Svetlana Molchanova

Everyone peers out the windows. The road has become a canal filled with knee-deep steaming water. The cars are barely able to make it through. The bus is higher, but some of the water gets through the doors and into the bottom of the steps. The passengers who are near the windows pull out their smartphones to film and take photos of the flood. The driver starts cursing. “Why on Earth can’t they repair the water mains once and for all?! Only last week, a pipe burst in the very same place. And here we go again!”

“They could have laid new pipes if they really wanted to solve the problem,” someone says. “But why take the trouble when you can make money hand over fist repairing the bursts constantly.”

The speech receives murmurs of approval. The water piping system is old and rusty. Accidents happen on a daily basis. One can’t help but wonder at the cycle of work: first they build a road, then in a week or two a pipe bursts underneath, so workers dig a hole and repair the damage, causing additional traffic jams, as vehicles have to drive around. Then the road is paved again. This asphalt buckles over the winter, and the cycle starts anew.

It takes us 40 minutes to drive along the drowned section of road and the roundabout, while normally it takes not more than 2-3 minutes. We pass the next two or three stops without any trouble. I turn my attention to my social media feed. I am still scrolling through it when I realize that someone wants to get off the bus without paying the fare. It seems totally wrong when one does not wish to pay for the service provided. What seems even more wrong is that other passengers have to wait till the argument is over and the bus continues onward. Eventually the woman pays for her trip, and I go back to scrolling. It takes me another 10-15 minutes to realize that we are still in the same spot.

I lift my eyes and see that some people are getting off the bus. A few are quarreling with the driver. Something is definitely going on. I also head to the exit. It turns out that the central road is being blocked due to the Ski Festival held at the stadium nearby. What is meant to be a sports event is usually a display of power and unity with long speeches by big-shot politicians, performances by singers and dancers and cheers from the crowd consisting of schoolchildren and students who are normally bussed in right from their institutions. The nearby roads are blocked so that there will be no traffic commotion within sight. That means the bus will have to turn round and go back without finishing the route.

“Why don’t they have a water ski festival at the roundabout?” someone sneers. “It looks like they don’t even have to prepare the venue.” Two middle-aged ladies complain that they have not arrived at their destination and will not pay the fare. The driver says that there is nothing he can do about the roadblock, and he is not to be blamed for it. This type of conversation continues for a while until the ladies understand it is no use quarreling and pay for their tickets to get off. I also pay the fare and descend the steps. As I exit, I overhear a vicenarian talking to her friend: “You know, I’ve had a driving license for ten years, but I don’t drive a car. I sometimes confuse the gas and brake pedals and I need an instructor to help me learn how to drive. I’m really sick and tired of our public transportation system.”

I join the crowd of people heading along the street to bypass the festival venue. An elderly lady is struggling with her shopping trolley and two groceries bags. I offer her a hand, but she says she is fine. Probably, she doesn’t trust her bags to anyone.

As I pass a municipal building, I see a banner saying, “Happy Holidays, Our Beloved City!” It is there throughout the year, no matter what the season is or whether there are any special occasions. When it fades in the sun, they just replace it with a new one.

The blaring of the music and speeches through a loudspeaker can be heard in the area of the stadium, but I have no time to spare and hurry on. It starts snowing. The tiny snowflakes prickle my face. At last I make it to the bus stop outside the blocked area… just to find that it is overcrowded with people. “I’d better call a taxi,” I say to myself, rummaging through my bag for the smartphone.

The battery is dead. The frost has drained it. I am bound to be fashionably late.

(…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

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