The weather, as it always is during the first ten days of December in Tiraspol, was utterly depressing today.
Adding to the misery of temperatures hovering just above zero was rain pouring from the sky, rain we don’t want and don’t need.
But on and on the rain fell, and needs must.
So I suited up.
First comes the double layer of pants, to keep the wind out.
Second is the zip-up sweater on top of the two layers that I’m already wearing.
Third is the army boots that I bought eons ago back when crowds thronged the illegal market behind the Chisinau train station.
Fourth is the tattered greatcoat that I have clung onto all these years even though it’s long past its glory days.
Fifth are the unraveling red knit gloves that I won in a bet.
Then it’s time to kiss the animals, each asleep in their own warm place, and head out the door, hoisting my pack into position as I go, the rain fat drops on my cap.
Lock the gate and then head up the lane, everything strangely quiet, freezing rain the only thing that can keep the lonely and sad wild dogs from their usual patrols.
Gray skies above and no birds, I hike up the long hill.
Fingering the payment card in my pocket for reassurance, I finally arrive at the supermarket.
Blast through the automatic doors and then I’m in. The hot dry air is now unwelcome with all my woolen layers, but the yawning employees seem to appreciate it.
As I use my T-shirt to dry my glasses, I hear it. Blasting overhead direct from official Sheriff radio is a contemporary pop song that I’ve never heard before, its uptempo cheeriness practically blasphemous on a rainy day like this.
Despite myself, I let out a smile as I liberate a cart from the corral and then cruise into the fruit and vegetable section.
Who here, in this store, right here and right now, knows what this young woman singing about, in English? Is it just me, or is there anyone else?
And what if it is only me who understands?
Well then, sir.