It’s 3pm, we came into the room at 8am, so we’ve been taking our mathematical analysis exam for 7 hours.

We actually didn’t say “mathematical analysis “. That’s too long and too fancy. We just call it “mathan”. I was studying on the faculty of computational mathematics and cybernetics where we had “mathan” classes for two years.

It was January. Have you ever been in Russia in January? That’s a beautiful time. We had five exams in that wonderful winter month. After 7 hours in the room, I didn’t want to think about math at all. It was snowing outside, and it started turning dark.

I finished at 4pm. I passed the exam. Although I had a couple of other exams in that beautiful month, I felt happy because I knew that I was not going to have any other exam at least in that evening. It didn’t make any sense to start preparing for the next exam. My brain was just rejecting to think. I was walking in a hall, talking and smiling to my classmates. I wanted to dance and sing. Some idea was following me everywhere, but I couldn’t understand what it was about.

I was walking to a bus stop. Finally, I was going home. That was already a long day. It’s peacefully snowing, I felt happy even if I had not done with my exams for that quarter. There might be an exam tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow - it didn’t matter. Exams were over at that moment.

I met my friend on my way to the bus stop. Our happy faces and smiles meant that we both passed our tests. That’s so good to suddenly meet someone who you can share your little happiness with. When I remember that moment after years, passing just one exam didn’t look so impressive and awesome. I had about fifty exams in total while I was studying in the university, and that was just one of them. No, I was really happy in that day, and it didn’t matter how many exams I had before, and how many tests I was going to have then. All my thoughts for 8 hours were about “mathan” only …

  • How about some beer?
  • That’s a great idea.

We were not going to the bus stop anymore. There was a jain and a factory on another side of the street. There were a lot of “convenience stores” in front of the factory. The stores didn’t have much stuff, but you always could find a lot of alcohol there. Some people who work at the factory don’t go home when they are done with work. Instead, they love stopping by those stores to have a drink after a long work day. The stores were located just in right place.

We were going to those stores to grab some beer. We were poor students, and we didn’t have much money for hanging out in a bar. It already turned dark, and the temperature outside was slightly going down. Have you ever had beer outside in winter time? That’s very interesting. You may notice that most people prefer cold beer in summer time. If a cashier has only warm beer in summer time, that may even hurt someone’s feelings. But it’s a little different in winter time. If you are poor, but still want to have some beer, you might not prefer really cold beer, but would like it to be a little warmer. Just a little bit. Just because otherwise it’s going to freeze soon when you start drinking it outside.

We took warm beer, and went to one of apartment buildings nearby. There is a heating main which helps a little bit to stay warm. We started talking about exams, classes, and then about everything. We went to the stores about four times.

When we were staying nearby our favorite heating main, we noticed that someone behind us said something. The phrase was not friendly and nice. To be precise, the phrase meant “What the the hell are you doing here?”. We turned around and saw a janitor. She had an ice-axe. We kept calm and ignored her. But the janitor kept cursing us, although she didn’t walk to us. After twenty minutes we finally gave up. We finished our beer and got out of there. The janitor followed us and kept cursing until we left the courtyard.

There is one little problem if you drink too much beer - you need to go to restrooms very often. In addition, there is another problem in Russian cities - there are not very much public restrooms. There may be enough public restrooms in center of Moscow of Saint Petersburg. Maybe they are not free, but it doesn’t really matter when you had a lot of beer. Usually you hope that there is a McDonald’s nearby because in other places they don’t like it much when someone comes there just for a restroom. Sometimes they curse even harder than that janitor.

Meanwhile thoughts about restrooms occupied our minds, but there was not any McDonald’s nearby. So, we made a terrible decision to use a courtyard nearby as a public restroom.

Finally. We found a quiet courtyard. Nobody around. Phew …

We noticed that someone behind us said something. We carefully looked back and saw a couple of police officers:

- What the hell are you doing here?!

  • Well …

We kept calm and ignored them. I had a look at my friend. He definitely was not about falling down, but I noticed that he was rocking back and forth on his toes. I was drunk as well:

  • No … we can’t run away …
  • No … no way …

We finished what we started in that courtyard, turned around and walked to the officers. We kindly asked them if we could to pay off right away, although we didn’t have much money. But they declined anyway, and said that we have to be punished for what we just did. Someone might say that all cops are dirty. That’s not true. We walked together to a police station.

The police station was a steel booth. It was colored in blue and white. Such police booths always make me think about a submarine. Seemed like we would dive into the ocean once we got in.

The officers asked us to have a sear, and started asking questions about who we are, where we are from, and how the hell we could do what we just did. They asked for IDs. We had only our student IDs. For some reason, they asked if we had cell phones. I had a Siemens M55 which I normally used to open a bottle of beer. My friend had a similar Nokia. The officers started figuring out if the phones are really belong to us. They started calling to some police services to get more info about our so expensive phones. But those services were always busy. The process took about an hour and a half. It was so cold outside, but so warm in the police booth. It made me feel relaxing. I was trying not to fall asleep, and it was really hard. In two hours, they finally figured out those fancy cell phones belonged to us. They wrote a report, but unfortunately I was not able to read it. Next, they asked us put a note in the bottom of the report that we admitted to what we did, and promised that we would never do it again. Then, they asked us to sign the report.

One more thing - there was no a restroom in the booth. After two hours with cops we really wanted to get out of there because we needed a restroom again. Despite of our promises we didn’t have many options, and did the exact same thing again.