January 16, 2008
BI was a little late meeting me on Sunday, as the snow had rather slowed down transport city-wide. I waited out on the sidewalk before deciding that it was cold and since he knew where I lived, I might as well wait inside. However, before common sense led me to that stellar decision, I had a rather interesting experience. When I emerged onto the snow-covered sidewalk, I saw a middle-aged man who appeared to be waiting either for a bus or for someone. Now lest anyone suggest otherwise, I did not so much as make eye contact with this fellow, and I most certainly didn’t smile at him. In fact, I’d taken very little notice of him until he began crossing the street, headed directly for me. At first I thought that he was simply crossing the street, but no. He grew nearer and nearer, and I steadfastly gazed down the street, as if scanning the bus numbers. Finally, there was no avoiding the man; he was totally up in my personal space. I bit back a rather rude чего? (kind of like rudely saying what the?) and instead gave him a look which I hoped conveyed that thought without me having to open my mouth and possibly expose that I was not a native of Bishkek. Instead of taking the hint and walking away (alas, they never do), he comically imitated my expression, leaned in and leered at me, showing a full set of gold teeth, and covering me with the stale stench of beer. I simply stared back. He then asked me where I was going. I told him firmly and in as best an angry devushka voice as I could muster, Я жду друга. (Now first off, I can’t for the life of me remember if one says жду друга or жду другу, but I suspect that’s somewhat beside the point.) See жду (zhdu) means 'I wait' and друг (droog) means a male friend; however, it can also be used to mean boyfriend. I hoped very much that my manner and tone of voice would convey to this man that I was indeed awaiting my boyfriend; he wouldn’t need to know any different. Luckily for me, he took it to mean just that, and with a shrug he stumbled off down the street. Shortly thereafter I decided to wait indoors. Seriously, I’m like catnip for crazy old dudes.