There was a time in my life, when I had a near-death experience. Though there was no tunnel of light, and the ghosts of my loved ones to greet me or anything quite as dramatic as that. Since I did not actually achieve cardiac arrest, thankfully due to the fact that fortune smiled upon me. For once.
Several years ago, I used to work for a small-time computer wholesaler, and one of my co-workers was this Russian guy named Dmitri. Dmitri’s family was originally from Moscow, they fled the soviet bloc in the 90s due to the political changes taking place and the sudden dramatic rise in the crime rate and corruption, as well as the higher cost of living. That’s all I really knew of his family’s situation. Dmitri himself seemed to wax nostalgic about the good-ole days growing up in Russia. He said ‘it wasn’t that bad.’ He was semi-built, but shorter than me by about seven or eight inches, had brown hair center-part and almost shoulder-length, to give you an idea what he looked like.
Dmitri and I actually had no reason to get along, he was my opposite in terms of what he did for fun and what his hobbies were. He tended to like really heavy rock and metal, either screaming lyrics or dumb shit like Saliva. You know, the guys responsible for that obnoxious ‘click-click boom’ song. He was also a car enthusiast, and would often tell me about his car, which was a Mazda RX-7. One time giving me a ride in his, he managed to achieve a speed of about ninety five miles per hour on the highway adjacent to our building. A ballsy move considering the speed limit was only forty five. Often these fairly one-sided conversations were about the supposed superiority of rotary engines to the standard, and he would often download engine sounds and play them at me, explaining the differences in great detail. To me all I heard was a bunch of obnoxious and loud noise, but his eyes seemed to light up with excitement every time, which I never understood why. In addition he had a tendency to really like clubs, and drinking. Especially drinking.
What we had in common was twofold. First we hated the working conditions we had to put up with at our place of employment. The wages were low for the technicians, even though not everyone could do what we did, but the sales people made about a thousand a week. We were barely making three hundred. We were working for Chinese Jews though, so perhaps some stereotypes can be true on occasion? To give you an idea, the owner was this old Chinese lady, who sat in an office filled with gold and jade statues and wall-hangings, behind a massive mahogany desk that had to at least have cost a small fortune because the top was surfaced with a jade slab. She would pull us in this office and tell us how they could not give us raises whenever we asked for better pay. I myself, worked there for almost four years without even a slight pay increase. They probably still wonder why I stopped showing up on time.