Stories of my Zaporozhets – first story

(Continued from here)
Most of the funny stories with my Zaporozhets are related to stereotypes. A stereotypical Zaporozhets owner is either a broke old man who bought it at the time this could be called a decent car (though I’m not sure there ever was such time), or a night watchman, who needs a car that is safe to leave on the street at night, or an engineer from falling apart state-owned company, who needs a car, but has no money at all. The attitude to Zaporozhets owners from middle class car-owning majority is that of contempt – they don’t drive well, they only take road space, and something breaks in their cars all the time – they create accident threats in the city that already has enough traffic jams.

I did not fit that stereotype at all. To start, by the time I got that apparatus, I was working for a foreign company and could afford to buy a car like that every week, without going hungry.

People’s reaction to this dissonance was very interesting. To them it looked as if a beggar on the street suddenly stood up, took a cell phone from under his rags and called his broker to discuss his investment portfolio.

By the way, something very similar did happen once. It was a hot summer day. I was stuck in traffic jam in my green monster, wearing a torn t-shirt and jeans. Windows, due to heat, were rolled down. The car in the next lane was a used, but very well-kept Volvo 740 (aka “suitcase”), also with windows down – either it also did not have an air-conditioner, or the driver was “saving”, I have no idea. The driver was a very respectable-looking middle-aged gentleman in white shirt, with a tie, and with a very expressive face. He was turning his head and looking around and his face was constantly changing expressions, depending on what he was looking at. When he looked at me and my monster, his face was showing contempt and disgust, as if saying “it’s not enough that I am stuck in traffic, I have to be stuck next to THIS rubbish?” And that’s when my cell phone started to ring. At that time cell phones were starting to get cheaper, but they were not yet as commonplace and remained, to some degree, an attribute of “prestige”. The guy started looking around for the source of the noise and his eyes got much bigger when he saw me lift a phone to my ear. The call was from my boss from England, sound quality was very bad and I had to speak very loud … in English. Big eyes were joined by the noise of jaw hitting the floor. And the traffic started to move. That is, I started to move with the traffic – the guy in the Volvo couldn’t move for a while and I still laugh when recalling the look on his face.

Published in: on January 5, 2006 at 5:05 pm  Comments (1)