Friday, January 16, 2015

Still finding confetti

Today is Friday. I came home with confetti in my hair on Sunday evening and I’ve cleaned up bits of the stuff every day since then. I thought yesterday might be the last day, but I’ve already found four more pieces today and the day’s not half over. I wasn’t planning to bring home any confetti in the first place.

It all started out innocently enough. My friend Zarina called to ask if I’d take her to some sort of a concert. She was vague about what kind of a concert, but she can’t see well enough to go places on her own and I didn’t have enough advance notice to round up somebody else to escort her. I’m still trying to establish a formal network of guides to help the local visually-challenged community, but that’s a different story. In today’s story, there is no such network and the one friend I could ask such a favor on a moment’s notice already had other plans.

Actually, Alla and I had other plans too, so I asked for her advice. She agreed that I really couldn’t say no and we adjusted our plans. Zarina was overjoyed when I called back to say yes, and then she asked me if she could bring along her boyfriend too. “Sure,” I said. “Why not?” And then I thought why not: Why the heck couldn’t the boyfriend just take her to the concert and leave me to my plans at home?

I tried to be delicate. I thanked Zarina for the invitation to a concert. I wished I had better command of the Russian language to tell her just how touched I was that she wanted to include me, but if her boyfriend was going couldn’t he just lead her there himself? No, it turns out that he can’t see well enough to do that so they really needed a guide for two people.

So we formed a train. I led Zarina, who led Zhenya. Zhenya could tell when we approached staircases and whatnot, so he was safe at the end of the train and even helpful. (I kept forgetting that the English word “step” maps to two different Russian words, one about what we do with our feet and the other about the elements of a staircase.)

The concert was at a rock club. It was mostly a recital from an institution called Discovery Rock School, but it included a performance by Zarina’s favorite group, Litesound. When Litesound came onto the stage, we started to smell smoke. I looked back from our first-row position and saw a LOT of Roman candles burning behind us. I looked for fire exits, and decided we only had two ways out. We could go through a huge crowd of Litesound fans to the main entrance far behind us, or we could go out to the back garden. I wasn’t sure I could even get to that garden door by myself in event of an emergency, and shuddered at the idea of guiding Zarina and Zhenya in the midst of a panic.

I looked at the ceiling and didn’t see anything that appeared to be catching fire or even loose enough to catch fire quickly. At that moment, the Roman candles started blasting out what I thought at first were sparks. Stuff came showering down onto us. I looked at our clothes to see if I could brush off anything before it burned big holes, and discovered that the stuff raining down on us was little bits of colorful Mylar. The Roman candles burned out and nobody went up in flames.

I enjoyed the concert a lot. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy rock music. Finally we decided to go home. After getting Zarina and Zhenya onto their bus, I walked home and went straight to bed. Alla didn’t even wake up.

In the morning, I saw all the sparkly stuff in the bed and elsewhere, so I went into the bathroom and brushed my hair over the toilet. Then I took a shower and vacuumed my path from the front door to the bed. While I vacuumed, Alla walked into the bathroom and saw all that sparkly stuff in the toilet. She likes to worry, so she imagined I’d eaten something disastrous and it had a really strange effect on my digestive system.

That was Monday morning. Every day since then, as I said, I’ve found more sparkly stuff. One day I’ll find the last piece, but I wonder if Zarina will EVER get rid of all of her confetti. It could be a long-lasting souvenir that she doesn’t even know she has.

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