If you live in Moscow, but never use electric trains, then an entire world full of thrills passes by you. If you just take the train from the Kazan railway station to the Sovkhoz (State Farm) station, or at least from the Ostankino platform to the Levoberezhnaya (Left Bank) platform, how life will become much more interesting, and you will immediately feel the romance of distant travel. Especially tempting seems to travel without tickets, which appears to be a very real option.
In №1, I already wrote about the summer trip by train but did not mention the kind ticket controllers who allowed me to go from Trofimovo station to Bronnitsy for free. In response to the words that "there is not even a railway ticket office on the platform in this remote village of Trofimovo," a mustachioed man in a uniform shirt shortly asked, "Where are you going?" "To Bronnitsy," I replied. "Today you will arrive," he threw, already going towards the door to the tambour.
If the ticket controller, whom you were not lucky to meet, does not look like a kind man, but, on the contrary, stares intently into your eyes, knowing well what you will tell him now, then do not waste time talking, but brazenly go past him to the tambour. It will be harder to catch you there, or they won’t even ask you about the reasons for modest solitude or being in the huge crowd of the same fare dodgers. Another way to escape from the “contra” staff is to move in one direction with those men approximately one car ahead.
In winter, it is not very easy to do because the trains are getting shorter, and the road may end soon. Here, there will be nothing left but a bold oncoming moving with a busy look, screams about life which is hard even without ticket controllers, or even the evacuation from the “dangerous” train. It happens that together with the ticket controller a policeman goes, who in some cases understands other people's financial problems, and sometimes, according to rumors, not very well. It is advisable not to tempt fate and get out of this train if there is still such an opportunity.
Using a rather unobtrusive ticket check system, many acquaintances from the institute on weekends and holidays went to have some fun to St.Petersburg, Vladimir and other regions, the names of which evoke a craving for distant wanderings. At the same time, poor students, according to them, managed to cover hundreds of kilometers without paying a single penny. Of course, this is advantageous and tempting, but rather troublesome. For example, at some intermediate station on the way to St. Petersburg, you need to sit waiting for the train from ten o'clock in the morning to three in the afternoon.
Also, according to these lovers of distant wanderings, the police in the provinces is not as lenient and democratic as in the Moscow region, as a result of which one “pilgrim” spent 24 hours in prison returning to the southern capital from the northern one. By the way, electric trains are often called “dogs,” and so do not wonder to hear that someone would go to Kursk by “dogs”.
The beauty of these “sled dogs” lies in their proximity to the broad masses of people. Electric trains are probably the most “public” type of transport in the world. There you can see a bank employee who saves money to buy a car, and a badly exhausted vagabond too. Where do they come from in such quantities? It's just unusual: in almost every car, especially of the evening trains, you can meet not only a single homeless person but also a whole company of vagabonds who all the time go somewhere - I even marveled at their activities. Then it became clear that they all just live in electric trains because it’s warmer there than in the January frost.
Sometimes interesting personalities come across who go out to the tambour to talk with people or even make a speech right away. So, one still the not old little man, who, however, looked eighty years old from his life, somehow even sensibly talked about life, joked, asked for a cigarette. Then, when he approached the people and heard the demand to keep the distance, he answered that he had nowhere else to go except to the cemetery. To support his words, he coughed wildly, and a long mucus popped out of his throat.
Oddly enough, homeless people, especially in their companies, practically do not lose heart and, if they do not sleep all the way, often do something. For example, they carefully look for bottles or celebrate their free lives, drinking vodka. Yes, almost all these people consume alcohol in huge quantities. This is the real bottom of society, not at all similar to that described by Gorky in the play, to the holes read in the school. I remember that at one time I had to write an essay four times on the topic “Is Humanism Useful in the Understanding of Luka?”
The literature teacher rejected the first option; they lost the second one on the table of the classroom teacher, who later angrily denounced my mistakes. The third option relatives rejected who intervened in the process of academic creativity, and the fourth, written already with their active participation, the literature teacher successfully accepted for 5/4 respectively, for content and literacy.
The main attraction of the green “dogs” is the ubiquitous merchants who are sometimes ready to talk about their goods in half an empty car for half an hour. Even seeing complete inattention to their persons, these people stubbornly continue to tell and show, taking out of the bag all the new lighters, books, shampoos, and some scrapes with a super durable handle which no one needs.
For the active performance itself, sometimes lasting up to five minutes, there is a desire to give the air sellers a ruble or two. It is especially funny to watch how they wait until the competitor who has outstripped by half a step ahead, will finish his speech, and are preparing to surprise the “respected passengers” with another achievement of the shadow economy.