This is Worse than Santa Barbara

I was looking at the Czech television listing on the internet to prep my poor students for their next test with New! Improved! Real Life Material! Since they can now tell me from what time to what time, Czech TV Guide serves an actual purpose. It's always interesting to see what's being shown. Nova, which if I remember correctly, is not the highest brow of channels is showing today at 16.25 Jake and the Fatman. I had completely forgotten about the existence of this show until about five minutes ago.

It reminds me of the four months I spent in Russia. Every Russian I knew was obsessed with Santa Barbara. This was in 1996 so it had been off the air for a while here. When that fact was ascertained by a Russian, the next question was inevitably, "How does it end?" I've never seen an episode of Santa Barbara so I left quite a few disappointed Russians in my wake. My favourite, however, was when one of my colleagues was interviewed for a local Cheliabinsk (the region it's in is the red blotch on this map and here's the obligatory Wikipedia article about the city) newspaper. The headline was "This is Bart. He Doesn't Know how Santa Barbara Ends." The Russians must've deemed the whole lot of us absolutely useless.

I know that most of the families with which I lived wouldn't let me out after dark due to my uselessness. I always made it home. I just wasn't always so punctual. Most of the time it wasn't my fault. Who knew that the buses would stop running so early? And now that've I said that some horrible memories of St. Petersburg just popped into my head. That family was the only one that didn't worry about me getting lost. And that's not because I didn't get lost. I did. There's nothing more terrifying than the St. Petersburg suburbs after midnight when the trams have stopped running, you can't get off at your metro station because one broken escalator means the entire station is closed down, and when you finally get to about where you're going, you can't remember exactly which of the five gazillion fifteen-story buildings by which you're surrounded is the one you want. The lights were out and I was greeted by Archie, the homicidal dog, when I finally arrived home.

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