One thing I know for sure from my experience of being bipolar is that mad people don’t like the rules. Obviously, there are rules that everyone should follow, but some smaller, more innocent regulations are there in order to go around them.
Everyone who is mad will agree with me on this mantra.
And so, I have to say that my recent trip to Russia in this respect was refreshing. I knew, of course, that things have changed since I lived there or even paid a visit, but still, it was mind-blowing to discover the adventurous, freedom seeking spirit of my native people.
At a first sight I was absolutely flabbergasted to contemplate the picture of some discipline (it was Moscow), something which I have never noticed in my country of origin before. But all signs were there to come to a conclusion that Russia is no longer a terrain of havoc but is a progressive, well-organised, well-presented country. I still remember the spectacle from the late nineties when any parking signs were there…well, for visual pleasure only. Drivers would park where they fancied and crossing the road on the path reserved for pedestrians was asking for death.
Not anymore so. Something, somewhere happened under the reign of Putin and for the best. Smiling drivers stopped when I approached the crossing path, and I even managed to reach the other side of the road without any accident. My friend who was driving me, as well as all other drivers would park the car in the reserved for the purpose places. The public ban on smoking seemed to have worked as well. No one was smoking anywhere in the centre of Moscow, not even outside.
A bliss of rules’ observation, one could say.
But as with everything with Russia, signs are always deceitful. And thankfully so, as the picture of Russian people following the rules appeared to me slightly depressing. ‘If Russians will become like everyone else,’ I thought, ‘then the world is really doomed’.
What fun is in there when everyone behaves???
And so, I was frankly glad when my friend announced after our twenty-minute walk around the centre (when I started to have serious withdrawal symptoms from non-smoking).
“Okay, so this is all for the tourists. Let’s go now to that place where everyone can smoke’.
And off we drove to a café where indeed it was somehow still possible to smoke on the terrace despite a categorical public ban on such indulgence.
“If you put tables fifteen metres from the entrance to the main café, the rule doesn’t apply any longer”, my friend explained to me the procedure.
On my way to the airport I asked the driver to stop me in a café where I could smoke as I realised that I was too early for my plane.
“But smoking is banned!”, the non-smoking driver tried to explain.
“Yes, but we need to find a café where they could put the terrace fifteen minutes away from the door.”
Such a café was found in five minutes, but it was the remark of the driver which struck a chord.
“Russian people will always find a hole in the rules.”
Ha-ha-ha, and rightly so. Because the world of rules is very much boring.
And so, I left my country in a much better mood, especially that in the airport (where it is absolutely forbidden to smoke), someone made a hole in the wall of the toilette in order to smoke.
I left Russia feeling really cheerful, because I knew that somewhere, somehow, people still manage to have some fun.
Follow the rules, but only when they make sense!