This winter a friend of
mine from Kharkov told me how fun it was to go to clubs and other fun
places alone. Then I got his words with a bit of scepticism. Why should
I go there alone, -- I thought, -- if I can go with my friends and have
a good time in a nice company? Yesterday quite suddenly on my way home I
stepped to the "Old times" club in the Baia Mare downtown to have one
When the evening was only beginning, the our from Canada asked a tester
and me to remain at work so that we fixed a major problem in one of our
products for Windows. The responsible programmer who had been trying to
fix it during whole the last week already went home, and it really
didn't make sense to expect him to come out with a quick solution. Thus,
he wasn't even called back to the office. The release of the product was
postponed because the program didn't function well under all the
flavours of Windows operating system. So as an "experienced developer" I
was asked to fix it asap, as usual. I had to remain in any case, but in
order to make the time pass easier, the tester colleague and I, each one
we ordered two bottles of beer and a pizza on firm. Then we got to work.
The error was of the programmers' favourite type of bugs, a "blinking"
one appearing here and there randomly. In such conditions it's
impossible to track an exact sequence of actions that cause the program
to work improperly and finally the whole OS to hang. For example, myself
I couldn't reproduce the bug at all. However, the tester managed to do
it all the time: in a crazy rythm he was opening and closing windows and
dialogs, causing the program to crash. The next time the application was
launched it used to say "Access violation in SKINBOXER.DLL" and didn't
run any further before the next reboot. Rest of programs, including the
Microsoft Visual Studio, worked unstable and after a couple of minutes
whole the system went to hell.
From all of this crap I only managed to figure out the following thing:
the program was crashing because of the skins library we actively used
in our products. It's a set of ActiveSkin and SkinBoxer. As soon as I
commented out the library calls the evil tester guy couldn't reproduce
it anymore and the program worked just perfectly. Since we were
registered customers of the skin engine, the only suitable solution was
to write to the tech support of the company who created it. Looking for
their e-mail address, I found out that the guys
were Romanians and their office was located in Sibiu. So I wrote a
bug-report in Romanian. And it meant the end of the work.
By 12pm the idea to spend the evening at home in front of my computer
turned out into a nonsense. After 15 hours in front of the monitor I
didn't feel like writing or programming anything. Colleagues, however,
were not too enthusiastic about having more beer: the one we stayed in
the office with went home, and another one didn't want to go out, at
least he told me so when I phoned him. When I saw the "Old times" club
on my way home I realized that here I'd definitely drink a beer. Also it
was a place we went out with the guys quite often.
Hope you can imagine what a night club in a small city means. "Old
times" here is one of 5 decent places. By decent I mean no "manele" (aka
gipsy pop) music, and its listeners -- guys dressed in jumpsuits. They
rarely are likely to hurt you, but the music is quite awful. That's the
As to the music, "Old times" is the most advanced place here. You can
hear rock, rock'n'roll, country a bit of pop here, but never "manele" or
"house". Plus there is an age limitation on the entrance -- under 18 not
welcome. The interior is not that great: there is a bar, a room where
people dance between tables (no special floor for dancing), the half of
all chairs are made of plastic. Yeah, quite a provincial look, but the
city itself is far from being captial, having only about 150 thousand
people population. Under the ceiling there is the American (!) flag.
It's a part of the Romanian mentality, so there is nothing to be
surprised about. Now all of them are Amerians. The fact that they live
in Romania is not important, because virtually they are already There.
The flag is the only thing that really exasperates me in the club.
Finally I sat on the bar and ordered a beer. Then looking at the dancing
ones, was thinking about local root exploits in Unix and enjoying the
taste of the best dark beer in Romania called "Ursus".
Staying aside without active participation in the happening, it's
possible to make many interesting observations. I wouldn't had noticed
such a lot of interesting details if I was having fun with my friends.
However, on my own I could notice many funny things.
For example, there are girls who go to the club almost all the time. If
they woudln't be that "starish" (like movie stars or something) I could
say hi to them every time we met. Really, every time I come they're
there. And every time with different guys. As far as I understood the
majority of their "friends" are Italians, who are on business here.
Something related to factories of clothing, co-owners or something like
that. Besides them there are not a lot of foreigners in the city. Maybe
only another one, an American who's a "Pease corps" (peace corpse :)
member. I read an interview with him in a local news-paper, and the next
they saw him in the street. Then I realised what it's like to leave in a
small place. As to the starishness of the ladies from "Old times", it's
just infinite. Just like an experiment, once I decided to try to talk to
them during one of my previous visist to the club. Actually I suspected
it before that I was an empty place and a complete nonentity, but I
didn't really think it was that bad.. Just one glance was enough to
confirm my worst anxieties..
Nothing new about the regular goers ladies. That time they didn't even
dance. But also, there was a much more interesting observation, after
which I decided to give a free of charge advice to all party girls. Dear
ladies, if you want to attract attention, do not excel in various
dresses. There is no need to spend money on such stupid things. Man is
made so that power of attraction is inversely proportional to the amount
of clothes you have on. This means just come to clubs naked! It works.
And here's how it was. Two girls entered, one of them was dressed in a
close sports shirt and minimal shorts. On her legs she had sandals. That
was all, and there was no need for anything else, because all the men's
stares are already yours (mine too, for I'm just a human). By the way,
it's important that sitting on a chair you should put your foot on it
too, so that all could see how nice your legs look without cellulite.
Nice girl, good and original approach to dressing. 100 points.
Here I would appologize for physiological details, but just after the
second beer was open, I had to think about going to the toilet. Since
there were a lot of people already in the club, it was possible that by
the moment of my return the chair would be occupied by someone else.
That's why I talked to a guy who was sitting next to me at the bar and
asked him to watch my chair and beer. He replied me in a very twised
Romanian saying he didn't actually speak Romanian, because he was
English. Ok, Englishmen, -- I thought. "Please watch my chair and the
beer while I'm away".
In the toilet my cell rang. On the phone there was a Romanian girl who I
decided not to meet with anymore because of her passivity. I really
cannot communicate with people who cannot maintain a small talk. It's
just the same as saying various pathetic monologues. Maybe she's too shy
or maybe thinks slowly, but I had enough. But then she phoned me to say
she was sorry and she apologized for such a behaviour. I answered that
if she really wanted to aplologize she had to come. No problem.
After coming back to the bar I decided to find out what such an exotic
human being did in a small Romanian city in Carpathians. For as I said
it before, usually there are not a lot of foreigners in such places. For
example, in Iasi we had a big company which we were calling General
Assembly of the ONU. But here all the time I'm among Romanians. The guy
said his name was Ben and he was a volunteer developing some social
programs and teaching management to the locals. As to the social
programs, it commented it immediately the following way: "Now I
understand why their society sucks" (was kidding, of course). Because of
such an answer Ben could hardly help falling down the bar laughing. I
was in good spirits and we continued talking. When it came to the
foreign languages, Ben said that Russian was the language he'd like to
learn how to shout it. Shout. Strange guy. I told him about my friends
from London who seriously thought that they didn't have to learn
languages, and even opposite, whole the world had to know English. Then
Ben said he agreed with that, and I propsed him to try to talk English
to anyone in the place. He became sad, said "Yes, I know I'm an alien
here" and sipped beer.
During some more time I was making some fun of the Englishman
accidentally met in a club with various jokes about the West. He didn't
feel offended. Then the strange Romanian lady came, and we exchanged our
phone numbers with Ben. It was late, and the next day was Friday, still
a working one. And that's actually how one of my evenings here was.