not in our stars, but in ourselves
I figured out why Boston has suddenly become so intolerable, why winter hit all at once (with all its might), why our infrastructure has given out after decades of neglect: it’s my fault. It must be. For years, I’ve been a devoted, if strictly amateur, russophile. Russian music, Russian dance, Russian art, Russian literature, Russian history – I’ve loved it, I’ve surrounded myself with it, I’ve even internalized some of it. (For a while, my mother had a car whose turn signal clicked at exactly the right tempo for me to hum, automatically and almost instinctively, the “Dance of the Little Swans” from Swan Lake.) But somehow, it’s all spilled out of my brain and into the real world, but it’s wrong – it’s the wrong kind of Russia. Boston has turned into a Soviet hellscape, a Bolshevik nightmare, a grim return to the U.S.S.R., a horrifying resuscitation of the C.C.C.P., a shit place to be, in short.
We’ve got it all: the bone-chilling cold and brutal snowstorms…
…the joke of a public transportation system…
…the corrupt bureaucrats and stakeholders…
…and no end in sight. We’re going to get another foot or so of snow this weekend. There may be more snow next week. Mayor Walsh said, and then un-said, that the MBTA should probably remain closed for the weekend. Service has been ghastly all week, and most of us have just resigned ourselves to it. I even emailed my boss to ask if there’s any sort of on-campus housing available, because I assume that this next storm will quite simply kill the T. (She didn’t know of any, but she said she’d talk to HR, because it’s not a bad idea to have something like that in place. Look at me, being a smarty.)
The point is this: I’m sorry, Boston. I’m sorry I’ve somehow turned our lovely little city into a Constructivist mess. I didn’t mean to. I only want the splendor and glory of a slightly mythologized Russia, never this. But look on the bright side, will you? For one thing, if we are now the City of Meninograd (re-named in honor of beloved former leader, Thomas Mikhailovich Menino), we can bring back some of the more enjoyable Bolshevik traditions. To wit:
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: we should put everyone responsible for the MBTA’s deplorable current state on trial. But not just any trial, oh, no. Show trials. Show trials for all! To borrow from Ninotchka: there will be fewer but better Masshole politicians.
Soviet space dogs! They don’t have to go to space, though. They can just hang out, preferably with me. Laika especially.
Weird cartoons! I have no idea what’s going on, but I love it.
Finally, we can embrace the spirit that has kept poor, beleaguered Russia going through centuries and centuries of disastrous regimes: the knowledge that yes, things are hard and horrible now, paired with the unshakable belief that they’ll get better soon.
It’s always darkest before the dawn – right? Cripes, I hope so.