The Metro Chronicles

As I have already mentioned before, the metro plays an absolutely crucial role in Moscow. Millions of people spend long hours there every day – and now I am one of them. Multiple rides constitute perfect circumstances in which to indulge in of my favourite hobbies – people watching. In this newly established series of articles I will share with the dearest readers whatever I happen to notice and deem worth sharing

Wednesday, 8 am. Rush hour, so the train is fully, completely packed, it is impossible to move (what has its good sides as well – it is also impossible to fall over). All passengers are trying to get a few additional minutes of sleep. Suddenly, at one of the stations a school excursion of children aged 7, encouraged by enthusiastic chants of their teacher (“let’s walk in, quickly, quickly, let’s walk in!”), manages to squeeze into the allegedly full carriage (how was that even physically possible still remains a mystery to me). The children behave like a large lot of fish shoaling and schooling, moving all together, all in the same direction, as if they were bits and pieces of the same mechanism. From now on the further ride turned into something similar to the way to work of the protagonists of “The Bee Movie” – an everyday lunapark. Whenever the train leaves the station (and the momentum throws everyone back), the lot exclaims cheerfully all at once, in childish falsetto voices. Every turns seems to be the most scary loop on a giant roller coaster. “How many stations have we passed?” – asks the teacher to keep the lot entertained. “One!” – chorally answers the lot. “How many do we have left?” – asks the teacher again. “Three!” – chants the lot. “Good job, very well remembered!”. Three stations later the teacher asks “How many stations do we have left?”. “One!” answers the lot. “Good job, very well remembered!”.

Other passengers obviously notice the presence of their nosy fellows. An elderly lady sitting in front of me either smiles or is about to burst with anger – it is difficult to interpret her emotions as her mouth corners dropped forever under the heaviness of a life full of worries. In a moment it turns out that she is in fact smiling. Right next to her sits a young lady in a leopard fur coat. Her reaction is quite the opposite: she tries frantically to untie her earphone, she finally succeeds and equally frantically puts them in her ears. Relief. Finally silence. The lot schools away.


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