea and bathe at the same time.

The city of Moscow is under reconstructive assault, the Russian national football team just said до свидания, and now the government is "strongly advising" that Russian tourists to Europe and the USA take a Hepatitis A vaccination before they are allowed to travel. Failure to follow this emphatic "recommendation", while not entirely illegal and perhaps to be enforced only by random testing, could nevertheless lead to the prospective wayfarer being quarantined for up to one month. The explanation was that the destinations in question are countries which promote a gay lifestyle and are therefore a threat to the health of (unanimously non-gay) Russians.
First things first. Moscow (and Russia) is every bit as "gay" as anywhere else. If people who read this are into a bunch of bullshit denial about this fact, so be it, but that does not change reality. And the same is no doubt just as true in Islamic countries where being gay can get you the death penalty. (Here it might be mentioned that anal sex with the young damsels in these locales is encouraged so as to preserve their precious VIRGINITY. And, as we shall see later in this blog, that is a front row (excuse me, back row) ticket to Hepatitis A.) To continue, it is simply a 'given' that in every culture a certain percentage of those born are going to enter the world with a strong tendency to be homosexual, bi-sexual, transsexual, of whatever. No police force and no religion are ever going to stop that. Maybe genetic engineering can someday if that is what we really want.
No doubt socialization does play a role, maybe an important one. Personally, I am an old hetero guy who believes that men should be (and act like) men, and the same for women. Militant feminists and swishy fags are not on my party list. Yet I am a realist. Under certain conditions, vegetarians can become cannibals, and it is a well-known fact that long-term incarceration in a prison can turn a previously heterosexual man or woman into one who accepts, even embraces homosexual experiences. Sometimes they remain that way upon release. And anyway, if I need emergency treatment for a life-threatening disorder, I would rather have a gay doctor who knew what he was doing than some lusty Cossack who might accidentally chop my head off while he was trying to take my temperature.
Here is a thought. Nowadays people calculate EVERYTHING. They even have watches to count the number of steps they have taken around the office to help them decide if they are getting enough "exercise."  Well, have you ever calculated how much time the average person uses during his/her lifetime actually HAVING SEX? (It varies, of course) A couple of weeks, maybe? (OK, six months, you randy rascals!)  But should we judge a person just on that?
In the past I have defended Russians who despise gays not because it is right and proper to despise gays but because it is simply the 'official' reality of contemporary Russian culture, and because I do not believe that it is possible to force-feed a new set of values down people's throats if they are not ready to accept them. Russia is a hard country where people often don't really care if you starve or eat, stay warm or freeze, live or die. Why in the hell should anyone here really care if you are gay?? The average Russian just doesn't want to see it or hear about it. So when gays insist on dramatizing themselves with public exhibitions and parades, they should expect trouble. Then, if they are still prepared to be martyrs -- willing to accept insult and abuse from the mild to the extreme -- good for them. Gradually, they will win out here, I am sure -- just as they have gained acceptance elsewhere --, but the way to the citadel is bound to be strewn with the bodies of gay saints. The moral of the story: if you are brave enough to rock the boat, then do it and be prepared to catch hell for it. Otherwise, stay in the closet and do your thing because here NOBODY CARES. Not really. But, dear gays, please don't cry "Foul" when you knew what you were getting into in the first place.
The government pretends to care about gay and not gay, but the government pretends a lot of things.There is NO doubt in my mind that many high ranking people in various venues in this country are as gay as Old Paris. Top secret.
That is why all this nonsense about Hepatitis A vaccines as a protection against gay America and gayer Europe won't wash at all. It is true that Hep A can be spread sexually just as "B" and "C" can. Hepatitis A is usually of a short duration and then it goes away. The preliminary vaccines do work. So having the vaccine is not such a bad idea, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with going to Europe or America. The other way that Hep A is contracted is through eating food which has, one way or the other, been contaminated with feces. SHIT, in other words. So, if you are Russian, and you wish to avoid catching Hepatitis A, you need only to follow two rules: 1. Don't have sex with homosexuals (and OF COURSE you wouldn't since you are Russian and therefore not homosexual !); and (2) Do not dine on SHIT. (My advice: if you like anal sex, get the vaccine.)
Follow those two basic principles and you will be ok. However, since, as we see, one does not need to leave Russia to find gay people and also because there is PLENTY of shit in Russia, it seems very likely that you can contract Hepatitis A (or B or C) here just as quickly as anywhere else. Which leads one to the conclusion that the government has come up with this hairbrained idea only as a propaganda tool against the "gay" West. Or maybe the vaccines will cost and thus put more money in the governmental coffers. Or maybe it is simply to discourage Russians from traveling.
What we are seeing is the rebuilding of the Soviet Union as a quasi-capitalist but no less secluded and introverted empire. Everyday another social media mechanism is placed under restriction or closed down altogether. Every day the government swallows up more property and businesses. For example, it is now gradually becoming legal for small shops to open inside the vestibules of underground (metro) stations and passageways. That is because the revenue goes directly to the Moscow authorities But above ground businesses are ILLEGAL because the profits went to the private business sector. Hypocrisy pure and total.
Today, as I think about all this, I prepare to walk outside amid the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers to savor the leaden skies that promise more wind and rain. How many of the people I see along the streets will be gay, how many of the sweet young women are actually heading for some massage parlor to make money masturbating their clients, how many will be computer hackers, closet alcoholics, porn addicts??, I don't know. And it is none of my business. Nor can I know how many will be great and wonderful people I will never have the privilege to meet for real. Including those who sometimes do naughty things.
But I am happy. I am happy to be in Russia among the people I know for real and love -- people who somehow manage to manage in spite of everything. If you can ignore the black sedans with blue lights carrying self-important stuffshirts to their secret assignations, if you can look past the army of bureaucratic dullards and nitwits that rake in the cash, if you can forgive a government that wants you to take a Hepatitis A vaccination  but refuses to pay doctors a living wage -- then you will find a vibrant capitol of ancient women with attitude, beautiful nymph with Swan Lake in their limbs, damned good fellows who love their families, and scowling faces with dark smiles underneath.A city of comedy, passion, and life.
Actually, this is the best summer I have had since 2010, when all the forests were burning down and the Moscow air turned a sizzling and turbid yellow, sort of like the chemical warfare mustard gas that was popular in WWI. In the summer of 2010, my choice was to stand on the balcony and at least feel movement in the air -- even if it was poisonous -- or go inside and suffocate because there was NO air, the solitary ventilator forlornly waving its wings like a dying seagull in the desert. It;s better this year. Things improve !!
And yesterday in the metro I was treated to the rather fantastic sight of watching two guys who lacked the power of direct speech, engage in what seemed a near violent argument using only sign language. One could only marvel as they splayed their fingers and waved their arms like madmen. It got everyone's attention. To me, it was funny as hell, but then I am a non-PC ruffian who finds such things...funny. Eventually, the two men embraced and were friends again, to the relief of one and all. Then they got off the train together and went their way, maybe in search of Hepatitis A vaccinations. Or maybe they were gay. Or maybe they were just pissed off about the football. And the weather. How to know?

===Eric Richard Le Roy===

One thought on “The Mechanics of Knowing and not Knowing

  1. Your vivid portrayal of navigating through the capriciousness of Moscow’s weather paints a picture of resilience and adaptability amidst the unpredictable elements. The anecdote shared about the annual “summer” hiatus of hot water, transforming your apartment into a chilly abode, adds a touch of humor to the narrative.

    Amidst the cold and discomfort, your resourcefulness shines through as you find solace in the simple yet comforting ritual of brewing tea with your чайник. It’s a testament to the human ability to find warmth and sustenance even in the face of adversity. Your wry humor and ability to find beauty in the mundane moments of life are truly captivating.

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your experience, reminding us of the importance of finding joy and warmth in the small pleasures, even amidst the chilliest of circumstances.

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