This evening Aunt Kelly and I jettisoned our original plan of going to IKEA in favor of a relaxing evening at home with a pirate DVD of “Million Dollar Baby”. I was running some errands on my way home when I got a call from Aunt Kelly suggesting that I throw a frozen pizza in the oven if I got home first. As it turned out, I was across the street from a Pizza Hut. I suggested that I just get a pizza and bring it home. I knew this was a very non-Russian thing to do, but, at that moment Pizza Hut and a movie just seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

This was my first time ever getting carry-out pizza in Russia. They actually charge 10 rubles (about 35 cents) extra for the box. They told me to wait 17 minutes. Seventeen, not fifteen or twenty.

When I emerged from the Pizza Hut with my box, a lot of people looked at the box, then looked at me, then looked at the box again. Russians are not known for making significant eye contact with strangers, so this was pretty strange.

I had briefly contemplated taking a taxi home, but I was only one metro stop away, and wasn’t in the mood to haggle over the price of the ride, which would inevitably be outrageous at first, given my accent and the pizza. So I took the metro. Well, it was like being a freaking celebrity. Men held doors open for me, which never happens here. People were doing double takes on the escalator. I was simultaneously amused and embarassed. It was really ostentatious of me.

Kostia says Russians who can afford pizza don’t take the metro. Russia doesn’t have much of a middle class. I mean, there’s a big difference between the cost of a pizza and the cost of a car. In fact, had I taken a taxi it probably would have cost me as much as the pizza. Hence, we can see how bizarre the Russian economy really is.