Wednesday, April 09, 2008

is there a Russian word for...OOPS!!

Today on the metro i knocked the hat off an old man's head. It's not as malicious as it sounds, I promise. First, let me explain that it was rush hour and the metro was packed. So there I was, trying to make the most of the precious few inches of personal space I had. I had left my seat and quickly made my way close to the door as the rush of passengers was getting out at a station, before the next batch of people rushed in, so I could be close to the door for my escape two stations away. When you take a seat in the metro, it is understood that you place your bag on your lap, so as to take up less space. So, now that i was standing i was quickly trying to put my backpack back on my back so that when i exited i would be less likely to disrupt a lot of people on my way out. i had one arm through the strap and was sliding my arm through the second strap as new passengers rushed in to the train. i only had inches to begin with, so i tried to conserve space by using the empty space above the heads of the passengers seated near the door. unfortunately, in my state of being jostled around, the arm didn't exactly clear the head of the man nearest me, and my hand clipped the brim of his hat and knocked it backward right off his head. he shot me an incredulous look as i sputtered my apologies and gave him my best "please-don't-kill-me" look. "isvaneet" means "excuse me/sorry" in Russian. except that the panic that was flooding my brain at that moment scrambled my English-Russian translation abilities and it kind of came out more like, "sorrispaseet" which was a mix of "sorry" in English, "thank you" in Russian and "isvaneet". Thankfully, the man simply replaced his hat and went back to ingoring me. the next 6 minutes lasted a lifetime as i tried desperately not to even breathe on the man until i reached my stop. i was never so happy to hear, "Petrogradskaya", announced as we reached the station.

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