A crowd of people at the tram stop is a sure sign of traffic problems. “No use waiting for the tram,” a young man shouts. “They’re not running”.
That means I have to take the bus. Buses crawl at a ridiculous 30 km per hour even when the roads are clear and are never in a hurry to leave a stop. I get on a Mercedes bus, a powerhouse from the 90s. It might have navigated the streets of a European city prior to being considered eco-unfriendly and sold to Russia.
“When are we leaving? Stop dragging your feet!” Presumably, someone has just about had enough. The bus driver does not bother to answer and spends another couple of minutes at the stop making them five in total. It’s insane. Sometimes bus drivers spend more time loitering at the stop than actually driving. Their wages are ridiculously low, and some work for 12 hours straight every day to make ends meet, so the more passengers they collect, the better.
I look around. A big cross with the inscription Spasi i Sokhrani (Save and Protect) dangles in front of the windscreen; pictures of hot girls are lodged in crevices on the dashboard. As usual there are also some ads on the side windows of the bus: job vacancies at a meat-processing plant, rules and regulations on what to do if you spot an abandoned bag and an advert for an eye clinic with illegible print.
I have a window seat. The road is bound to be a long one, taking me across the city. Although the landscape is familiar and unpicturesque, looking out the window has a soothing effect on me. One starts to get a philosophical perspective on everything.
Normally the city looks gray and grim: insipid high-rises, muddy roads and dusty trees, with gaudy billboards being the only colorful spots. It is always like that: If something tries to look catchy and appealing, it will most certainly turn out to be a hoax. But since it snowed heavily yesterday, everything is crystal white. The branches are coated in sparkling ice, and a blanket of white envelopes the city. It feels like being in a fairy-tale.
An announcement in a loud and cheerful voice brings me out of my reverie. “Ladies and gentlemen, May we have your attention please? The Starlit Band is here to entertain you!”
They are bus performers, who get on at one stop, sing a song, make some money and get off at the next. Usually, they are a child and an adult, with the kid singing out of tune to some dull music. But these are different. The two guys seem to be music students. Professionally, they play and sing an upbeat yet conventional pop song about never ending love. I do not fancy their choice much, but the live performance is really on par with what you get at a concert. “I hope you enjoyed the song and agree to support the young musicians,” says one of them. Then he goes down the aisle and collects donations in his backpack.
My phone rings. It’s my colleague. Although I am officially having an annual holiday, I get two or three job-related calls every week. “Zdorovo, Petrovna,” a voice greets me informally, using my patronymic, “we have a problem.” For the next fifteen minutes, I carefully explain what is to be done. After I finish, I see that I have missed a call from my husband. I call him back.
“Hi, wasup?” It turns out that his friend is coming for the weekend, and they are going fishing. There is nothing my husband loves more than winter fishing. He can talk about it for ages. While others are craving a summer vacation, he always takes his annual leave during the colder season to practice his hobby. Fortunately, he never brings back many fish. For one thing, it has been my firm request for many years, as descaling and gutting fish always falls on my shoulders. Moreover, his expeditions normally do not yield much fruit.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Credits (left side, middle – top to bottom, right side)
1. Engels, Russia – The City Park – Natavilman (Shutterstock); 2. Saratov, Russia – At the hairdresser – Tramp (Shutterstock); 3. Saratov, Russia – Kirov avenue – Fire-fly (Shutterstock); 4. Saratov, Russia – The bus – trolleway (Shutterstock); 5. Saratov, Russia – Drawing on asphalt – White Fox (Shutterstock); 6. Saratov, Russia – Setting – Anastasiia R. (Unsplash); 7. Saratov, Russia – Sledding – White Fox (Shutterstock); 8. Saratov, Russia – Chernyshevsky Square – Fire-fly (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed