How I lost my boots
It happened in Russia. We went together with my wife and father-in-law in а car to take me to work and decided to stop for breakfast on our way. I was behind the wheel but the car sometimes made turns as if on its own. As it turned out, my wife chose the best restaurant but did not look at the opening hours and it was still closed at the moment. The fact that the place was still closed somehow became known to us though we never stopped anywhere nor called them.
Then I was asked to get out and wait until the restaurant opens, then have a breakfast by myself and go to work. How would I manage to go to work by myself without a car was not discussed. Apparently by uber.
To kill time I began to look at book covers that were displayed at a kiosk nearby. Maupassant’s novels “Life” and “Bel Ami” in a single volume (a special edition for expectant mothers). Here is also a book by M. Gordon—a well known author on esoteric subjects. The clerk at the kiosk—although a simple country boy in appearance—turns out to be very intelligent as he speaks about books in sophisticated language touching upon various philosophical concepts and drawing parallels with other authors whom he learned about through his trade. I am proud of him and I am thinking that in America such a clever clerk would hardly be encountered. But perhaps I am wrong: a poor American student who is making a couple of extra bucks by selling magazines may also tell you something interesting.
I remembered that I had no cash in my wallet, only credit cards and thought I should ask the clerk whether they accepted the US cards. The fact that the Russian cards were accepted was evident. Someone in the line just asked me to pass to the seller his oddly sized credit card, and it was obvious from its exaggerated size that it was issued by a Russian bank. When it was my turn I asked the seller to show me Mr. Gordon’s book and began to examine it. It turned out to be a set including some sort of movie or perhaps even a filmstrip which came with a bunch of tightly packed mini-bags of rectangular shape like pocket-size brochures or condoms. Now the idea of buying this book did not look appealing to me any more.
Suddenly I felt that someone behind me had gently touched the fold of my overcoat on my back. That “someone” apparently did not want to reveal his presence. I turned back sharply and here it was: I see a man of a dark complexion who quickly bounced off. “A Thief!”, I immediately realized as well as the fact that I was standing barefoot without my boots and even without socks. I quickly checked my wallet, and it was still there in my pocket! I turned to ask for help or rather for sympathy to a young man, who was leaning against the wall next to me, but he only gave me a drunken grin. “An accomplice!”, I realized.
How did they manage to take off my boots along with socks so cleverly and quickly and what do I do now?
Now purchasing books in the kiosk was out of question. Going for breakfast without shoes was also quite ridiculous. Buying new boots? Also, does not make much sense. Besides, I will be then late for work for sure.
Finally, I came up with a sensible plan to stop by my old apartment and just put on my summer shoes. I happened to be not far from the house where my parents lived located at the intersection of Gorky and Pushkin streets. To my left was a park named after 28 Heroes of Moscow Defense (“In fact, there were 29 soldiers in the platoon but the Motherland does not remember traitors”, was explained to us on many occasions by our school teacher who for some reason always looked in my direction when giving us that piece of historical wisdom), and so I cheerfully walked barefoot along Gogol street towards Pushkin. I remembered that before I became barefooted I was actually wearing shoes rather than boots, my winter shoes, obviously. I must have put them on in anticipation of cold weather but of course I could still go to work in my summer shoes on one occasion.
On my way home—so as not to waste any more time—I decided to order some shoes for the winter. In my hand I found a paper order form like the one they give you to make orders at a sushi place. There was a field to indicate the name of the product and another one next for the quantity. I ordered three pieces, but It was not clear whether it referred to the number of shoes or something else? I figured that since I had only two legs, apparently it must be the three pairs. However, I obviously do not need so many for the season. Finally, I decided to limit myself to only two: one pair made of iron and the other—a more traditional one—of leather. That was the end of it.