“Akaky Akakievich was taken away and buried. And St. Petersburg was left without Akaky Akakyevitch as if he had never been there. Vanished and gone was the being, protected by no one, dear to no one, interesting to no one, who had not even attracted the attention of a naturalist – who does not fail to stick a pin through a common fly and examine it under the microscope.”
The Overcoat by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol in The Collected Tales
Poor Akaky Akakievich, I thought, while reading this story. A copy clerk with nothing in life, but the excitement of skimping and saving every possible rouble he could spare in joyous anticipation of having a new overcoat made with chintz lining, small silk double seams and a cat fur collar.
Oh, the happy months spent, in an otherwise dull life, dreaming of such an overcoat!
I am sitting in my usual coffee shop drinking tea. Their coffee machine is broken. Many a person has walked into the cafe, out of the frosty morning, wearing an eager smile – confidently assured of that first sip of a flat white, cappuccino or latte. Most have left with tea. Some have walked back out into the cold, empty handed and dejected.
Oh, the disappointment!
Small or big, there’s nothing like the anticipation of planning or waiting for something.
I, myself, have emerged from hibernation with itchy feet. The cause: a holiday booked to sunny climes, et alors back to London for Christmas, ensuite a week in St Petersburg to see the New Year in. This blog post should be entitled ‘From +30 deg C to -20 deg C in 60 hours‘.
How fickle I am, that planning a holiday can affect such a jolly demeanour in this small hibernating Nyamazela-species? The naturalist who neglected to take an interest in Akaky Akakievich would, I believe, have me immediately captured, autopsied, pinned in a display case and entered into scientific research.
My transformation is complete. In between work, writing, French, other studies, and the stuff of life, I’ve enjoyed some rapt (also incidentally wrapped) time researching and planning for both my +30 and -20 deg holidays. Amazing the joy of looking up quaint towns to visit on our road trip, booking a car, buying thermal underwear and gloves and talking animatedly with Hubby about kremlins, Russian ballet, frozen rivers, museums, game reserves, walks on the beach and visiting friends and family. I hope that in my confusion of anticipation I don’t pack my thermal underwear for South Africa and take my cozzi instead to St Petersburg!
Once an automaton going through the motions in a zombi-like state, Nyamazela is back!
P.s. Hubby is reading Gogol’s animated tales to me in preparation for our trip to St Petersburg. He does all the Russian names and accents so well!
P.p.s. What do my readers think I should read to Hubby in anticipation for our South African trip?
P.p.p.s. The coffee machine is fixed!