Noilly Prattle: 2022

Friday, March 11, 2022


театральная (Theatral’naya bus stop)

Mariinsky Theater Bus Stop


I was a bit shocked though not particularly surprised to see open hostility on social media today with this headline: 

“Facebook, Instagram to allow calls for violence against Russians”. Subhead, read: “Meta’s social media platforms have eased their hate-speech policies to permit calls for the death of some Russians.”

In other words, it’s OK to kill Russians.

At the risk of getting bashed myself, I will tell you a little story about an experience we had in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

A few years ago, we stayed in a rental apartment in St. Pete for a month while attending various opera and ballet shows at the Mariinski and other theaters in that beautiful city that has suffered so much in its history. After a visit to the Winter Palace, we were waiting for a bus on невский проспект [Nevsky Prospect] to return to театральная [Theatral’naya] the Mariinsky Theater bus stop which was near our apartment. We boarded a bus that said театральная, but we weren’t sure it was going in the correct direction and began discussing it together. I was sitting next a young man with long hair and pleasant features, my wife across the aisle.

All of a sudden, the young fellow spoke in excellent English and said that we were on the wrong bus. I replied that the sign on the bus said театральная. He said that yes, it was going there, but the long way around; it would take over an hour to get there. He said you should take the bus going in the opposite direction on Nevsky Prospect. That would take only 10 minutes. He offered to get off the bus with us and show us where to take the right bus. I protested that we couldn’t possibly inconvenience him on his way home. He said: "It’s no problem, my stop isn’t far and I can walk home." I knew he wasn’t being entirely truthful, but we let ourselves be taken by the hand. He even spoke to the bus ticket taker and asked her to return our bus fare, which she did.

He was a very engaging and friendly young man and we enjoyed chatting with him while waiting for the correct bus. When it arrived we thanked him for his kindness and boarded the bus while he disappeared into the night.

We got to театральная in 10 minutes, just as he predicted.