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Protests, Shops, Heavy Things and Getting Stuck in a Toilet

There are a few things going on right now, two being personal matters, one having to do with protests, but they’re not over yet and I just have to post something here now, so I’ll leave them for later. Didn’t sleep much today anyway, after waking up at 8:45 AM to watch the season’s first Formula E race and then being woken up shortly after I had managed to fall asleep again and unable to get back to sleep after that, and tomorrow there’s another protest which I should probably attend, though today’s events make me wonder how that will turn out. Many will be there this evening too, but that’s not for me, all things considered.

Getting back to Sunday, since I tried to avoid mixing things again in the protest report, I didn’t mention then that, since I took the metro, I went to the toilet at Victoriei station and got stuck inside a stall. The door handle was broken but the mechanism apparently still worked, clicking closed as I closed the door behind me, and leaving me trapped inside. I tried to grab the door from above and below, pulling as hard as I could, but all I managed to do was peel off a bit of skin from the palm of my right hand. That’s actually quite troubling, getting injured in the door of a public toilet, but I didn’t even notice right away, being too focused on trying to get out and then needing to shout that I was stuck inside.
What makes things worse is that I could have opened the door myself if I’d have thought about it, but I didn’t, so after someone else who was there asked whether I was serious and then said he will in just a moment when I asked whether he could call someone to help, I saw a key in the hole left by the broken handle. That was too small, so he then asked others whether they had any larger ones, but I didn’t think to use mine even then, though one definitely should have been large enough, instead trying to use the pen I had in my pocket and not managing anything. So I just waited another moment, until someone else offered a larger key, which was used to turn the mechanism and easily open the door. I was obviously both scared by having had to interact and embarrassed by the whole situation, but none of the others there seemed to care, even seeming to largely ignore my thanks, the one who I think opened the door actually going to another stall the instant he saw me step out, so I basically thanked his back.
It was only after that, when I washed my hands, that I noticed the blood. In fact, I’m not sure there was blood right away, but I immediately felt something in that palm that seemed to be hardened skin and I pulled at it, after which there definitely was blood. So no idea whether that was some sort of splinter or a flap of skin which had been cut loose by something or who knows what else, but I just wanted to get out of there, so I didn’t spend too much time washing it in what seemed to be the only working sink in the men’s section. Did wash a bit more in the sink that’s in between, not in any of the sections, and the bleeding seemed to have mostly stopped by then, but there was no soap there and I at least wanted to use some soap, so after going up I made my way to the single public toilet I know of in the Victory Square area, waited since there were a couple of others ahead of me, and then had to go back out after only washing with a bit more water, since there was no soap there either and it even refused to let me use as much water as I wanted, the system not turning it back on after a few jets, no matter how much I held or waved my hands under the sensor. So I only finally used soap when I went to the toilet at the nearby Starbucks, which happened some time later, since I was just getting even more embarrassed by the whole thing and went to hide myself among the protesters who were already there and behind my camera for a while.
Put some medicinal alcohol there when I got back, but that was hours later, and a local infection is not the only concern when it comes to such places. Plus, pretty much anything I do touches that spot and it’s not exactly healing well either. The small area that’s redder and slightly swollen didn’t get bigger, but the dull pain remains, it definitely bothers me when I touch it, and what I took to be a scab may actually be a bit of skin which either was left in the middle, the scratch only tearing away a tiny strip around it, or was somehow newly formed directly in the middle, because the outer edges are being pushed up as the wound is trying to heal and I can’t seem to pick at that bit in the middle, which now forms the bottom of a hole in the skin of my hand, and which is also a rather odd color. Today I even tried to use the tip of a small knife, which I had passed through fire first, to get under it and pull it up, but there seemed to be no way to do it, not without actually pushing the knife into my flesh. So I guess it’s clear that I’ll at least be left with a scar there, but hope it will otherwise heal and it won’t be any worse than that.

Back to Sunday, after a start like that, I was worried about the rest of the evening. However, the protest itself went well, those issues with the mounted gendarmes shortly after the start of the march not affecting me and being over quickly either way, so as time went on I was relaxing… Ending up perhaps a bit too relaxed at one point, when I was on the sidewalk, on a section that has a fence at the edge, and I spotted a sign I wanted to take a picture of, so I went under that fence instead of over it and apparently that caused my little notebook, which was in the pocket of my jacket at the time, to fall out without me noticing it. Fortunately, as soon as I had taken that picture, somebody tapped me on the shoulder and handed it to me, saying he doesn’t know what it is but it fell. Even more fortunately, the metro and bus cards were still in it, but I also had the pencil there and that wasn’t anymore. Yet pretty much as soon as I turned around and started looking for it, someone else said he saw a pencil fall next to the sidewalk too, and it was still there when I made my way back to that spot. So I didn’t lose anything, and found once again that people can be nice and helpful too.

Moving on to Wednesday, I started the day with this week’s run, the time being 48:19, with intermediate times of 4:21, 5:10, 5:55, 4:26, 5:04, 5:53, 4:34, 5:07, 5:59 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:26, 15:23 and 15:40. It was quite cold, with a reported high around 6°C, so I wore my jacket on the way to and from the park, tying it around my waist while running, but it was sunny and there was little wind, so it was fine otherwise. There will come a time when I’ll need to resort to the same measures as last winter, and when my times will get worse as a result, maybe even before there will be any snow or ice and I highly doubt I’ll even manage to stay under 50 minutes, but that time didn’t come yet.

Though I didn’t actually intend to go even as I was running, I eventually ended up going to buy some things after the run. My parents hadn’t left me anything that day and I could delay getting something for myself for one more day, hoping they’ll leave something by then, but my mother had left a list mentioning a large bag of laundry detergent, fabric softener, 12 liters of sunflower oil and cat food and I thought I could find better offers if I checked the hypermarkets, while dad would have probably just bought from the first one he thought of, possibly using the car and therefore paying for fuel as well. And I did have enough set aside for other things, so assuming that they will cover what I’ll spend and more, I decided to just get it over with, at least for those things, since I still meant to get something for myself the next day.
Grabbed 14 plastic bottles as well, first going to the hypermarket that has that machine, and which doesn’t list their offers anywhere, as I knew some offers for the others. And this time I actually found it working, got it to accept 11 of them and actually used the ticket too, those rejected being two small beer bottles and one normal water bottle which somehow ended up sideways as it was being pulled inside, prompting it to display a message that it was rejected and not counting it even though, after struggling for a while, it did manage to pull it and I heard it being crushed inside. The large wine bottles required a few attempts though, as it initially refused the first one I tried, twice, but then I tried to put another in in yet another way and it worked, so I then just did the same for the other two, as in including that first one.
That done, I went in, got some bread and one other small thing for myself, then checked the prices for the things on the list and found that the detergent and the cat food were cheaper than they should have been in the other places and the oil was cheaper than the cheapest Romanian brand on offer elsewhere, and I always try to avoid imported food if it’s something that can be produced here as well. So I bought all of that, getting the largest bag of detergent, 13 kg, since that offered the best price per kilogram. Then I checked out, at first accidentally giving the cashier only two thirds of the amount and noticing that she seemed ready for an argument when she pointed it out. But it had been just a mistake, so I checked what I had left, apologized and offered the rest.
The problem was that I had only taken one large and sturdy bag, not planning to buy the heavy things in one place like that, so even though they provide that free bus and therefore getting here wasn’t the problem, just getting to the bus was, the handle of the already weakened bag I had used for the plastic bottles breaking after only a few steps. Since I had nowhere else to put the oil, I just tore a hole somewhere lower and getting my hand through there allowed me to walk the rest of the way, though I had to stop a couple of times before getting there, a total of 26 kg being a bit much. It didn’t also allow me to get from where the bus stops here to the door though, even that makeshift “handle” tearing before I even reached the building entrance, so I then walked up the stairs while holding just the other one and the pieces of this one, and then even those tore away completely. But I was only a couple of steps away from the door by then, so I managed.
Once here, I just dropped the things in the kitchen, stuffed the other recyclables in the torn bag, and went back out, heading for a second hypermarket, where I knew the fabric softener should have been cheaper and I had also seen an offer for black radishes ending that day. So I dropped those recyclables off, along with the bag, on the way, then bought those things, some lemons and another small thing for myself, and got back. Unfortunately I saw slightly cheaper lemons the next day, but what’s done is done.

Speaking of the next day, went back Thursday, though I first visited the other nearby hypermarket, which I hadn’t bothered with on Wednesday, because I needed batteries and while I normally really avoid them, batteries are one thing I stick to a store brand for, and that’s theirs. And while the price listed in front of the pack of 12 on the shelf was the one I knew, as I looked around I noticed a price that was almost a quarter lower, listed as being for the same type, placed where the smaller kind were, plus another discounted price listed for the packs of four. Could find only one pack of four left, but I grabbed that and one of 12 and checked them at the nearest scanner, finding that the cheaper price did indeed apply to the pack of 12, and it resulted in a slightly lower price per unit than for the pack of four, so I got it… And also found a couple of small coins on the floor.
But returning to that other hypermarket was quite profitable as well, first because on both days I found a cart left at the entrance of the mall it’s in and I carried it back down, grabbing the coin in each once I set them back in their place. And then I found that the packs of yogurt I was looking for were back on the shelf, after having been gone the previous evening, and the listed price was the same one, so I grabbed one. However, when I scanned it I saw that the price it showed was 0.99 RON higher, so as if somebody had added 0.01 instead of 1.00 to the label, compared to what may have been an earlier price.
Normally I just put back anything I see scanning at a higher price, but I only had yogurt for a few more days and that was the best offer anyway, so I took it and tried to see what will happen, stating that the price was lower on the shelf after the cashier scanned it. She said she just scanned a code, at most she can ask someone to check, so I said I’d want that, she had someone come to cancel the transaction so she’ll be able to keep the line going while I waited, and probably some ten minutes later the employee I had seen in that area came with a bunch of price labels for other things. That struck me as odd, as he could have just grabbed one from the product itself, but when he asked me to confirm how much it had been on the shelf he actually stated a lower price. I corrected him, though not entirely accurately, accidentally saying a price that was exactly 1 RON lower than the scanned one, so 0.01 RON lower than what was listed, but instead he told the cashier to scan the first label he had brought, which was for some sort of processed meat product that was more than 1 RON cheaper than even that, apologizing repeatedly. And when I pointed out that I’ll actually be getting it even cheaper than it says on the shelf, the cashier also said that it was their mistake, so it’s fine.

Little gains overall, and dad probably paid more in addition to what I’d have paid if I’d have bought those things as well on what he got that evening from small stores nearby, but I’ve been a little ant here lately and anything at all is useful, as what he did leave me Thursday just covered for what I had taken from what I had saved, leaving me to manage until the middle of December with less than half of what I planned to spend during this time, that being the difference between that amount and what I spent on what was on that list. With what I already spent for myself now, I hardly have anything left, but I sure don’t want to dig into that amount again, because even the basic version of the plan I have for the end of the year or the start of 2018, depending on the offers I’ll find, requires a fair bit more than what I have now, so I sure won’t be getting anywhere if I remove anything instead of adding. And yes, I really feel filthy for writing all of this about money, considering how much I despise the very concept and wish it’d be done away with!

As for yesterday, a protest was announced for that evening as well, on top of the Sunday one, since December 1 is Romania’s National Day. The event text listed all the issues that have been on the agenda of activists and protesters lately, but also more general matters like healthcare, education and the millions of Romanians who left to work abroad, though it admittedly included no actual demands, which was pointed out by one of the activists I follow. In addition, Bucharest’s mayor had suddenly “invented” a third Christmas fair, organized in just a few days and intended to take place in Victory Square between December 5 and 17, with the area being blocked for three more days before and after that period for the required work. Since no plans for such a fair had been known before, there had not been such a fair in Victory Square in previous years, the area being poorly suited for such events anyway, and another request for an event of this sort had actually been denied earlier, it’s obvious that the only reason for this was to stop the protests from taking place there these days, since you can’t legally have two such events in the same place.
So, even though I really didn’t feel like attending that December 1 protest when it was announced and it was going to rain as well, I ended up going after all. Didn’t even shave, hadn’t since Saturday, and got there over 20 minutes after the announced start time of 6 PM, but I went, and actually stayed until 8:30 PM, by which time most had already left, the reports I found stating that the protest had pretty much ended some ten minutes later. And I also took a bunch of pictures, even though I didn’t exactly mean to do that either, not even after getting there. Just not in the mood for it, plus that it was raining as well, albeit lightly, and I didn’t even have a plastic bag with me to try to cover the camera a bit, so I was concerned for it too. But in the end I broke through that mood just enough while there, and actually even managed to take all those pictures without putting in the new pair of batteries I had taken with me, using just the two used ones that I also had. Or in fact just one, as the first died after just one picture and wouldn’t work again, but the second kept springing back to life as I switched the positions and shook them and blew on them a little whenever the camera told me to change them.


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