An old drinking buddy of mine had invited me to his birthday party. He had turned 50. I went, although I wasn't going to stay for long. I had stopped drinking three years ago, so events of this kind turned pretty dull pretty goddamn fast.
A bunch of guests had arrived at the same time, just before I did. There were still filing into the elevator. I waved at them through the glass door. The birthday boy himself let me in. He was glad I came, in spite of my sobriety.
On the elevator ride up, a slightly forced merriment was in full swing. Everyone was reviewing everyone's clothing. The dress code for the party was conservative, as announced in the invitation, or, reflecting the newly formed government (The Finns Party, etc). Someone pointed at my shirt, said I was loyal to the code: a fascist.
The shirt I wore sported the Ukrainian trident, drawn in the shape of a hawk, with DONBAS written in Cyrillic letters above it.
We shuffled into the apartment. The guy who had called me a fascist told me he had just arrived from Ukraine.
Really, I said. Where were you?
Everywhere, he said, except the front. I was driving around on my motorcycle.
How was it?
They are worse off than a year ago.
So, the guy said, what's your connection? To Ukraine.
There is none, I said.
So you're impartial, he said.
I bought this shirt, I said, pointing to the Donbas Battalion logo, in order to help them to do their job.
He was waiting for more, a clarification.
The job of smoking Russians.
So you're not impartial, he said.
In that sense, no.
A moment later, as I was unable to help with the label of a Russian vodka bottle, the conversation was truly dead. I had nothing to say. The others had plenty, but none of it was for me. I tried reading a book I'd picked from the shelf - Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible - and was quickly bored near to death.
As I was leaving, our host had the nerve to suggest that deep down, I was really, if not an anarchist, into anarchism. He was doing a PhD on the subject.
Oh, come on, I said. Into Noam Chomsky and company?
He smiled and gave me a pat on the back. It had been a nice party; I thanked him for that. We agreed to meet again in the University Library.
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without their permission.