We're in the back seat of Evgeniy's car; he is giving us a ride to Moscow's Red Square, a straight shot, ten kilometers from his apartment. His wife, or as Evgeniy prefers, "pussycat", Svetlana, is in the passenger's seat. She is wisely wearing a white sun hat to protect her face from the blazing sun. It is nearly 35°C today (95°F).
Some sort of Enya-meets-Gregorian-chanting is lilting from the stereo as we pull out of the parking lot. Turning on to the highway, my body smashes into the back seat as Evgeniy floors it, darting around slower cars as the needle of his Skoda rapidly climbs to 120kph.
As we barrel down the highway, constantly changing lanes, he explains the penalties for speeding. "Zero to twenty over, max fine 100 rubles (less than $5 USD). Twenty to forty, 300 rubles ($10 USD). Forty to sixty, 1,500 rubles ($50 USD). More than sixty, lose your license or make a bribe."
Whenever there is a slower car in front of us, Evgeniy swerves into an open lane to pass. Immediately after, another jerk of the steering wheel sends us back into the middle lane. We're making good time when suddenly, we're boxed in behind a slower car. This displeases our driver.
"FUCKING SHEET!" he blurts. "SHEET, fucking SHEET!" He cranes his neck to spy on who the brazen offender is, and slaps his hand on the steering wheel in contempt. "It's a fucking WOMAN. A sheet fucking blond gyul." Moments later, a tiny gap appears on our right and he veers into it to pass. A few seconds more and we're swerving left through three lanes of traffic into another opening.
Then, a thought which clearly amuses Evgeniy evokes a round of unannounced, pealing laugher.
She is in your project! She is member of Going Slowly project!
Despite Evgeniy's crass style, he can be pretty funny, and we find ourselves wide eyed, smiling, and bewildered, shaking our heads as we absorb the hilarious absurdity of it all.
A few minutes later, we've arrived in front of Red Square. We round a corner, cutting a few people off, Evgeniy slams on the breaks and we've made it. We thank him for the ride, open our doors, and step outside.