Long look to America

3 April 2024

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Stanislav KondrashovLong look to AmericaFrom the authorThe word is the work of the writer. What is written is done. As it is written, so it is done.And what is not written is not done. And what has not been done can be done not with a hasty author's preface, but with a new word, a new book.Why does the hand still reach for the preface?This book is special for me. It includes three of more than a dozen of my books about the USA, the three that I consider the main ones. They were written over the past fifteen years, at intervals of approximately five years each. In the form of personal impressions, sensations, thoughts and inevitable memories, they reflect more. than twenty years of experience in understanding the country in which I had the opportunity to live for eleven years, doing the work of a newspaper correspondent, and then visit many times. The last of the included books, even in its title, indicates a certain outcome of all this - the journey of an Americanist. Not immediately and unnoticed by me, my life became the life of an Americanist, that is, a person writing about America.Each of the three books was written separately, without any thought of continuation. But life continued, again and again giving birth to the need to express what did not fit on the newspaper page. I didn't think about a continuation, but the result was a kind of trilogy with internal echoes and connections between its New York and California parts, with the logic of the development of the author's view of America, himself, and the world.The poet embraced the immensity, saying that books are written about time and about oneself. I also write about a century and a person - about the nuclear age and about a person who found himself at the junction of two nuclear powers, his own and someone else's. This is a long look at America by a Russian Soviet man. And at the same time, an Americanist's view of his country.Every socially minded person seeks his own path to the Fatherland and his native people. Due to the current circumstances of my life, I was looking for it in the most complete, sincere, reliable description of America and Americans and that era that connected us with the chains of a common fate, a common semblance of survival.How far this path has been found, how far it has been traveled, the reader will determine - to the best of his understanding and generosity.GlareNew YorkCommon wordNew York... When I try to take a closer look and listen to this word, it seems strange - whether it's a matter of Tula or Kaluga. And yet it was extremely familiar. It was and remains. I passed through Tula only once, I must admit, I didn't see Kaluga, and I lived in New York, working as a correspondent for Izvestia, for six and a half years. Then he returned to America for another five years and, working in the same capacity in Washington, often visited New York.The very first New York impressions, dating back to November 1961, are so crushed by the weight of time that it is difficult to separate them from the many that followed. There were no direct flights, we flew by Aeroflot to Paris, there we boarded an Air France plane, the already long hours of flight across the Atlantic lasted even longer - pre-jet speed, and I barely remember how we boarded at Ildewild International Airport (now named after John Kennedy). The first impression of the customs hall in the International Arrivals building was also forgotten, although this hall should have been remembered: it is large and two-story, greeters look from the glass gallery of the second floor, and before their eyes, like magicians in a circus arena, customs officers open and gut the suitcases of arrivals below , exposing their contents to public view is an unexpected initial element of familiarization with a country where they care so much about privacy - the individual's right to a solitary life, closed from prying eyes (which, however, does not exclude the dominance of publicity and advertising).From that first evening long ago, my memory retained more sensations than pictures. When we left the terminal building, Kozhei felt the sticky humidity of the air, reminiscent of the proximity of the ocean, and his nostrils caught the special sweetish-sour spirit of gasoline fumes, precisely New York fumes, mixed with the New York air and inseparable from it. On the way from the airport to the city, the feeling of a sharp, clear pace came and was very memorable - one of the most persistent and pervasive American sensations. The American car was running elastically and powerfully along the eight-lane Grand Central Parkway, the rear lights of other cars were burning ruby ahead, behind the median strip, a luminous river of car headlights was rushing, the light of the lanterns was cold and harsh, the tires rustled as if in silence, and through the radio, uniting everything - the running of cars, the rustling of tires, and the surgical light of night lamps - the abrupt, detached, bewitching rhythm of jazz burst in. It was an introduction to the theme of tempo, the long saga of American roads over which tens of thousands of miles would be traveled.I associate another strong feeling of the first evening with an old, college-age, close friend who once treated me, a homeless student who came to Moscow from Gorky, to porridge in a university dormitory, where he himself lived on bird's rights, with whom he shared the same language the group crammed English, hammered away at the granite of science, sweated while preparing for summer exams in hot classrooms near the Crimean Bridge, and in five years of studying, as the proverb goes, they ate a pound of salt together. Now he was a New York old-timer, head of the TASS department. It was he who met us at the airport and took us to the apartment of my predecessor, Izvestia correspondent Nikolai Karev, who had already left for Moscow. And he surprised and upset me that first evening with some incomprehensible, coldish, as it seemed, remoteness: he met me, brought me, sat for a while, drank a glass or two and - hello, take a break from the road! - although I didn't want to rest, but to have a heart-to-heart talk, to cleave to a living, familiar soul in a city where everything was new and alien and where I had to get used to it and live. "What are you doing, brother!" - I just wanted to shout after him when, with an encouraging wave of his hand goodbye, he disappeared into the elevator, fell down, went to his car, which he barely stuck among the others at the side of Eighty-seventh Street, and left us alone. But I refrained from reproaching-and I did the right thing. He was the same wonderful person, Gennady Shishkin, and many unforgettable hours awaited us ahead. It's just that everyone is saturated with what surrounds them. It didn't take me long to realize that my friend already had New York inside him, with its pace and rhythm, with its way of life. But New York has not yet moved into me. Over time, the reproach that I resisted that evening could be thrown - sometimes friends did, carried by fate to the city, where - I, too, was slowly becoming an old-timer.This is how my New York life began.The newspaperman has no time to look around leisurely. Four days later I sent my first note to the editor. the days ran by, turning into weeks and months. There was too much work to do; it made time pass faster. Thick, at first unusual newspapers and magazines, the attracting and repelling intrusive world of the American television screen, the halls and corridors of the UN, where I was accredited along with hundreds of other foreign and American journalists, day and night vigils in the press gallery of the Security Council, gray, slightly rough and, alas, countless sheets of UN press bulletins... Seas and mountains of information that had to be - professional jargon - shoveled... A correspondent works like a battery, but must be discharged - with ready-made material - just as quickly and intensively as he is charged with information . I had to unload late at night, when working morning had already begun in Moscow, by taking the next correspondence to the telegraph office or dictating it to the patient and extremely helpful Izvestia stenographers.How many days does a tourist have to spend in New York? Four, five, a week? But I am ready to envy his relaxedness: he drives, walks, stares. The soul and brain are completely given over to the spontaneous perception of new things. And for our brother correspondent, time belongs not to what is nearby, but to what is needed right now, for work - events. They own your time, even if they take place at the end of the world. Eternal haste, like a haze before your eyes, prevents you from even looking closely at the city where you live, if this city is not today's topic, not what you are working on. With all this, immersed in my business, I entered the circle of life in New York as one of its residents.The metaphorical word - skyscraper - has become its own, not abstract skyscrapers, but concrete buildings with proper names: "Empire State", "Chrysler", "RCA Building" in Rockefeller Center, "Time and Life Building", " General Motors Building"... I walked near the New York skyscrapers just as easily, day after day, as I walk in Moscow under the poplars and linden trees of Tverskoy Boulevard. How many times in the evenings, rushing in a car to the airport or returning from there, have I seen from the Triborough Bridge the famous, fantastic, unique line of the Manhattan skyline in the world, cut through by luminous columns of giant buildings against the backdrop of an alarming sky. Having stood in line, not so long and well organized in an American way, in just a few seconds I could fly up to the 86th floor of the then tallest Empire State Building, and then to the 102nd floor, so that in a crowd of others lovers of heights and panoramic views can see, if fog or smog does not interfere, the geometrically clear clearings of Manhattan streets, the large green patch of Central Park interspersed with lakes, the Brooklyn roofs running towards the ocean, the graceful half-necklaces of suspension bridges on the bays and straits, ships and piers on Hudson and the East River and the continental, endless expanses in the west, beyond the Hudson, reminding that New York was born and grew as the first pier and the largest gateway of America...But we'll give the panoramas to tourists with their few days in New York. Having become a settled resident, I saw more of the city, without looking away from Mother Earth, encased in concrete and asphalt, through the crowds on the sidewalks, cursing in traffic jams.In New York, as everywhere else, everything flows and everything changes. Sometimes faster than in other places. Something always happens, noticeably scandalous, sensational - it's loud, there's an explosion and an image, a yardstick and engine of newspaper headlines. No crises. You realize with your own eyes that life is a struggle on the streets of New York. From the piles of plastic and paper bags growing near the corrugated tin bins on the edges of the sidewalks, you can guess, even without newspapers and a TV screen, that garbage collectors are on strike, refusing to chew the abundant waste of the "consumer society" with the powerful jaws of their clumsy-looking, but well-designed machines (of this type cars are now found in Moscow courtyards). When the dark green plywood kiosks are empty and bored kioskers in aprons with the names of newspapers stomp around them, it means that the printers' union has built another strike barricade in the path of the inexorable scientific and technological revolution, entered into another life-and-death battle with the publishers who are replacing people computers - during my years in New York, half the newspapers there fell victim to these battles, reducing - for better or worse - an exorbitant quota of monotonous but deceptively significant daily reading.Everything flowed and everything changed - from mayors to fashion. Women's styles and hairstyles were updated faster, but male mayors did not stay long in City Hall, lost among the masses of new municipal buildings, they were kicked out by dissatisfied residents of the city, which, everyone complained, was becoming ungovernable. Skyscrapers grew like mushrooms, also obeying architectural fashions; morals went wild. In the magnificent new cultural complex Lincoln Center, the opera house was decorated with Chagall's colorful stained glass windows, and storefronts throughout the city were barred with iron bars at night to prevent theft and vandalism. Of course, the most active were the young people. In Greenwich Village the rearguards of the beatniks had melted away, but exotic and anarchic hippie regiments were already storming the American way of life - only to disappear in their turn. Unforeseen events happened - and suddenly, for a short moment, millions of separated people were united by one misfortune. One day, a certain gigantic electrical plug burned out, and, as if enveloped in a wartime blackout, all of New York was plunged into frightening darkness, and traffic controllers with flashlights stood at the intersections, and some enterprising boys, not missing an opportunity, sold candles on the streets, and In our house, for the first time, residents walked between floors along the stairs, rather than riding in elevators, and the stairs were illuminated by the meager flickering lights of candles in glass bowls. One hot, long summer, the city's reservoirs located north of New York became dangerously shallow, residents were persuaded to take showers less often and save water when shaving in the morning, and in another hot, long summer, black riots in Harlem flared up like forest fires, and, lowering the temperature of passions, the authorities allowed black boys to open fire hydrants, and the guys splashed in the streams of this reserved water, watering passing cars, and white people in cars, rolling up the windows, fearing the worst, silently resigned themselves to this black mischief.I wasn't looking for personal dramatic experience, but it accumulated naturally over time in a city where human paths and destinies intricately intersect.One day, while taking an evening exercise with a colleague, we got into a shootout on Broadway in the area of 60th Street: on the opposite side of the street, a man got out of a taxi and - immediately - a policeman jumped out of a green police car sneaking behind the taxi; the man ran, the policeman followed him, ordering him to stop; the man turned around and fired as he walked, and the bullet flew in our direction; The policeman also fired and did not miss; when we came closer, the policeman was sitting astride the prostrate enemy, without his cap, still not cooled down after the moment of mortal danger, still trembling with excitement and not getting the Colt, which had done its job, into the holster; then, grabbing him by the collar, he dragged the wounded man to the car, which his partner had driven, and, grabbing the head of the radiotelephone, shouted something; less than five minutes later, about a dozen police cars flew in with sirens (that same evening, from television reports, we learned that we had witnessed the end of an entire detective story, that a bandit who had robbed a cafe-diner during the day and killed a policeman who was trying to detain).And another time, we ourselves found ourselves in a detective story and on the pages of New York newspapers, which showed no sympathy and condescendingly laughed at us: having broken open the door, unknown persons committed a theft in the Izvestia office office, and we had to watch the New York detectives in action, who, looking for fingerprints, sprinkled some white powder on dark objects and dark powder on light ones, but never caught anyone... Is it possible to exhaust all the general and personal chronicles of those years?I won't forget the taste of a hot dog sausage with sauerkraut stuffed into an oblong bun and topped with mustard from a red plastic bottle at the Berlin Bar at Eighty-sixth Street and Second Avenue. I will not forget the taste of a national American tragedy - the assassination of President Kennedy, when the shock did not discourage the desire for spectacle, and mourning gave rise to the commerce of mourning. The juxtaposition of these two examples, far from each other, may jar, but both are from the same life, and I deliberately put them side by side so that the reader would think about how great the amplitude of New York and American impressions in general is for a person who, voluntarily and unwittingly, accumulated them over the course of years . It is large and not as monotonously measured as the swings of the Foucault pendulum: hanging from the ceiling in one of the spacious UN halls, it clearly proves the rotation of the Earth to its diverse inhabitants..."Our years are running, changing, changing everything, changing us," Pushkin wrote with the exquisite simplicity of wisdom. Looking back, I see that I learned to understand New York, but I didn't want to accept it, and I didn't learn that, with the excitement of my still-unlived youth, I fought senseless and exhausting battles with it. The city, naturally, had no idea about these battles. There was no way I could emerge victorious from them. Perhaps only now, having moved away from New York and calmly thinking about the past years, have I fully grasped the simple truth of those years: I was a stranger in a city that had brought together millions of people so that each of them would feel their loneliness more acutely. New York is the consummate master of alienation, that painful affliction of the 20th century.Every year I went on vacation from New York to Moscow, like a person who almost suffocated under water and madly jumped to the surface. But I must admit that in the 70s, living in Washington, four to five hours by car from New York, I began to look at it differently. It's good where we are not. I felt the magnetic attraction of this city and, if you like, its breadth and democracy when I compared it with the narrow world of Washington political ambitions. I was drawn to New York, and how familiar this road to the north became, two hundred and forty miles long, with its free and toll highways, two long tunnels - under the Chesapeake Bay at Baltimore and under the Hudson at the entrance to Manhattan, with the Delaware Memorial Site , next to which they placed the same, hunchbacked and huge twin - one bridge was no longer enough for the flow of cars. Returning, I perceived the city calmer, perhaps sadder - as a great stage of avenues and streets, where many different human characters and types participate in the naked and hidden dramas and tragicomedies of American life.I don't know if this calmer look would have remained if I had had the chance to sit on this stage for a long time again. The impressions of a resident and a visiting person, as usual, do not coincide...I repeat: in the order of my correspondent tasks, New York was far from first. Of the hundreds of large and small newspaper materials that I sent from there, perhaps no more than two dozen were about the city itself. But there was a desire to write about it clearly, a sort of cavalry desire of a newspaperman to put modern Babylon into a short, simple formula, a desire that was impossible to achieve and therefore teased and tormented even more. He brought plump bags to Moscow with newspaper and magazine clippings reflecting the New York chronicle of those years. Unnecessary, they lay in cardboard boxes for a long time. Having started to work on these notes, he removed and opened the packages and, after sorting through the yellowed clippings, breathing in the acrid dust of old newspapers, put them aside. There is a lot of interesting stuff in them, but all these are the eyes and testimonies of others, and not my own. But my own sketches and notes, unfortunately, turned out to be few. Nevertheless, I decided to limit myself to these alone as source material, abandoning the unrealizable and overly ambitious dream of summing up New York and offering the reader these modest scattered notes. These faces of New York that I saw. Or glare. Gleaming, like ripples on water, the transient and returning expressions of his face - and his nature...Another worldA person moves from place to place not only in his physical integrity, given to him from birth, and not only with his belongings, but also with those invisible, weightless suitcases, inaccessible to any customs control, in which his thoughts and feelings are constantly shuffled and shuffled , memory, the work of consciousness, his entire previous life. And when crossing the border, each of us, in addition to individual experience, takes with us (and cannot help but take) also the national and historical experience of our country and people. And no matter how true the old saying is, which forbids meddling with one's own rules into someone else's monastery, a person cannot and is not going to jump out of himself and, especially at first, judges an unfamiliar world by the laws and practices of his own, native world, taking out measurements and arshins from the mentioned invisible suitcases an interethnic, abstract, average foreigner, but a very specific Frenchman, a specific Japanese, a specific Bulgarian or Pole, a Brazilian or an Indian.In a word, tell me who you are before you begin your story. Tell me where you come from, and I will understand you better, even if I disagree, because I will know where you look at your subject from. The reader has the right to make this demand to the author, an international expert, when he embarks on some kind of, one might say, fantastic journey, to a place where not every reader has been and perhaps will be.To answer in detail and seriously is to write a long and perhaps more difficult story than notes about New York, in which two grandmothers with different faces and characters, but identically tied with handkerchiefs, and two grandfathers who left into workers from peasants, and the father, who served in the navy as part of the Komsomol recruitment of the mid-20s, and then worked for three decades at the Gorky Automobile Plant, and, of course, the mother - with her four-grade education and the great dream of bringing children into the people, giving they have a higher education, a brother with whom they ran to the reading room, a little sister, a school friend with whom, in competition, they learned Pushkin and Mayakovsky by heart, the deafening summer thunderstorms of childhood and long war winters and much, much more - from childhood, adolescence , adolescence and early adult years. Therefore, I will answer very briefly. In New York, without presenting it for customs inspection, I brought the invisible luggage of a specific 33-year-old Soviet Russian, who was born in the small hut town of Kulebaki (the closest historical landmark is Murom), lived in Gorky during the pre-war and war years, graduated from the Institute of International Relations in Moscow and managed to work for ten years at Izvestia, three and a half years of which as a correspondent in Cairo, from where, in fact, he was transferred overseas. Although the transformation from an Arabist to an Americanist awaited me, all this was not a preface to America, but life, one life, mixed with the life of a generation touched by the war and entering the world of adults in the 50s...And here is New York in the flesh... And in it there is another man with his own arshins... And another world of things and people surrounds and surrounds this man on all sides. And he demands to immediately determine the attitude towards him....Well, I laid out my pros and cons. You can't love skyscrapers, they're too cold and big for kisses and hugs. Excellent construction equipment (the 102-story Empire State was built in less than two years, in 1929-1931) and bare calculations, born of the high cost of Manhattan land, stand so close together that you can't see how tall one is. The Statue of Liberty may have been suitable as a symbol in those days when people sailed to New York and did not fly, but now this fifty-meter green and bronze lady with a torch and blind eye sockets stands in the harbor as a Kazan orphan. Wall Street in real life, a short old street lost in the stone bustle of Downtown, is not scary to look at, but dark and absurdly massive, like some piece of furniture from an American Sobakevich. The Metropolitan is a rich museum, a great pleasure, but there is almost nothing American in it, masterpieces of the Old World, bought up by the rich New World, fate throws out its deals with immortal creations. The solid gray big houses on Fifth Avenue, where the rich and famous people live, are distantly silent, looking at the lawns, trees, lakes and tame squirrels of Central Park. On the Bowery, shabby and overgrown tramps sleep huddled and drunkenly on the sidewalks; they run up to a car stopped at a red light, asking in impudent, hoarse voices for a quarter for beer. Union Square is a place of rallies, street chrysostoms, old people on benches. In bohemian Greenwich Village, cafes, shops, cabarets and people who not only live, but seem to play on stage, young actors, writers, artists eccentrically seek recognition - a strange center of warmth in the middle of a cold city, and, circling there in cars, a standard America is curious about homely Montmartre and eccentric compatriots who make money differently from everyone else. In Harlem you can drive and even walk along the main 125th Street, but it is better to leave it to the blacks and stay away. Chinatown is so lost in the labyrinths of Downtown that you won't find it right away: Chinese faces and script of hieroglyphs, paper lanterns decorating the streets with garlands, and strange roots and vegetables in the shops, unusual delicious food...I learned the ABCs of New York alone and with friends, most often with TASS correspondent Nikolai Turkatenko, who was also still a beginner. He compared everything in New York with lived-in, civilized London, from where he was transferred, he liked to repeat that... New York has its own special smell - men's cigars, women's perfume and gasoline. The smell was truly special - the smell of another life, with its contrasts and poles (there were clearly more than two), with its extraordinary diversity, multiplicity of everything and everyone - and at the same time internal uniformity.All the countless faces of New York had the same face - the face of a different, different life. It was unconsciously felt (and then more than once confirmed by experience) that the fine, prominent businessman, who, emerging from the entrance of the building with a polished copper sign board, walked with a confident, springy step towards the car, was a living superman with a courageous, sharply defined face, and that's all it is perfectly ironed, tied, polished, and the attaché case is in hand, in weight (that same flat "diplomat" suitcase that we now love so much that it displaces traditional briefcases) - that this superman and wild man, who does not remember himself , with the blue-colored, teary face of a Bowery drunkard, who sits swaying on the hard cast-iron stand of a fire hydrant, in wet pants, with a paper bag containing an unfinished glass flask of cheap liquor - both are molded from the same dough of this other life. Stop them, ask - and both, if they do not recoil from the unfamiliar foreigner, will talk about the same thing, in the same words - about American success and American equal opportunities (and the drunkard will blame not so much society as himself for the fact that these opportunities are not used), about dividing people into successful and unsuccessful. They will speak the language of the dollar and individualism. And in the speech of both, the successful and the lost, the superiority of the American over the foreigner will be evident.One of the capacious images of America, which appeared much later, is an American queue somewhere at the post office, at the employment office, at the social security department. They don't "pull" anywhere, don't push against each other, and keep a distance of about half a meter. And this is not just politeness, a sense of dignity, the size of the room that allows you to stand so freely, or the fact that queues are rare. This is everyone for himself, even when everyone is together, this is individualism and private initiative, which best take root in the soil of American freedom...New York was amazing with the dynamic power of things, big and small. There were no noble remains of antiquity, gray stones, which by their mere magical presence instill a sense of history and place each new generation in the ranks of the past and the past; New York monuments are numerous, but completely unnoticeable - as, in fact, monuments should be in a country where an important national characteristic is to live only for today. But it was striking that in terms of the physical mass of wealth accumulated over just three hundred years, this city was ahead of its much older and more respectable world brethren. In the material world, he seemed to claim the role of a prophet, albeit ridiculed and thrown with stones, but pointing out the road that others still have to do, and has already gone far along it.Skyscrapers are exotic New York. But even ordinary residential buildings, old, pre-war buildings, rose to 15-20 floors, and this was the usual average number of floors on Fifth, Central Park West, West End and other avenues (nowadays it is not uncommon for residential buildings there to be 30-35 floors). Cars... Bumper to bumper, a continuous, multi-colored and varied border they stretched, one might say; for hundreds of miles along the sides of all the avenues and streets, and there was nowhere to hide with your Chevrolet, and moving cars filled the narrowed pavements, and everywhere there were still canary-colored, checkered cabs (taxi); you wave your hand or whistle in the American style - and they are right there, stopping dead in their tracks, at full gallop, only the brakes of the cars behind them squeal; New York taxi drivers are the same tough people as Moscow ones, but without arguing or haggling, they always take you wherever you want. Supermarkets and department stores were bursting with products and goods, and these were not just well-known products and goods, but also many unknown outlandish ones, satisfying not the first or even the second need, but whims, other needs that had arisen incomprehensibly. The cult of things and goods acted, of course, as the most visible side of the cult of money, but the dollar itself was already afraid to appear in public in its natural form of green cash, preferring the indirect form of checks and various credit cards, which were stuffed into small and thick, almost square wallets. American, convenient and a guarantee against thieves. On Saturdays, long walks to the shops were - and remain - the same favorite American family hobby as sitting in the evening watching TV on weekdays.No, I was convinced, they didn't chase things in New York, they simply bought them, they seemed to chew them, just as mechanically as a glutton mechanically takes, and tastes, and eats everything that catches his eye, everything that is laid out on the table , unable to limit themselves, because the table is large and other gluttons are sitting at this table and also take, taste, chew, eat. Mass overeating was called a "consumer society"; in our country this term was still rarely used and was incomprehensible.In total there were masses, great, excessive numbers of pharmacies and banks, gas stations and auto repair shops, eateries and restaurants of every cuisine, shops and shops and shops and even more shops, hotels and brokerage houses, corporations and law firms, subway stations, newsstands and flower merchants, paid parking lots and multi-story underground and above-ground garages, public and private schools, colleges and universities (several), cinemas and theaters - Broadway and off-Broadway, Catholic cathedrals, Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues, hospitals and funeral homes, bookstores, where the windows are full of bestsellers with their short noisy lives, and inside there is always a place for classics from Homer to Chekhov, and many hundreds of bars where people, sitting in the twilight on one-legged, high, spinning stools, look for truth and salvation from loneliness in wine , fire trucks, which with burly firefighters in a greenish thick tarpaulin and shiny helmets, every now and then rushed by under the howl of sirens, making you shudder and think that the city was burning all the time, but for some reason did not burn to the ground, stalwart "cops" - policemen with pretentious plaques on dark blue cloth peacoats, trucks with carriage-sized trailers that miraculously fit into warehouses on narrow streets, delivery men with bicycle carts, metal posts at the edge of sidewalks with signs, signs, signs prohibiting or restricting the parking of cars, and metal posts with counters where coins are thrown in order to gain the right to leave a car at the side of the road for half an hour or an hour, without fear of finding a fine notice slipped under the windshield wipers upon return...In total there was a mass... And a mass of pages in newspapers, Sunday issues weighed two or three kilograms, they cannot be folded like ours and put in a pocket, they are carried under the arm. Two-thirds of newspaper space was devoted to advertising, and in general commercial information declared itself to be the main information in life. Hundreds of thousands of names were contained in two thick, weighty telephone directories, which were sent free of charge to each subscriber: one directory - an ordinary one, for Manhattan (and there are also thick volumes for Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island - other boroughs of New York) , and the second is commercial, "Yellow Pages" with addresses and telephone numbers of all establishments of the types that I have listed, and many, many others.Life... Is it important or not? Maybe it's not important if it's well organized, just as air is not important when it's there. And if it's bad, stupid, then life seizes, a person, stripping off his high ideals, like a fish's gills and scales, struggles desperately in the nets of everyday life. We know this, unfortunately, too well. But there, in New York, everyday issues were resolved differently, not by society, but by each individual. There seemed to be no contradiction between everyday life and ideals, since ideals come down to everyday life. For everyday life is being, and there is life today and tomorrow, individual life, for oneself, without any collective obligations to the future. For entrepreneurs, everyday life is a business in organizing everyday life, servicing, and trading. For consumers, everyday life is about amenities purchased according to the availability of money. Household inconveniences are the absence or lack of money. And the whole conversation about everyday life is simple: money for a barrel - and here it is, the kind of life you want. Just isolate yourself from others so that they don't bother you. How?! Also to the extent of the availability of money - houses with doormen and security guards, a better residential area, private clubs, police who make sure that those who have not arranged life do not interfere with those who have arranged it, etc.There was just a mass... And another, also immense, mass - intricacies, real labyrinths and jungles of all sorts of laws, legal norms, courts, lawyers. But here I give up, it remained a dark forest into which I looked from the edge of newspaper pages filled with descriptions of trials and all sorts of crimes and scandals. I contacted a lawyer a couple of times when it was necessary to determine the amount of income tax (this is an unfair and later abolished tax against us, which the American authorities impose not only on their citizens, but also on foreigners - as if for the special favor of admission to America). And without a lawyer, an American is as helpless as a small child without a nanny. Nowhere, probably, is there such a mass of lawyers as in America, and in New York there are even more of them than in Washington. I will not blaspheme the respected class, lawyers are needed just like laws, they have given America many great, outstanding people, but what is this strange national habit of talking to each other through the court and through lawyers? Americans know how and love to "download your rights." And this also comes down to the dollar. The actress, through the court, is demanding financial compensation for "moral damage" from the doctor, who, by artificially enlarging her breasts, gave her breasts a different shape than was agreed upon, and, strangely, does not see "moral damage" at all in the fact that that this incident ends up in the newspapers. The parents of a schoolboy hit by a car are suing the municipality because road signs warning of the school's proximity were not visible enough. The seasoned gangster does not let the representatives of justice come within reach of a cannon shot, sending out a platoon of lawyers to meet them, skillfully solving legal traps and traps...There are a great many examples of such communication. But this side of the American way of life has remained virtually unknown. And here, in the interests of objectivity, it is appropriate to make one clarification. In America, the rapids of someone else's life, at times very dangerous, still rush past us, seconded Soviet citizens. We watch it from the side, from the shore, we don't dive into the rapids, we don't participate in competition. In a foreign environment, we, like astronauts in outer space, work as if in spacesuits, having an autonomous life support system - a salary received from the Moscow editorial office, and not an American employer, paid housing, medical care. We live next to the Americans, but not like them. We don't play the American version of the game "hit or miss", success or failure, and, as they say, we don't experience the cruelty of the struggle for existence first-hand. Which, of course, protects us, but also limits our ability to penetrate into another psychology, into another world...Well, the reader will say, I take this explanation into account. But how did you generally navigate this Babylon, especially at first? I answer: empirically, dear reader. With the help of friends and colleagues. Slowly gaining experience. And also comprehending the logic of American practicality and rationality. She was the guiding thread.At first, I was afraid to get behind the wheel and plunge into the river of cars - vain fears, with some experience it is easier to drive a car in New York than in Moscow, the road signs are visible, simple, logical, the pavements are marked, the drivers are skillful and disciplined, their actions are easy predict. And there is no paralyzing fear of the traffic police; they are not picky and intervene only in extreme cases. The New York subway is rightly criticized, not the entrances, but the manholes - like in a public restroom, the stations are dirty and poorly lit, but a few words of praise: the cars are comfortable, stops are frequent, the network is very extensive. Among the host of streets and houses, it seemed that the devil would break his leg, but... no, these are also vain fears: in America, a language has been developed that is desperately needed in the age of large cities and human concentrations - the language of signs and signboards, road diagrams and maps. Street signs - at the corner of each block are visible to both motorists and pedestrians. Each house has a large number. Written information is abundant and accurate. "Push" is written on the door, and you need to push it with your hand or foot, and not pull it towards you, and the door is not locked or boarded up, it will certainly open. "Pull" - and that means you need to pull, not push. In cafeterias, menus are large letters on the wall behind the serving counter; restaurant menus are posted for viewing either on the front door from the street side or on the window glass: look and be seduced, and if you can't afford it or taste it, there's no point in going in, don't waste it in vain your time and the waiters, because time is money, let's not forget this universal American principle. Next to the menu, instead of an advertisement, is an enlarged photocopy of a laudatory review by a gastronomic columnist (there are some) from some New York newspaper. The theater or cinema, asserting the effectiveness of the press, has a photocopy of a flattering newspaper review of a play or film. Moving objects were also not anonymous, cars with inscriptions on the sides announced the owner or company, address, telephone number and, of course, destination: an ambulance, a van from a flower shop or, say, a mobile hairdresser, in which they cut, shave and groom their family in every possible way dogs And people announced themselves, although not all of them. The blind man, who was begging with a German Shepherd on a leash, had a sign: "I am blind" (it didn't help much). The strikers at the pickets carried posters: "We are on strike"...In stores, all products are packaged, all goods are laid out and hung - and the buyer is allowed to see everything; There is no annoying and time-consuming salesman mediation, but when a question arises, he is at your service. This is the rationality of a businessman: the buyer goes where it is more convenient. In the field of service there are many small miracles, behind them there are huge achievements. Here is the miracle of an ordinary pay phone on a New York and any other American street. From his booth you can call any American city (and even abroad), the conversation - within the United States and throughout North America - will be given instantly, the invisible operator, who has time for courtesy, will tell you how many coins need to be thrown into the slot, and It is possible to check how much you have thrown, and by pressing some of your buttons. She will give you, if required, change, which will jingle in the return chute, and if the belly of the machine does not contain the American nickel or dime you are entitled to, she will also ask for your address - in order to send the nickel or dime by mail. And thus will surprise you for life. Respect for a person? Anyway, respect for his cents.The New York Times, the most serious of American newspapers, showed laid-out pages - obituaries prepared for future use for people still alive, politicians and businessmen, movie stars and writers. And this, too, was American practicality and rationality - in frighteningly otherworldly forms. The concept of blasphemy is just sentimentality, the emotions of naive people. And if it does exist, then in the hierarchy of values it stands behind considerations of efficiency and preparedness for the unexpected, without which the newspaper will lag behind others and lose readers, advertisers and profits. Obituaries for the living are rewritten and changed as the person continues to live, increasing or decreasing, reflecting fluctuations in his fame and social weight. And there was a man - I was introduced to him - who wrote obituaries, a good man with liberal views, valuable, it was believed, because he did not forget to print his sad notices and characteristics when progressive Americans died.Standardity in diversity. Withering pragmatism. The dollar as a universal background. The pervasive cult of the dollar is a contradictory cult, one that is both convenient and callous. Depending on whether someone gets a head or a tail...Since the time of Columbus, every person who crossed the Atlantic or Pacific oceans discovered America, without being embarrassed by the secondary nature of his discoveries. This is in human nature: a person obtains the truth, and does not pluck it, like an apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Truth obtained personally is a new, not an old truth. Not by faith, but by heart. Your humble servant was no exception.I re-read the testimonies of Gorky, Yesenin, Mayakovsky. In their time, we did not examine America in as much detail as we do today, but we looked at it closely. Without going into details, the famous Russian pilgrims felt New York as a kind of single living organism, as the embodiment of American life. They knew little of the rest of America and, one might say, did not recognize it, although great American literature did not so often choose New York as its stage and subject of depiction. At the beginning of the century, Gorky cursed the City of the Yellow Devil. Yesenin has dual assessments. He could not find and did not look for a place among the skyscrapers for his achingly Russian muse, but he began his notes about Zhelezny Mirgorod in 1923 like this: "...Yes, I returned the wrong way. Much has been given to me and much has been taken away... Outweighs what is given." For the electric light of Broadway, lit in front of people, and not in front of icons, he rashly declared it a street "also ours." He admired the "huge culture of machines," but considered the internal culture of the Americans primitive: "The dominion of the dollar ate away in them all the desire for any complex issues."Why did this American city evoke such strong feelings for them, the children and creators of Russian culture at its turn towards new times? Where does this effect of attraction and repulsion come from? Was it because New York shocked them so much because in the material sense - with its floors, electricity, cars, wealth - it obsessively showed the image of the future, but what did this revealed future promise to man? What price did they charge him? So in reality they saw what price a person paid - no happiness, no warmth, no brotherhood. Not a blooming garden, but a stone and concrete desert of the future, where energetic people live mechanically and spiritually - businessmen with magnificent teeth bared and without light in their eyes.In his American poems, Mayakovsky urged: "If you have lost the habit of hating, come here to New York... So that, entangled in miles of streets, in the pain of the needles of Lantern hedgehogs, you would walk with me like a midget at the foot of their floors."What sharp lines! What a strong feeling! For a time or forever, it is shared by many Americans (you almost never hear declarations of love for New York), and even more by immigrants entering the New York millstones. But they still go there in search of their share, hoping that life, like the Metal Dollar, will land heads and not tails. But New York does not recognize the court of emotions and is sure that no curse, even the most sincere and furious, can deny the very fact of its existence, its pace, size, roar, its ability to stun...Already in the fourth or even fifth year of my New York life, one day a very close friend, a master and philosopher of life, flew in, professing a single cult - the cult of friendship. I met him at the airport in the evening, confused, unstuck him from the tourist group and took him to Manhattan along a road I knew by heart. I have already taken this road to many acquaintances who flew to New York for the first time, and, feeling them nearby, puzzled and quiet, I remembered my first arrival in New York and, as it were, re-entered it with them, seeing freeways similar to expressways moving ribbons, this cold, orderly running of thousands of cars, the light of lanterns, and suddenly from the bridge - the spectacle of evening Manhattan, a dark sky pierced by the luminous columns of skyscrapers. We drove into the streets and I felt my friend taking them in. Then he took him to the famous piece of Broadway, covered in advertisements and lights, on fiftieth and fortieth streets, which for some reason newcomers want to see first. Then they sat talking all night and at dawn they went out onto Broadway, a different one, not famous, which I'll tell you about later. But even this private Broadway didn't think about falling asleep, we were drinking coffee in a diner, and there were almost as many customers as during the day and the waiters were not dozing off. We went to Central Park and, completely alone above the morning fog, saw the cliffs of houses rising to the south and east. "Yes, you can't joke with this city," my seasoned friend muttered, pursing his lips and shaking his head. I remembered the intonation of his exclamation. Yes, this city was already advancing on him, already driving into him its scale, its special dimensions. Yes, this city is no joke...On Park AvenueOur first New York home was on Park Avenue.The first American-style residential building. The first landlords were homeowners, but I met them in absentia, by mail: they sent the next notice of rent at the very beginning of the month, and I, warned that it was necessary to pay in advance to avoid a fine, wrote out and sent them a check; as befits a resident of America, he immediately acquired a checkbook and became a client of the Rockefeller Chase Manhattan bank. The first apartment is typically American: the walls and ceiling are painted with white, adhesive, washable paint, there are no overhead lights or chandeliers, the windows have single frames, consist of a lower and upper halves, the lower one rises, the upper one can be lowered, in the kitchen from the landlords there is a refrigerator and a gas stove , each house has its own heating, there are taps on radiators to regulate the temperature. Everything is different, right down to the handle on the front door, which is round and can be grasped in the palm of your hand, with a built-in lock.After the one in Cairo, where I lived before coming to America, the New York apartment was shabby and small - a living room and two bedrooms, one of which, with a window looking into the well of the courtyard, was considered an office. Paint was hanging in chunks from the ceiling in the office. And this apartment cost almost three times more than spacious housing in Cairo, about three hundred dollars a month. Park Avenue! Prestigious address! Almost at Level Five. My predecessor held on to this apartment. In fact, the address produced the desired effect, although advanced people could tell the true fashionable Park Avenue from our economical, second-rate Avenue by the house number.The island of Manhattan, where fewer than two of the eight million New Yorkers live and where hundreds of thousands of people from other parts of the city, the suburbs and everywhere else come every day to work, to shops, for shows and entertainment and who knows what else, is cut into avenues and Streets. The avenues are wide, running from south to north, that is, in the same direction in which the island extends, highways, there are a little more than a dozen of them. Streets are relatively short and narrow, usually one-way streets that cross Manhattan from east to west.So, the truly prestigious Park Avenue lies in the area of \u200b\u200bfifties - seventies streets. And our house stood outside of respectability, on the corner of Park Avenue and Eighty-seventh Street. It was on Eighty-seventh Street that his only entrance opened, although the address on a brass plaque nailed to the wall, on a dark green fabric canopy extending from the door to the edge of the sidewalk, announced: 1060 Park Avenue. From the north, some fifteen blocks away, Harlem was rapidly advancing, and the houses and people became completely different. There, with the knocking, clanging and roar of carriages, iron burst out from under the ground. a road tunnel running from Grand Central Station under the frail Park Avenue boulevard.I give this information to illustrate the Nyir-York socio-geographical demarcation. Cold-icy administrative skyscrapers end at fiftieth streets. Then begin two rows of fashionable residential buildings. It's not Aunt Nyusha sitting in the front doors with knitting needles in their hands, but gatekeepers in black uniforms and tailcoats. The address is embroidered on their caps in gold or silver. White gloves. Tall, dense, important. They will open the door for us, but they will delay us, checking with the residents on the internal house telephone whether they are expecting a guest. They will bring suitcases and cardboard boxes with purchases to the elevator. They will call a taxi with a whistle or a specially lit light bulb, and in the rain they will escort the resident or guest to the car under an open umbrella. This is a collective servant and protective cordon (in the seventies, the gatekeepers were supplemented by special armed guards - times became more dangerous). Only poverty and simple life are open.Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the rich that they are others. A capacious definition. They are not like us. This attracted and tormented him; the rich are a strong magnet. He was infected with the American Dream (written with a capital letter), this special American epic, legend and reality, the concept of personal happiness and freedom, which are unthinkable without success and money. I don't consider myself to have the right to judge Scott Fitzgerald's spiritual crisis and devastation, but I would like to highlight his other words; continuing something of a flashback to a six-month stay on Park Avenue. I had neither American citizenship nor the American Dream, but remained from the country of childhood and the country of youth, tested by life in Cairo, a somewhat naive, but persistent hostility towards the bourgeoisie. The neighbors who lived to the south, in prestigious houses on Park Avenue, were two different things for me, because our us is different from the American one, because we are different from the Americans. Yes, a journalist should be everywhere, know everything and know everyone, but I could not and did not want to jump over myself, my origin and upbringing, I could not do anything with the character given from birth. Looking for acquaintance in the world of others on Park Avenue, imposing oneself, putting oneself in an artificial, unequal position? Excuse me, although the others, of course, had no idea either about my existence or about the proud pose that hid the lack of sociability and contact. (Subsequently, there were meetings with large capitalists and prominent politicians, and even friendly relations arose with one nice small millionaire from the provinces, although I do not believe that such acquaintances provide special, magical keys to understanding America.)Some sporadic connections, however, were formed. One was in absentia. Equated with each other based on address, we also received a glossy illustrated magazine, the Park Avenue Social Review, a social chronicle of Park Avenue. It was a local, like a street magazine, only for the inhabitants of Park Avenue, an unexpected window into the egocentric world of the rich. He proved that Hemingway was right: they are not only different, they are also boring. And this other boredom of theirs was filled with truly black humor for those who belonged to the big, unsettled, suffering world , who still vividly remembered images of poverty on the streets of Cairo and in the villages of the Nile Delta. Smiling low-cut ladies and gentlemen in tuxedos at a charity ball for the Cancer Society, advertising of furs and perfumes, diamonds and Chinese porcelain, consultations with an expert on playing bridge, names of people of the world known and interesting only to people of society, a report from the mansion of a certain Samuel Spencer, who showed his neighbors - but we were not among them - his collection of paintings, including Rembrandt's "The Philosopher"; that season there was a lot of talk about the great Dutchman; he was in fashion, since the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired his painting "Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer" for a record sum of more than two million dollars (which brought the power).In addition to this magazine, we were also connected with the residents of Park Avenue by letters from charitable organizations with calls to contribute to funds to help those with cancer, the deaf-mute, the blind, the mentally ill - these letters, without putting names and surnames, were also automatically sent to all apartments of all buildings on Park Avenue, so that others can, if they wish, without interrupting their business, declare through a cash check their sympathy for the suffering and unfortunate...We arrived in New York in November. November was surprisingly warm; we did not immediately realize that this was the latitude of Yerevan and Samarkand, that New York was much south of Sochi and Batumi. Sunny days alternated with rainy ones. The long and beautiful autumn, the best New York season, slowly passed into the orphan winter. The rainy days were dreary and short. The street lights came on early, the water hissed under the wheels of the cars, the traffic lights, like green and red eyes washed with tears, looked through a curtain of moisture, the city shrank and pulled its neck into its shoulders, hunched, like its inhabitants under large black umbrellas.A picture of those days comes to mind - real or fictitious, but still true: on a late, dark morning, a wife, carefully lifting a vertical curtain made of thick wax paper that wraps around a stick at the top, stands with her five-year-old daughter at the window, with cautious and fearful curiosity peers at the opening piece of New York, at the rain and wet large houses with their porches stretched out to the pavement, at the cars rhythmically shaking drops from the windshield with their windshield wipers, at the rare pedestrians on the gray slabs of sidewalks.A silent scene with the rustling of tires coming from the street. Migratory birds. How to build a nest here, even if it's temporary? How to warm up and settle in?We settled in. The wife walked with her daughter to Central Park and trampled her stitches into stores, discovering that they were more expensive on Madison Avenue than on Eighty-sixth Street. There was a German area on and around Eighty-sixth Street. German sausages and frankfurters, even bread, suited Russian tastes better than American ones. In large, German-type beer halls, in clouds of tobacco smoke, people drank beer and danced until late. In small open bars, in addition to beer, they sold juice from the exotic papaya fruit and sausages with sauerkraut.At the corner of Eighty-sixth and Lexington Avenue I descended into the subway. Usually I either went to Grand Central Station and took 42nd to the wide gray skyscraper on the East River, the UN headquarters, or got off at 51st and walked to the granite hulks of the Rockefeller Center complex. To the right of the 70-story RCA skyscraper stands the Associated Press building. In a niche in front of the turntable door, a teletype machine rattles out stock quotes and the latest news for pedestrians. Which Soviet correspondent who lived in New York did not come to this building and go up to the fifth floor to the TASS office? There they found the latest information arriving on teletypes, and a feeling of camaraderie and friendly warmth. There was the center of our little New York world and the door was always hospitably wide open (it was closed, a peephole was cut in when extremist Zionists chose the unprotected TASS office, not guarded by the police, as a target for their attacks and provocations).I became a participant in the daily ritual of a group lunch (I use a foreign word because there it was lunch, not dinner). They gathered and at about one o'clock in the afternoon, crossing the Avenue of the Americas in a crowd, they went to Forty-ninth Street, to the inexpensive French restaurant "Champlain" at the holy American lunch hour, among the crowds of New Yorkers rushing to have a bite to eat, a tiny inclusion - two Genas, two Kolyas, Volodya, and then Leonid Grigorievich, and Sergei, and Oleg, until this "Champlain" perished, crushed by the steel heel of the new skyscrapers. And always, with all of us, we changed, came and left, but he remained - Harry Freeman...Familiarity is about specification. And living people instead of concepts. Not abstract progressive circles, but the communists and their fellow travelers gathered in the old Town Hall, gray in adversity and troubles - here is Art, here is Joe, here is Jimmy and Carl; After short speeches with jokes, the American hat collectors walk through the aisles in a circle; funds are needed for the newspaper.Not nameless friends, but a friend at the highest level, Harry Freeman, a soul-man, the sweetest and most selfless, always ready to help senior comrade, guardian of successive generations of Soviet correspondents, who began working as a TASS correspondent in America back in the 20s, when most of us walked under the table or was completely absent from this world. It's easy to throw out the word "friend," but try to remove all the barriers between yourself and your American friend, they are erected not only by politics, but also by way of life. And with Harry there were no barriers. His hometown was his and Vera's apartment at Eighty-ninth and Madison Avenue, and they visited each of us many times-in New York, Washington, and Moscow. We experienced a lot together, traveled a lot of American roads - until his severe, long, incurable illness...Everything was concretized and embodied, as on the Moon after landing: there was a yellow shining disk visible from the Earth with the naked eye, making its way through the wavy fogs, and a man landed on this disk - and there was dust, there were stones and craters, there were sharp chiaroscuro under a hard, unobstructed atmosphere, the Sun.So it is here. It is no longer a verbal turn - the American "big press", but, let's say, the red-moustached Sam, who pats us all on the shoulder and shows us his affection in every possible way (so that fifteen years later, during the post-Watergate revelations, he will admit that he spied on Soviet correspondents, carrying out orders from the CIA), here is the newspaper "Daily News" with its half-criminal jargon and the same contents you disdain to take into your hands, but it is read more than anyone else, but here is a completely different story - the smartest journalist, newspaper patriarch-philosopher Walter Lippmann, still alive on pages of the still living New York Herald Tribune, or James Reston, also a venerable, enviable professional class, who from decade to decade produces his two smart, efficient, sometimes caustic, almost always interesting "columns" per week, as if he was born with such biorhythm, with such connection to the political kitchen, with such passion for personal responsibility for everything that happens in his country and in the society he serves.But Walter Cronkite, host of the evening news program on CBS, is a television god, even we have respectfully described him more than once; from the memories of the first months - from about six in the morning I was sitting on the sofa with a notepad in my hands, staring at the TV screen, my wife and daughter were still sleeping, and Walter Cronkite was already reporting from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral, "live", which was new and unusual, about John Glenn, about the first American orbital flight (at that time they were lagging behind in space, but stubbornly catching up, and President Kennedy vowed to land an American on the Moon before 1970), not everything went well, the pre-launch countdown was interrupted from time to time, but Walter was there, as always, on the level - calm, good-natured and mocking, thorough, and behind him, against the background of the dark pre-dawn sky, the silhouette of a rocket loomed in mysterious anticipation.And here's another television luminary of those days - Jack Paar from NBC, talker-entertainer, host of a late evening show, smart and slightly tired smile, seems to be always drunk, also charming, but isn't he too complicated, soft and ironic for the millions to whom this late-night show is addressed - then the polls killed him, showed that the audience was melting, advertisers were advertising less and less under Jack Paar, he became unprofitable, disappeared, it seems, he became an alcoholic...Day after day, the most difficult period for a journalist who arrived in a new place, the initial accumulation of information, was overcome. The mysteries of people and the mysteries of things were solved, and the former turned out to be more difficult than the latter. People carry within themselves the secret of another psyche, the secret of that complex interaction between man and society, which in its eternal process shapes both the face of the country and the behavior of its people.New American apartment buildings usually have one front entrance, with dozens of apartments on each floor opening onto a single hallway. Our house was old. There were only three apartments on our eighth floor. In one lived a lonely stockbroker. There was nothing of a caricature of a stock exchange shark in his appearance and manners, but his occupation, which consisted of selling shares, never ceased to seem strange and reprehensible to me. In our relations, that usual friendly familiarity has been established, which creates both the appearance of closeness and distance between neighbors. In another apartment lived a lady who worked as a television announcer. She had a pleasant appearance and smiled all the time, showing good teeth. I was no longer mistaken about the nature of the American smile, realizing that very often it is only a service function. (Gorky also remarked: "There are many energetic faces, but on each face, first of all, you see teeth.") I was already aware of the American custom of taking off your hat in an elevator when you see a lady. When I met a TV lady in the elevator, I quickly took off my hat. When asked about their well-being, as expected, they answered each other: "Fine! - Excellent!In richer houses, the servants are native, not first generation, Americans; our elevator operators were Spaniards, Austrians, and Czechs. (Each cricket knows its own national flag.) When no one was there, the gray-haired Spaniard, smiling shyly, talked about himself, packing the story into a short journey between floors. Came to New York with his father in 1919. Worked at a steel mill - the plant was closed. Afterwards there were many activities, but all short-lived and random. There are no children because I got married late. Why late? There was no work. No job - no money - no wife... Mister, these people are not like Europeans. "They are obsessed with dollars," a former Czech, also alone between floors... - enlightened me. Before Christmas, following the custom, residents gave elevator operators, postmen, and the super (house manager) envelopes with dollars, a kind of thirteenth salary.This was our first Christmas on American soil. Green wreaths intertwined with red ribbons appeared everywhere. In front of the churches, the baby Christ lay in a synthetic manger like an absurd dummy, with the deathly meek Virgin Mary bending over him. Santa Clauses from the Salvation Army stood guard outside the shops. In red hats and synthetic sheepskin coats with white trim, in black rubber boots and with long, scraggly artificial beards, they collected alms for the benefit of the needy under the thoughtfully cheerful tinkling of Christmas bells. Christmas is the main holiday at the turn of the old and new years and the main commercial season, which begins at the end of November. People are accustomed to running around the shops and buying gifts; trading revenue for December is equal to two or three times the monthly average, which measures the results of the year. and general economic conditions.December was snowless, but with icy winds that picked up speed along the straight paths of the avenues and streets. A chaotic, intoxicating spirit of the holiday reigned; people with cardboards and bags hailed taxis, crowded at bus stops, collars turned up, and hurried along the sidewalks, whipped up by the wind. I had fun at countless Christmas parties. We also went to half a dozen parties, making new acquaintances. It was noisy and nice, everyone was animated, moving around with glasses of cocktails in their hands. But the acquaintances that arose turned out to be either casual or dryly businesslike.My criteria, perhaps, were unjustifiably maximalist criteria for a young man from another country, moreover, with little life experience. But I couldn't (and still can't) get rid of this impression: in human relationships, I was struck by an excess of the mechanical and there was clearly a lack of unhardened cement of spiritual warmth.Relations between people were rational, functional, effective (that's the catch word!). They did not look like a tree with roots going into the ground and a crown that was either lushly green or shedding leaves, but rather like a combination of some kind of cubes, some kind of geometric shapes. Instead of organic communication there were cold docking nodes.Many of my measurements - both at home and in Cairo - did not fit. In Cairo, Egyptians often showed signs of ingratiating themselves with foreigners. They are accustomed to subordination, to serving Americans and Europeans, to seeing foreigners as rich and powerful people from whom they can profit something in return for their services. In New York it was the other way around. It is from the American that the feeling of superiority over the foreigner sticks out. It is the foreigner who is second class in America. First, the typical American is convinced that there is no country in the world better, richer and freer than his country, and there is no currency stronger than his dollar (this belief was shaken in the 70s). Secondly, it is important to understand and keep in mind at all times that America is a nation of immigrants. With the exception of the outcast Indians, whom few take into account, all Americans are in some sense foreigners in their own country, foreigners in one tribe or another. That is why the average American is accustomed to looking at a foreigner who has just arrived as a fresh, new immigrant. For him, a foreigner is nothing more than a candidate for American citizenship, who has less length of stay and, therefore, rights. A foreigner, in the opinion of such an American, must understand his inferiority and put up with it. He should be grateful just for being allowed into America. And he, ungrateful, strives to become a competitor, to grab that piece of the American pie and prosperity that the American considers his own. (Accustomed to seeing a foreigner as a new immigrant, an American, as a rule, is sincerely surprised to learn that he came to America temporarily and is planning to return to his home.)New Yorkers may not be called rude, but at first a foreigner is painfully aware of their inhospitability and harshness (another catchword!), as well as their naked commercialism. Having heard a lot about the American service, we thought that the landlords would at least congratulate the new tenants on their housewarming. Not so. Instead of congratulations, we received notice that the rent was increasing by 15 percent; this rule, as we learned, applies to all new tenants...More than three months have passed. One day in February, all tenants, including old ones, received notices of an upcoming rent increase of ten percent. A week later, an elderly man and a young woman, who turned out to be French, came to us. As representatives of the residents' committee, they collected money for a lawyer who would challenge the landlord's decision in court. I was confused whether I had the right to take part in such foreign public activities, being a Soviet citizen, and also registered in America (this was the practice then) as a foreign agent."Understand, this is capitalism," the man persuaded me. "Today they demand more, but in a year they will sell the house, and the new owners will again increase the rent.This American, not without reason, suspected that the Soviet Russian ideas about capitalism were of a general, academic nature. Our landlord, he explained, resorted to a fairly common trick: he sold the house for double the price, and to his relatives; the tenants believed that this was a fictitious deal concluded in order to legally justify a new rent increase: after all, the law guarantees a certain percentage of profit to the new landlord.They hired a lawyer and wrote a petition to the mayor. At the invitation of the housing committee, I one day went to City Hall. There they dealt with public protests against the rent control bill. The public was not allowed into the meeting room, but about three hundred people gathered in the visitors' gallery. There weren't enough seats; the police were holding back the excited crowd. In the gallery there were, of course, no characters familiar from the photographic illustrations in the Park Avenue gossip magazine.The chairman called on visitors to remain calm and warned that public expressions of feelings are prohibited. But his words were not heeded: the more the speakers below attacked the homeowners, the louder they applauded above. I witnessed one of the episodes of the constant war that divided New York into two camps - homeowners and renters. The background of the housing boom was pathetically exposed: solid houses were not being repaired and were being demolished because the city law prohibited them from sharply raising rents. In their place, yes, modern, multi-story, yes, comfortable dwellings are being built, but the rent in them is twice or three times higher. Residents protested against new houses in the same way that workers protest against new, beautiful electronic machines, because these machines throw them into the street. Downstairs, in the press room, the sound of typewriters could be heard. But the next day the newspapers didn't even mention the heated debate at City Hall. Not news...I don't know how the odyssey at 1060 Park Avenue ended. Soon it became unbearable to live there. Since eight in the morning, right under the windows, construction workers' jackhammers had been tearing into Manhattan granite, preparing a foundation pit for a new - and expensive - residential building. Having sacrificed prestige, we moved by the end of spring from the East Side to the West Side, more precisely, to Riverside Drive.Our BroadwayI call this stretch of ordinary Broadway, and not symbolic Broadway, ours by right of a person who lived next to it for a long time, knew it more than any other area of ??New York, and returned there from trips around the United States - isn't it strange? - feels like home.On our Broadway there is also a noisy chaos of people and cars, but there is no universal advertising and cheap bait for visiting people, just residents live there. There Broadway, flowing like a natural river among the straight channels of avenues and streets, intersects with Amsterdam Avenue and Seventy-second Street. And the wide, two-way 72nd opens onto the Hudson Freeway, allowing quick trips to the south and north of Manhattan and Central Park, linking the West Side and the East Side. Large transport hub. Crossroads in a square. And where, having merged, Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue immediately say goodbye, there is an old building entrance to the subway in the middle on a triangular island. Streams of people rush to the island, having waited out the streams of cars. This is an oasis where the special thirst of the inhabitants of a big city is quenched - the thirst for fast travel.The window at the cash register is narrow, with bars: a precaution against robbers. Having purchased a round yellow token that is becoming more expensive every year, throwing it into the slot of the machine and lightly pushing the metal stick of the turnstile with your hip, you go down two flights of old iron stairs to a narrow, dirty and dark platform with a roof supported by painted iron pillars. Express trains and local trains fly out of the tunnel with a roar (Previously, there were carriages like carriages, but, returning to New York in the 70s, after a three-year absence, I saw monsters, covered with writings up to the roofs, stained with poisonous paints - sort of rattling works of pop art. A special type of applied art: no matter what the youth amused themselves with, as long as they did not rebel - and therefore the municipal authorities allowed them to smear the cars.) The local goes with all the stops, the express, shaking from breakneck speed, stops after two on the third, after three on the fourth. Or to the south - to Midtown and Downtown, to Brooklyn, or to the north - to Harlem, to the Bronx, where blacks and Puerto Ricans return home after working for whites.There are two strategically placed kiosks on the island. On their counters, piles of afternoon, evening and morning newspapers grow and then decrease, weighed down by heavy pieces of iron from the wind. On Saturday evenings, when the Sunday New York Times is delivered section by section, there is not enough space on the counters. Sections of New York's most voluminous newspaper, like woodpiles of firewood stored for the winter, are piled one and a half meters high at the kiosks and nearby walls.There are many newspaper and magazine kiosks on our Broadway. These kiosks are a persistent feature of the cityscape. If I were an artist transferring the signs of New York onto canvas, I would definitely find a place for a simple, dark green kennel made of plywood without glass and for a kiosk looking out of it - usually an elderly, simply dressed man, a familiarly rude man of the street, an involuntary observer of people and morals. He notices a lot: the kiosks are located in busy places and are open almost around the clock. Judging by the appearance and age of the kiosk, you can't classify him as one of the minions of life, his joys and pleasures are small, his life practice is inevitably puritanical, and behind him and on the sides, with all the colors of the advanced typographic rainbow, on the covers of various, if I may say so, publications, girls with seductive outlines and poses; rubber toys, inflated with their muscles, gleam with gold paint from bodybuilders; the entire vulgar fair of "mass culture" - impulses of sex, pornographic albums sealed in cellophane (buy first, and then look at), overt hints of homosexuality, a cocktail of permissiveness, violence and sadism, and the same cocktail, but with a pretense of jaded sophistication, with an eye as if the piquant and obscene monthly magazines "Playboy" and "Penthouse" were aimed at intellectuals. Everything is nearby - separated and mixed. Who does this mirror reflect, which so impudently exposes itself at all the crossroads of America? What kind of person? Here, from another opera, are the energetic, densely packed with catchy and interestingly presented information, the political weeklies "Newsweek" and "Time", which, not without success, fly across all continents, imposing the American view of the world and events in the world, especially where there is no other, equally efficient and assertive, different view. And then there's the television program magazine ("T.V. Guide"), the useful magazine "Q," which reports what's playing in hundreds of New York theaters, and quite soberly determines the value of a particular film by the number of stars and short annotations. And so on.Already saturated with television news, out of habit, strong and irresistible, like a drug addict, I went out at half past ten in the evening to the corner of Broadway and Seventy-second Street for a new injection of detailed and timely information, waiting for the New York Times van to pull up and the driver to drop off bundles of fresh newspapers tied with wire, marked for tomorrow's date. This was the first edition, the last one arrived at about two in the morning...  But the house in which they lived for six years is not located on Broadway itself, but a three-minute walk from a busy intersection. Occupies an entire block, a block, as they say in New York, bounded by Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Streets, West End Avenue and Riverside Drive.Broadway roars to the east, and to the west, beyond the park where more dogs are walking than children, the Hudson flows beyond the freeway. The Hudson was in our windows and from childhood and youth evoked another image of a large river - the Oka, slowly counting the last miles before flowing into the Volga. Only there are no sandy beaches and shallows on the Hudson that were on that Oka, near Strigin, Molitovka and the American (now Prioksky) village, where in the early 30s Ford specialists who helped build the Gorky Automobile Plant settled in special cottages; only we never had to take a running start and jump into the Hudson, and instead of swimmers there were signs near the shore that prohibited them from entering the dangerously polluted water, although some fishermen did not return empty-handed from the embankment opposite our house.The seventeen-story red brick house has two main entrances and several service entrances, as well as access from an underground garage. The address is 11 Riverside Drive, although none of the doors face Riverside Drive. In America, houses do not have thirteen floors due to the superstition of the owners, who are afraid to suffer losses due to the superstition of the residents, and addresses, as already mentioned, are given for reasons of prestige (in the street table of ranks, Riverside Drive is higher than West End Avenue).American houses have not only numbers, but also names. Ours was called the Schwab House, after a man who once had a town villa on this site and made a lot of money in the steel business. For a long time, the Schwab House was perhaps the largest residential building in Manhattan. Even now it has not decreased, there are more than half a thousand apartments, but it has grown old and decrepit, it already seems small in comparison with the cyclopean new buildings...Among the Soviet correspondents, the discoverer of the Schwab House was Nikolai Kurdyumov, who then worked as a correspondent for Trud. He was replaced by Georgy Kuznetsov, and in the spring of 1962 we settled there too. Kuznetsov introduced me to the manager and, as expected, vouched for me in writing: not some pennyless scammer from the street, but a representative of a reputable, financially stable newspaper. A three-room apartment on the eighth floor cost $305 a month (the rent has now doubled), that is, more than half the salary, if you had to pay out of your own pocket, but two-thirds of the rent was covered by the newspaper. After us, Malor Sturua, Vitaly Kobysh, and Viktor Soldatov spent many years of Izvestia service in New York in this office apartment.Our people stay close together abroad. The well-trodden path led to the Schwab House by Heinrich Borovik and Gennady Gerasimov from the APN, Alexander Druzhinin from the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company... Put together - dozens of years and many, many stories, less dramatic, more ordinary, those that make up the course of life. In another time, predisposed to romanticism and mysticism, one could imagine how the spirits of people who had already returned to their Moscow apartments hovered among the abandoned walls of Schwabhaus - our thoughts and dreams of those years, losing their novelty and renewed images of New York and America, signs of our life with our children and household members, joy and melancholy, the unevenly pulsating stress of work. But spirits and ghosts are found only in horror films, and a time machine that allows you to go back has not yet been constructed. However, am I not underestimating achievements of a certain kind? There may not be a time machine as such, but some of its sound recording devices already exist. Our walls in the Schwab House were supposed to have ears-FBI tape ears. How long are records of family conversations and quarrels, friendly arguments and discussions kept in this institution, topics and reasons for which both American and our life constantly threw up? There were many noisy gatherings, reading poetry, listening to recordings of Okudzhava's songs and arguing, sometimes until they became hoarse, and then looking into the darkness of the night, at the lights reflected in the Hudson, and, cooling down, returned to the long American everyday life.When I left, I calculated: I lived in the Schwab House for six years, almost every sixth day of my life. Excluding vacations and trips, the total number of days and nights was exactly one and a half thousand, and at that age, between thirty and forty, when a person takes his first courses at the university of maturity."I spent many days in foreign lands, but I didn't leave a single soul there, bye-bye," says the song about the wandering sailor. A good song that came to mind more than once and purred in foreign lands. And its simple meaning was seemingly indisputable. But... If you think about it...The soul is not a free-flowing body subject to simple physical laws. When does it fill? When does it decrease? What kind of shrinkage and shrinkage occurs with it? And does leaving a tiny soul somewhere necessarily mean squandering it?When you live abroad for a long time, this life becomes familiar, but the feeling of strangeness does not go away, but rather increases - strangeness, conventionality, suitability. It's as if this is not life, but a long intermission in real life, because your true life can only be where your true home is. And yet... People who have traveled a lot know that the concept of home has many stages. Besides the house where he was born, the house where he lived with his parents, the house - city or village, the house - fatherland, native land, about which the poet said: "...Even to lie in a common grave is better, it seems, in you," - in During a long business trip, a temporary home appears, an intermediate one, a strange home, your own, but not yours, although can the house in which you live with your family be someone else's? One way or another, from trips to California, Arizona, Montana, Texas, Wisconsin, and so on, I flew and came to New York to my home, to the Schwab House. And from Moscow he flew to America to the same Schwab House, not home, but abroad.There were days in this house that will not go away from memory - days and nights. How can I forget that painfully incomprehensible night after a hot May day, when for some reason I couldn't sleep and there was some kind of languor and powerlessness, the hours somehow dragged on awkwardly, and then my slumber was thrown away by a sharp phone call, and a colleague on duty at the TASS department, without diplomatic approaches or circumlocutions, abruptly and, it seemed, almost rudely - as if about yet another, extraneous news that came on teletypes - he reported that my mother had died in Gorky, who had been ill for a long time and was terminally ill, and did not wait for the return of her eldest son to my homeland. And another night, when, embarrassed and as if apologizing, my wife, wandering like a shadow in the apartment, woke me up: it seems it's time. And, having called Dr. Eugene Klochkoff (aka Evgeny Klochkov, the son of an old Russian emigrant), who was taking care of her, we went down to the garage under the Schwab House, to the car, thank God, not crowded with other cars, and along the pre-dawn deserted streets, thank God, without Because of the congestion and traffic jams, I took her to the other end of Manhattan, to the maternity hospital, where she gave birth to her son - so quickly that, having dropped her off and seen her off, I had not yet had time to find a place for the car, although it is easier to park at dawn than at the height of the day.But this is personal, and our apartments in the Schwab House were called by the official word - a correspondent station.There we lived a strange (I will repeat this word) life - next to our family and, however, pushed away from them by our work, busy with non-family affairs, carried away and buried under an eternal avalanche of information. We stewed in American juice, tried to be American-informed about American political cuisine, one way or another were sick with American social passions and became infected with American internal sympathies and antipathies, and sometimes even experienced a feeling (inevitable and illusory) of involvement in the course of this other life. . And our exits and exits from this red brick house were more often official than personal. We walked to Central Park for a protest rally, went to Washington to listen to the traditional January State of the Union address from the congressional press gallery, flew to the next Republican or Democratic National Convention, which heralded the final stage of the next battle for the White House. .But, carried away by the Schwab House, I forgot about nearby Broadway.Our Broadway is an old, settled area, where all the amenities of everyday life, as they say in America, are within walking distance. We knew the seven blocks well, from Seventy-second to Seventy-ninth Streets, and the stretch of Seventy-second between Broadway and West End Avenue. For cigarettes or shaving foam, we went to Green Drugstore or other pharmacies, of which there are, perhaps, even more than newsstands, and pharmacies have almost everything - from toothpaste and various tranquilizers to ice cream, scrambled eggs and ham and rubber beach shoes flip-flops. For groceries, go to the Food City or Fairway supermarkets; they also sell soft drinks and beer - only on Sundays beer is not sold until twelve o'clock in the afternoon, until the end of church services. Paper and ballpoint pencils were stocked in a small office supply store between Seventy-fourth and Seventy-fifth streets. Films were sometimes watched in the huge, always empty Beacon or Embassy, a smaller and better cinema. Restaurants and snack bars, several bars and dry cleaners, not counting the one located in Schwabhaus itself, one laundromat where the residents themselves washed and dried their clothes, throwing quarters into the cracks of cars, two bank branches, a funeral home, several old third-class hotels (in one of them, named "Ansonia", a dilapidated pompous building in the style of ornate baroque, they say that Rachmaninov and Chaliapin once stayed, but the Americans are stingy with memorial plaques, and the former noble hotel is now scary to enter - the municipality is moving unfortunate people there, living on welfare, and there they are mercilessly robbed of all kinds, from ordinary people to those called landlords).  And behind each of the diverse inhabitants of our Broadway one could see the land of their fathers or their own youth, and often even their occupation matched the national reputation, which was very narrowed when crossing the ocean, adapted to America and the Americans. Singing and joking, cheerful Italians in a narrow diner like a pencil case rolled out the dough and, pouring it thickly with tomato paste, sprinkled with grated cheese, deftly threw large circles of pizza onto the steel under the electric oven. The Cubans ran a barber shop, they fled Cuba because "before Castro" Cuba was an American tourist island, an extension of Miami Beach, and these current Broadway Cubans lived in their homeland shaving and cutting hair for Americans; exposing my head and cheeks to their razor, I kept silent about where I came from. Helpful, silent, mysteriously secretive Chinese worked in the Shanghai Road and Good Life restaurants. And most of all, perhaps, there were Jews (they make up at least a quarter of the New York population) - among the residents, in the Babka candy store, the Esplanade Hotel, in pharmacies, radio and stationery stores, in two delicatessen shops on Seventy-second Street , where they sold similarities to our sausages, herring and bread, fried sunflower seeds, and where even Russian pickles were considered part of Jewish cuisine (probably because New York was initially introduced to Russian cuisine at the beginning of the century through Russian Jews who moved to America). Puerto Ricans used bicycle carts to deliver food from stores and did menial odd jobs. The Irish were represented by the owner of the seafood restaurant and the guards of order walking along the sidewalks - there were no fewer Irish in the New York police force than in the New York mafia from Sicilians. Perhaps only the Japanese were missing on Broadway at that time, but, however, he was occasionally brought in by a modest and businesslike tourist in a neat suit, with cameras and movie cameras.On Saturdays and Sundays, black boys appeared in front of the Embassy cinema in the morning with boxes on which they sat astride, with folding chairs intended for customers. "Hey Mr! Clean your shoes!" - they shouted boldly and somewhat timidly, having entered the white man's territory. Nearby, propping up the wall of the Chase Manhattan Bank branch, with hats crumpled and slightly tilted to one side with a special New York chic, in already polished shoes, squinting like cats in the sun, their eyes following the young women, mysterious middle-aged men lazily exchanged words, and they reeked a mile away of the intensity, the frightening uncleanliness, the abyss of vice, the cynical power of gangster businessmen or gangster businessmen...Summer is the busiest time in New York. The joys of spring are short, heat and dust, stuffiness and almost one hundred percent debilitating humidity quickly set in. Asphalt and concrete are hot. The city noise is even louder. The torture of traffic jams is unbearable. From the Hudson there is zero freshness. I feel sorry for the children, and even more sorry for the old people, the poor prisoners of the city. On the median of the Broadway pavement, they sit on benches closely and alone, not speaking to each other, gray heads, false teeth, dry, wrinkled faces, and in their looks and poses, in their loneliness, is the stamp of New York, which has been pressed in for decades. Cars rush by from left and right, under the benches and even in the late evenings there is no coolness, they sit and sit.In winter, the Hudson comes to life, sending cold winds. Thick clouds of warm, moist steam burst out from the pavement roofs, incomprehensible, mysterious and, however, fitting into the city landscape - as if there, underground, by special agreement with the devil, a New York branch of the underworld was created for the convenience of local sinners.There are not many good days every year, warm, sunny, piercingly clear, like our September days. Residents stroll, go out in the evenings to appear on Broadway - eccentric young people flaunting their beauty and strength, casually fashionably dressed middle-aged men and women, and older and simpler people who have already realized their age and have ceased to serve one of the American cults - the cult of youth. Leisurely wandering, walking your dogs and looking at other people's dogs, sometimes making acquaintances, also through dogs, a languid craving for other people and a shell of loneliness. Before any election, some local candidate, who will not miss even two or three dozen votes, shows himself to the people at the crossroads, democratically extends his hand to shake hands with strangers, or ornates, balancing on the radiator of a car covered with propaganda posters. And at a late hour, when Broadway is empty, young black women hide between the ledges of the darkened shop windows, offering their nightly services to motorists and rare pedestrians.And on summer evenings, and in late autumn before Thanksgiving, and at the end of December before Christmas, a gray-haired, clean old woman with an accordion and a mug attached to it would appear for a long time. Her permanent location was near the Chase Manhattan bank branch. She sat on a folding chair, her gray hair neatly combed, small and vulnerable, like a sparrow, not looking at the passers-by, and her fingers ran over the keys, extracting from the accordion old European melodies like the "Danube Waves" waltz.And how sad it became from the familiar sounds on the days of other people's holiday turmoil, when you felt more strongly how time was passing.And Broadway flowed past like a river of life.Negro on the sidewalkAnd Broadway flowed past like a river of life...First hour of the night. Broadway between 74th and 75th. Through the dark windows of the bar, mysteriously illuminated, as if in the depths of an aquarium, people are visible standing at the counter and sitting on high, spinning stools. Glasses and shot glasses in their hands or in front of them on the counter, between their spaced elbows. Backs, hats, backs of heads, less often - faces. There are no sounds coming from the bar, and due to the muteness the scene in this aquarium is expressive, like a pantomime. The main character in the pantomime is the bartender. He turns his face - amiable and tough. Bow tie, long starched white apron. Silently, flexibly and deftly, the bartender scurries around, alone for everyone, and behind him, also illuminated, colorfully shimmering, tempting floors of different bottles. On the side, without blocking the bottles, an advertisement for Schlitz beer spins and sparkles.Opposite the bar, on the edge of the wide Broadway sidewalk, is a kiosk. Barricaded with piles of newspapers, blocking the large square head of beauties from magazine covers, a degenerate-looking kiosk looks out from there, reminiscent of the horror movie Frankenstein. He doesn't speak, but hums something inarticulate, and every time I take the newspapers, I see that his hands don't obey him. When newspapers are available at other kiosks, I avoid it.A familiar bar. A familiar kiosk... I stop because of a street incident. On the sidewalk, a little away from the bar and kiosk, lies a black man. Are you drunk? Does not look like it. He lies quietly and submissively, stretched out long, not like a drunk who snores with an open, sore mouth, and even in the sleep that has fallen over him, from time to time he seems to be trying to get up and continue on his way. More like dead. There is such resignation in his posture that the first thought is whether he should lie like this forever? Middle-aged. Dark black ankles protrude from rumpled, fringed trousers; worn-out shoes are worn on bare feet. And a cap on the asphalt - a little to the side. Also a little to the side is a policeman. He is clearly with the lying black man, this is his duty now, but as if he is on his own. So, by chance, he walked and walked and stopped. Being with a black man is humiliating for him. A typical cop - from a dark blue cap with a cockade to polished heavy boots. Weight, mass, like that of a bull, a Colt in an open holster, a baton, a bunch of keys on a good-quality wide leather belt. Everything about him is good, right down to his facial expression. This is how it should be for a law enforcement officer, not just anywhere, but in New York.This is the night from Saturday to Sunday. Broadway is still crowded. And there's enough light to be able to see, as you pass by, a red, clotted stream of blood that has furrowed the Negro's cheek and chin. A red trickle on a bluish, puffy li. That's it - even in unconsciousness, the Negro faces do not become pale. The trickle attracts passers-by as a mystery and a sign of disaster. Seeing a black man lying down with an ominous red streak on his face, they slow down and stop at a distance that is usually called respectful and which would more accurately be called a safe distance between the participants and spectators.There are only two participants: a black man and a policeman. The black man is silent, it seems, and not breathing. And the policeman is silent, a little to the side, playing with his baton. But there is something in the policeman's pose that convinces him that the black man is not dead. And, standing in a semicircle, the onlookers are silent, looking at the man lying down, unraveling the trickle of blood on his face. A couple of old lady friends with purple hair, the kind that hide their progressive poverty. A man with a cigar in his mouth and a Sunday newspaper pressed to his right side. Another man, suspiciously sweet, smells of women's perfume. A lady with a white poodle, she took him in her arms, and the poodle also glances at him with beady eyes. A guy with a girl, half-embraced, with lively young faces, not yet accustomed to hiding their feelings...What happened here, among the city that had not yet fallen asleep, among the people walking with this defeated black fellow human being? What misfortune of fate struck him? Everyone is curious, but everyone is silent, although here he is, a powerful source of information. Finding out is already getting involved, even just at the edges, and getting involved means accepting some kind of obligations of compassion and empathy, it's constraining oneself, limiting one's freedom (he took it and moved on), moving from indifference to participation. It is not acceptable to get involved. The main principle of thinning on the New York street is the principle of non-interference.The impassivity on the faces of two old women, a lady with a dog, a man with a cigar and another, sweetish one, says: yes, we cannot contain our curiosity, so, you see, we stand and watch, but we will not violate the principle of non-interference. Oh, a man in a big city, on his own, alone among thousands, idle or busy, but always guarding his street sovereignty, his emotional resources! With great feeling, at the round outdoor pool in the Central Park zoo, he watches the diving of the walrus, waiting for the walrus, puffing, to suddenly appear on the surface of the water, glistening with a black, wetly shiny body. With the walrus there is no problem of involvement.I'm waiting to see what happens next. Some, without waiting, go their own ways, up or down Broadway. Others, bumping into a obediently lying black man, replace them and silently stop at the same distance, restoring the same semicircle.And the black man who looks like a dead man, having fallen into oblivion on night Broadway, where people are walking, cars are honking, lanterns and signs are burning, with an insensitively calm expression on his face, crossed by a stream of blood, continues to wander in the unknown depths of unconsciousness, not suspecting that he is attracted to the modest person such attention attracts so many white people, curious when and if he will emerge from these depths. He is next to us - and incredibly far away, somewhere in his life unknown to us, swiftly, like an airplane through clouds, rushing through it, easily gluing together were fantasies - what are they? But aren't we just as far from each other, watching this scene fully conscious?..A green police Plymouth pulls up, then another one. And the ambulance, from the inscription on the side it is clear that it belongs to the nearby Roosevelt Hospital. When his comrades appear, the monumental policeman begins to move. Bending over the black man, slowly, with disgust that he cannot and does not want to hide, he turns out the contents of his pockets. From the expression on his face one can guess that he knows in advance what might be in such black pockets. But we don't know. There is excitement among the onlookers. A piece of bun and half a sausage are taken out, along with rectangles of documents sealed in plastic. The policemen peer into the rectangles. The documents are apparently not in order. On the faces of the police: you'll have to tinker.Then it's the turn of two orderlies. They put the black man on a stretcher and easily carry his thin body to the ambulance. Only the black man's cap remains on the sidewalk. The policeman either doesn't notice her, or is too lazy to bend over, or is expressing irritation in him against this unfortunate black man, because of whom he had to stick around like a pillar. But the forgotten cap confuses the audience as an incomplete action. Another moment - the ambulance will leave, but the cap will remain. And someone can't stand it, they are attracted to me. No, he doesn't raise his cap himself. But he points it out to the policeman, and he, order is still order, bends down again and, lifting his cap, casually throws it on the stretcher, on the chest of the black man who remains motionless. He gives up at the moment when the stretcher on rollers rolls into the belly of the ambulance, the doors slam shut - and an unfamiliar black man with a red stream of dried blood on his bluish cheek disappears from our lives forever.With a siren blaring, as if testing its volume and hoarseness, the ambulance starts moving and leaves, picking up speed. Police cars drive away, casting the alarming ruby reflections of their rotating lanterns onto the night street. The guard assumes an air of dignity, plays with his baton more cheerfully, and also moves on his nightly journey: he wants to warm up. Everyone leaves. The sidewalk is empty. Through the dark glass of the display case in the bar's aquarium, I see the same pantomime - silent, fish-like people at the counter and a bartender in front of a multi-story kingdom of bottles. Movie starNew York newspapers covered the trip of movie star N to the Soviet Union as a sensational breakthrough of the Iron Curtain. The usual photographs in such cases were printed: a blond beauty without a hat in snowy Moscow on Red Square - alone and taller than the Spasskaya Tower. A story was published about how the Movie Star wanted to get into the Mausoleum without waiting in line, and how our translator, in whom gallantry outweighed understanding, persuaded the policeman to take pity and let the lightly equipped, high-heeled lady, famous abroad, pass through. But the light of an overseas movie star did not melt the icy heart of a Moscow policeman...In Moscow, N enjoyed the hospitality of the Izvestites. And when, having returned, I wanted to write about my impressions, they called me from the editorial office and asked me to help the Movie Star. While working on a report about the trip, she could not remember what and who was depicted in the photographs she brought.The movie star was staying at the Plaza Hotel, a New York hangout for celebrities with an artistic bent. The hotel is located on the southeastern edge of Central Park, near Fifth Avenue. At the entrance to the park, as always, there were black cabs and their drivers in top hats sat on the box - a living New York tribute to the horse age and the former pace of life.On a business date with the Movie Star, I took a colleague who, it seemed to me, would not get lost even in such a society. The door was opened by a young blond woman familiar from newspapers and television screens. She was wearing an untucked shirt and thick black trousers that tightly hugged her legs. We found ourselves in the living room of a luxury suite. On the wall hung a portrait of the Movie Star, done in the style of appetizing realism. The room had a soft sofa and heavy soft chairs, bottles of alcohol on one table, and an open tin box of sweets on the other. Having seated us on the sofa and reclining in front of us on the carpet in the pose of an odalisque from paintings depicting the bliss of the East, she spoke in the then fashion in an intimate, quiet, hoarse voice, with a gentle hand stroking the Siamese cat arching its back, which, like a living talisman, accompanied her everywhere with the time of her first film triumph, and taught us to drink Mexican vodka tequila, snacking on it with a pinch of salt, dashingly thrown into the mouth from the back of the hand, and a slice of lemon.Talking about her Moscow and Leningrad impressions, she exclaimed like a boy: "Ha!" - when I wanted to convey surprise or delight. There was a lot of delight, they accepted her as we know how. A heap of fresh photographs of evidence lay in front of us. In addition to images against the backdrop of the Kremlin, there were photographs of the Movie Star with our famous artists and directors at a large reception at the House of Cinema. She said how many friends she now had in Moscow, but did not remember a single name, and, to tell the truth, there was a note of condescension in her story. The condescension that our, unreasonably, hospitality sometimes evokes among foreigners, who are more economical in expressing feelings and in hospitality.The movie star wanted to express her delight in an illustrated magazine, but the pen did not listen to her. An experienced journalist invited to co-author, like a blind horse walking in a circle, habitually erected large-block structures in the spirit of the Cold War, but they did not at all coincide with the warm individual impressions of our Movie Star.And, of course, during the trip she came up with the idea of a joint Soviet-American film. And there was already the seed of the plot. He and she. But he is Russian. And she is American. They meet on the Moscow-Leningrad train. Love at first sight. And this and that, not yet entirely clear, and in the end a bitter parting in Vienna. Modern Romeo and Juliet, unhappy because their two countries are at enmity, like the Montagues and the Capulets. There was already a suitable candidate for the role of the American woman - the Movie Star herself. But it was necessary to find a professional screenwriter who would grow a script tree from the seed of an idea. And the director. And money for filming the film. The commercial side, as we understand from the Movie Star's explanations, doesn't worry her that much, since she is either a major shareholder or the owner of some kind of film company...That same evening, the Movie Star invited us to the Eden Rock Club for a rock evening.The era of twist and rock and roll was in full swing. Rock nights have become a popular and fashionable means of communication. At the prompting of her business agents, these same eternal companions of American movie stars, our Movie Star organized a promotional music and dance evening almost under the auspices of the UN. In any case, ambassadors and other diplomats were invited to the Eden Rock Club.We were late, instead of five we arrived at seven. Uninvited fans of the Movie Star were still crowding the doors of the club. The hall was small, but about two hundred people had gathered, the smoke was thick. And the queen of this noisy meeting was, of course, the same young woman who in the morning stroked the Siamese cat and taught him to drink Mexican vodka. She was wearing an evening dress with a deep, perhaps too daring, neckline at the back. At the end of the neckline, almost on the tailbone, a fresh rose glowed red, setting off the black velvet of the dress and the white back of the Movie Star. I remembered the opinion of cynic experts: the back is the most beautiful place of a Movie Star. And the most beautiful things should never go to waste. The most beautiful things should be opened for everyone to see. Experts made puns: the product has a face, even if it is the back.On that music and dance evening, she did business, struck while the iron was hot, until the publicity that accompanied her trip behind the Iron Curtain subsided.A dozen press photographers hovered around her and at least fifty gossip reporters. And, standing on the platform, among the dashingly dancing couples, the Movie Star took poses that best showed off her charms, smiled dazzlingly and danced with those guests who themselves were famous of one kind or another and therefore doubled the advertising.She shone for everyone, this evening Star, and was much further from the two of us than the daytime Star at the Plaza Hotel...We were sitting at the table with an employee of a New York weekly. He was with a businessman friend. The friend looked around with bewilderment and mockingly at the people sitting at neighboring tables in the phosphorescent twilight, and at the photo reporters, through clouds of tobacco smoke, aiming at the illuminated dance floor. He laughed at the tabloid newspapers, which lived on gossip about the lives and love affairs of movie stars and other celebrities, and, looking at the queen of the evening, agreed: "Yes, she's best from behind." But what amused and surprised the businessman most was the presence of two Soviet correspondents. He promised to invite us to his place and show us real American life and his neighbors - typical Americans. We were the first Russians in his life, and for his daughter he took autographs from us, and not from Kinostar. And we signed a promotional brochure called "Let's Dance!"After the evening, having broken through the barrier of fans at the door and eliminated a rival in the person of a cheeky pop idol, we took the Movie Star to dinner at a Belgian restaurant on one of the quiet streets, next to the UN skyscraper. In the basement where the restaurant was located, only two tables were occupied. Recognizing the dazzling young lady, those sitting began to glance in our direction. The waitress, an elderly, tired woman, also recognized the Movie Star.- We are so glad to see you! - she said, bustling around our table. "Governor Rockefeller also came to see us recently with his son.The movie star and the billionaire politician were in the same category for her - celebrities... She brought a photo postcard of the restaurant and got an autograph for her son.The movie star again shone only for the two of us, again charmed us with her sweet manners and pleasantly hoarse voice, and again I was ready to forget that she was a disciplined, extremely busy woman who lived according to a strict schedule.But we didn't stay long at dinner. At nine in the evening at the hotel she met with a massage therapist. In the morning - filming on television. For Easter - to Chicago, to visit my parents. And then Hollywood, where her new film and various urgent matters were already waiting. -  After all, I'm also a capitalist," she joked. - I have two houses in California...Having delivered her to the hotel, we said goodbye.After some time, I received a letter of gratitude - on a tiny scented piece of chalk paper. There was no need to meet again. Her name appeared less and less in newspapers and on movie posters. Either there was a lack of talent, or something else wasn't going well with the charming capitalist. The dream of a joint film was buried in the largest cemetery in the world - the cemetery of unfulfilled ideas...One day in the beautiful summer, at the height of the holiday season, Americans who had moved to the beaches of both oceans learned about the suicide of Marilyn Monroe, the most famous, the most serenely happy and the most American of American movie stars. When, after taking an overdose of sleeping pills at night, an idol goes to another world, this causes a strong shock and a lot of responses. Among others, the voice of our Movie Star was heard. She said that they, movie stars, are not seen as living people, but as attractive pieces of meat. And her words were printed next to photographs of a naked woman swimming beautifully in a transparent emerald pool - the last photographs of Marilyn Monroe.The stock exchange is nearby, on the cornerThe large windows of this establishment on the lively corner of Seventy-second Street and Broadway were sometimes open, sometimes covered with beige, solid drapery, but through the glass door you could always see the scoreboard on the back wall and two rows of green letters and numbers running along it. There were people sitting or standing at the door outside and behind the door inside all the time, almost all old men and women. Their gazes did not leave the running signs. The top green row indicated the current stock price on the New York Stock Exchange, the bottom - on the American Stock Exchange. The sign at the entrance read: "Francis DuPont & Co. Members of the New York Stock Exchange." A discreet sign for an establishment that knows its worth. It was a branch of a famous broker. skaya company. Every time I looked at these old people as if they were a miracle that was impossible to comprehend. They have the same desire to follow stock market quotes as our pensioners have to slaughter a goat in the yard or on a nearby boulevard. These, for me, mysterious, running signs of numbers, fractions and abbreviated names of corporations seemed to extract from them the last surges of passion, the last economic old man's emotions.  And every time in these old men I fancied some kind of terrible, triumphant smile. All life is a Sisyphean task. All his life a man pushes his stone uphill. Calculating, tormented, tormented by doubts, he acquires shares of this, and not that corporation, and now, when death awaits him around the corner, he comes here to look for green quick signs: has this stone rolled down on him? And after all, when he was carrying a stone up the mountain, something depended on his intelligence and skill, and now, at the last frontier, with the last dream of a calm old age, he has neither health nor time for a new attempt, for one more chance ...One day I pushed open the glass door and walked inside. Apparently all was relatively calm that day at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, where the New York Stock Exchange is housed in a grim, massive old building. And that's why it was calm here, on our corner, although the signs on the board were running at the same speed. And with this calmness, the people sitting in the room somehow reminded me of a funeral. This is how even strangers come from the street through the open door to pay their last respects to the deceased or just to look at the deceased. And they also do not go to the coffin, but stand in the doorway or sit on chairs against the wall, sit and sit and quietly stand up, like this old man, and make their way to the exit, holding their hat in their hands. And just as silently another will take the vacated place and put his hat on his knees, and, stretching out his head, will silently look...And in this establishment I was struck by the American's willingness to help the journalist. I showed the young clerk my "working press" ID, issued equally by the New York police to both its own and foreign correspondents. He immediately promised to bring me a man who would give me the required explanations, went out, leaving me in his box, then returned, asked to wait another minute, and finally came with another business-looking young man, with the figure of an athlete, attentive eyes and a Brooklyn accent. He introduced himself as Sheldon N. Volk, deputy branch manager of the brokerage firm Francis Dupont & Co.Mr. Volk did not know how scary his last name sounded in Russian, although his parents, Jews, came from Russia at the beginning of the century and still remembered some Russian words. He derived his surname not from the Russian wolf, but from the German "folk" - people, people.He was born and raised in Brooklyn, the most populous and most Jewish borough of New York, graduated from Long Island University and, after serving in the army, was hired by Frances DuPont, in the central office on Wall Street. Then he was transferred here to the operational work of a broker. He explained that this work is more interesting and financially tempting. By selling shares of a company, a brokerage firm receives a commission from that company. One-third of the commission goes to the employee who was directly involved in the sale of that particular stock. A kind of piecework. The more shares Mr. Wolf sells, the more he earns monthly. His reputation as "Francis Dupont" helps him. This is a reputable brokerage firm with more than one hundred branches in the United States and abroad. She has many corporate clients who resort to her intermediation when selling their shares. Accordingly, many of those wishing to purchase shares use its services.Talking about himself, Sheldon Volk recalled with surprise that in childhood he could not even (even!) read the financial pages of newspapers, the letters of stock quotes, incomprehensible to the uninitiated (after gutting the newspapers, I always threw away these pages with the relief of a person who has a lot to read on duty of work and who is not averse to reducing his reading quota), and for the initiated - reading material that is more exciting than detective novels, exciting the excitement of the players. He got into the brokerage business by accident, but now there is no better or more interesting job for him."Here you feel in the most important place," he says, "both national and international affairs are at your fingertips." You know how sensitive the stock exchange is to everything that happens!..I have one question that I have asked American business people more than once. But I hesitate. I know that Mr. Wolf may consider it naive, undignified, and propaganda. To many Americans, this question indeed seems edifyingly propaganda, but to check, I would like to get another answer to it.- Sorry for the somewhat sensitive question. The fact is that our country is structured differently from yours, and we consider the fairly widespread American activity - playing on the stock exchange, on shares of, for example, some military-industrial corporations that produce, for example, - condemnable and immoral. planes, bombs, napalm, play on these promotions, knowing that you can win the more, the stronger and more deadly the military operations, the greater the need for various types of military equipment. It turns out that it benefits you when people of another country, somewhere far away, die and suffer, and even your compatriots in military uniform...I have not yet finished my tirade, but from the expression on his face I see that the young, quick-witted and amiable Mr. Volk understood its meaning and, quite possibly, anticipated it from the Soviet correspondent. He looks at me knowingly and even encouragingly, as if he wants to say: tell me, there's nothing sensitive here...He has the answer ready. And the son of people who once left for America, fleeing the cruelty and injustice of Jewish pogroms, says philosophically and a little condescendingly, like an elder to a younger:- It's all very simple. If you decide to jump into the world of money, then everything else doesn't matter. This is, if you like, a way of life. If I were born in your country, I would probably think like you. And if you were born here, you might think like me...Well, the answer is no fools. Play by the rules. Where he was born, he was useful (worse if he was not useful where he was born). In order to comprehend the miracle of old people who come to a branch of a brokerage firm, as if for a gathering or a funeral, I had to be born here and live their lives.Sheldon Volk said about the old men at the door as a representative of a reputable company should have said, which, while protecting its reputation, tolerates unnecessary people and provides them with minor services."These are little people who have retired," he explained. - A couple of dozen shares, no more. Big people are busy. They won't sit here in vain...After thanking him and saying goodbye, I went outside. Closing the door, I saw that the mysterious signs continued to run on the display. It was American life, American time, running differently for different Americans.ViolinistOn Fifty-seventh Street, under the wide canopy of the main entrance of the Carnegie Hall concert hall, a thin, black-haired guy plays the violin. He is wearing jeans, a loose pullover, and yellow work-type boots. The guy's eyes are half closed. An open violin case lies on the sidewalk at his feet. In a case on a worn velvet upholstery there is a piece of cardboard. The words on the cardboard explain the meaning of the street scene: "The violinist needs money for his studies." The case contains dollar bills and change. There are more of them than usually served here. This means that this poor young violinist, who came to work part-time at the main entrance of the hall, on the stage of which all the great violins of our long century appeared, aroused sympathy.Fifty-seventh Street, one of Manhattan's main streets, is known for its private art galleries. The side of Carnegie Hall faces Seventh Avenue. This is the city center. Besides, it's six o'clock in the evening. The workday has just ended, and the bus stop opposite the entrance to Carnegie Hall is crowded. Passers-by slow down and stop.The violinist chose the place and hour well. He is in the midst of a human whirlpool, but he plays with his eyes half-closed, as if he sees no one. Maybe it's not easy for him to endure this concert for a crowd busy with its own business, this open case instead of an outstretched hand? Or maybe that's why he closed his eyes because even here, among a random crowd, he selflessly surrenders to the music? And it seems that the soul of this guy, along with the beautiful sad sounds, is torn somewhere from under the visor of Carnegie Hall, that his violin is groaning, unable to overcome the ugly, merciless cacophony of the city. But a miracle happens. Sounds do not win and do not disappear, they win for themselves the place that probably belongs to art in the wide, chaotic, aggressive sea of life. The violinist's casual listeners are silent, and their silence is favorable; it separates the player from the loud city surf. They, too, are excited by the sounds of the violin, their souls are also carried away somewhere, leaving only mortal bodies unfit for flight to the noisy street...But the flights of souls do not last long. People woke up, shaking off the hypnosis of music. again at the mercy of gravity, their own affairs and worries, they board buses that gently and forcefully depart from the sidewalk, and continue their journey on foot...I also woke up and walked the familiar road to Columbus Circle and further along Broadway to Riverside Drive. I walked and tried to imagine our, also poor, student playing the violin near the conservatory building on Herzen Street or next to the entrance to the metro near the Tchaikovsky Hall. I imagined its case spread out on the Moscow asphalt. I imagined the surprise of passers-by and the behavior of the police. It was not difficult to imagine all this...Each person is an atom in the social structure. Every particle of life, every street scene in one way or another reflects the entire social, state, national organism. Here is an example - and there are a great many of them - when a small incident directly leads to huge questions about the difference in the economic structure and social morality, about the competition between the two systems. With us this is supernatural, but here these are the first, precisely natural experiences, the first exits of a developing personality into the stormy ocean of private initiative. This young violinist may not be called the norm, but he undoubtedly fits into the principle. At least on the principle that it is not shameful to earn extra money, it is not shameful to offer your product - playing the violin - on the labor market, even in such circumstances when, by all external signs, it looks like a request for alms.We will, in principle, reject this open case with quarters and dollar bills as humiliating begging and unworthy of an artist. But let's not be mistaken and simplify this American street violinist. After all, he himself, a poor student in jeans and a pullover, who came to this famous place, most likely will not share our point of view, will not reject - again in principle - this opportunity to stand with a violin and an open case in front of random listeners. He will not reject him, even if you provide him with a quite tolerable minimum scholarship and a place in the hostel. Why won't he reject it? But because he was raised in the depths of another society and in this situation he sees not only burdensome and even humiliating disadvantages, but also promising advantages. For him, this entry into the ocean of private initiative is not only the pressure and dictate of need, but also the need born of the structure of society to try and realize oneself, and quickly, without waiting for the end of the course, that activity, that amateur performance, which he most likely considers the economic core personal freedom.Simply pitying or judging and ridiculing the student violinist, we will miss the main thing - that under the canopy of Carnegie Hall, amid the crowd and noise of the New York rush hour, was his font, the baptism of a person was taking place, preparing for the path of life in a capitalist society.This is what, having woken up from the hypnosis of music and again indulged in thoughts about politics, one could hear in the sounds of his violin.Shower of HateI came to the office of the corporation that owned the Schwab House, to a certain Mr. Kramer, for permission to install a telex in the apartment. Telex is a convenient thing, a reliable connection with the editor right at home: dialed the Moscow number, they responded, launched a punchline - and the job is done, your material is already on Pushkinskaya Square. Agents of the AR-C-E corporation offered and persuaded me to install a telex machine for a very reasonable fee, but the Schwab House did not agree and sent me to Mr. Kramer.He was not there, as reported by the secretary, an elderly lady with glasses on her pointy nose. I stood in front of her desk, asking when Mr. Kramer would be back.Surprisingly quickly she picked up my last name, which is intractable for Americans. Suddenly she asked:- How long have you lived here, Mr. Kondrashov?I replied that several years.- What do you think about our country?A typical and completely understandable question. But he puts me in a quandary. What I think? All this time I've been trying to answer both myself and the reader and still haven't answered properly. And here they are waiting for an answer in a nutshell, and even with delight, which I have seen more than once: after all, this American is used to asking a question to a fresh immigrant who has moved to America as to the promised land. I laughed when I heard this question. The secretary looked with cold expectation, which I did not immediately notice.- What I think? A big country, interesting, rich and, of course, with its own problems!- What are these problems? - asked the sharp-nosed secretary.Only then did her coldness reach me.- Do you think that you don't have problems? - I asked, involuntarily succumbing to her hostile tone."We don't have any problems," she said with conviction.Would you rather tell us how things are in Poland?It was not just coldness, but, it seemed, hostility, an unexpected attack in an unexpected place. I came to Mr. Kramer as a tenant from the Schwab House, as a client paying one hundred percent dollars and therefore - according to all American customs - entitled to courtesy and kind attention. (It is not for nothing that clients, customers, and visitors, as a matter of business flattery, are called patrons in America.) The duty of this secretary was to kindly and courteously inform the client when Mr. Kramer would be able to see him. No more and no less. In personal conversations and contacts with Soviet people, Americans, no matter what they think of us, very rarely allow themselves outright hostility. This means that there was something in this room, in the relationship between the secretary and Mr. Kramer, in their conversations about the Soviet families who live in the Schwab House, if the hostility was revealed immediately, without hiding it so much. But hatred, stronger than love, requires reciprocity.- You'd better ask the Poles about Poland."I'm not asking you by chance," she continued in the same hostilely assertive tone. - I have relatives there. They write that there is no freedom there.- In what sense is there no freedom there?Now it was difficult for me to leave. I stood near her table, but she, again in violation of the rules, did not invite me to sit down. Ash was accumulating on the end of my cigarette, and I looked for the ashtray, carefully tilting the cigarette so that the ash did not fall onto the carpet. She saw all this perfectly well, but, pushing up her glasses on her sharp nose, she did not want to help and did not offer an ashtray, which, again, any trained secretary was obliged to do (and I never met untrained secretaries in America). We met for the first time, but obviously she hated me so much that every inconvenience of mine, even the smallest, gave her malicious pleasure.How did it happen? We were clearly in a state of cold war, and she wanted to turn up the heat even more."They don't have free elections." They can't choose who they want.Everything developed according to the laws of controversy, which is usually called a tram.- Do you have freedom of elections? Do you read your newspapers? Have you read what they write about the recent elections?It was the next, not presidential, but midterm elections of congressmen and senators, governors and other local authorities, and New York newspapers wrote a lot about fights between money bags, about the influence of "fat cats" who financed politicians, etc.But even the reference to American newspapers had no effect on the secretary.- Yes, we have freedoms. We can choose anyone. We all have equal opportunities. AND...Then she looked with a special look, in which I read that now she would make the most successful move, give the most compelling argument, after which I would simply have to raise my hands up in surrender.-...And my son can become president!Hearing this salvo from the main caliber guns, I realized that it was pointless to continue the argument. Fool! The fool himself! And the one who last shouts this word to his hoarse opponent will win. But, having finally found an ashtray on another table and freed the end of a cigarette from the ash, I again could not resist:"Are you really sure that your son can become president?!" Haven't you noticed that all your recent presidents were millionaires? Don't you know how much money it takes to run for governor or senator?The table at which she was still sitting and through which we were diving was already disturbing me, as a buttoned shirt collar interferes with a person in anger. I walked around the table and was now standing to the side, two steps away from her, but she continued to sit and still did not offer me a chair in order to humiliate and enrage me. The incident was funny, but I found myself losing my cool. Of course, nothing I said could dispel her hatred, and facts from American newspapers automatically became communist propaganda as soon as a Soviet Russian referred to them.  - Yes, my son can become president! - she confirmed with the same fervor of triumph and despair."I'm glad you're so confident in your son."She stood up. She left her desk. She headed to the table standing by the window in the back of the room. I brought some papers there. It was just the two of us in the room, and she could, of course, hold off with these papers. But hatred choked and pushed her. She could no longer sit. She needed movement. I turned after her, and she, too, instantly turned and rushed into a decisive attack."Yes, we have freedom," she spoke so quickly, as if I could take advantage of Mr. Kramer's absence and my physical superiority as a man to deprive her of this freedom, to prevent her from speaking fully. - Yes, we have freedom! What am I? Poor secretary. And I have a car. Two TVs! I have an easy life. Look around. Everyone has an easy life here. My daughter can achieve anything she wants. She has already achieved everything she wanted. And my son...She again saved her son for last."And my son can become president of the United States of America."Only irony could defeat it, but in the heat of controversy, the weapon of irony is not easy for me even in Russian, much less in English. I could, apparently, tell her that my son has no less chance of becoming Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. But this argument did not immediately occur to me. Excited, breathing heavily, we stood opposite each other. To hell! Enough!- That's what. You say Mr. Kramer will be there at half past two. Tell him I'll be there at half past two. I hope he will accept me...When I returned, Mr. Kramer, of course, accepted me, but he never allowed me to install a telex in the apartment. And his secretary was already an ordinary, amiably efficient, American secretary.Miracles of AdvertisingThe first time I got there, I met Marine Corps officers in the corridors, walking on soft, light green carpets in dark blue uniforms - a wheeled chest and many rows of medal strips... The second time I talked for a long time with one woman, and she sprinkled her speech in military words, strategy, potential targets, and so on. An attractive middle-aged lady, in a dark, formal dress, a string of pearls around her neck instead of medal bars, slender fingers, a gentle voice, and words like those of a general on maneuvers.What battles is Mrs. Rina Bartos involved in? In advertising. Strategy is the choice of advertising for a particular product. Potential targets are buyers. At America's largest advertising agency, Mrs. Bartos directs the Creative Discovery Program. What were the Marines doing there? I came to order advertising. "Do you want to see the world? Join the Marines!" This old propaganda poster (a hefty, happy brute against the backdrop of some blessed sea and some kind of paradise), displayed at all recruitment points, had become familiar, had not been seen, and was in need of updating.America and advertising, advertising and America... An overwhelming topic. Advertising is an art that relies on creative insights, and a science that, according to Freud, awakens the depths of the subconscious in a person. Just to sell the goods. Without advertising, the manufacturer cannot survive in the world of fierce competition, and for the consumer it is Ariadne's thread in the labyrinths of private enterprise. Business spends tens of billions of dollars every year on advertising, perhaps only half as much as the government spends on the Pentagon, perhaps more than on education. However, isn't advertising part of American education! No less than a car, advertising determines the appearance of American cities and even more the American character itself, in which there is something opposite to Tyutchev's command: "Be silent, hide and hide your feelings and dreams..."As a person living in America, I am also a target of advertising. It is aimed at me from all sides. And I am holding a perimeter defense. This is due to a different upbringing, a different life, in which there were no consumer labyrinths and no need for Ariadne's thread. In the intrusiveness and omnipresence of advertising, I see some kind of encroachment on personal freedom, interference in my internal affairs, tastes, and passions. No, no and a thousand times no!But what does a personal stubborn "no" mean if you cannot imagine and comprehend American life without advertising? If advertising is the law of this life and almost the fundamental law? If advertising is that appearance that not only replaces the essence, but also becomes the essence itself when merchants or politicians reach millions by selling a new product or a renewed political platform.And so I come to Lexington Avenue, to a building where America's largest advertising agency rents five floors. Presented to its president, I talk with vice-presidents, write down numbers and facts, look at the Picasso carpet on the wall and various paintings, mostly abstract, and some handicraft Yugoslav rugs, etc., etc. - everything around me should sharpen taste of the employees. And my main interlocutor is Mrs. Bartos from the Creative Search Program.It is at the direction of management that she introduces me to the basics of advertising art and, for clarity, for objectivity, leads me to one of the studios. We sit down in soft, comfortable chairs. An attendant in a freshly ironed linen jacket with his signature initials embroidered on the pocket turns off the light. On the screen of a special TV there is a "commercial", an advertising mini-film. It lasts a minute, no more. Just an insert into some TV show. These ad inserts are as frequent as blinks. I saw thousands of them, I saw them and didn't see them, and out of stubbornness I turned them off almost every time they were turned on. Now in a dark studio room they show me this as a work of art. And next to him is the creator.So... To the music, amidst the romantic blue, the charmingly old-fashioned Putnam Inn, with wooden balustrades and carved balconies, with a peaked roof, appears in the golden sparkles of the windows. A sweet, heavenly hostess in a ruffled skirt and cap carries up the wooden, comfortably creaking stairs a lovely little face, cups and sugar. The door to the room is opened by a handsome, somewhat excited young man. Behind him is a beautiful girl with flowing hair. They had just arrived and had not yet unpacked their suitcases. They have their own plans, it's not hard to guess, but finding themselves alone in this cozy room of this respectable hotel, they start with coffee. And the hostess, of course not giving any indication of their intentions, puts a tray and a lovely silver coffee pot on the table and pours coffee into cups...  Here the calmness of Mrs. Borts, sitting next to him, changes. She grabs my hand and says hastily:  - See! The coffee is steaming. Remember, this is an important point.Her voice is excited. She seems to be reliving some of the successful discoveries from the Creative Quest Program.An appetizing steam actually appears on the screen above two cups of coffee. The girl brings the cup to her mouth. Close-up of a cup, close-up of bliss on a beautiful girl. The music is even louder. Everything is woven together in an advertising ode to joy: the romance of youth, the charm of the world, love and adventure. And the name of everything is Putnam Inn Coffee.The Putnam Inn, Rina Bartos explains to me, has only recently gone on sale on the West Coast, but is already doing well thanks to some good advertising. And in the depths of the advertising agency, an official brochure has already been reproduced and distributed with a description of exemplary advertising, which is intended to inspire other employees to creative searches.Rina Bartos tells me this instructive, glorious story.The Sunburnt Corporation, which sells coffee, is a client of an advertising agency. The brand of coffee that the corporation sold on the West Pacific Coast was also called "Sunburnt," but for some reason it was not in demand among sun-loving Californians. The corporation suffered losses on this brand. So she turned to an advertising agency for help, and was faced with a strategic dilemma: either improve the advertising, keeping the same name - "Sunburned", or introduce a new name and new advertising. We decided to introduce a new name. Note that the question about the quality of the product itself did not even arise. All brands of coffee are essentially the same, sold at the same price, and their success or failure is determined by the success or failure of advertising. Which, in fact, allows us to talk about the miracles of advertising.So, at the first (non-scientific) competition they chose the name "Famous Inn", that is, "Famous Hotel". The test mini-film was based on the famous - and very successful - advertisement for Marlboro cigarettes: the same dashing cowboys in ten-gallon i.ips, on horses among mighty bulls. But this was a voluntary approach and a typical case of detachment from life. First, the fictitious "Famous Inn" immediately reminded the American of the "Holiday Inn" existing in hundreds of places, which was known for poor rather than good coffee. Secondly, who recognizes the authority of cowboys regarding coffee?Failure forced me to take the matter seriously. The director of Creative Quest traveled to the West Coast and conducted two carefully prepared group interviews on the spot with consumers-women and men, young and old-two long conversations that were tape-recorded and amounted to one hundred and forty pages of typewritten text.- What is coffee? - Mrs. Bartos now asks me, having put the matter on a scientific basis, and answers herself, guessing that I won't say anything sensible: "Coffee is not just an invigorating hot drink." This is psychology. This is emotional attachment and emotional response. Coffee is a small, pleasant self-reward for a housewife sitting down with a cup at the kitchen table after cleaning her apartment in the morning. Coffee is a sign of friendship and hospitality, and on the West Coast, where this brand of coffee is sold, people are not as cold and ceremonious as here in New York, and easily visit each other without even telling each other by phone. Coffee is a consolation for loneliness, a companion for old people or the same bored housewife whose husband is at work and children are at school. Coffee is a pleasure in the lap of nature, and there, in the West, they love picnics, tourist outings, hunting...This, it turns out, is what it is-the psychology and almost the philosophy of coffee. But how, with what, where to link philosophy with practice? What impulses should be sent to the buyer's brain, to his subconscious, so that this and not another label awakens in him the urge for coffee?Taking advantage of Mrs. Bartos's research, the advertising masters, in accordance with the four directions of the Creative Quest, proposed four draft names: "Putnam Inn" as an image of an old, respectable road inn where the coffee could not help but be excellent; "A Magnificent Moment," where coffee brought happiness to people taking a rest after a long journey; "Sattor's Gold" - named after the famous Californian gold miner Suttor, an ingenious association of gold nuggets with golden coffee beans; and, finally, a name at random, at random, an almost abstract idea of ??hospitality.Surveys were conducted again - with the demonstration of test advertising films. The Putnam Inn received more than half the votes. "Great Moment" came in second place. Gold nuggets did not pass as too straightforward propaganda.And here it is, the crown of creative search, a new conditioned reflex instilled in the consumer; golden reflections of a travel inn in a blue romantic evening, an old-fashioned hostess with her hospitality without deception, a couple in love and a fragrantly steaming cup of coffee."In fact, we are eating fantasy and have lost touch with the real thing we are eating... We are drinking shortcuts. With a bottle of Coca-Cola, we drink the picture of a handsome guy or girl drinking Coca-Cola on a billboard, we drink the advertising call for "a break that's refreshing," we drink the great American habit..."This is what the famous philosopher and sociologist Erich Fromm wrote. Can the unnatural be considered natural, even if it is approved and reinforced by the behavior of millions? But what is the philosopher's bewilderment if millions of his fellow citizens eat fantasy and drink the great American habit every day?! Just the annoyance of a man behind the times.The common man, the masses, are the main target of Mrs. Bartos's advertising agency. They lead an unbreakable friendship with him and maintain an inextricable bond. Sometimes they lure him straight from the street to test this or that product, to test out raw advertising ideas. And they even pay a man on the street for such services.Explaining and showing the secrets of the craft, Mrs. Bartos led me into a special room. The carpet in which the uto. feet, an impressive conference table, chairs along the table. A large, comfortable room and a mirror to the left of the entrance. The mirror is like a mirror, almost the entire wall. Then my guide opened the next door with a key. What was a wall-to-wall mirror in the conference room was a wall-to-wall window into the conference room from the control room. I again saw a large polished table and empty chairs around. People from the street invited for interviews have no idea that they are under surveillance. Advertising masters study them like guinea pigs, record their words, capture and unravel their facial expressions, glances, and gestures. And they prepare their traps for the buyer.Although the room was empty, I felt like a spy, glued to a keyhole the size of an entire wall.  "No, we don't talk about this mirror unless they ask," Mrs. Bartos answered my question honestly. - Yes, this can be called a lie by omission...And she told an incident from her own practice. One day she invited her employees to this special room for a business lunch. They ate and drank. they talked and laughed, and meanwhile a colleague took a group of guests around the offices and studios and brought them into the control room. And Mrs. Bartos's group, suspecting nothing, was treated like inhabitants of a menagerie. Since then, she has not held business lunches in a special room with a magic mirror...Knives in a display caseThe matinee ended and I walked out of the big, empty theater onto Broadway after The Testimony of Valacci. This was not our district Broadway, but the well-known Broadway of Fortieth Street. There were a dozen movie theaters left on bustling Broadway from the golden age of Hollywood, and just across from the one I came from there was another one, just as big and probably just as empty during the day. It featured the film "The Mechanic" with probably the same actor as in "Testimony of Valacchi", and in the same role - the killer. On the poster, the famous actor, Charles Bronson, with a face like a clenched fist raised to his nose, held a craftsman's tin suitcase in his hand. There was a neat sticker on the suitcase, and on the sticker were the words: "His profession was to kill. He knew a dozen ways to kill, and they all worked. That's why they called him the Mechanic." There was another poster hanging nearby. Not embarrassed by the discrepancy, she reported on a hundred ways to kill - "and they all worked."Taking a film tour of Broadway, I then watched two or three films a day. But "Mechanics" was postponed until tomorrow, because I saw plenty of different ways to kill in "Valacci's Testimony."Valacci is not a fictitious person. This is a mafioso who became famous when he began to "sing," that is, to testify against other members of the Cosa Nostra mafia and against its head himself, the boss of bosses and "godfather" Don Vita Genovese. By that time, Genovese was already in prison, not without comfort and without losing contact with the outside world. And the outside world learned through the newspapers that the boss of bosses had offered a reward of one hundred thousand dollars to whoever killed Valacci. Valacci was afraid to be released, feeling safer in solitary confinement. He asked to be left in prison - they met him halfway. But even in prison, several attempts were made on his life. Still, he survived and died a natural death - behind bars. A lot of books have been written about his life and based on his testimony. One at a time, they staged the film "Testimony of Valacci."There are a lot of horrors and cruelties, but the crowning moment is the castration of one mafioso who seduced the mistress of the boss of bosses. The cut was presented to the unfaithful woman as a gift.It didn't hurt to catch my breath from such art...After the horrors and darkness of the cinema hall, I stood in the middle of the November, but warm and sunny Broadway and, having nothing to do, absently glanced at the window of a small souvenir store, of which there are many. There were knives behind the glass. A showcase is like a showcase. Knives are like knives. For the first time, these display cases are new. On the thousandth day you glance at them, but you don't see anything, it's become familiar. Suddenly something made me look closer... Knives ran through my brain - in the scenes of murders that Valacci told about. That unfortunate mafioso, who screamed so terribly when he realized what they wanted to do to him, was castrated with a huge, scary knife. And here behind the glass lay not harmless pocket knives. Long, narrow, shiny, made of high-quality chrome-plated steel, with points that were scary to touch, these were knives for stabbing.Beautiful, high-quality cases made of good leather lay next to naked, gleaming knives. Both the product itself and the display mirror were perfectly clean.I felt uneasy. What a closeness - "Testimony of Valacci", "The Mechanic" with his murderer's briefcase, as professional as the doctor's - and these knives on display. Why are they being sold? Why do people buy them? What is it in inexhaustible human nature that reaches out to them? Thousands of detailed answers have been given by science and literature, but we continue to ask these naive questions, because among the answers there is not a single one that would calm our conscience...The day was sunny and warm. Lunch hour. Various audiences were walking along Broadway. Not in the details of the street, not in shop windows and billboards, not in vulgar movie posters, but in the general panorama, illuminated by the precious autumn sun, goodness was spilled, like on the face of some "godfather" who, on a Saturday morning, resting, , rocking his beloved grandson on his knee. You couldn't even hear the hysterical police sirens.But these knives for stabbing did not disappear, and in the middle of the display case there were those that were longer and narrower, and in the corner - more massive, wider, fit for a bull. An elderly woman sat near the entrance, towering over the cash register so that she could see customers who were not always clean with their hands. For a better view, a slightly tilted round mirror hung in the opposite corner, absorbing and reflecting to the cashier that part of the store that she could not see from her elevation. An elderly man with a cigar in his mouth, probably the owner, came to the door from the back of the store, stood next to me and looked at me. An experienced Broadway man, he didn't sense me as a buyer, and he didn't like my intense window-shopping. Maybe he sensed what stupid questions I was asking?How short, indeed, is the chain: the film - this little shop - these stilettos - this grated roll with a belly and a cigar, ready to sell them. There is only no person who will buy one of the knives, and another person into whom this first person mentally already sticks a terrible steel sting. I would like to trace the fate of one of these knives from the moment when the owner pulls it out from under the counter (after all, there are only samples on display) and lets the buyer look at it, turn it and touch it with the tip of his finger, then puts it in a cardboard box, wraps it in colorful, beautiful paper, and ties it with a ribbon. . With the box in which the knife is hidden, the buyer will approach the elderly cashier, she will accept his dollars, click the cash register, giving change.And - a knife on the street! Still hidden in a box, but the Madele, most likely a young man, became impatient, and, going into some entrance or into a public restroom stall: after all, you can't draw a knife in public, in the light of a sunny, peaceful day, he unpacked and threw away the box. The knife is in the pocket, behind the belt, under the jacket. Secret. Went for a walk...There is no need to release this knife, which cannot be used to cut or whittle, which can only be pierced. It's dangerous to let go! But I did not give this advice to the owner. Puffing on a cigar, he continued to look at me with the cold gaze of a Broadway old-timer, as if hurrying me, as if driving away an incomprehensible person from his window.But I didn't leave. Now I peered at this display case professionally, like a correspondent who knows that the reader values facts and figures. He began to count the knives and behind the display glass he counted forty-nine types of them. O mighty American industry!Counting these terrible knives, I remembered how a long time ago, with a friend who had come to America for a short time, I looked at another New York display case, in which about two dozen harmless knives and knives for cutting cheese were laid out. Then we argued heatedly and, as usual, quickly jumped from those little knives to the topic of "catch up and overtake." One of us argued that we should catch up and outstrip them in terms of the abundance of cheese knives, while the other believed that it was hardly worth taking on this problem and that, in any case, we would not solve it, like many other similar problems. easy as it seems...Taking my eyes off the hypnotic knives, I once again looked around the entire display case. There were colorful large postcards with views of New York, multicolor posters of beauties in what their mother gave birth to, nickel-plated badges of sheriffs and "special police", elegant steel handcuffs, revolver holsters without revolvers. Under the ceiling of the display case, crowning this entire set, hung an image of Christ wearing a crown of thorns. It was like a photographic image of Christ, but not flat, but three-dimensional, luminous. Christ shimmered in a lurid manner with his cheeks, forehead, and reddish beard, and the thorns of his crown looked like barbed wire...Broadway consumer goodsThere are at least two Broadways. Ordinary Broadway begins its journey at the southern tip of Manhattan Island and stretches for tens of kilometers, getting lost somewhere on the northern outskirts of New York. And there is a short Broadway, a symbol, an evening Broadway. A dozen blocks between the sparkling skyscrapers of Sixth Avenue and the miserable darkness of Eighth, Ninth, Tenth. From the north it is surrounded by the evening emptiness of Central Park. And the south also ends in emptiness. Exploding with the radiance of Forty-second Street, evening Broadway ends in the south into the deserted darkness of shopping districts, where during the day people swarm with cars, and in the evening there are only closed iron bars on doors and shop windows, silent mannequins, invisible alarm systems.This Broadway is famous for the electro-neon dance of its advertising, winking with millions of light bulbs and tubes: what's easier, I'm all in sight, all out. The visors of theaters and cinemas sparkle. The huge windows of cafes, eateries, and shops are cleanly washed and brightly lit. Behind them, people silently talk and laugh, their mouths open over glasses and plates. Everything is visible, everything is in place. Only the Camel electric cigarette smoker has disappeared, which for three decades in a row blew out seductive smoke from its mouth, curling in rings.Evening Broadway, like a peacock, splendidly spread its tail of advertising. But the commercial is just an introduction to Broadway. In the arrogant 20th century, Broadway implements the second part of the formula, as old and enduring as the world: "Bread and circuses!"Spectacle! A human river flows on its fiery banks. Sailors in white bell-bottoms and uniforms are rocking after the ocean and getting acquainted with the Brudershaft bars of Broadway. American business travelers are on the prowl: where and how to shake things up? A frightened foreigner who came to New York through hundreds of its own paths. The pop-eyed American province is curious about how modern Babylon lives and has fun. Young couples cautiously dive into the Broadway river. And the regulars swim so deep and for so long that they feel sick just from oxygen. Here he is, a regular, emerges, sticks out on the sidewalk, looking around, muttering: "Do you want a girl?"And police guards at intersections polish their batons by hand. The dark body of the baton unwinds on the strap and is deftly grabbed by the heavy police palm. And r-time... And dv-va... Eyes, like border searchlights, scan the horizon. Broadway academics...I didn't go through the Broadway academies. In-depth knowledge of the subject is lacking. However, he walked around and stared. I delved into the difficult languor of the Great White Way. Simpletons bring their expectations here, and the stronger the expectations, the greater the risk of disappointment. I was thinking about something. Broadway provides food for the brain.Here is the intersection of Broadway and Forty-second Street, the Main Crossroads of the World, as the Americans called it.Here is the ocean, a white-hot cosmos of lights.Here you think: what exactly did Prometheus, and after him Edison, try to steal fire from Mother Nature?Just walking along Forty-second, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, near the blinding canopies of movie theaters, past pornographic shops, under the gaze of regulars on whom life has stamped scum, just walking through is a test of endurance, of disgust. The Main Crossroads of the World holds two records - for the density of electric light and for the intensity of man-darkness per square foot of area.What about the academicians polishing their batons? There are many of them, but Broadway has its own rules of the game...The crowd is the ruler of Broadway. The crowd disappears, the lights go out.But it doesn't disappear because the crowd is a slave to Broadway.He rules over her, dividing her with his spectacles.He captures her piece by piece, calling on the abundance and squalor of the American bourgeois century as his allies. Broadway is filled with signs of the century from top to bottom, from the necklaces of advertising to the bottoms of its windows. The planet is narrowed and compressed by trade, the planet is hungry for the dollar: ebony gods from Kenya, Aztec masks, Japanese wickerwork, Hong Kong dishes, Polynesian, Italian, French restaurants. cameras and movie cameras, tape recorders and transistors, gramophone records and portable televisions are amazing miracles of technology. Broadway knows how to turn them into amulets of the savage: perish, the evil force of boredom, emptiness and meaninglessness of existence.Technically the age is abundant, but spiritually man is poor - this is the working rate of Broadway.Everything passes and everything remains - that's his hope.Let's leave the stuffy sidewalk and take a look at the so-called "Paris Wax Museum", right there on Broadway.Cool. Purity. Carpets. Wax figures in glass compartments. And behind the other glass, touched by a touch of noble rust, is natural, medieval inquisitorial iron. "Heretic collar" with iron spikes inside ("used for those who did not want to go to the cell to be picked up"). An iron resemblance to a medical duck ("a device for pouring boiling oil into the victim's mouth"). A sword for cutting off fingers... "Piercer of flesh"... "Backbreaker"... Again for flesh... For gouging out eyes... For branding...The crown of everything, the Iron Maiden, kindly opened her womb, seated with a universal set of thorns. They inserted the heretic inside, strained, and slammed the halves of the Iron Maiden shut. Even medieval executioners could not stand the sight of a mangled corpse. "The world's most famous instrument of torture and death."It's a Broadway joke. From his consumer goods of cruelty and sex.Movie stars are turned into modern courtesans, sex idols, sex bombs. This is the lot of big film corporations. But there are poorer companies and the goods are not of the same quality, but there is more and denser pornography. Here are "Girls for Rent" - 45 minutes of sadism, half a minute - a moralizing happy ending. Here are dark statues propping up the walls, black women pushed onto the panel from the abyss of Harlem.  And if you like the consumer goods of dance halls? Pay, choose a partner, dance. And pay again. For every dance. The dance hall is old-fashioned and rejects modern dancing. Dance hall - for the close intimacy of tango...Broadway is as vast as an epic. The range is from prostitutes to the righteous.An old woman with strong teeth and an embarrassed smile chatters on the corner about the salvation of the soul, selflessly defends Jesus Christ, who is knowingly crucified on Broadway screens, making money from biblical stories. Like the dance hall, the old lady is against modernity, be it skyscrapers or newfangled bishops. She is for the Apostle Peter: "Not with perishable silver or. "You will be redeemed with gold from the vain life handed down to you from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, like a spotless and spotless lamb." They listen to the old lady. Do they hear?There is freedom on Broadway. You can be anyone - within the Broadway framework.And a motley human river flows along the sidewalks. Sweaty. Hot. Houses heated during the day return heat to the evening street. Is it time for a cold bottle of beer?The eagle-eyed bartender beckons with his gaze to the counter: anything? Which one? Everything is at his fingertips. He takes the bottle from the ice, wipes it, clicks the opener, strains cold beer into the glass.It's crowded behind the counter, everyone's sideways, all eyes on the short girl in white boots seems to be rubbing the floor, twirling her legs and hips to the deafening music. Damn, this is quite a show. There are four jazz players and three girls with tambourines on the stage. But what is this strange drummer? Bah, it's a robot. Cleverly done. He moves his arms, sways his body, opens his mouth in mechanical ecstasy.Clever? Not really. Three saxophonists are more skillfully made. You realize later that they are also robots. Living sounds are just lazy tambourines in the hands of the girls.  Well, what about the girls? They must be genuinely alive? Hair... Eyes blinking... And the girl silently rubs her boots on the floor, moves her hands, as if climbing a rope ladder. Damn, she has the same moves too. Is she alive? But then she leaves, she leaves on her own. Alive... She is replaced by a second, third, fourth... Seven minutes each. Everything is mechanical, everything is deliberately mechanical, the more mechanical, the more chic.They would be replaced by robots, too, but there are still no automata from which the inviting current of the female body would emanate.The young bartender, a big man with a hawk's nose, listlessly rolls a pink, chewed gum around in his mouth.And some guy near the aquarium glass alone, selflessly, shuffles his feet under the rumble. Strange, not like other neatly haircut, neatly dressed visitors. In a cowboy jacket. Drunk.And one more person in the corner. Also strange. Doesn't look at girls. He hung his head heavily over the counter. He pokes his cigarette butt into the ashtray to the beat of the music. A finger taps the side of a beer glass. Thought...And suddenly one of the short-haired men has a tired, intelligent look. it's time! Enough Broadway crap for today.Down in the subway, a policeman melancholy adjusts his wide, thick belt. Shaking carriages. The rumble of carriages. Human silence.Hippie GrinWhen we arrived, three thousand young men and women had already gathered on St. Mark's Street. Jeans. Young mustaches and beards. Even the guys have shoulder-length hair. The evening darkness obscured the platform, but it was clear that it was two-tiered. And on the first tier, there were guys with electric guitars at the microphones, and on the second, narrow and shaky, there were girls, ready to set the vibe for the crowd. On the roof of a low house, behind the platform, two faces appeared white in the darkness. Police caps could be seen above their faces.A frail Jim Forett appeared in front of the microphone-the weak chin of a teenager, a halo of unkempt hair, a blue sweater. He called on the crowd to leave. Then the guitars struck sharply, and the electronic resonating sounds of rock and roll swept through the narrow street corridor under a dark, starless sky. The crowd cheered.And the girl in front of us, vibrating, took a handful of cherries out of the bag and began distributing them to those who were nearby. We also got a berry on a thin stalk, and, carefully kneading the delicate skin in my fingers, I remembered and said to my colleague:- Why are you dawdling, Borya?"Oh yes," Boris also remembered, "indeed."He took out a flower he had saved for this occasion from his pocket and gallantly handed it to the girl. It would have been necessary to complete the ritual to the end, but neither Boris nor I was enough for this. I should have said: Love... Love...We made our way to Third Avenue, where the crowd was thinner. Many people vibrated. The young black man danced rock and roll with an inimitable African sense of rhythm. Some guy, putting his guitar on the pavement, slowly - one of his kind in this crowd - sprayed it with paint from a spray bottle, and the guitar glowed festively orange in the darkness.At the end of St. Mark's Street there was a wooden police barrier, and near it Jim Forette was handing out the simple flat sticks that we use to eat ice cream and Americans use to stir coffee in paper cups. Five minutes ago, these sticks, unnoticed, lay in a heap on the pavement, and now Jim was distributing them to those gathered, raising them from the asphalt to the level of the symbol. As we passed, we each picked up a stick, and I-oh damned slowness! - asked Jim:- What is this for?But Jim was not offended and answered softly:- Maybe it will be useful for something...There are thousands of different New Yorks in New York, and around almost every corner the city changes the scenery of human tragedies and comedies.Rock was still humming faintly in the distance, but we were already walking along a completely empty street, where there were no cherries, no flowers, no life-giving current of youth, no expectations. With his legs apart in tattered pants, his scraggly, far from youthful, unfashionable beard resting on his own chest, the lonely man-beast painfully stared at us, dying - for the umpteenth time! - from a binge. The asphalt served as his bed, and the wall as his head, and what did he care about various sticks if the glass flask lying next to him was empty. Here stretched the spurs of the Bowery, the streets of flophouses and alcoholics, the most undisguised, most open street of New York...I've thrown you a charade, reader. What can you do? It's getting harder and harder to explain America. So, psychedelia. This is not science, but rather the practice of "expanding consciousness," and more and more widespread. They expand primarily with marijuana, but also with other drugs and vibrating to the sounds of rock and roll. Long-haired young people are called hippies, although this flimsy word was not born by them and not everyone likes them. The exchange of flowers, cherries, sticks, and even homemade marijuana cigarettes is like a sacrament of their religion. This is the idea of sharing, but not the kind where shareholders share dividends, but disinterestedly, out of a feeling of sympathy. This is the idea of brotherhood and community. The hippie even hands the flower to the policeman.An acquaintance of mine is a liaison between hippie "tribes" and "communes." We were introduced by Don McNeil, a hippie-looking reporter who dropped out of high school in Alaska and came to New York for work and life experience. On the way to the Figaro cafe, where our first meeting was scheduled, Don showed me a small basement shop. There was a smell of Indian incense and a brisk trade in goods that expanded consciousness. I tried on cut glass glasses. The world suddenly became multicolored. Refracting, the world shone radiantly.How much does it take, I thought, to see the sky in diamonds?These were psychedelic, mind-expanding glasses... When we first met, Jim Forette sensed the irony in my attitude towards him. In response he snapped. When I asked him about his parents, Jim said angrily: "My father is a millionaire, and my mother is a prostitute. You know, how it usually happens in families of millionaires"...We met more than once and, it seems, began to understand each other better. He comes from a wealthy family, his stepfather is a successful businessman. Since childhood, the Youth Achievement organization has extended its educational hand over Jim, which teaches teenagers how to start their own independent business, and at the same time the views of the far right. Then Jim was sent to the privileged Harvard University. There he realized that a businessman was being raised in him and a man was being killed. There he hated the universal standards of mercantilism such as: "The fastest means the most economical, the cheapest means the most practical."Who took him away from this orthodox bourgeois America? Imagine, Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky. Jim became interested in the stage, and the "Method" (Stanislavsky's system) allowed him to look into himself and think about where "youthful achievements" lead. He dropped out of university. He became an actor and a hippie.Here's the credo that I heard not only from Jim, but also from Don, Paul, and other hippies: in this society they want to force us to do the work of the machine. But let's leave the machine work to the machines. We want something more significant, creative.This is the cry of a young soul, over which the threat of destruction hangs.Old-world landowners, as we know from school textbooks, did not live, but existed vegetatively.New World businessmen are very dynamic. But they don't live either. They function like machines, they are programmed in the manner of electronic decision devices.It's not just our social systems that are at different poles. Our moral and ethical problems also have different poles. This is why it is so difficult to experience and understand America from the outside for those who have not lived in it. For example, we are in favor of increasing the efficiency of our people, our workers. Hurray for business people! But - it's worth adding - if they remain human. The so-called "pressure interview" is an advanced screening method for hiring.- Suppose such a case - either you or your child should die tomorrow, but it depends on you - who? Who should die? Who will you choose?- I guess I'll choose myself.- Why?- Hard to say. Probably because I lived much more than he did, and he still has to live."Don't you think this is a rather stupid answer?" How will you reconcile him with your role as husband, father and provider?- But my child is young and...What does it matter? I do not understand. What do you want to prove with this?- I don't know... I guess...This dialogue is taken from Life magazine, which published an advertising article about the methods of work of one thriving private agency for the selection of senior personnel for leading corporations. Notice: the confused boss candidate is hesitant, almost ready to "kill" his child. He is already ashamed of his emotions. Late. He was found to have remnants of his soul and, therefore, a lack of "efficacy." "His chances of landing a $50,000-a-year job have all but vanished," the magazine reported.Oscar Wilde once remarked that Americans know the value of everything, but have absolutely no idea of human values. In his time, there was no Kurt Einstein recruitment agency, rejecting sensitive businessmen in whom the atavism of fatherly love prevails over naked calculation.The Life article was not written about hippies, but it helps to understand where they come from and why they multiply so quickly. In Massa these are the offspring of the middle class, wealthy, wealthy families.The vengeful grin of a hippie - the ideals of the businessmen are rejected and subverted by their own children. They grew up under the roofs of bourgeois houses, among cars, televisions, stocks, loans, meticulous home ledgers, and when the time came for maturation, they grinned in the face of their parents: you know the price of everything, but what about values?..And they crossed their father's threshold, not finding the meaning of life in repeating their parents on a new turn of the spiral...The hippie ideal is negative-a defiant 100% negation of the 100% American. From bare feet on the asphalt of city streets, worn-out sandals, beards, Zaporozhye mustaches, long hair, handicraft beads and cow bells on youthful thin necks. Their tramp negligence makes traders tremble: what will happen to profits if one extreme gives way to the other, if instead of consumer bacchanalia comes asceticism and infects all young people under 25, half the country's population and, accordingly, half of the buyers.A 100% American is wound up like a clock: time is money. A hippie dreams of living outside of time.One hundred percent is an individualist, a lone wolf. The most active sect of hippies, the Diggers, take as their model those English farmers who freely distributed the fruits of their labor to those in need.The God of 100% works as a petty clerk on Mammon's staff. The hippie, having lost faith in the usual gods, is fascinated by Hinduism, which, as it seems to him from afar, protects the whole - and whole - person, without cutting him down to a business.In a fashionable American debate on the topic: is God alive? - the hippie brings in the desperately needed irony. "God is alive, but there is simply nowhere for him to park," they write on their round multi-colored badges. "God lives, but he went to Miami for the holiday season."Politics are also not in favor of hippies. They believe neither the Republican elephant, nor the Democratic donkey, nor the bipartisan idol of anti-communism.I once came across a psychedelic shop located in an old bus. The sides of the bus were painted with picturesque advertisements for "artist, philosopher and poet" Louis Abolafia. He proposed himself for president of the United States. Under the photo of a naked, strong man covering his shame with a top hat, it was written: "At least I have nothing more to hide."Another time I came home with recordings of music popular among hippies and played the same song for a long time. Calm initial bars of guitars, a short hidden run - and suddenly a frantic, hoarse voice and, like breaking down a door, like a battering ram, the words: "Run! Hide! Break through to the other side!!!"Rolling forward, like an avalanche, like a desperate attempt, the refrain breaks out: "Break through to the other side..."What is it, the other side?My friend and I watched one of the breakthrough experiments - a hippie show wedding. The barn-shaped Polm Garden ballroom was filled with psychedelic smoke. It tickled my nostrils with a spicy, bittersweet incense. In the semi-darkness, cigarettes with "grass"-marijuana-flashed. The music roared, bursting the eardrums, and a girl of about sixteen, a thin stalk in a miniskirt, selflessly vibrated on the stage, inspiring the audience. A pink beam skillfully wandered over the psychedelic panels on the wall, lighting them up with fantastically bright colors - either a luminous aureole reminiscent of a lunar eclipse, or the glow of some fluffy huge green molecule. From the standard, one-dimensional world, only a black bartender got there, who supplied those who wanted traditional beer and whiskey.The crowd was buzzing... Jazz was buzzing...Then the gate-doors opened straight onto the pavement, and the flower-covered motorcycles began to hum and purr. And we saw our acquaintance Jim Forett in white Indian robes, phosphorescent with blue fire. He sat clutching the black motorcyclist's jacket. Behind him, on other motorcycles, the bride and groom glowed with phosphorescence. Then Jim stood peacefully on the platform in the middle of the hall, taking the young people by the hands - a kind of amateur Buddhist monk originally from Puritan New England. Not only his clothes glowed, but also his feet in sandals.This is how consciousness expanded on Manhattan's Fifty-second Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, next to Broadway, where lovers of ordinary spectacles strolled.One newspaper, describing this wedding, drew a vindictive moral: the newlyweds had only 25 cents, the groom could not even treat the bride to Coca-Cola.Morality is more complicated. Hippies know where to run, but do they get there?Why deafening jazz? To take away a person's language and voice. There is no faith in words, words are lies. Music - without deception. The frantic rhythm of rock awakens souls and bodies.Why a feast of colors, so strange, rainbow, unusual? America is bright, like a splint painted with the most powerful chemistry in the world, but not for its children, whose feelings have become deadened. We need to stir them up, shake them with unprecedented explosions of colors.Why marijuana? These voluntary hallucinations? Withdrawal, disconnection from the outside world, drug trances, called "travels within", have become a mass phenomenon in America today."Inner travel is a new response to the electronic age. For centuries, man has undertaken outward journeys, such as Columbus. Now he goes inside himself," this is how Marshall McLuhan, the theorist of new travel, explains the matter...St. Mark's Street, where I began these notes, is located in the south of Manhattan, in the East Village. This is a long-standing area of former Ukrainians, Russians, and Poles. The Puerto Rican ghetto is expanding on nearby avenues. Soviet people living in New York visit the former Slavs for fragrant bread, sausages from the Stasiuk brothers and for apples, which, unlike other freshly canned American apples, are not sprinkled with some kind of chemical that protects them from rotting but kills their vitamin content. , fragrant apple nature.In the East Village, contrasts do not just coexist, they are superimposed on each other. Former Slavs fled to America at different times and for different reasons. And now young Americans with a pedigree that goes back almost to the Mayflower, the first ship with Anglo-Saxon pilgrims, are running here, voluntarily settling in the slums. They are not running here to the Slavs, but from America, their prosperous fathers and mothers.Hippies plant a tree of love. Puerto Ricans, having ended up in slums, accumulate hatred and, following the example of blacks, are thinking about riots. Hippies preach "partisans of love," and black radicals dream of a real, armed, guerrilla war in the ghetto.The colorful picture truly expands consciousness.ProtestIt's just after one o'clock on a Saturday afternoon when the sound of hammers rings out in Union Square. They put together a platform near the colonnade of a small park, where tramps and the unemployed usually sleep with their legs crossed; on the benches, and nearby those who love to talk to their hearts' contents jump on each other like roosters, finding out to what limits American freedom can extend. This time, as on the days of large rallies, the arena is not the park, but the square itself. There they put together a platform. There, the November sun casts its stingy rays on those active and inactive: concerned supporters and opponents, as well as police officers maintaining order and reporters covering the event, and simply onlookers attracted by the clatter of hammers. On the platform where the last nails are being hammered in, five Americans protesting the Vietnam War are about to burn their military ID cards.Improvisation in this kind of mass action is unacceptable. Everything is prepared and agreed upon in advance. We received permission from the authorities on a Saturday non-working day from such and such an hour to use Union Square, one of the busiest city intersections on weekdays. The press was notified, and stacks of press bulletins were already laid out on a table near the platform - "military ID burning programs", biographies of those burning, texts of statements that they were going to make when burning. They invited friends and sympathizers, but the ill-wishers found out on their own and came without an invitation. The police, sensing the severity of the situation, singled out not only foot soldiers and horsemen, who stand like important, slow, snorting statues at the edges of the crowd. Unspoken, but complete supervision is provided by people in civilian clothes, with identifying metal triangles in the lapels of their jackets and that. These are FBI agents.More and more people do not want to fight in Vietnam. Three years ago, the Justice Department announced that it would investigate and prosecute the anti-war protest movement. Congress carefully passed a law making the intentional destruction of military records punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars. Passions are running high. The five started a serious business. People with triangles face new troubles, and they are preparing to walk among the public, habitually feeling the hard body of a pistol warmed by its own warmth under their arms on their thighs, peering at the gathered participants and spectators, training their visual memory - who is who? - and, perhaps, photographing the persons who interested them in some secret way, through some special button. An anti-war story with a detective touch...The platform is deserted. Freshly planed unpainted boards. By evening there will be no trace left of them... The day after tomorrow, on the business day, they will again be here impatiently pushing against each other's cars. And now, filling Union Square, the crowd is thickening, and there people are clinging to each other, groups are formed and disintegrating, funnels of debaters are swirling - heated voices, outstretched necks. An American, as a rule, knows the laws; if the law does not suit him, he prefers to find a like than to challenge it directly. And here is precisely the case of a direct, public challenge.  - Law?! - some young man jumps on his interlocutor, trying to put as much destructive sarcasm into this word as possible. - You say it's the law. At one time, federal law required the surrender of escaped slaves. Who was right - those who handed over slaves, or those who acted contrary to the law? Who did history recognize as the winner?!In the crowd, not yet separated and lifted up by a bridge, are the five main characters. They are at the service of reporters, because the meaning of what they started is in publicity, in publicity, in the power of example.I approach Mark Edelman, a young, handsome nineteen-year-old guy. The public burning of military ID cards is his idea, and it is he who faces the greatest trouble: alone of the five, he is already subject to conscription into the army. Four have a deferment, and they burn their military ID cards as a sign of solidarity with Mark. Mark has an intelligent face, his profession is a cabinet maker. He behaves calmly, but his eyes are tired, and if not anxiety, then tension is visible in them. At the age of nineteen, this was probably his first big, civil decision. I ask:- Mark, what do you want to achieve with this act?He is ready for an answer and has answered impromptu more than once, and this is not suitable here."I want to dissociate myself from all military violence, especially from the military violence perpetrated by the American government in Vietnam. I hope that my protest will be one of many sparks that, together with other acts of dissent, it will ultimately prompt a change in the entire foreign policy of the United States...When the hammers fall silent, the first to appear on the platform is the famous pacifist Dr. Gordon Christiansen. Silence... And immediately the silence collapses from shouts: "Traitors!", "Cowards!" They are shouting from the other side of the square. Under the supervision of the police, who, like seconds in a duel, separate the warring sides, there are pickets walking around in a circle with posters in their hands. These are patriots. A familiar song on their posters: "Beat the Reds in Vietnam and New York!" , "The best red is a dead red!"Among the five there is not a single communist, three are convinced Catholics. This should be well known to the picketers, but they do not want to know about political difficulties that undermine their conviction and weaken their patriotism.- Traitors! Underpants! - they shout from the other side of the square, without waiting for the start, they rush to make sure their word is first.Five people ascend the platform along steep wooden steps and it is impossible to avoid the comparison - like a scaffold. Now they have crossed an invisible line, risen above the rest, made their dangerous choice, and in recognition of this difference their names resound loudly over the square. Thomas Cornell... Mark Edelman... Roy Lisker... James Wilson... David McReynolds...There are already thousands of people in Union Square. Some applaud, others, puffing out their cheeks, are indignant - "boo-oo"... And another moment of electric silence - when five, one after another, make their statements. Brief statements, dry, like lawsuits drawn up by lawyers, and a step away from the microphone.Only the last one, David McReynolds, cannot maintain a businesslike tone and throws out oratorical words to the thousands in the square:- We are not the traitors. Traitors are in Washington. They changed American traditions there. I say to the American president: "I voted for you, and you betrayed me." The current government has openly violated the UN Charter by invading Vietnam and, previously, the Dominican Republic. It destroyed its solemn obligations. In response, I destroy this tangible connection to the government - my military ID. Thus I declare that the government in Washington, pouring napalm on South Vietnamese villages, is my enemy, the enemy of every American...The flame of a lighter flashes in Mark Edelman's hand. The red tongue of fire wavers, tiny, but everyone sees it, because everyone is looking at it. The square freezes again - and again the silence is split, again cries of praise and blasphemy collide above it. And the five seem to withdraw into themselves, in their pathetic difficult moment. Solemn, strict, silent, they hold out white stripes of military ID cards to the red tongue, as if performing a ritual of sacrifice. Fire licks paper...And suddenly, soaring above the people, a white elastic stream of water flies at the lighter, at the tickets, at the five of them. Someone guessed, came up with a clever idea, hid a portable fire extinguisher under his coat...The flame goes out, the confused guys on the platform lower their hands with wet pieces of paper, water flows down their faces and clothes.The square gasps at the unexpected turn of events. You can hear a fuss near the platform, muffled swearing, muffled muttering. The police grab and take away a man with a fire extinguisher.The five rekindle their sacrificial fire. Wet faces, tangled hair. They are probably cold, but they are shivering with excitement. They are like a group sculpture, and the invisible current emanating from their figures once again captivates the crowd under the November sun. Lighter... It doesn't work... Matches... Damn wet pieces of paper don't burn...- Tear them apart! - they shout nervously from the square.No, not to tear it apart, but to burn, burn and dispel. It's decided. This will be done. And the pieces of paper reluctantly engage in fire, burn, melt, curl with an ashy fringe, burning your fingers. And then a song is born in the crowd and unites people in the high tension of the moment, a wonderful song of solidarity. The petrified faces of the five come to life and warm up. They also enter and, drowning out everything, conquering everything, the song dominates Union Square: "Deep in my heart I believe, yes, I believe - we will overcome"...What awaits them? Whatever awaits, the five are happy in this moment.James Forrest, a bespectacled young man with a light mustache on an intelligent and firm face, says:- Tom is waiting to be arrested. Perhaps they will take him tomorrow."Now they take us one at a time every day," explains Tom Cornell, smiling.He can't help but smile at a stranger - he can't help but cry. But this is a sad, difficult, forced smile. Tom could end up in prison for up to five years, and it's more difficult for him than others, he has a wife and an infant child.In the morning they took one of them, Murphy Dawes. The day before, one of the FBI agents assigned to them had warned Murphy by phone that he would be "picked up." They thought they would take him here and invited photo reporters, but Murphy was arrested on the street, not far from the apartment. The FBI doesn't always chase sensations...We are talking in a small, narrow room, where the tables are littered with newspapers and papers, and the walls are plastered with anti-war posters and slogans. On one table, a dull, gleaming black telephone looks like an informer. I came here to meet anti-war activists, but now I feel awkward. I'm just an observer - I came, asked questions, left... And it's not easy for these guys anyway. Don't cause them any more trouble. Will a conversation with a red correspondent make their life more difficult?James Forrest reassures me:- We have nothing to hide. We are not afraid, and this is our strength. Ready for prison at any time. This is our long tradition. We have long been accustomed to batons and arrests.Tom Cornell says goodbye and leaves with a suitcase in his hands. Isn't there a suitcase in store for just such an occasion? No, Tom laughs, they're unlikely to take him today, he's going to Baltimore, to join the opponents of the war there.- Peace and friendship! - he suddenly says in Russian. Goodbye.The small room houses an organization called the Peaceful Community of Catholics, about which I had never heard anything until recently. Nearby, in another room, are the Committee for Nonviolent Action, the League of War Resisters and other pacifist organizations. The ten-story building sits on Beekman Street in an old, decaying section of Downtown that is difficult to navigate because the streets have names rather than numbers. by - slums, the famous Bowery. The address is not prestigious, and therefore office space is rented here quite cheaply. A large summary table hanging in the elevator entrance lists the names of companies, corporations, organizations and their room numbers. There are many offices, and a table is hung for visitors so that they do not waste their time wandering around the floors. But try to ask a businessman on the third floor what the businessmen on the sixth or even the fourth are doing - most likely he will not answer. And on the tenth, attic, cheapest (there is no elevator) floor of building No. 5 on Beekman Street, divided into shower-proof compartments, everyone is united by the distant country of Vietnam.Poster. Asian woman in an Asian shirt holding an Asian baby in her arms. The child's face and body were terribly disfigured by American napalm. Horror and fear in the woman's eyes. Torment in the eyes of a baby. Who will protect them? Not a single such poster can be found, of course, on the first nine floors. On the tenth, Tom Cornell is waiting for arrest and separation from his wife and his child, because he can't pass by the suffering of a distant, frightened woman unknown to him, past the pain of someone else's child...Large photograph on the wall. Not a Vietnamese scene, but a New York scene: five people, with wet faces and tangled wet hair, burning military ID cards. Among them is Tom Cornell. Did the quick-witted one with the portable fire extinguisher think that he would help create a dramatic image of protest?There in Union Square, Catholic Peace Fellowship national secretary James Forrest was handing out sheets of prepared statements to reporters, warning his comrades in a low voice: "Straighten your ties!" He did not forget about television cameras and the average person. The average person is firmly convinced that the unshaven, unkempt, and unkempt cannot be good Americans. Straighten your ties - no need to tease and repel the average person. We need to attract him to our side - this is the majority. When the light of a lighter flared up and five people handed their military IDs to the fire, the crowd shouted angrily and hatefully: "Burn yourself, not your military IDs!" The evil advice was probably prompted by reports from Saigon, where Buddhist monks, one after another, committed self-immolation in the squares, protesting against the war and the puppet regime.In Union Square there was then-among the spectators, not on the platform-student Roger Laporte, tall, blond, with clear, innocent eyes. Three days later, early in the morning, in the dead of dawn, when another New York square was empty - the United Nations Square, he came to where a wide UN skyscraper was darkly silent behind a metal fence, in the dark and alone he poured two gallons of gasoline on himself, struck a match. A UN night guard saw a man flashing a torch. While calling the city police and running for a fire extinguisher, the student was fatally scorched by the flames. A day later, Roger Laporte died at Bellevue Hospital in New York.James Forrest does not approve of the self-immolation, but tries to understand Roger Laporte's motives."He wanted to voluntarily take upon himself the same suffering that we impose on the Vietnamese. He wanted Americans, horrified by his actions, to think about our atrocities in Vietnam. They may assume that he has an unstable psyche, but I know that Laporte was an emotionally stable, convinced and courageous person. It seems that he acted in the same way as a person acts in other circumstances to prevent a murder being committed in the street, in front of everyone. Isn't our government the killer in Vietnam? ..In New York, Roger LaPorte followed the same path as Murphy Dawes and Tom Cornell, participating in the charitable and pacifist Catholic Worker movement. They lived near the Bowery, on Kinmore Street, in slum houses without heating or hot water, renting rooms with friends for twenty-six dollars a month - a fabulously low rent in Manhattan. We worked together on Christie Street, in the editorial office of the Catholic Worker magazine.I went there for information about anti-war activists, but I found something more - another example of the bottomlessness of New York, I found strange Americans - with a philosophy of life, which is well conveyed by the Russian proverb: don't renounce your bag and don't renounce prison... I found the city's righteous, who take a voluntary vow of poverty, sink to the bottom, dissolve among the disadvantaged in order to preach love for one's neighbor and Christian communism. Honest people with a clear conscience... But the Bowery does not change, opening its slum arms wide to the new disadvantaged and rejected, does not re-educate from their presence and example, and the machine of capitalist New York works nearby without stopping, churning out new unfortunates with its monstrous press ....Entering the old house on Christie Street, I saw on the ground floor a canteen with roughly and firmly put together tables and benches, which were not afraid of the fists of drunken brawlers. At the tables sat the inhabitants of the Bowery and other surrounding slums. In the morning and evening they come here to sip "soup for the poor." They are fed-and eat the same food themselves-by the staff of the Catholic Worker magazine. On the second floor there is a magazine expedition. Two dozen elderly men and women were preparing a new magazine to be sent to subscribers. On the third, attic floor, I found four editorial workers. They had another visitor - a fire inspector. He looked sideways at the shabby furniture and poorly dressed people, and in his gaze there was the disgust of a 100% American who did not accept such an image and such a standard of living.In the corner, filling out subscriber cards, sat Roy Lisker, another of the five who burned military tickets in Union Square. A mathematician by training, an aspiring writer, he found his calling here, works without pay, eats the soup of the poor. And he is also waiting for arrest.The two of us walked from Christie Street to Kinmore Street, up the narrow wooden stairs to the fourth floor to the door of the room that Roy had until recently shared with Roger Laporte. The door was locked. Then we went down one floor and knocked on another door with a cross scrawled on it. That's how I met Terry Sullivan and Nicole Entremont. Terry and Nicole spent his last evening with Laporte. We ate sausages in a nearby cafeteria, and then sat until late in this very room. Nicole said what I had already heard from others: Laporte took the pain and suffering of others to heart. Probably too close. That evening they again talked about Vietnam, about the protest movement, about burning military IDs. Laporte was sad, but who could have thought what he decided to do. We said goodbye at two in the morning. Laporte had just moved into the house and said he was going to pick up his things at the old apartment. Sullivan tried to persuade him not to go out so late at night. But Laporte did not listen, said goodbye and left, his steps knocking on the wooden steps for the last time. Three hours later, on a dull, inhospitable November morning, it flared up as a torch of protest in UN Square.At six in the morning, when it was not yet dawn, young voices in the darkness of Battery Park, on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, where during the day, shivering in the wind, tourists gaze from afar at the Statue of Liberty standing in the middle of the bay, and where a bronze thick-footed eagle guards the marble tablets with the names of sailors who were hidden by the abyss during the Second World War.At seven in the morning, when dawn is barely breaking, there is the tramp of young feet along a deserted nook and the face of a curly-haired leader of about eighteen years old, blazing with excitement, and his cry:- Behind me!There are hundreds behind him. They flow into a narrow corridor of a pedestrian bridge hanging over the exit from the Brooklyn automobile tunnel. Below them are rare morning cars. Next is Church Street, and there is no desertedness and silence there at night, there is also bustle and the running of boys and girls. They have beautiful, spiritual faces of people doing something worthwhile, albeit risky.I hurry after them, with them. The flow of people removes the remnants of sleep and peace. It becomes alarming and good.And the policeman standing at the other end of the pedestrian bridge also has an anxious face, but this is the anxiety of someone else. It's still barely dawn, and they're right there, a lot of them, alien inclusions in dark blue cloth greatcoats, and, playing with batons on their straps, the policemen hurry after the crowd along Church Street. The mounted policeman, as if playing, but playing evilly, suddenly pushes the curly-haired leader with his horse, pulling his gloved hand towards his curls. The leader manages to dodge.And of course, there were reporters there with cameras, tape recorders and orange cut-out cards - "worker press" passes on their chests, those symbolic baton shields issued by the police department.The stream flows along the pavement and sidewalks. The stream speaks to the rare oncoming pedestrians, but they timidly move away. The houses are silent, the old and new offices of this business banking district near Wall Street are still empty. And the pavement is noisy, but you can feel it's not noise from here, it's noise that comes from outside, and consciousness separates it from the silence of the offices.A dozen policemen in dark capes, confident that they will be given way, ride along the pavement on well-fed bay horses, and the clatter of hooves rhythmically falls into the noise of voices, announcing the strength of power and order, no matter how the young elements clear up. Dark capes, glanders and the clopping of horses, the gray tones of dawn appearing between the dark walls of buildings, dripping rain... No, this is not at all the gypsy city of Federico Garcia Lorca, but my memory prompts lines from a romance about the Spanish gendarmerie: "On the wings of the ink cloaks shine wax drops... The lead skull is reliable - the gendarme cannot cry: they walk, tightening their patent leather hearts with belts..."The crowd flows north along Church Street, toward downtown. More and more light, heralding a new day. More and more passersby. And someone from the crowd shouts as he recites:-What do we want?- Peace! - they answer him in unison.- What do we want?- Peace!A green Plymouth policeman sneaks up behind him like a panther. A detective in a gray coat walks quickly along the sidewalk, listening to the hoarse commanding voice coming from the walkie-talkie transmitter he holds in his hand.  - What do we want?- Peace!"Peace, brother," this bearded student says with good-natured irony to the driver standing by his truck. But he is silent and does not seem to recognize such brotherhood.I hear a snippet of conversation. One of the spectators on the sidewalk says to another, nodding at the youth:- This shit makes noise to get into the newspapers...Half past seven in the morning. Police move demonstrators from Church Street to parallel Broadway. The large intersection of Broadway and Houston Street, a riot of honking cars, thousands of people on the sidewalks, a weekday New York morning.The demonstrators are already in the minority.Mounted policemen push them from the pavement onto the sidewalks, but the demonstrators do not give up, and the stream, already broken into streams, again rushes onto the pavement in order to detain the cars, stop the iron roar and movement of the iron city, make it think about a distant, terrible, brutal war...The old brick building on Whitehall Street is calm and quiet. Both the building itself and the surrounding streets are intertwined with hundreds of wooden police barriers, there are more barriers in reserve in the trucks, and the most important barrier is hundreds of big men in dark blue overcoats with batons. There are their buses, their prison vans, ambulances.The old brick building houses the New York recruiting center. This is the target for the Participants of the Week Against Conscription. Day after day they go for an assault, but they are not even allowed to come close, and they cannot take it...TriptychUnnaturally beautiful, slender, in a sand-colored suit and a straw hat, with her left hand with her handbag held aside, the model poses on Fifty-seventh Street near a new bluish skyscraper curved at the bottom. A photographer with his tripod, a lady director in a fur coat, although the day is warm, spring. Another person from this small team, the lighting technician, is on his knees opening a plate with some kind of silver foil. And, catching the sun's rays with this plate, he directs them to the model - so that there are no shadows and so that there is more radiance. Passers-by slow down and look around. The photographer takes a long time, cannot get along and adapt. And she stands... as if lifeless, not seeing anyone, not feeling anything.Pointed-nosed, sharp-cheeked, with an upturned face to indicate the line of a chiseled, thin chin, with the movement of an Indian dancer, she seemed to glue her right hand to a wide straw hat. And everything itself seems glued to this Fifty-seventh Street, to the background of a huge red three-dimensional number "9", standing on the sidewalk near a skyscraper. Even the wind, blowing the raincoats, jackets and dresses of passers-by, flows around it and does not touch it. And even the sun from this plate with silver foil has its own, additional, additional.At the Yellow Fingers Café on the corner of Fifty-eighth Street and Third Avenue, three beautiful, sleek young women sit nearby at a table at lunchtime. The shine of the eyes, as if natural, unexpected, and not created by cosmetics, the radiant freshness of the faces, brilliant smiles, made up of surprisingly white and large teeth, also as if unexpected, natural. Among the people who filled the cafe, not so radiantly fresh and even battered by life, this trio is like a pearl in an open shell. Uneasy from the coldish radiance. Given, artificial, it declares superiority over the natural, over nature. With them exactly the same characteristics, with even whiter and larger teeth, a healthy and joyful young man in a leather jacket and a white satin shirt, tightly fitted to the body, half-unbuttoned - a demonstration of a beautiful hairy chest. He often leans over to one of the three - reddish, with large upper eyelids, whispering something to her, stroking her arm and knee. Who are they? The business of beauty and sex is one of those typically New York ones. Their profession is to look young, beautiful and happy. Then this profession becomes violence against nature - and narcissistic people end their lives empty, terribly lonely, having once taken a lethal dose of drugs or sleeping pills for their eternal sleep...In the subway, an express train sways at high speed on the long stretch between Seventy-second and Forty-second Streets. People sway to the rhythm of the movement, sitting or standing, grasping the metal handrails, reading newspapers, silent. And suddenly in the carriage - and there you can move from one carriage to another - a new person appears. A frail young man of about eighteen seems to be sliding along the shaky floor of the carriage with a light and uncertain gait, strangely, powerlessly throwing back his right arm, looking ahead with unseeing eyes and smiling with some otherworldly smile, withdrawn into himself, addressed only to his own dreams.Everyone is now looking at the young man, or rather, glancing, secretly, so that he does not intercept their gaze. Everyone moves away, giving way to him. The train flies in the same way, the carriage shakes with iron shaking, but it becomes completely quiet inside.The young man walks past me into the back of the car, and I press myself closer to the door, afraid that he might hit me with his hand. He stops, his hand, very straight, as if doing physical exercises, rises up and gently grasps the handrail... But there lives in him a force that resists peace. The hand drops just as slowly and straight, the young man slides along the carriage again, to the other end, and the passengers still watch him numbly. A helpless smile melts on his thin face, covered with lichen...Five unbearable minutes pass like this. The train roars into the station. Automatic doors open. And passengers, even those who do not need to get off, are in a hurry to leave the carriage...Steibeck's houseJohn Steinbeck admired those reporters who, finding themselves in an unfamiliar place, would talk to the key people, ask the key questions, take the public pulse and immediately, without hesitation, as if on a road map, unfold life in their report. This admiration is the mockery of the artist, who sets a more difficult task: not schematization, but the recreation of living life. "I envy such technology and at the same time do not trust it as a mirror of reality," he wrote. "I feel that there are too many realities... Our morning eyes see a different world than our daytime eyes, and, of course, our tired evening eyes can only tell about tired evening fat."I once visited Steinbeck's house in New York, asked him questions that I considered key, but I left without confidence, with doubts and the feeling that there was no way to quickly take and master the vast territory of the writer's personality and the world he created, seen in the morning , evening and various other eyes. And I'm not thinking about a road map for traveling through this territory now, but about adding another highlight to my notes, the impression of another New Yorker...I was woken up by a telephone call from the editorial office and demanded to immediately contact John Steinbeck and ask him for clarification about the letters that the American Embassy in Moscow sent on his behalf to Soviet writers, including for some reason those whom he did not meet on his trip in the Soviet Union, but to whom in letters he addressed as good friends. The call came late in the August night at a dacha in the town of Bayville near New York, where we shared a two-story house with an American, a mechanic by profession, who often and loudly quarreled with his wife (once it even came to shots, but judging by the fact that in the morning they , alive and well, went out to their cars, they turned out to be unimportant shooters). I didn't know Steinbeck's phone number, and even if I did, I wouldn't have woken him up at three o'clock in the morning and, to an urgent, fire emergency request that had brought the whole house to its feet, including armed neighbors, I responded over the transatlantic cable with approximately the same words that I would probably have responded with - in English - the writer himself, if I could contact him at this hour. But the editors are right even when they forget about the time difference, and the morning is wiser than the evening both in Moscow and in New York, and therefore in the morning, repenting of their nightly fervor; I got down to business, got through to Steinbeck's secretary, found out that he was not and would not be in New York for a long time, but she contacted him, and soon he gave explanations, first verbally through the secretary, and then in a letter to Moscow, in which he apologized for the misunderstanding that had occurred (as expected, the embassy overdid it, doing its business by sending out Steinbeck's letters to the list of the Writers' Union) and asked again to "gather the fat man Humpty-Dumpty into a single whole." The fat man was collected. I was promised an interview, and less than eight months after the August night, cut by a long telephone trill, I met with him, having managed to understand that Steinbeck does not favor correspondents and does not encourage their idle curiosity.He lived in a cooperative house; a familiar concept with unfamiliar content, for the reader would be mistaken if, in the image and likeness of the Moscow one, he imagines a New York cooperative building, where apartments cost many tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars and can occupy entire floors. The new, 35-story building was called the East Tower - and was located on the other side of Central Park from our Riverside Drive, on the noisy corner of Third Avenue and Seventy-second Street, which I drove past more than once, not imagining what kind of tenant could glance at my Chevrolet. Before the East Tower, Steinbeck lived for a long time nearby in his own small town house. His two sons grew up there and, having grown up, separated; maintaining their own house was becoming more and more troublesome; leaving it was more dangerous for Asya, but every summer he and his wife left near New York for Long Island, beloved by New Yorkers, where there was another house, by the ocean, a yacht and fishing. I had to sell the old house and rise above it by buying a cooperative apartment on the penultimate floor of a grey-glass, spectacular new tower.It was there that I arrived on the appointed day, excited to meet the world-famous writer, crowned with Nobel laurels, the only living classic of American literature after Hemingway's suicide and Faulkner's death, and so on and so forth. On the way, I stopped by several stores to stock up on his autograph books and once again see how popular and recognized he is. I'm convinced. In bookstores, his books stood prominently, even in the drug store near the East Tower, where paperbound bestsellers of no more than fifty titles were displayed on revolving shelves. I found famous essays about the latter, along with the French poodle Charlie, Steinbeck's journey through America, which he rediscovered already in adulthood, on the first approach to old age, a little yellow book with the subtitle "In Search of America", with the image of the author and his four-legged companion, alone, on a small hillock among the vast prairies with mountain folds on the horizon - " #1 National Best Seller - Now Only 75 Cents." Steinbeck's essays, which began with a repentant confession that he, an American writer, had not felt his country for twenty-five years and that while living in America he wrote from memory, were part of the mandatory assortment there - like Colgate toothpaste, Gillette blades, aspirin from Beyer.Having bought a national bestseller and crossed the road, I entered the glass door and found myself at the East Tower checkpoint, with doormen who, with their black tailcoats and important gait, resembled opera singers, but were as vigilant as customs officers and border guards. The two worlds were very close, like other countless and contrasting worlds of New York - the penny public democracy of the drug store and the home of the rich, protected from unwanted intrusions, where among the rich lived a writer of a democratic, popular type, who clung to ordinary people and chose them as his heroes . I was immediately detained at the glass doors as an unfamiliar, unverified person, but I foresaw this kind of complications and therefore came early so as not to waste the pre-agreed, meagerly measured time - only half an hour. Using the internal telephone, one of the black-tailed gatekeepers tried to contact the apartment - and received no answer. Then, without letting me in, they sat me down on the sofa in the impressively cozy hall that looked like a winter garden - in full view so that I wouldn't break through to the elevators without permission. I sat and saw how our own people passed by without reporting and how the gatekeepers respectfully greeted them. John Steinbeck was not a recognized writer, not the pride of American culture and a living national treasure, but a tenant, like everyone else, a member of a cooperative, and it was not talent that was his main property, but wealth, which made him equal to other members, moreover, it seemed to raise him to their level, and only in this capacity, without sentimentality and literary attachments, was he perceived, honored and protected by the servants at the doors.Meanwhile, time pressed on, I was nervous and protested, but Mr. Steinbeck's apartment continued to be silent, not answering calls from the internal telephone. Finally, yielding to my persistence, the eldest of the porters made up his mind. I was let into the elevator, in solemn silence the elder and I ascended to the 34th floor, and he was the first to march to the door at the end of the corridor. The elevator operator did not leave, he was waiting for his comrade, exiting the elevator and looking after us, ready to come to his aid if something happened. The elder called, respectfully and timidly touching the mother-of-pearl button. There was some noise behind the door, but no one was in a hurry to open it. He once again touched the bell button with his finger and, bending his tail-clad waist, carefully pressed his ear to the door so that he could recoil in time if they started to open it. Again there was no answer - and the same result after the third call. Having sipped lightly, we were already moving back to the elevator, when suddenly the door opened and a plump black woman appeared in it with a trash can in her hands. We have returned. The owner was at home, and she, working with a vacuum cleaner, did not hear our timid calls.The living room was visible from the hallway, and through its large windows, a rare for New York, spacious and uncluttered sky poured in, breathing the beginning of March. The owner came out, greeted him rather dryly and somehow looked at the guest not very friendly before inviting him into the office. He was tall, although six feet is the norm for an American, and somewhat stooped at over sixty years of age. The scraper of years and a restless life ran horizontal lines of wrinkles across the forehead and vertical lines along the brown and sagging, and once red, cheeks inherited from his Irish mother. The remnants of his hair stood up unruly towards the back of his head, and his rough, unkempt beard looked like the stubble of a man who had not shaved for a long time. Eyes are the mirror of the soul. If so, then his eyes could not be compared to an unclouded mirror. And their color was not noticed, it was lost, it was not the color that mattered. These were the eyes of a seasoned man.On the 34th floor it was simpler and more difficult than on the first, among monumental doormen reminiscent of border guards and opera singers. Cotton trousers, a cowboy shirt, slippers, a rough face, stubble of a beard - there is nothing from an intellectual except the expression in his eyes. He had the appearance of a tramp. "Once a tramp, a tramp for life," he writes about himself, laughing and knowing the value of his vagrancy.He greeted me coldly, and in the office, like a friend, he immediately asked: "Would you like a drink?" Interviews rarely started like that. "As you wish," I tried to dodge. "Not as I please, but as you please," he retorted in a hoarse patter. There was absolutely no American automatic politeness in him. He was rather angular and rude, and his hoarse, inarticulate patter of a person who did not care whether he was understood or was out of habit offended him. Then I was consoled by learning that my wife did not always understand and often complained about the muttering of her famous husband, who valued intelligibility more in the written word than in the spoken word.While the owner was preparing whiskey and soda in the living room, the guest was looking at the office. It was simple and uncluttered with furniture. On the walls are old lithographs with city views, a portrait of President Lincoln, in a prominent place, in a frame, a diploma of the "Medal of Freedom" - the highest civilian award, approximately which the American president awards every year to a dozen outstanding compatriots. the diploma was a sign of John Steinbeck's recognition of that America, which is called official or ruling. The microscope on the table by the window was puzzling, but the nerve center of this small room was clearly in the corner, where an electric typewriter stood on a low table and in front of it was a light green, wide chair with a high back thrown back. Near the typewriter, witnessing the silent, lonely work, lay a stack of lined yellow sheets, and the top one was completely covered with handwriting that seemed too clear for an elderly man who writes a lot.Having brought a glass of whiskey, Steinbeck wearily sank into a wide, soft chair, "rubbed his forehead with his fingers, restlessly touched the yellow sheets, reached for a cigar as thin as a cigarette, and flicked the lighter. He stood up again and moved around the room with a swaying gait, looking for something. His hands wavered and moved strangely, and he was all restless, like a man who had not yet emerged from a state of self-absorption and had not cooled down from the tension of work, which had to be interrupted once again, and unfinished."I'm always losing my glasses," he muttered.The glasses were found next to the typewriter and the manuscript. He put on glasses with double lenses, in which the outer glasses rose and the wings hung over the inner ones, and in the glasses he looked like a craftsman engaged in precise, filigree work that required patience and art - a watchmaker, a jeweler.Yes, it was easier and more difficult on the 34th floor than on the first floor, than in the bookstores, where I easily stocked up on his autograph books. There on the shelves and racks were the finished products of the Nobel laureate, and the demand for it was supposed to be satisfied as uninterruptedly as for everyday items produced on the assembly lines of corporations known throughout America. Here, in the silence of a high-rise apartment, where the noise of the city did not reach, fading below, where the vacuum cleaner hummed in the hands of a housekeeper, there was no conveyor belt, there was no line production, but there was a single artisan, an elderly gloomy man, chained to paper like a convict in the galleys , a ballpoint pencil and a typewriter, and his purpose was to again and again confirm to the reader and himself the title of a world-famous writer, and no one could help him with this, although his young bright years were left behind, his strength was diminishing, along with With age comes fatigue.Here, in the morning, another invisible battle was playing out for the word that paints pictures of the world. What is the count for more than thirty years? Victory or defeat? The text lay neatly on the table, without marks. Before my arrival, returning to it again, Steinbeck was retyping it on a typewriter.Are you tired? Yes. Didn't hide it. And when, having softened the initial inhospitability, he admitted to me, a stranger, that he did this every day in the morning, then the words contained fatigue and bitterness, but also the tenacity of a worker who does not indulge himself. Not without pride, Steinbeck spoke about the difficulty of writing, with mockery about brilliant amateur amateurs who "know everything," and in his sarcasm one could hear echoes of some American literary disputes and accounts unknown to me.What was he working on? Rough and prickly on all sides, Steinbeck branded not only amateurs, but also talkative writers: whoever talks a lot will write little. But that day he changed his rule of keeping silent about unfinished work, because the thing he was working on was almost two-thirds written and was quickly coming to an end. He called this thing a "zoological" essay, an essay about Americans. The idea was born from his longtime publisher, who planned to release a large album of photographs by outstanding American photographers: America and its nature, Americans, the fruits of their labor, their morals. But even the most beautiful photographs are still dead; as Steinbeck put it, "you can't even look into the brain of a photographed bug." And the participation of a famous writer will increase the commercial success of the album. He was offered, and he agreed, to accompany the photographs with text - not with captions and explanations, but with an independent, extensive essay in which he would once again express what he thinks about America and Americans."This book is about Americans as a people different from other peoples," Steinbeck said. - What features can be called purely American? Imagine that you are writing about the Russians, trying to analyze them, and not only analyze them, but also explain them to others... As a nation we have existed for almost two hundred years, and as a group of people living in one area - about three hundred and fifty. During this time, we began to resemble each other, a breed was created, so to speak, different from others... For example, I, an American, come to Italy and live there. I'm wearing a suit made by an Italian tailor from English wool, a French shirt and tie, and let's even say that my grandfather came to America from Italy. However, they immediately recognize me as an American. Why? Why won't anyone confuse an American Negro who came to Africa with an African Negro? And the same story happens to a Japanese American who ends up in Japan. What do they have in common?.. I want to talk about Americans with an open mind, without drawing conclusions, although in the end a trend must emerge. I do not like generalizations and see my goal in accuracy and specificity, I do not claim depth and do not offer medicines for the treatment of our diseases, although correct observations are medicines in themselves...Either because a foreign journalist was sitting in front of him and had come to ask him about America, or because the topic occupied him, he added:- It seems to me that the feelings that foreigners have towards Americans are more like complaints. The impressions of outsiders are not what Americans really are...It was the spring of 1965, the anti-war movement had not yet acquired its maximum strength and scale, but America was restless, it was torn into parts, into two camps by the struggle of black Americans for civil rights. As a correspondent, consumed by current events and the topic of the day, I found it untimely, unforgivably academic, to seek community at a time when the nation is so openly divided. But I was aware of the great difference between us. It is one thing to be a correspondent, and a foreign one at that, with only three years of experience in his personal discoveries of America, and quite another thing to be an American writer, one of the authoritative spokesmen of his nation. Of course, he sees it differently, lives and works in a much wider, historical range, and in the years of the next American unrest, is the subject of his search - national character - illegal? After all, its traits are the same in different people from different, divided social and racial groups. After all, blacks, like their white allies, fought for justice with the same American tenacity with which Alabama racists defended the unequal status quo. It was in conditions of growing disunity that the process of self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-criticism developed more strongly, and, obviously, Steinbeck's new work was inspired by this active and contradictory process. The writer was absorbed in his country, said that he wanted to "live at home", that he avoided any trips abroad.The phone call he expected never came. The wife was not there - she flew to Texas for the funeral of a relative. The housekeeper left after cleaning the apartment. We were left alone, no one disturbed him, we talked for a long time.An apartment in the center of Manhattan, and even on the penultimate floor of the East Tower, must have been expensive (the American principle is the higher, the more expensive), but it was not that big. The owner showed it: a living room, a bedroom, a second office, very tiny. On the windowsills there were many pots with flowers and dwarf plants - New Zealand palm, American oak, and tiny Siberian pine. A special lamp provided light and warmth to the tender green grass, which he carefully tended. Touching the dark, oily earth raised in the sky with his fingers, Steinbeck said: "I grew up on the earth and feel unhappy when I don't put my hands in it."But the main charm of this apartment was the views from the windows on three cardinal directions - east, south and west. Almost all of New York lay before us, the East River and the huge bridges spanning across it to Brooklyn and Queens with their old-fashioned beauty and architectural excesses, the skyscraper cliffs of Midtown and Downtown and even the Hudson, and beyond it the state of New Jersey, buried in haze .It was getting dark. The sky thickened and darkened, giving away the blue of the day, twilight was born on the earth and began to climb the floors, and, meeting them, the lights of the big city lit up higher and higher.Steinbeck said how he loved the poetry of New York evenings: listening to music and, without turning on the electricity, from the windows of a dark apartment admiring the hypnotic play of light in the houses and on the streets. Now he seemed to have relieved the stress of work, relaxed and softened, even his tongue twister became slower and clearer. He filled my glass again and poured himself a whiskey and Coca-Cola, sharing a secret: "The doctor advises a couple of glasses in the evening - good advice, although I would have done the same without it."Evening shadows were creeping into the living room, but we sat in the darkness, not wanting to part with the passing spring day.The topic of conversation remained the same - America and how he sees it. He expressed judgments, simple and weighty, about the growing complexity of life, about the fact that man is in anxiety, cut off from nature, finding himself in a frightening dependence on things and phenomena beyond his control, often incomprehensible. A cabbage farmer stands stronger on the ground because he relies on his hands and efforts. And the city's steak lover Might die of hunger in the midst of prime walking meat - he doesn't know how to slaughter and butcher a bull. A nation of motorists, but the engine has malfunctioned, and the American is standing in front of the raised hood, confused and helpless."I know how to fix a car and how to deal with a bull," Steinbeck seemed to fence himself off from these anxieties, asserting his sourness as a real man and an experienced person, his ability to withstand the pressure of powerful forces and protect individuality in a country that, as he put it, goes to the assembly line production of human souls.But he loved his country and it was by right of love that he spoke about its troubles to a Soviet correspondent. I didn't agree with him on everything, but I didn't dare argue with Steinbeck about America. It was not to argue, but to listen to him, and, moreover, I was kept from arguing by his words that the statements of foreigners regarding America are similar to complaints. He seemed to warn that he did not want such complaints - I did without them.And I would have concealed a lot if, in talking about this meeting, I had not brought to the point what is sometimes tiresome to remind, but which must always be kept in mind for the sake of truth: between us stood, with no intention of diminishing, an invisible ideological wall, which each of knows, feels, feels Soviet people who lived in America in almost every experience of communicating with Americans. The wall can be lower or higher, depending on the interlocutor, and to some extent, on the topic of the conversation. With John Steinbeck, I have to admit, it was a high wall. Despite his critical words about his country, he was a staunch supporter of the American socio-political system; he did not at all sympathize with the Soviet system, although he wanted good relations between his country and ours. It seemed that there, on the 34th floor of the East Tower, we got along with each other, even got slightly accustomed to each other, but again I would have concealed a lot if I had not said that wariness and mistrust never left his gaze, in which read with more or less clarity: here you are sitting here, a red propagandist, all your attention, nodding your head in agreement, and then, probably, you won't be able to resist, clipping and pulling out the necessary quotes from my words and not saying a word that, even agreeing , we disagreed because we see the same thing from different points of view...And so we sat, talked - out loud and to ourselves - and finally admired from the windows the electro-neon extravaganza of evening New York. It has already captured the whole of Manhattan, right up to the roofs of skyscrapers that reach into the dark sky. Directly below us, car headlights flooded Third Avenue with a damn beautiful river of light...Steinbeck turned on the light, extinguishing the charm of the evening. I took the hint - it was time to say goodbye and leave.Seeing me off, he opened the apartment door. Tossed by the elevator operator, like news from the ground about the passing of the day, a fresh newspaper lay at the door. A big black headline screamed across the front page about a new American air raid on North Vietnam; they only became systematic, and therefore each caused a strong reaction. We exchanged our last words - and the wall between us jumped even higher. In my opinion, John Steinbeck was too complacent about what the Americans did in Vietnam. "I don't believe in a black-or-white approach," he said, emphasizing the undertones and refusing to condemn the bombing...He died three years later, in 1968, leaving readers with his books, and literary scholars, whom he could not stand, with the task of dissecting his life in life and in literature. We did not meet again, and soon after that meeting I went home on another vacation, taking with me the image of a gloomy, strong and tired inhabitant of the East Tower, protected him in every possible way in Moscow, transported him to the Kislovodsk sanatorium and there, fearing that I would forget It did not spill out and did not fade at all on health paths and excursions; with difficulty, in patches, not as we would have liked, it was fixed on paper and dictated from the cabin of a long-distance telephone to the Izvestia stenographer.It was in vain that I was in a hurry, spending my vacation time on work - the material was not published. My attempts to break through it were unsuccessful, neither immediately nor afterwards. It was felt that the final alarming note was dissonant with those very definite positive ideas about John Steinbeck that we had managed to form. It seemed that he was guarded more jealously here than in America and than he himself. But then something happened that, fortunately and unfortunately, happens to living people who do not fit into stencils. Steinbeck himself took care of amends to his reputation, going to South Vietnam at the end of 1966 in order - without any halftones - with reports sent from there to the Long Island newspaper Newsday, to glorify the American military and, moreover, to shoot from 105-mm howitzer towards the partisans, calling them the "gangster mafia," and taking the cartridge case as a souvenir, and committing other defiantly, tantalizingly chauvinistic acts that provoked sharp protests from the progressive and liberal-intelligent anti-war America, whose, in his words, "dirty clothes and dirty minds" gave him a "shiver of shame." He was always frank and did not betray himself here, turning white into black and black into white. And then I returned to Steinbeck, writing the correspondence "A Pen Given to the Pentagon" - and it was immediately published, as were the materials of my colleagues on the same topic.Meanwhile, shortly before his scandalous trip to Vietnam, the Viking Press publishing house published the very photo album that he told me about, and there was his essay "America and the Americans," which turned out to be his last major work. It did not make a big, solid impression, but there were strong, precise, expressive phrases that vividly resurrected in me the image of a seasoned, complex and somewhat bitter person. I remembered his words about the complaints of foreigners about America, having read on the first page how he angrily and without bothering with evidence, rejected all - ancient and current - writings about America by foreign authors and, as if they were preventing him from doing this , as if he did it in spite of them, proclaimed his love for his country - "complex, paradoxical, reckless, shy, cruel, noisy, incredibly expensive and very beautiful."His zoological method turned out to be rather paradoxical. His essay, like a hedgehog in needles, was dressed in paradoxes, but they not only pricked. With paradoxes, he tried to embrace, hook and convey the moving extremes of American life, its dialectics. These were harsh paradoxes, riddled with anxiety and pain, and in comparison with them, the hated complaints of foreigners about America sounded like sweet chants. It was as if he felt that life was leaving him, but even before he parted with it, what was dear to him was leaving his country.A few paragraphs so as not to be unfounded."We spend our lives seeking security and confidence in the future, and once we get it, we hate it. For the most part, we are unbalanced people: we eat too much when we can, drink too much and cannot control anything. We are unbalanced even in our so-called virtues. A teetotaler is not content with not drinking; he must ensure that the whole world becomes sober. Vegetarians in our country are ready to outlaw all consumption of meat. We overexert ourselves in our work, and many die from nervous tension, and yet, in order to make up for lost time, we also play with violence, which is as suicidal as hard work. As a result, we are always in a state of confusion, both physical and spiritual. We believe that our government is weak, stupid, meddling, dishonest and stupid, and at the same time we are deeply convinced that it is the best government in the world, and would like to impose it on everyone.  Americans overindulge and dislike their children; in turn, children are overly dependent on their parents and are full of hatred towards them. Americans are very kind, hospitable and open, welcoming guests and strangers - and yet they stand far away from a man dying on the pavement, just to avoid being involved. Fortunes are spent on removing cats from trees and extracting dogs from sewers. pipes, but a girl calling for help on the street is met only by slammed doors, closed windows and silence..."And so on. The fact that the land was raped like invaders in the ruthless 19th century and the violence continues in the second half of the 20th century. About the traps of things and the fact that pleasures have been replaced by shocks, and all that remains of love is one word, perverted and mutilated. About the fact that the American is afraid of age, and his children are even more afraid of his aging. About the excess of widows as a sad consequence of a lifestyle in which husbands, especially in the business world, die earlier - victims of nervous tension. About the epidemics of not only sleeping pills, but also various invigorating pills, with which an insecure person creates a second, falsely cheerful "I". About the struggle of everyone against everyone and everyone against everyone... And the like. Right down to the prophecy, more gloomy than comforting, at the end: "Why have we found ourselves on the verge of spiritual and, therefore, nervous collapse? I think because we have reached the end of the road and have found no new path to follow, no duty, no goal. I think we will find a road to the future, but we don't yet know what its direction will be... The road must have a direction, there must be a goal - and the journey must be filled with the joy of anticipation, for if today's boy hates the world, then he creates the world , full of hatred, and then will destroy him, as well as himself."This is how he saw his country - with his "evening eyes." And so paradoxical was the love for her of this lover of paradoxes - strong, demanding, keen-sighted and blind (it seems that a kind of blindness led him to Vietnam: he did not want to offend his native American guys, dressed in military uniforms, participating in the jungle in an unpopular war and rejected by many in their own country).Why did this fierce critic deny the right of criticism to foreigners? How can we explain this, another one of his paradoxes? Probably the same thing - love. He did not accept criticism from foreigners because, in his opinion, it lacked the main love for America. That love, the expression of which was his own criticism, which did not mince words.All the sameDoctor SpockHe was a legendary doctor, a living, not a fabulous Aibolit, and he could, as if on Olympus, sit on the astronomical print runs of his most popular book, according to which many millions of American women raised their children. He became an anti-war leader, also famous because he was a famous children's doctor, and since then the passions surrounding Dr. Benjamin Spock have not subsided. Some wanted to see him in prison, others in the White House. And this new life of his began when it was time to take stock - in his seventh decade. Then, when, due to his age, he was asked to leave his scientific teaching job, and he turned out to be quite young to get involved in politics.In his jacket pocket, like a young man - the image of his beloved, he carried photographs of his two sailing yachts; one near the chalk cliffs of Maine, where he spends the summer, the other in the south, near the Virgin Islands. This is more than a hobby. This is a passion - spending whole weeks alone with the sea, with the eternal elements. This means that there is something about him from a philosopher, a hermit. But in this case, this is a strange, very easy-going hermit who feels good on the podium, among crowds of people. He traveled the length and breadth of his considerable country, there was a time when he spoke at colleges and universities twenty or more times a month, and for peers not only of his children, but also of his grandchildren, he became the elder brother - Ben Spock.What is youth? Freshness, openness, novelty of attitude. I was struck by the freshness of this old man, judging only by his age. Moreover, I saw in him the historically established, attractive, Whitman-like features of the American character: innate democracy, rebellion in the name of justice, the feeling and right of the owner of the land where his ancestors - on equal terms - came along with others, the sovereignty and independence of the individual, passion and greed for life, restlessness, willingness to experiment, make big bets...It was January 1968. An anti-war rally was taking place in the Manhattan Center. The case of the "Boston Five" was thundering, which the government brought to trial for inciting young Americans to refuse military service and participation in the Vietnam War. Dr. Spock was the first of five. He was expected at the rally, and he flew straight from Boston, released by the judge on bail. "Here he is, our hero," said someone nearby in the hall, and in the voice there was jubilation that the hero had finally been found, and the hope that the hero would win. Everyone jumped to their feet, clapping and hooting in every possible way. Above the people, a gray, strong, bald head was moving towards the stage. And now the hero is in full view, standing at almost two meters tall. He is wearing a dark blue doctor's three-piece suit, which he has not parted with for a long time, just as he did not get a beard for a long time, despite his bearded young surroundings. An old-fashioned gold chain curls around an old-fashioned vest. The face is small in relation to his height, strong, reserved, until his smile revealed it, and in the smile there is a characteristic without lies: honest and pure, perhaps naive, but a whole person. This is how I first saw Dr. Spock. Five thousand in the stalls and on two balconies (and eight hundred people on the street in the pouring rain) greeted him with applause. He began with a joke: "People ask me why I'm funny. Because I became popular. Do you want to become popular? Do as I do..."The next time I saw him, Spock wasn't kidding. It was April of the same year, 1968, the most frantic of that decade, inexhaustible in surprises. The day before, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Fate briefly connected these two dissimilar people, making them the most prominent figures of the anti-war movement. The funeral rally was held in Central Park, in front of the Mall's music sink, where free concerts are held from time to time. It was sunny and windy. A determined black woman in a black leather jacket and a black man's hat presided. Anger and powerlessness - what to do? Once again Spock towered over the stage like a bell tower. Again his doctor's three-piece suit, a white handkerchief from his breast pocket, looked strange among leather jackets and turtlenecks, against a predominantly black background. He stood in front of the microphone in his characteristic pose, bending over, as if shrinking his height: after all, his interlocutors for so long were children. And he did not speak like a tribune-more explanatory than inviting. But his main word - belligerence - was not from the vocabulary of a pediatrician. Yes, King preached nonviolence, but he was an unapologetic, militant fighter for peace and justice, and this should be remembered.After the rally, I approached him and said that I would like to meet and talk in more detail. Spock did not object, but - a trait of busy Americans - advised him to arrange a meeting through his secretary, who knew his schedule better.The secretary (not a personal one, but from a special "secretary service") set up a time, then called back - there was a problem, the doctor was scheduled to appear on a television program in Philadelphia that day. Would you like to join his trip so as not to have to look for another time? I agreed: Philadelphia is a five-hour round trip, a long interview on wheels.He lived in a new building a dozen and a half stories high, squeezed into a narrow space on the corner of Lexington Avenue and Eighty-third Street. He opened the door himself - without a jacket, in suspenders, youthfully slender, with very long legs. Small hallway. Simple bookshelves in the living room. A desk-table with papers: apparently, he writes while standing. A couch by the window, curved like an ancient galley.While we were waiting for the limousine that the Philadelphia television studio was supposed to send, he showed me a thin book, more like a brochure, bound in paper. In large print, the headline read: "The Famous Doctor Speaks. Spock on Vietnam." The cover was of a girl crying on an empty, destroyed street. At the bottom in small print: "Authored by Dr. Benjamin Spock and Mitchell Zimmerman." The doctor told a story from which I understood that he was devoid of vanity and was alien to caring about the pedestal. His co-author is a very young, unknown scientist from Princeton University. One day he called and offered to write a book together about Vietnam. Spock didn't know him, but he was excited about the idea. He arrived - "a very sincere, modern American boy", almost with a backpack, and spent the night in this apartment. It was he who wrote the original text, which Spock ruled - "strongly, mercilessly." And now he goes to Philadelphia to appear on Mike McDouglas's television show to promote his just-released book. "Have you heard of the Mike McDouglas show? Don't you watch enough TV?" He laughed knowingly. This McDouglas and his show used to work in Cleveland, where Spock lived for twelve years. "They invited me, and at first I pretended to be inaccessible. They respect that. This makes it easier to say what you want." Now McDouglas has moved to Philadelphia. "They are associated with the Westinghouse Corporation. Her products are advertised. In a way, it's a Westinghouse show."When the doorman downstairs announced that the limousine had arrived, the doctor put on his jacket, neatly folded it at the corner, and inserted a white handkerchief into his breast pocket. The rented limousine turned out to be a long, black, important Cadillac. Standing next to him was a driver in a black uniform and cap. We sat in the back seat. The doctor, having tried it on, with obvious pleasure, to its full length, stretched out his legs. The driver slowly drove the limousine. Looking around at the luxury of the Cadillac, chuckling, Spock incidentally said that all his life he had been buying rather cheap, modest, "not for his height" cars. Only once did he own an Oldsmobile-a car above the middle class. "We had to raise our prestige. And when the prestige increased, he returned to simple cars again."With jokes, he created a friendly atmosphere, breaking up awkwardness and tension. I felt that for him I was not a foreigner, not a journalist with whom I had to keep my ears open, but simply a person whom he willingly and trustingly allowed into his life.Less than half an hour later, he couldn't resist introducing me to his passion. He took a piece of paper out of his jacket pocket, unfolded it, and lovingly stroked it with his strong fingers."Here," and I saw a typographical drawing, corrected by hand. - Thirty-five feet long. Ideal for the tropics. Not elegant and not fast, but comfortable. You see, he ran his finger. - Wider than usual. It can go both under engine and under sail. Water supply for two weeks - one hundred and seventy gallons. There is a refrigerator.He carefully folded the piece of paper, put it away, and sat back contentedly in his seat. He leaned towards me again, smiled, revealing small, strong teeth, and sighed:"This is what I'm trying to achieve-one month to work for the cause of peace, and the other to spend on a yacht." Then my conscience as a pensioner will be calm...Leaving New York behind, the car rustled triumphantly along the New Jersey Turnpike. The windows are closed. Air conditioned. Ahead is the broad, plump back of the driver. On the sides there are other cars running between the dotted lines on the concrete. And then - the April, fresh emerald green of the grass and trees. And there, in the Caribbean Sea, on the Virgin Islands, where the yacht is waiting for him, what tender sea turquoise must be sparkling under the sun, what sunrises and sunsets, what breezes caressing a body freed from city clothes! What does a person need? Still, sixty-five years old. Retired from work. Endowed with fame and money. The sons have fledged. What else? Dr. Spock, author of the classic work "The Child and His Care" (twenty million copies, over 170 editions), is retired."Below him is a stream of lighter azure, above him is a golden ray of sun..."And he, the rebellious one...Isn't it funny? One month - the fight against war, the other - yachting and relaxation. Yes, and it was said as if in jest. But in all seriousness ("My wife was angry when I became interested in the yacht, but now she's resigned herself... Now she says it herself, if it weren't for the yacht, I'd be screwed"). Seriously. Don't give up anything, combine everything. Life, counted and painted in American style. Now, in the second half of April, it's all rallies, universities, trips, summonses to court and television shows, and in May the first seventeen days are pure, just a yacht, and then there's another trial, again the "Boston Five", and this is very serious. The government wants to teach them a lesson so that they don't trouble young people and discourage others. True, Spock hopes that the trial will take a year and a half, and in the meantime the war may end or the rage of the pursuers will subside. But suddenly it's not a lighter option, suddenly it's really a prison - in your seventies, instead of a yacht and Caribbean turquoise. As the crown of a long honest life. Is he ready for this? He, sitting next to him on the comfortable leather seat of the Cadillac. Not a big famous name, but a person with his own innermost thoughts and feelings, which cannot all be expressed in public speeches.This is the question I ask myself when I am alone with him. And he answered them a long time ago. Only those who look from the outside can have bewilderments and questions. But his choice has been made, and there is logic and a life line in it. Are you ready to be yourself? But what about?! And without joking, he says, with determination and pressure:- My friends think I'm crazy. I really became belligerent, intolerant. I hope that young people will forcefully say: "Let's stop this monstrous stupidity! Let's straighten out this world!" Do you know why they put me on trial? I decided: since young people go to prison in order not to go into the army, then we, the elders, must support them. I'm not going to pretend to be young, but the approval of young people encourages me. Now, wherever you go, there are three times as many people, they are greeted with applause, they are seen off with applause. They get up...The driver was silent for a long time, listening out of the corner of his ear to our conversations. Finally he ventured to intervene:"It is my honor to carry you, Doctor Spock." I want to tell you about the mouth, although many people have a different attitude. I am for peace, Dr. Spock, although my son received a deferment from conscription...Then there was Philadelphia, a television studio, and everywhere Spock's appearance caused a strong reaction of attraction and repulsion, and I saw that he was accustomed to such contradictory reactions - since he stepped into the minefield of politics from the peaceful field of pediatrics. There was a murmur in the line of ladies waiting in front of the television studio to be allowed into the show as a familiar figure strode quickly past. A long-haired guy in a light brown leather coat jumped up, shook hands, and expressed "the greatest respect." Curious people looked into the passage room where we sat, waiting for the doctor to be called. Checking them and almost teasing them, Spock introduced me, and I read on their faces: "And he showed up here with red."The show of the cheekily experienced, standard-charming Mike McDouglas was an ordinary television vinaigrette: a black singer thoughtfully discussed whether it is possible to smile when you perform sad blues, in a jazz quartet of schoolchildren a girl played the trumpet, a fashion model visually proved that Philadelphia was no stranger to records in terms of the then miniskirts. And all this was used to advertise Westinghouse brand refrigerators and vacuum cleaners. Doctor Spock was also called. He disappeared from the room, leaving me alone, and a couple of minutes later appeared on the television screen, another participant in this mishmash, along with the funny and important girl trumpet player and the bare-legged fashion model. The cheeky presenter treated him only a little more respectfully, and I felt embarrassed for Dr. Spock and felt sorry for him, but he knew that there was no other option and that one must coexist peacefully with the television mess, and, showing his book, he made his way, solemn and even prim, with the truth about Vietnam. They asked him questions, naive, angry, bourgeois, and he answered patiently.-Doctor, is it true that the presidential daughter Lucy, according to your book, is raising the presidential grandson Patrick?- Is it true, doctor, that many American women send you your book, not wanting to raise their children according to the anti-American method?- Doctor, how do you feel about being called a traitor and a communist?In this audience of Philadelphia housewives, he was clearly a stranger. He talked about how, while participating in the election campaign, he campaigned for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldtoter, who was threatening to expand American intervention in Vietnam, how two days after his election, President Johnson personally called him, thanked him for his help and assured him that he would be worthy of the trust placed in him . "And three months later, he betrayed all of us who believed in him, did exactly what he promised not to do," Doctor Spock said these words angrily, like a deceived man. He valued this argument, which the Philadelphia housewives could understand: the president violated the code of decency, and he is a children's teacher, Spock, and cannot and has no right to forgive him for this...We were returning to New York in the same Cadillac. I asked how to explain the colossal popularity of his book, which was so obvious even during this show, which was unlikely to give him pleasure. He answered very briefly: firstly, it's cheap, secondly, it's complete, and thirdly, it's written very simply.Very simple... His words are simple, and he himself is simple, but this is the rare simplicity of a solid, large man. He was told that in the complex matter of war and politics there was no place for a children's doctor. But he does not recognize the monopoly of the president, ministers and senators in matters that concern everyone. Here is his starting premise: as a citizen, he has no less the right than anyone else to judge his country and its policies, to be responsible for everything.Dr. Spock has been actively involved in politics since 1962. He was outraged by President Kennedy, who said that although America was ahead of the Soviet Union in developing nuclear weapons, it must resume nuclear testing to continue to maintain its superiority. Spock understood and deeply took to heart a simple thing - with such logic, the arms race will never stop and one bad day the world will go to hell.  He asked himself: what is the point of raising healthy, good children if their destiny is to die in a senseless war? And this was not an idle question, but a search for a new life behavior. He initially agreed to become vice president of the moderate liberal organization Americans for a Sound Nuclear Policy. However, she quickly disappointed him with her passivity, spinelessness, and timidity ("They couldn't even write letters of protest to the President or Secretary of State"). In the nature of things, when the radicalism of youth wears off and gives way to the grumpy conservatism of old age, Benjamin Spock took a different path. In 1924, taking part in the presidential election for the first time, he cast his vote, on the advice of his father, to the conservative Calvin Coolidge. Then he moved to the left towards the liberals. By the mid-60s, he was no longer satisfied with the liberal middle half, and already at retirement age he went to the young radicals, although he does not turn a blind eye to the weakness, disorganization, and fragility of the protest movement. This latecomer to politics learned to call things by their own, unflattering names. He is, of course, not a Marxist; he draws his faith in the traditional ideals of American democracy and freedom, but he condemns the imperialist nature of American politics. He also understands that most of his compatriots think differently."Most Americans don't think we're imperialists." They have this opinion: we are good guys. For example, they dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and then sent help there through the Red Cross. Are they bad guys?He came to politics by force, and for him it is not a field, not a goal, but only a means to achieve the same, his previous goal - a worthy person, a worthy life, a worthy future. He came to politics in the same way as to pediatrics - as a humanist, concerned about the fate of man and humanity, rebelling against the mood of hopelessness and pessimism and full of determination to act. It was not complacency, but a difficult hope, undermined by anxiety, that sounded in his words when he touched on his most cherished topic.  - Since the beginning of our century, Western literature has tirelessly insisted that the noble qualities in man have perished, that man is just an animal. But could an animal create the Taj Mahal, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, or Shakespeare's plays? The cynical view is wrong. By nature, a person is prone to ideals and creativity, but there are also dangerous tendencies in him that need to be controlled. It so happens that in our country these trends are now developed, perhaps more than in others. All my books are about instilling in young people faith in people...The conversation shortened the journey. Overpasses and interchanges flashed more and more often, the freeway became wider and wider, the flow of cars became thicker, and, finally, the rotten spirit of the chemical plants near Newark testified that New York was very close. The last turn near a granite cliff on the high right bank of the Hudson, and - like a curtain rose on a huge stage - a bewitching panorama of Manhattan opened up: a host of houses shining under the April sky, white smoke above the chimneys of thermal power plants. A great and cruel city, where it is incredibly difficult for the dream of peace, brotherhood and harmony between people to survive, and where in alienation, loss and melancholy, under the yoke of life, this dream cannot but be revived, just as life itself cannot but be revived.  In a crowd of cars, the Cadillac dived into a tiled hole in the tunnel under the Hudson and emerged on the other side under road signs, traffic lights, and into the captivity of Manhattan streets. The end of the road is the end of the conversation. We said goodbye at Columbus Circle, where the marble monument to the discoverer of America stands, and I watched Dr. Spock until the black limousine disappeared from view, heading north on Central Park West.We said goodbye for a long time, although, having returned to Moscow, I continued to meet Dr. Spock in absentia on printed pages and, occasionally and fleetingly, on television. His name in our country has become, as the Americans say, a household item, well-known. He was the personification of the protesting America that we liked and seemed to participate in all its achievements and was subjected to all the hardships that fell to its lot, although he still escaped prison bars: the "Boston Five" were hushed up. Every time I encountered a mention of him, I felt a certain sense of personal involvement: after all, this is my acquaintance. An acquaintance whom you can be proud of not because he is world famous - how many are there, empty celebrities in the age of sensations and mass communications? But because he is a Man. Of those rare great people who, precisely with their inexhaustible, selfless, unyielding, persistent humanity, unite people, connect others with their country and with all of humanity.We met again in a familiar apartment on Lexington Avenue four and a half years later, when already working as a correspondent for Izvestia in Washington, as an old acquaintance, I introduced my New York colleague Vitaly Kobysh to Dr. Spock. Spock had hardly changed, except that the wrinkles on his face became deeper and more pronounced. He also willingly and simply, seriously and laughing at himself, explained the state of affairs, sitting us down on the sofa and offering us a can of beer each. It was December 1972, only a month had passed after the elections in which he ran for president of the United States on behalf of the People's Party, actually not even a party, but a motley, somehow cobbled-together coalition of left-wing organizations. A children's doctor - a presidential candidate? But in the People's Party there were no other such famous national figures; only Spock was a "household item" in millions of American families. And he bore this burden, without making allowances for his age, for weeks and months, wandering from end to end of America, speaking, explaining, agitating. He received only a few hundred thousand votes, and, of course, did not expect to get into the White House, reserved by the two-party system for Republican or Democratic candidates. His election campaign was more of an educational nature - to support young people, not to let them despair, the protest movement was on the wane. In any case, he himself did not despair: not having the Archimedean lever to turn America over, he still retained the hope of the sower who threw good seeds into the soil...  Several more times I contacted Dr. Spock by telephone, taking short responses for the newspaper, and he invariably responded, speaking out in favor of disarmament, the SALT negotiations and détente in American-Soviet relations, although each time, grunting disapprovingly, he was surprised at how one could things continued to go wrong with the "son of a bitch" Nixon and the Canadian presidents. Our telephone conversations were all about politics and politics, and it turned out that Poltik had completely blocked out the children's doctor in him. But one day a new, different controversy arose around Dr. Spock and went beyond the borders of America, causing - to contact the international and find out, the resonance, right. I received a request from the "Week" - to contact and find out if it's true that he changed his pediatric principle, that in In his approach to raising children, he now puts in first place not affection, but severity. N-yes... So, back to pediatrics, back to normal.And I went from Washington to New York with the question: what is better - severity or affection? I went with a yellow-bound book-the second Soviet edition of his classic-cheap, complete, and simple-instruction for mothers, "The Child and His Care." (When we met, he signed an autograph and said good-naturedly and flattered: "But you didn't know me as a pediatrician until they started persecuting me in America for my anti-war speeches. Then they probably thought he was a good guy and translated my book." I regretted that for the translation they took not the latest, but a ten-year-old edition.) Having enlightened me in advance about the subject of the dispute, through his secretary, Mrs. Woodyatt, from the same "secretary service" on Madison Avenue, Spock sent by mail a photocopy of two pages of the American family magazine "Redbook", where he regularly published consultation articles. "The inability to be firm with children is, in my opinion, the most common parenting problem in America today," he wrote. "In order for a child to do what needs to be done, or stop doing what should not be done, you must be clear and definite with him every time." This advice came with a caveat: "I do not recommend the overbearing method of a sergeant training new recruits-that would be the other extreme."So what is controversial here? And where is the contradiction between affection and severity? There is the same quiet kindness in this recommendation as in the famous book. But no, truth is not only born, but also dies in disputes. Nervous comments appeared: Spock has retreated from his principles, preferring the stick to the carrot. Some, who believed that young people had blossomed "like Spock," rejoiced. Others were upset and indignant (and one of our respected pediatricians managed to publish an article in one of our newspapers, the meaning of which boiled down to the following: "And you, Dr. Spock, sold out to Wall Street")....Familiar, light gray house, not yet darkened by the New York smoke. The same apartment on the eleventh floor with views of the neighboring floors and roofs. The same music stand instead of a table. The same bookshelves. And this - I don't remember if it happened before? A reproduction of Picasso on the wall-the outline of Don Quixote on Rocinante, sketched with precise black strokes. Cervantes's hero is long and thin, like Dr. Spock.Where, however, is the owner himself? I stayed in the city, buying tickets somewhere for my grandchildren who were coming to visit from Boston. And here he is - with his head uncovered, although it is windy and chilly outside, in a light raincoat. Throwing off his cloak, he quickly steps forward, rubbing his hands. Same. Sitting down in a chair, he tucks his right leg under him like a youth. The same one, strong tanned wrists peeking out from the sleeves of his shirt. Everything is an intercessor yacht. And the time will come when, at the end of the conversation, he can't resist and takes out two color photographs, and on them there are white sails...The same, but the conversation is no longer about students, but about his book, about his pediatric principles. No, they haven't changed. He believed and still believes that children behave normally and reasonably because they love their parents, and they love their parents because their parents love them ("The essence of discipline, nine-tenths of it, is the love that a child feels for his parents"). But in the same principles, time forces us to place emphasis differently. The first edition of his book was published in 1946. American pediatrics was then, by Spock's definition, extremely tough. For example, they ordered feeding the child at six and ten in the morning, at two in the afternoon, six and ten in the evening - neither earlier nor later. Against this background, his advice was revolutionary liberating."In my book, I wrote that such rigidity is not necessary, that throughout their history people ate when they were hungry, and this did not affect their psyche or digestion. I called for flexibility and humanity.The book, perhaps, was also such a success because it met the natural human need for love, kindness, and affection. American mothers began to raise the "Spock generation." But...- But in ten. years, when I published the revised edition, some parents went to the other extreme, believing that it was the children who should determine everything - both when they should eat and when they should sleep. Such children became tyrants, and mothers pointed at me as the culprit, the creator of tyrants. But I never believed that the child should decide everything, and since 1957 I have consciously emphasized in my book the need for firm, unambiguous parental guidance...More terrible than misunderstanding are hatred and revenge. When Dr. Spock began dividing pediatrics with politics, his opponents quickly multiplied. They didn't disdain anything. In politics they labeled him a traitor, in pedagogy - as an advocate of permissiveness, and combined everything together into one lie, according to which the insidious and even red Doctor Spock, having penetrated millions of American homes with his book, deliberately corrupted American children right from the cradle - and here they are , the terrible results of his machinations: a generation that rebels, refusing to serve in the army and kill in the jungle.- What nonsense! - Spock was indignant. - For twenty-two years after the book was published, no one accused me of being a supporter of permissiveness. This charge was made when I was put on trial for my opposition to the Vietnam War. And do you know who was the first to accuse me of corrupting American youth? New York priest Norman Vincent Peale. This old coot has written a ton of books on how to make a ton of money by practicing so-called positive thinking. Have you heard what it is? Pray in the morning, pray more often, convincing yourself that everything is going well and that God is on your side, and that soon you will be richer and richer. Do you know who started this accusation? Another rogue is Spiro Agnew, a former vice president who taught everyone all sorts of virtues until he was caught in bribery and forced to resign in disgrace...I have a tape recording of this conversation. I turn it on and hear Dr. Spock speaking with rare excitement and energy. Rogues! The word literally explodes on his lips. They won't be able to intimidate him. Rogues!Yes, he was the same. Not going to get along with scoundrels. And he believes that the side that he likes to call admirable can still prevail in a person. He puts the highest meaning into his decency. And the black outline of Don Quixote looks at him from the wall, and it seems that he is about to open his lips and say in the words of Doctor Spock:- Let's stop this monstrous stupidity! Let's straighten this world!Between this and thenHudson is not visible from the illuminated room; only a wide, impenetrably black gap between the lanterns on our left bank and the chains of lights on the right, in the state of New Jersey, which - even the eye can see, but the tooth is numb - is closed in this part to Soviet citizens, reminding: no matter how long you live here - not your own, someone else's, suspect. Night. Deep January night. Even the lanterns are lonely. It rained during the day, and now a sharp cold wind howls through the crack of the raised metal frame of the window, and in it is the harbinger of snow, of the late, short, capricious New York winter. There are few cars at night on the West Side Highway, which runs along the Hudson, the residents of the suburbs have long returned home and only in the morning will they clog the freeway again, rushing to work in Manhattan, and yet the highway does not sleep, the hum is always loud - it is born in the distance, barely audible , growing, getting closer, no longer a rustle, but the screeching of tires, getting closer, louder, harder, like a grater to the heart - it blew through! The headlights swinging ahead, glistening, the car rushes past the windows in the prickly light of the lanterns, leaves, moves away, the noise gets quieter, quieter, freezes, stalls. And in the distance the noise and hum of another, still invisible machine has already been born and is growing: closer, louder... Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day and night by night - and already year after year. Six years...I can't get used to the noise, I sleep with cotton wool plugged into my ears, and I love night car rides. Night walks after night work. The written material-operative or not-burns your fingers. Into the newspaper immediately, out of your mind now. Telephone communications with Moscow are working properly. But it's boring, all within the same walls - I wrote, dictated, and sent. Not only the light in the window. To freedom. Down with the temptation of the telephone! Tapping the clerk! typed another correspondence, you get into the elevator with an old man - the night elevator operator, you go down to the lower, called the garden, floor and through it you find yourself in an underground garage, where hundreds of one and a half cars sleep right next to each other between concrete pillars and in one of them - a black man duty. A gloomy, sleepy black man drives out a lagoon-green Chevrolet, and, sitting behind the wheel, feeling the revived power of the engine, you jerk along a narrow concrete ramp onto 74th, go around the three walls of the silent Schwab House and through the arch of a small viaduct enter the same noisy under the windows of the Westside Highway, direction - south, Downtown. There you take the printed pages, which lie next to you on the seat, there, on Broad Street, house number 66, a radiotelegraph and telex of one of the branches of the radio corporation RCA operates around the clock.Now you are on the highway, under the piercing light of the streetlights, and they rush past. The letters and numbers of the green signboards hanging over the canvas shine towards you, speaking to you in the businesslike and yet romantic language of the roads. Desert night. There are a lot of cars. Now you can't cover your ears. The highway rustles under your wheels, and it is not annoying, but calming. Old worker. For how many years it has been obediently crawling under the tires of countless millions of cars. Turned grey. Here and there there were cracks and splits in the grooves of its slabs, the surface was chipped and uneven, the tires squeaked on the uneven surfaces - as if the road was complaining through them, asking for treatment, repair. An old six-lane highway raised above the ground, running in concrete barriers. Beneath it, at ground level, wandering between its stumpy supports, there is also a highway, but slow and unpopular, with traffic lights, devoid of speed - along the port warehouses and piers, which, one after another, stretch across the Hudson, scratching the water with the two-hundred-meter teeth of a cyclopean combs. And the highway itself rushes recklessly at the level of the port roofs, level with the decks of ocean liners that come to the piers from spring to autumn, level with the lights of their illuminations, which hang in chains between the masts in the abyss of the night, beckoning to another, festive, carefree, full of adventures life.Down under the highway in these dark hours it seems impossible to survive; the secret customs of port brothels and flophouses. Everything died out and hid. And here, above, Hudson breathes freshly through the slightly open car window, the dark contours of sleeping houses and the honeycombs of lights in the advertising shining skyscrapers flowing through the Manhattan night. And you are grateful to the deep night and the old highway for allowing you to be alone with the river and the city...No congestion, no traffic jams, in a matter of minutes, repeatedly overshadowed by green shields of road signs, you skip all the way to the south of Manhattan and at the very end, where the freeway dives into a tunnel to emerge as another freeway with a different name along the East River, you exit highway. Nearby is a small Battery Park, the southernmost tip of the island, which you would never recognize as an island - after all, it is a city, and besides, it opens up an entire continent. Among the darkly shimmering water, behind the trees of the square and the old building of the port fire service, where broad-chested red boats with short-barreled cannons are moored, stands far in the night harbor a lonely Statue of Liberty, not visible from the road.Only traffic lights do not sleep. An unblinking red eye under a dark green round visor tells you to stop. You obey - and while you stand, the New York night anxiety creeps into your soul. There is not a single soul around, although now I would willingly agree to the presence of a police soul. The economical light of lanterns does not banish the Egyptian darkness. Rare cars, abandoned at night, hump forlornly by the roadside. Massive portico of the customs house with neoclassical columns. Burnt-out floors of banks and corporations stretching into the night sky. This is Downtown, a business and financial center. During the day it's teeming with people and cars, it's crazy, it's loud and loud, you can't find parking, get there by subway - and it's better to wait until Saturday or Sunday to take a walk in Battery Park, leaning on the parapet of the embankment and looking at the same statue of a big lady with a torch standing in the harbor, bring her closer for a couple of minutes, throwing a dime into the slot of a metal cabinet with heavy rotating binoculars, and if you want, go on a date with her on an excursion boat.And now everything is asleep, except for the traffic lights. Sleeps Wall Street and Broad Street, sleeps the citadel of the New York Stock Exchange at the corner of these two streets; Why did only one get great fame? The smoky Trinity Church and the old Federal Hall, where George Washington took his oath of office as the first president of the new United States of America, sleeps, and together with these monuments sleeps the eternal sleep of a foreign, motley, dense and little-known history and a disappeared, long-standing, although far from ancient a city that here, on the southern tip of Manhattan, only in the middle of the 15th century began with a hundred wooden houses of New Amsterdam, with no idea what would come out of it, is coming out and will continue to come out. Everything is asleep, and not a single living creature knows how eloquently these stones speak in a silent and deserted hour. The origins of Broadway are dark and deserted, here it is divided into East Broadway and West Broadway, has not yet merged into one Great White Way, and somewhere right there, at various uncrowned kings and mister billionaires that intrigue us, countless treasures, but the night watch does not bypass the empty streets, obviously hiding behind the walls and trusting the armored thickness, which cannot be crushed by torpedoes, sophisticated castles, etc. electronic alarm.Everyone has fallen asleep, but the 24-hour RCA branch does not sleep. In the desert of a sleepy Downtown, like an oasis of waking life, a large window on the ground floor glows on a muted dark street. You park the car and turn off the engine. Quiet. You approach the illuminated window. The room is empty, but the door is trustingly open, and in the back, in the service area, the night shift is sitting at the teletype machines.The teletype operator on duty appears when the call rings; he has tired eyes, an expression of official courtesy and a readiness to help on his face, as if he was waiting for you; staying awake where everyone else is sleeping, and has already begun to worry where you have gone, where you have disappeared.- Hai! Hai! - you greet each other.You hand over your pieces of paper with the red RCA letterhead at the top to him both casually and carefully, like fate. This is a piece of your work, it was given by effort and is now in his hands. The attendant glances at the first sheet. Of all that is printed there, he understands only the top three, address words: PRESS IZVESTIA MOSKOW."Urgent material," you say, although there is no expensive "urgent" mark on the telegram, trying to infect him with your Impatience and put into the intonation of your words not only a request, but also a demand, which, damn it, a long-time and faithful client of Ar has the right to. -si-hey, who paid her more than one thousand dollars in bills."Don't worry," says the duty officer, those words that everyone hears from him. - I'll give it to the car right away.And so that the client stops worrying, for some reason he glances at the large round dials hanging on the wall of the room. On all dials, the minute hands show the same minutes, and the hour hands show different hours. This time is in different cities of the world: New York, Montreal, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo... The radio telegraph on Broad Street lives the life of the world. In New York it's half past one in the morning. It's half past nine in the morning in Moscow, the working day has begun.Again the seat of the Chevrolet, the beams of headlights probing the darkness of Downtown, traffic lights, solitude. Again, the tight rubber of the tires trembles and rustles pleasantly and elastically on the highway. Now Manhattan flows on the right, and, looking at its changing silhouette stretching along the road, you can take your time.Whether it's bad or good, your work is done for today, by the sweat of your brow you have justified your bread and received the right to a short rest. Now words and lines that were not in sight even two hours ago, which in a nervous haste you caught and sculpted at your desk, have been torn away from you and acquire a certain significance that puzzles and alarms you every time for the sole reason that by the ordinary miracle of our days, faster than you return to Riverside, they will move from the nighttime New York Downtown to Moscow, reluctantly and lately brightening Gorky Street in January.In your memory, you return again and again to the lines that have not yet cooled down, checking and reconciling them. And, diving down into the garage, parking the car, going up home, to the eighth floor of the Schwab House, in the silence cut by the cars rushing outside the window, the first thing you do is look through the copy of what was sent. And it's not enough for you that your pages have moved to Moscow. The familiar worm is already moving, gnawing at the newspaper correspondent: will they print hmm? Tomorrow the torment will intensify; As soon as you get up and have breakfast, you will go to the TASS office, hiding your excitement from your comrades, you will sort through rolls of messages from AP and YP as if you came for them, and even go down to the basement bar, where Jim makes excellent gin cocktails for Harry and dry vermouth. But all this time you will be waiting for the Tass review of Izvestia to arrive on the teletype. Did they give it or not? You'll also call the editor yourself and ask about the same thing in between: did they give it to you or throw it in the trash? In two or three days you will be guarding postmen with canvas bags and, first of all, pulling out newspapers in green wrappers from a bundle of mail tied with twine, looking for the desired number.Worries last longer than the life of your note. And not getting rid of them is your work, it is the meaning and justification of your long existence here...And you still don't know that you will remember exactly that; about which I didn't send a single line: night trips to Broad Street, the lonely rustling of tires on the highway, gusts of wind from the Hudson and the inexplicable feeling of a city with which I found myself alone...You still don't know much, having arrived from the telegraph office that night, carefully closing the heavy and always slamming door - not to wake up your wife and children living nearby, but a different, not correspondent, not scattered around the world, not scattered by events and life. You still don't know much when, under the whistling of a cold January wind promising snow, you sit down before going to bed to make the first entry in a new large university notebook - an entry for yourself, for the soul, without putting off until tomorrow what you have been putting off for years; now there are only a few months left before leaving New York, and you are gripped by the itch to make up for what was missed and irreparable and to trust the paper as much as possible, so that later, not in newspapers, but in a book, a thick magazine - oh the sweetest and most difficult dream of a correspondent ! - talk about the impressions of these years and thereby deepen and expand the meaning of your protracted stay in a foreign land. Meaning...You look for meaning as an excuse. But you still know little about the unlocking and pulling apart force of time, multiplied by the force of distances, and that your own life is secretly writing an incomprehensible story for you, while you, holding on to the crest of events, replacing each other like waves, in professional excitement , you quickly create and carry new and new, instantly transient leaves to the telegraph. You comprehend and - in conditional, narrow categories - condemningly reflect someone else's life, but you yourself, a stranger, do not participate in it. You are an outsider by occupation. You are a biased observer. And let it not be so easy to live by observations. It's not easy if you are an indifferent observer and they, observations, wear out your mind and scratch your heart. But all the same: observing and not participating, you float, as if in a vacuum, as if in weightlessness, above those who walk on the earth, experiencing the necessary, training force of attraction.You're soaring over someone else's land, but what about your own? Separated by distances of thousands of kilometers, working and living abroad, and at home only resting, only on vacations, do you really participate - without fools and without pathetic consolations - in the life of your country, do you live - from the inside, and not from the outside - the life of your people woven into its living, changing patterns and patterns? Or is it also a vacuum, also atrophy of muscles and organs as a punishment for the freedom of long and reckless soaring in weightlessness? But everyone, from the ancient mythical Antaeus to the contemporary cosmonaut, lost their strength when separated from mother earth, and returned it not by soaring, but by gravity. And a person, just a person, and not a hero, needs, in order to regain his strength, not just land, but his native land, his natural habitat.You are languishing at night over a thick notebook, opened only to the first page, thinking upon your return, having gained strength and vacation time, to make your discovery of America on the printed pages, but do you know what other - and painful - languor awaits you? what discovery? The precious truths, which you spent years obtaining in a foreign land, have long been discovered here, but are they needed here? And how are they needed? Not as bread is needed, without which one cannot live, but just for the sake of curiosity. You will be interested in the truths not of someone else's existence, but of someone else's life, and, as in a nightmare, the question will haunt you with an absurd echo along the long corridor: what is it worth there, in America?At the forefront - they will tell you about your profession, and you will agree. Difficult. Yes, sometimes. A necessary and necessary thing. Yes, that's right. But even though it is at the forefront, and not the main thing, it is a secondary matter. The main thing is on one's own land, about one's own land. And you are all about foreign countries - an internationalist, all about America - an Americanist... Not a writer of the Russian land, but a descriptor of the American land...Don't go for a walk in Africa, children! And, for God's sake, international affairs specialist, don't sit too long abroad, because there are many snares and pitfalls in your profession. Getting used to it, but never getting used to it, not wanting to get used to a foreign country, you don't know what - it's scary to even say! - you get used to yours. You're getting out of the habit, although your love needs to swear to it? - did not leave, but arrived, aggravated by melancholy and separation. You get out of the habit, and in the first days it's wonderful for you to be on a Moscow street: both in front and behind, all the passers-by speak Russian. But it will pass quickly. But something else will remain - your love has changed, it has become more discerning, sharper, more difficult. No, you are cold and uncomfortable in America, you have not found any warmth here except the warmth of a few dear people, and nothing binds you here except the memories of the years you have lived. And parting is easy: there was love without joy - separation will be without sadness. But you still don't know that not everything will be simple here either. You came with your own arshins, and when you leave, you will take over those of others, and, like an obsession, New York and America will now be with you everywhere as part of your life, like a new grid of coordinates that has penetrated deeply into your consciousness, and in your native country, everywhere and for everything. you will look through this mesh. And one day, like an epiphany, the unexpected and hidden meaning of the very word international will reach you. Between peoples... Both there and here - according to your occupation. And this is not easy, and be afraid of it, like a trap, because "both here and there" always carries within you "neither here nor here"...There is a time for everything, and a time for every thing under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted. A time to cry and a time to laugh. Time to search and time to lose. A time to tear and a time to sew.And time for long and short trips abroad, and time to return to a settled life. And it's important not to miss this time: it will be more and more difficult to get up and leave and more and more difficult to take root again when returning. Don't miss it, otherwise the final misfortune will come - the time not to live, but to die abroad or halfway between abroad and home. There is a time for everything under the sun-and in human life. But where and by whom is it said when it should come, at this or that time? A man is weak, and he is a slave to his profession, but it sets traps everywhere and drives you into them, and you succumb.And on a January night on Riverside, having started a large notebook and hastening to load up on impressions before leaving America, you still don't know that less than four years will pass before the time comes for another entry, on the eve of a new farewell to Moscow, at the beginning of your second American circle. And you will leave new feverish lines for yourself on other sheets....The sadness of the days before departure, time inside is not ticking, but knocking furiously, with tickets in your pocket you no longer count weeks, but days, then hours, and the tired bitterness of the farewell evening, when something doesn't go well, something is missing among glasses, toasts, snacks. But the same accounting of time is not enough - it already goes differently for those leaving and staying. The ends are broken, although physically you are still in Moscow. The psyche is turned on to the expectation of change, and no one, not even the closest person, will make with you that effort with which you are completely permeated, that unnecessary internal effort with which you strain yourself, running before leaving through the Moscow streets: how is it there, behind the ocean? What will happen in the second round? You will arrive, live and see how. But no, you won't persuade and calm yourself down, you won't get rid of this useless effort.And another question, also useless and inevitable: why did you agree? Have you forgotten how suffocated you were at the end of your previous American years? I forgot that stuffy June New York evening and the gloomy underground platform of the Grand Central Station, and the farewell hugs with those remaining, and, finally, the train passing under the familiar streets of Park Avenue, and the tired, wonderful feeling of liberation when at the end of the tunnel with the train you burst out of the darkness of the dungeon like a cork and rushed away - goodbye, America! - along the invisible night Hudson to Montreal, to the ship "Alexander Pushkin"... Why transfer your one and only Russian life abroad?Stupid questions, since I already answered: yes, I'm going. Gruzdev called himself get in the body. There are bulldozer drivers, there are Pushkinists, there are Americanists. America is your job. That's the whole story. And it's already too late, and is it even necessary, to change a profession, which, as they say, is not the worst. And it is still more reliable to write about America from America. As for farewell sadness and melancholy, that's your personal thing; there are no such concepts in Soviet American studies...No sleep on the last Moscow night. Incomprehensible, inexplicable emptiness. Only later, remembering it, will you understand that this was how it should have been. This is how nature ordered - to be empty here in order to be filled in other parts, starting a new account of time.And in the morning before the car arrives, your wife hurriedly collects what was not assembled, and you are knitting cardboard boxes with books, the strings are slipping, you irritably call your brother for help, you are angry with your friend, with whom - as if nothing is happening, as if this is just a cheerful Sunday morning conversation after Saturday feast - brother blithely drinks tea in the kitchen. Then you remember this irritation and you feel ashamed. They will remember you as small and fussy in these last minutes. Will they understand that it was sadness, love for them, self-pity, oh - they stay, and you leave.A glass of cognac. If you don't feel like eating, we'll have breakfast on the plane. Evil emptiness tears you apart. They carried things out to the door and sat down in front of the road. We were silent. With God blessing!The car leaves the yard. The pro counter clicks in my brain. longings: for a long time... for a long time... For a long time this courtyard disappears from the eyes, darkly and damply glistening with new asphalt. They also flashed on the facade of the hippodrome - for a long time. These ridiculous horses disappeared on people rushing to the dairy, this old man from the newsstand on the corner - disappear, for a long time... Metro, oval of the Dina stadium. mo" for a long time, past. The ancient brickwork of the Petrovsky Castle - the Zhukovsky Academy - is passing by. A street in the trees, where long ago they took their eldest, then still three-year-old daughter, to kindergarten - past, She cried and longed to go home, and her heart was torn from the horror of an endless, for a whole week, separation from her mother, and then separations came for years , when her parents and younger sister and brother lived in America, and she studied and lived in the Foreign Ministry boarding school, coming only for the holidays. How difficult it was for everything to stick together when we returned three years ago, and it didn't stick together properly, because a family should be together, because a family is a common life and a common memory... The tears of an Americanist, invisible to the world... So the youngest daughter has grown up , and you don't take it with you, and it stays...Moscow runs past with cars, houses, people and already on the outskirts - for a long time...Sheremetyevo, the bustle and panic of checking in luggage, hasty kisses outside the customs zone, hasty glances in front of the metal latch, which, at the state border, jumps out of the booth of the border guard checking passports, and the very last glances - at a friend and brother, at daughters, they have confused, enlightened faces , they are in tears. You pull your wife: stop, don't cry, for God's sake... And only a six-year-old son still doesn't know what it's like for a long time. A happy man, he still doesn't know what time is...Take off like a break. Where the colossus Il-62 broke away from the concrete and went into the sky, leaving yellowing birch groves below, the unity of space was broken and time began its separate count for those who remained and those who flew away. Looking at the clock, you can still guess that they, who remained on the ground, have now, perhaps, reached the house, entered an empty apartment, where the beds are not made in the turmoil, scraps of twine are lying around, where the half-drunk and half-eaten food on the kitchen table reminds of those who won't finish eating and drinking there soon? But time passes, pushing us apart, and the space between them moves apart, and it is increasingly difficult to guess what is there, on our native land, in an abandoned city, in an abandoned house...The flight attendants are already pushing their goods for tourists in a stroller down the aisle - nesting dolls, amber beads, cigarettes. bottles of vodka. Foreigners are already oohing and aahing, opening the nesting dolls. And, looking at them, you think how catastrophically the world has narrowed. From your vast country, from its large capital, from the people of which you are a part, all that was suddenly left was this plane, several dozen compatriots, and instead of the birch brides who held out their white trunks farewell at takeoff, an aerial branch of the Beriozka shop. You are in a different world, in different circumstances. But an hour passes, a second, a third - and these other circumstances slowly, but powerfully and sharply turn you, pull you out of a state of self-absorption by the invisible scruff of the neck, force you to take a closer look at your fellow travelers, live a temporary airplane life and, one way or another, prepare for that future life , which will inevitably begin, just let us overcome this cold, autumn ocean lying below.Without a home...They called from the consulate: "If you want, come. They're already here." I took a portable tape recorder and drove to the outskirts of Washington's leafy Dickeytor Street, where the Soviet consulate is located in a white two-story cottage. It was lunchtime, almost all the employees had left, but these seven, six men and one woman, were sitting in a cramped reception area. What caught my eye was that seven of them looked like Soviet citizens in the waiting room of a Soviet institution. As if they came on some matter and will leave, having decided or not solved it. But their case is very difficult, and they are former citizens. Jews, they lost their Soviet citizenship, having left, each in their own time, for Israel. They migrated from Israel to America. And now we have come from New York to Washington, to the Soviet consulate - to ask to go back to the Soviet Union. These seven - and many others - have applications addressed to the Soviet ambassador asking for the return of Soviet citizenship to them.We talked for an hour about the length of the tape. Here is a recording of the conversation:- I have the first general question: who came to America when? Those who want to, let them state their last name; those who don't want to don't have to say it. Well, let's start with you, if you don't mind.Average height, stocky elderly man of working type:- I arrived a month ago. Well what can I tell you...- A month ago from the Union or from Israel?- From Israel.- What is your last name?- It's better not to name it, I have my own thoughts here. What can I tell you? All my thoughts, my family's thoughts. I have a family of five - just return home. We made the pain. Sheer stupidity, even words cannot convey it, that we ended up here, did not listen, did not believe our propaganda, thought that we were being deceived, but in fact the West deceived us, Israel deceived us, deeply deceived us. We have become unnecessary people here in the full sense of the word. Nobody needs us. In their old age they made such an irreparable mistake. Now we ask the Soviet government to forgive. asked us, if possible, to return us to our homeland. As soon as possible. We are suffering. In the full sense of the word.- When you say "suffering," what do you mean first of all?- In every way. It was bad for me in Israel, I couldn't find a job...- What is your specialty?- Electric and gas welder. But they say that I'm already old... I'm needed. I worked in the Union all the time. This is all mine, that I can't earn my own piece of bread.- You say: a family of five people.- I have three children, still young. The daughter is nineteen years old.- She works?- No, we just arrived. She worked in Israel. They saw that things were bad there, they needed to leave quickly, where there was a consulate, and try to return to their homeland.- When did you leave for Israel?- In 1973...- And you? Tell us briefly about yourself.I walked clockwise, away from the door of the cramped room. Younger, black, tanned, healthy, wearing a red sports shirt.- We also left in '73. No, not to Israel. Right here. I work here, I got into the union (trade union) of construction workers. I don't seem to be in financial need. I also have three children. The girl was born here. I am from Baku..."Are you going to return or did you just come here with the others?"- And how! What are you talking about?! For me, you know, all this is somehow wild, for my children. Not our environment. I was born in the Soviet Union and lived for forty-two years. Can a person turn inside out? In the full sense of the word - inside out."Money is not the most important thing," explains the first, elderly man."Does a man live by his stomach alone?" - the second one picks up. "We lived and worked there and didn't need anything. Spiritually we were rich. Is it about money? I've been in the union for a year now. I have everything here. That's not the point, you know. I want to go to my homeland so that my children can study and become people...He speaks quietly and calmly, as if wanting to enhance the impression of thoughtfulness in his words. Sighs.- How can I explain all this to you? It's very difficult here. You have to be in our shoes to understand us.- So you say: children grow up to be selfish. But we also have complaints that children grow up selfish...He raises his voice, almost indignant:- What are you talking about? What complaints? Here children are taught the wrong things. Yes, take these movies, these magazines. He is sixteen years old, my boy. How can I keep him? I am working. He watches it all. Here in the Caucasus it's customary: the father said, that means that's it. This is the law in the house. I have never had my son disobey me. Not now either. But I feel something different. Not only this, our whole life. We see nothing: work - home - work - home. From morning to evening... You work hard, work hard, work hard... You don't see anything. Absolutely nothing!- How are your relationships with people, with neighbors, friends, acquaintances?- What relationships? What friends?! Neighbor doesn't know neighbor, but they've lived next to each other for years.- Do they communicate with the TV?- Yes Yes. There is a man working with me on construction. I ask: have you ever been to Manhattan? He lives in Brooklyn. He: what should I do there?(Let me remind you that Manhattan and Brooklyn are areas of the same gigantic New York. Not visiting Manhattan with its skyscrapers, museums, theaters, shops is the same as not visiting that New York, which is known to the whole world as New York.)- One day we gathered with the whole family for a picnic to eat. One of them asked me (I was eating a bun with sausage): "Have you seen this in Russia?" You know, I almost put it in the trunk. The police arrived and almost detained me.- What do you say, what level of knowledge do members of the trade union have about the Soviet Union?- They have no knowledge of the Soviet Union. Their concept is that everyone in the Soviet Union is starving... The concept is that there is no bread, there is nothing, well, there is absolutely nothing there. Wild field...- So you say that they have practically no knowledge about the Soviet Union. They think that everyone there is starving; they don't see a piece of bread and sausage. And when you lived in Baku, what was your idea of America? After all, your decision to leave probably largely depended on this idea.- The question is very correctly posed..."You need to see and understand what capitalism is," interjects the third man, the one sitting closest to me. He can't wait to have his say. "I'll interrupt," he continues. "If we were allowed into our homeland, it would be better if there was no propaganda." Let's say we came to Baku or Tashkent, any other city, and a hundred people I know came to me. And everyone would ask me: why did you come back? And I would tell them the whole truth, it would be the real truth. And if they had published it in the newspapers, they would have believed me more...- Human nature is such that a person knows any thing only through his own experience. Even the words you spoke - they, of course, can convince many, but they will not reach many...- They will come! They'll get there! If one person speaks, one conversation. And if we are a group of one hundred people, two hundred people? If he doesn't believe me, then he will believe the second, third, fourth, tenth...- What ideas did you have about America when you lived in Baku? - I ask the builder.- Now I'll tell you. It all started... They started going from Georgia, all that. Here I myself have met people who tell me: I came, I'm suffering here, and he's drinking in a restaurant, hanging out, let him come too, I'll send him a challenge. There are such?- Eat. "Yes," answers the third, whose story was again interrupted."They pulled each other," adds the only woman among the seven.- They deceive people. Like, I hit it, so let him hit it," a dull voice from the corner."One is suffering, let the other suffer," the woman explains.The third calls himself: Sadovsky Petr Markovich. He has a heavy, unshaven, exhausted face.- For example, I left with my wife and two children. From Kyiv. In December '73. I really didn't want to go, I even wrote a statement to the OVIR. They know me very well at OVIR, because every year I went to Poland to visit my sister. Today I have two sisters and a brother who served in the Great Patriotic War. There were five of us, that is. Mother died and we were in an orphanage. My father died at the front during the Great Patriotic War...- How old are you?- I'm forty-six. I have aged during this time. We are in terrible horror right now. This is happening that it is impossible to stand. My son is nineteen years old. He's sitting there in a blue shirt," he points to a curly-haired guy with a round face in a tank... "The boss at the OVIR told me: Sadovsky, stay, what are you doing?" And they met me downstairs: just try!-  Who are they?- Which are now in Israel."Zionists," the woman explained.- And so it happened. I spent two and a half months in Israel. I used to want to leave, but it was impossible - my son was being drafted into the army. I say: I won't give you a son, you write that you won't take it for three years, why are you taking it right away? In short, the wife was handcuffed. In general, the whole family could not escape from Israel. I left with my son alone, my wife and daughter stayed behind. They didn't give me a visa, they took my deposit, I escaped as a beggar, and left all the money as a deposit at the West German embassy. They allowed me to go to West Germany. From there, he immediately went to Vienna and entered illegally without a visa. Got a job there. I am an electric welder and mechanic of the sixth category. I haven't been there even a month, the main police calls me. What's happened? They found out, which means that I arrived without a visa. Probably someone sold me on the fact that I submitted documents to return to the Soviet embassy in Vienna. There are Zionists on every corner - it's a terrible thing that's going on. They called me: if you don't leave in twenty-four hours, we will send you to Israel. What to do? There is safety in numbers. He took his son and went, that means, to Munich... He worked there, which means he came to America. Yes, I forgot to say about my wife. I sent ten letters, certified by a notary, so that my wife and daughter would be released from Israel. Not at all. No hello, no answer. One man was traveling, I met him: give the letter to my wife, here is the address. And I barely snatched my wife from Israel. I looked at life in Israel. This is it! They say this is the promised land. So it's impossible to live there. Local people who have lived there for many years say: who asked you here, who needs you here? They took the best places, the best jobs, and if, say, you go to some kind of work, you work for two or three weeks, and then they tell you that there is no work. No job. Am I saying this correctly?- Right.-  Right...- How long have you been in America?- Six months. What do I want to say about America? I think as this man said, that a person cannot turn himself inside out. No way. Let's say it's me. Coming from an orphanage. He grew up to be a good person. I have a good specialty. In the Union, I was always on the Honor Board, received certificates and cash prizes. I'm not saying that, for example, I was rich there. But I was morally satisfied. I lived! During the year and a half that I left the Soviet Union, I never had a smile on my face. I always laughed, I was happy, I went to the beach, I went to the Cinema, I went to the theater. I saw life, I saw the smiles of Russian people. In fact, it is just written - nation. We have nothing Jewish. Let's say, I worked in a Soviet production facility for many years, and the boss, for example, or a mechanic (I worked as a repairman) approached: Pyotr Markovich, please make this machine. Somehow he treated you civilly and politely. You have to make this machine in, say, an hour, but you do it in half an hour or twenty minutes. And here at work you give ten sweats from yourself, and he is spinning around with a cigarette in his hands, the owner. He has millions in the bank, he pays you a meager amount. You feel that you deserve more, that you are a specialist, and he, due to the fact that you are a black slave, pays you as much as he wants. If you don't want to leave, you will die of hunger. And now, secondly, how are our children taught? We are accustomed to Soviet teaching, to advice. skaya culture. I used to go to my daughter's school, she was really in my first place, a straight A student. I was so pleased: the school principal would come out, the teacher would come out, and the head of the group would come out. There were meetings, conferences. They informed me how my child was studying and what needed to be done to make it even better. But here it's the other way around. Here at school, what do they do with prayers, they only teach them to pray...- What school does she go to?- To an ordinary school. Only Jewish. He prays all the time. They don't teach, they cripple children. For example, it was difficult for me at one time. My father died at the front, and at the age of thirteen I had to earn a piece of bread because there was nothing to eat. Now a father of two children myself, I want my children to be people. Well, it just so happened that I got confused and came here, but there's absolutely no point here. Zionist on Zionist.- Where do you work?- I work in a factory where stainless steel is produced for military equipment. In Queens (New York City). The owner, such a jerk, walks around with a distorted face: "I hired you so that you could work." Me: "I work as much as I can, I work as much, so should I give more of myself, or what?" And he says: "I won't pay you." And I come home dead, I fall on the bed. Dead! I don't want anything. But that is not all. I'm saying that there is no life here at all. Chasing only the dollar, the dollar. So that millions. In their old age they all sit on Brighton Beach near the sea, with their muzzles twisted and wrinkled, and their money in the bank. Is this life? We're not used to this. I had difficult financial situations. Zoya, I say, let's go to the cinema today. And she: it will be difficult until payday. Nothing. Cheerful. We got dressed and went to the cinema, to the theater, spent time, went to the park. There is absolutely no life here. There is a chase for the dollar to put more money in the bank. What kind of life is this?!"You could go crazy if you live here a little longer," Sadovsky's son enters insinuatingly, judiciously, so that his words are not discarded like the words of a young man."Half-crazed," Sadovsky Sr. continues. - Half-checked... And what a dirty mess. And people's behavior. These are all kinds of sex. What can happen to my child here if she is now thirteen years old. So is it really possible that I, who lived for forty-five years in the Soviet Union... Was born there, grew up in conditions, how can I put it, I saw both good and bad. You can't change me now. One minor left the child, and the second minor left...- What's your name? - I ask my son.- Mikhail. I am nineteen years old. Well, what do I see here? I work here, collecting scrap metal. I don't see anything anymore. Come home. I work six days a week: one hundred dollars. This is not a lot of money considering the current rise in price of everything. I leave for work at six in the morning and come home at seven in the evening. I can't study here. In the Union I graduated from a music school, a regular school, I have all my friends there. I'm even embarrassed to write to them. I heard from other comrades that my friends went to the Soviet Army, they have already arrived."He tells us all the time: "What have you done to me? What have you done to me? I didn't want to go," this is Sadovsky Sr.- What thoughts did you have when you went to America?- I was seventeen and a half years old. My parents were traveling, I couldn't stay alone. In fact, why should I suffer if they were wrong? I'm still a young guy."The girl is still thirteen years old, his sister," Sadovsky Sr. adds wearily."As far as I understand, some New York Jews have an element of religious fanaticism. How does it affect you? In their attitude towards you?"The attitude is very bad," Sadovsky Sr. takes the floor again. "Every time they come: "Why don't you go to synagogue? Now, if you walked, we would give you a good job. We would give you this, we would give you that. Now go to the synagogue."-Where do you live now?- In Brooklyn. I pay $225 for the apartment, excluding electricity and gas. Two bedrooms and a living room. There is nothing in the apartment."That's not the point," his son clarifies. - As a comrade said: if there were millions, who would need them?- Am I really? We earn a living, but there is no life. This is not our life. We were wrong..."My last name is Equestrian Max Mikhailovich," a young, handsome and reserved man, brown-haired, wearing metal-framed glasses, introduced himself after the Sadovskys. - I lived in the city of Odessa. In 1973 he went to Israel. Before I had even arrived there, in Vienna I already realized where I had ended up. There, these workers of the Israeli service had already begun to agitate us, showing us pictures, films, what Israel looked like on a colored background. Some, of course, succumbed - before coming to Israel, because when a person comes to Israel, he already sees what is going on there. I didn't give in. I already saw that everything was gone, lost. From the second day in Israel, I ordered a passport, but they put various obstacles in my way, and I was in large debts. I worked days and nights to pay off, and yet I got out of there...-What is your specialty?- Plumber.- Age?- I am 31 years old. I escaped from Israel and wanted to get to Vienna, but they didn't give me a visa there. So I ended up in Italy. There was an organization there that transported people to America. It seemed to me that from America it was possible to get to the Soviet Union faster. When I arrived, I didn't work for three months and lived in a hotel. They came to us every day and told us: "Go to the synagogue and pray, and put on your hats." I say: "I don't need a Synagogue, but a job, I'm a young man, give me a job." I lived in the Soviet Union all my life, never prayed, and suddenly they want to turn me over in one day. They tell me: "This is not the Soviet Union for you, here, as they say, they won't lead you by the hand." I say: "Even in the Soviet Union no one led me by the hand, I know that in the Soviet Union there is enough work for any person, especially if this person is young." Here I would be ready to go anywhere, even to Alaska. No response. They gave me an allowance - forty-five dollars for two weeks. This is not to live and not even to exist. Three months later they found me a job with great difficulty, for two dollars an hour. Well, what is it - two dollars an hour? For one apartment you have to pay 120-130 dollars. You can say the opposite: neither life nor existence. But I'm not interested in money. If I had been allowed to return to my homeland, I would have stood up the way I am and left. Because we are not accustomed to this life, to this capitalist system...- What is it that turns you off here?I ask almost everyone this question."Everything here disgusts me." People's behavior. There is no friendship, no camaraderie, every man for himself. This is what they have here: five or six o'clock in the evening, they lock themselves with five locks, turn on the TV - and this is their life. They don't know theater, cinema, or football here. How did we live in the Soviet Union? We were walking. We lived our normal lives. But here there is nothing of that.- The area in which you live, what is it predominantly like? Who lives there?- There are immigrants there, from the Soviet Union. Why do they live there? Because in your own circle - otherwise you can go crazy."So he raised the problem that there is no partnership," Misha intervened. - Here's an example. I had comrades in Russia. It happened that they had no money. We're going to see a good movie. Did I think about fifty kopecks or a ruble? No. Here, as Max said, it's every man for himself. If you lie on the ground, no one will lift you up, no one needs you."They ask for ten cents for a cigarette," say Sadovsky Sr. - To smoke - ten cents.- Can't be!"They say: "This time I give it to you, but next time you don't ask," explains Max. - Like this...- Excuse me, but will you identify yourself?- My last name is Roizman. It seems to me that all this - that there is no friendship, camaraderie, no cordiality - that all this depends on this system. This means this is a system: today I work, and tomorrow, that means, they can throw me out, and I always need to have a couple of dollars for a rainy day. For if I don't have it, my friend won't give it to me. He, therefore, feels himself in the same position. And at home I was sure. I worked as a turner. I was sure that I would never be kicked out. First of all, you're welcome..."I can tell you how I left," Roizman continues. - I got married. Well, my wife was always getting me letters somewhere. And she says to me: "Here, read these letters." I kept proving to her that under no circumstances should she go. We will be sad. She: "No!" That means the earnings don't suit her. That's how I got my job. I went to the factory and they gave me the first category. Then, it means that every year my rank was increased all the time, and I reached the fourth and already began to earn 119 rubles in pure money. And the wife: "This is not enough for me. I am a nurse, I earn seventy rubles. People still make money there." Well, it so happened that I left my father, mother, two sisters at home there, abandoned everyone and went just for the sake of my wife...-Where did you live in the Union?- I lived in the city of Chernivtsi. And I had thoughts inside that I would still prove to her that it was bad in the West. We reached Vienna, and right away I realized that we had been caught, that this was a trap...- When did you come to America?- October 9, 1974.- How did you get settled here?- And here I work as a turner. But I would not compare this earnings with the earnings that I had. That means I get a net $93 a week. I say: "It's time for me to get a promotion, I'm already in my sixth month." And they: "You don't know the language." They find hundreds of reasons not to get a raise. The deductions are very large. 29 dollars is calculated. Earnings do not allow me to rent a good room.- How's your wife?"But my wife didn't want to leave Israel, so I separated from her. They didn't want to let me out there without a divorce. So, I agreed with her like this: if you don't say at the trial that I want to return home, I'll leave everything to you, I'll go with nothing. And they ask us in court the question: "Why do you say you are disagreeing?" I say this: "We don't find a common language." They ask my wife. The wife says: "The whole reason is that he wants to return home." And they, it means, all these Zionists, deliberately delayed this trial for a whole year...Now only the overweight woman sitting on a chair in the middle of the room remains unquestioned.- Sorry, I didn't ask you, although the woman should have been asked first.- It's okay, I'm not touchy.-- What can you say?- I can say. I am Sonya Aronovna Kuterman. In the Soviet Union I worked as a hairdresser. She worked in one place for 23 years. I have children in the Soviet Union...Her voice begins to tremble, her lips tremble, she is about to cry.-  Daughter. Two sons. Four grandchildren... Son-in-law and two daughters-in-law. I worked at a good job. She had honor. I was a Stakhanovite.-Where did you live?- In the city of Kyiv. I felt very good there. I had my own apartment. Had wonderful furniture. I had everything. I have nothing here. I felt very good there. I don't know what happened to me and my husband. I can't imagine what was in our heads that we left the Soviet Union. I lived there for fifty-two years and never left anywhere except to go to the resort. Here. In Vienna there were people who said: don't go there, to Israel, there is a swamp there, you will disappear there, especially since you are old people. They told me: in America you can end up in the Soviet Union. And I immediately come here to America. I just arrived, submitted documents,"There was talk that it would be easier to get from America," explains Sadovsky.- This is my fourth time here at the embassy. They already know me here. I even drowned myself. People saved me. All. they know... Here. I felt very bad. I want to personally return to the Soviet Union to my children, because I will never take children here in my life, I would rather die here.She's crying."I'll drown myself, I'm not afraid now, but I won't take my children here." I saw that there was a swamp here. There are some strange people here, not like us. There are no women hairdressers here. Who am I supposed to work here?She sobs."Once I got a job with a Jew. This is a restaurant with three rooms. I started lifting these cast irons in which they cook and washing the floors. I wasn't scared, but I didn't see it. I didn't do this in the Soviet Union. Do you understand? I worked for two days and felt very bad. He paid two dollars an hour. I worked four hours a day because I didn't have the strength anymore. And he tells me: "We still need to wash the floor there." Do you understand? And I left, I don't work. People know I cry day and night...She's crying.- I'm tearing my hair out. I'm already gray here. I can't live here anymore... I only live in hope of returning to the Soviet Union.Now they all spoke at once:- I agree to any corner of the Soviet Union...- Everyone is just waiting...- If they started to let..."If two or three hundred people left here, this would happen here tomorrow." Terrible thing...- Queue...- To be honest, we tell you..."If we had come, we would have really told you what kind of life this is."- And on TV. And they would have made a movie. We'll tell you everything.- My daughter is thirteen years old. After all, she cries bitter tears. There's such a thing going on at home that it's scary...Many explanations can be made about this tape recording, which has the authenticity of a document, but I will limit myself to just one. Each of these people lived in New York, in America, less than I did, but they knew the course of American life better than me, because they were not observers, but participants in it. Yesterday's Soviet citizens, not yet converted into Americans (a task that is solved only by the second generation of immigrants), they had to live the American way - there is no other life in America.Mystery-buffThe July sun, having heated up the concrete and asphalt, taking as its allies the smog generated by the toxic exhausts of cars, wants the people of New York to survive. People are exhausted, but do not give up. Masters and prisoners of the city, they fight off the heat alone and together, by all available means: Coca-Cola in tall glasses filled with crushed ice, fashionable sleeveless T-shirts that half-expose young bodies, the coolness of darkened bars where there is no light of day, where there is always twilight Or night, with the precious canopy of trees in Central Park and stunted squares, ocean drafts on the beaches of Long Island and Coney Island, and most of all artificial, conditioned air - both in cars and in houses where the windows are tightly, tightly closed. The heat is hot, but you have to live - and you have to Work. Like a giant jackhammer, the city shakes from morning to night in its own roar, gnawing into the crowd of everyday life.For four days in a row, a swirl of people outside the large, round building of Madison Square Garden, draped in the giant red, blue and white banners, stars and stripes of the national flag.This is the new, fourth Madison Square Garden, built quite far from Madison Square, where its predecessor was located. The predecessor, not so decrepit, was written off by the commercial fever of renewal. What a rich history has settled like dry lime dust among its demolished walls, what passionate emotions! What records of American passion for extravagant spectacles! There, cyclists sparkled the spokes of their wheels for six days in a row, and boogie-woogie lovers danced until they dropped in competitions for days on end, there, cowboys from Texas and Arizona, smelling of pastures, tamed wild horses to the delight of anemic townspeople and ballet glided elegiacally on ice, there, Elvis Presley, not yet a plump idol with a beautiful oval face, drove young admirers into a frenzy with the rhythms of rock and roll, and the graceful Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of the Greatest, knocked out his powerful and also black rivals. And at political rallies, of which there are countless numbers, the arena and amphitheater became a gigantic trumpet-horn turned to the sky, and twenty thousand people shouted out various pros and cons, and the walls and ceiling, obeying the impartial laws of acoustics, reproduced and the anthem of civil rights fighters, and a prayer for saving the world from communism (I once witnessed such a rally).And the new Madison Square Garden trampled history more than it did, rising on the bones of the famous Penn Station, which also fell victim to the fever of renewal. However, let's not forget that New York knows how to combine incompatible things. The Penn Station colonnade, for which connoisseurs of relative New York antiquity fought and picketed, disappeared from the face of the expensive Manhattan land under the pressure of the dollar, but the station remained - underground. Now, short- and long-distance trains arrive and depart in the underground of the new Madison Square Garden, and the subway operates.The sound of trains in the tunnels going under and beyond the Hudson, boarding and disembarking on long platforms, hurrying people in the passage corridors, shops, kiosks, bars, restaurants - a 24-hour sleepless underground life. And above the ground, behind the red-blue-white banners drooping in the July heat, in the modernist hall of the new Madison Square Garden, which is beginning to unfold its scroll of spectacles and events, the national convention is noisily taking place - a convention of the Democratic Party, which gathered in a leap year to choose candidate for President of the United States of America.Hurry to see it in person and on television! The Democratic Donkey challenges the Republican Elephant. Mystery-buff "Democracy in Action". Only once every four years! The first and only time in the Year and Month of the Bicentennial! Senators and governors, contenders for the White House and - in person! - The next President of the United States of America. Under the dome are America's most famous television entertainers - Walter and John, Barbara and Harry! Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!Your humble servant is also in a hurry, having arrived from Washington, having been accredited to the convention in advance....Every participant and spectator is marked and classified with a tag on his chest. The colors and outlines of the tags, exactly like on a pharmacy scale, determine the degree of importance, access and admission of a particular tag bearer. Security is a serious word in today's buffet mysteries. Security is both safety and security. The policeman standing at the wooden barrier a hundred meters from the entrance simply looks at the yellow press tag. The second barrier is near the electronic X-ray box, through which, as at international airports, briefcases and folders are passed through. There, someone in civilian clothes examines the tag more vigilantly than a policeman. And finally, at the very entrance, another one in civilian clothes highlights the yellow tag with a tiny blue special flashlight, and the tag answers him in the only language they understand: theirs, without counterfeiting. On the chest of the man with the flashlight is a round sign with the magic word security...The convention hall bursts into the ears with the roar of thousands of voices, into the eyes with the diversity of clothes and freedom of morals. They are not used to listening to speakers, and they don't really listen to the chairman and his gavel. They loiter more than they sit. In the arena and in the aisles, strange people stand out with metal backpacks on their backs and antenna rods above their heads - television reporters... Balloons on strings... Flags and slogans in their hands... Jester's caps and boaters on their heads...To one accustomed to other gatherings, this was not a convention but an all-American fair, attended by old and young, white and black, men and women from all fifty states, as well as from the District of Columbia capital.Five thousand delegates and their alternates. Four thousand delegates' wives, husbands, children. One thousand diplomatic observers: the whole world is unraveling the riddles and mysteries of America, giving birth to its Next President. Seven thousand eight hundred (outdone everyone!) - from television, newspapers, magazines, writing, speaking, providing technical electronic support. And countless hosts of political scientists-sociologists, forecasters-programmers, expert consultants, political hairdressers and speech writers, and errand boys, and security guards, bodyguards, and - the circles are spreading wider and wider - friends-friends, admirers-patrons, sutlers-businessmen, cabaret singers and striptease girls, humorists and pun-makers, pickpockets and prostitutes... Everyone buys and sells theirs at this all-American flea market. The richest country. Major Event. Show off, be useful, profit...City Hall lured the convention to New York, shelling out three and a half million dollars for rent and special equipment for Madison Square Garden. From the emaciated city treasury. In the hope that it will be rewarded a hundredfold. Rewarded. The hotels are buzzing with hives. Shops, theaters and restaurants are available to visitors. Rich patrons of the arts from the city Citizens' Committee, also hoping for a hundredfold, throw receptions on street pavements and port piers. According to unconfirmed reports, even New York taxi drivers are friendly. with guests in the back seat through their bulletproof glass partitions. Business - profits. Police officers get overtime. And the people - spectacles!But a strange mixture of dull exaltation and exalted boredom reigns in Madison Square Garden, in the newspapers that devote many pages to the convention, even on the television screen, where three television giants tug the audience with their channels, like ropes. There is an abundance of buffoonery, but there is no desired mystery - the denouement is a foregone conclusion, the spring of intrigue has been removed. Everyone knows who will be shouted out, nominated, chosen as a Presidential Candidate on that main evening, when, hiding their yawns under the guns of television cameras, they will bring boredom to ecstasy. The opponents laid down their arms, publicly admitted their defeat and managed to change their tune, now talking not about discord, but about unity - in the face of the decisive November battle with the Elephant party.The winner is in town, but not at the convention. As is the custom, he will arrive there only late in the evening, when he will be nominated and chosen, invited and delivered, and introduced to the delegates shouting, whistling, blowing horns, waving placards, and releasing balloons to the ceiling: "The next President of the United States!"Surrounded by bodyguards and reporters, from time to time he flashes on the streets, testing and expanding his popularity, but mostly as a recluse (a very un-American activity, but what can you do?) he waits for the call of the convention and fate. With his wife, children, mother and other close people and assistants, the Candidate stayed on the 21st floor of a hotel with a patriotic name, two or three kilometers from Madison Square Garden. Four more floors of the hotel were occupied by his retinue, growing like a snowball as the Candidate moved towards the White House, the seat of power. He is still a private citizen, but not for the secret service, because all applicants are guarded after the tragic incident when, during the election campaign, the brother of the Murdered President, who entered the road to the White House, was killed. The candidate directs the convention by telephone and through his people who know how to pull the strings in Madison Square Garden. Three color televisions installed in his room and turned on to three main channels also keep him up to date with what is happening.He had to shut himself up, respecting custom, but the image of the Candidate does not leave the Americans. Here he appeared again, this image, in another live television report from the hotel. Look how simple he is - in farmer's jeans and an untucked shirt, with a pencil in his hand. I thought about a piece of paper. He writes something in, crosses something out. He's working on a speech he'll give before the convention when he's elected. It works without being embarrassed by TV crews. The teleoco slides down the Candidate's figure. Honest mother, barefoot! Barefoot in front of a TV camera... Barefoot for all of America...Just a year and a half ago, the Candidate was the governor of a southern state, from where no one had ever become president. I also had the opportunity to walk through his office once. There were four lines left in the travel diary: "Boyishly abundant and fluffy hair, and a boyish face, but with wrinkles. Nice manners. Large office. A long desk with marble covering (marble, of course, local)." There was a tape recording of the conversation left - five pages of statements by the governor about the profound transformation of the American South, about the increased understanding between whites and blacks, about the desire of the American people to cleanse themselves of the dirt of the Scandal of the Century, from lies and concealment of facts in the White House, etc. I wish I knew - I would have asked better questions, but who knew then?! Although they were already talking about his plans, about his impulses towards the White House, but who took them seriously? Forecasters are often strong in hindsight and only play their solitaire games accurately in hindsight.Just five months ago, a stubborn eccentric, an unknown loner, the Candidate stood in the cold March dawns at the factory gates and supermarket doors of the tiny Granite State in the North, holding out his hand to hurrying passersby, patiently telling them of his existence and his intentions, persuading them to vote for him in the primary elections, the first in the country. Passers-by, shivering from the cold, hurried past, and many did not take their hands out of their pockets. The newspapers laughed at the eccentric. But he who laughs as a winner laughs well. He proved the infallibility of his Political Instincts, or, as we say, he fell in line. He captured the Middle of the Field, that is, the mass voter who turned away from representatives of the Washington establishment and loved the outsider from the South. He rose to victory in state primary elections, promising to "bring government back to the people" and rid the country of the taint of the Scandal of the Century.Yes, votes cost money. But first he had money. And the one who has proven the ability to get votes will always receive additional money - after all, he becomes a promising investment target.And now those difficult trial months are behind us. And everywhere, like a political phenomenon of the year, the Candidate's wide smile, his large, long, not very beautiful, but very healthy, American teeth, reproduced in millions of copies. A smile as a brand name and trademark. Evidence of 100% Americanism. The smile of a man from the earth, from a farm tractor, from a small town, where everything is so nostalgically simple and open - the earth, the sky, the people.The wide smile is already on the tables in dentists' waiting rooms, rigged for advertising. It is already being stamped in the form of bottle openers. And she is carried to the White House as a victory banner and the main point of the political program: who wouldn't believe a man with such a smile?! And the Washington veterans of the Donkey party bow down before that most American of idols-the idol of success. The Honorable Loser, who in the same Granite State stood in vain through the cold dawns, now humbly - and in vain - waits to see if he will be chosen as a candidate for vice president. The honored Liberal, having lost hope of his own victory, also jumped into the Candidate's van and praised him in every possible way as the hope of the party and the nation. And the former Southern Bogeyman, who frightened northern liberals until a certain crazy person doomed him to paralysis with his shots and took him out of the game, is also in favor. O priests of the moment, fans of success! Everyone is reaching out to a new living symbol of influence and power. Everyone wants to be closer. And even the Legendary Walter, an incomparable TV star, just as tireless and charming, with the same childish unexpected laughter, inexplicably preserved all these long years, shyly melts - is it really with happiness? - when the Candidate's Wife, sitting as an honored guest in the hall, is brought to his temporary studio, raised to the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.Selflessly, like nightingales, the speakers sing."...I offer you today a man with a new vision of leadership, one who feels the mood and direction of our country... A leader who has the heart and courage to remain true to that vision... A leader who has compassion for the marginalized and forgotten... ."And off we go, and off we go. Rhetorical rage. instant, momentary truths that have a shorter lifespan than miniskirts and which go out of fashion even faster...God created Adam from clay. American voters, herded by politicians and the press, create their first person (for four years) from smiles, television glare and soap bubbles of rainbow words in the deceptively dazzling brilliance of today. Do they know who they are creating? Do they know that, having blindly ascended, they will soon violently overthrow?!Are you in a hurry to see? If only for the first time! - In the interval from the Murder of Half a Century to the Scandal of a Century, I watched several mysteries. With endings that convinced: no, they don't know who they are creating.The first took place at the Cow Palace in charming San Francisco. The Elephant Party nominated Too Conservative as its presidential candidate, but he frightened the voter so much that he left the Big Texan from the Donkey Party in the White House with an unprecedented majority; however, this was not the unexpected ending, but the fact that the winner, having forgotten about his program, followed the aggressive program of the loser - to bomb Vietnam to the end - and the end turned out to be his own, far from victorious, he did not run for a second term, he withdrew in the name, of course, of the unity of the nation.And another mystery was playing out before my eyes in the resort of Miami Beach, where, returning from night meetings, I saw gray rubber bands of dawn Atlantic waves running ashore as a sign of eternity. The Donkey Party elected Too Liberal as its candidate there, who vowed to drastically cut the military budget and stop bombing Vietnam on the very first day of his presidency (he was still being bombed, although eight years had passed since the defeat of Too Conservative), but the voter, again by an unprecedented majority, preferred in November The trickster Dickie, but again this was not the unexpected ending, but the fact that less than two years had passed before the triumphant flew out of the White House with a bang under the pressure of the Scandal of the Century.Oh, the mystical underbelly of pragmatic, computer-infused-and unpredictable-American democracy!If in much wisdom there is much sorrow, then in much experience there is little consolation. Journalists are professional skeptics. "The candidate still remains a mystery among many of those who conduct applause in his honor," is a voice from our ranks, the Wise Observer. "Boredom, boredom, boredom," - also from our ranks, Foreign Correspondent. But work is work, and if you are not a feuilletonist, but your own correspondent, you need to hold back your laughter through your tears and put on a serious face when describing an event that looks so big and serious in the present day of such a large country.With yellow tags we go to Madison Square Garden, we type texts of speeches in the press center, we sit in hundreds in assigned seats in a multi-row press section and in fits of vanity we even dream, at least for a while, of getting another tag, for the elite, giving the right go to the arena itself and walk freely among the delegates there. But the Soviets, as usual, are treated with courtesy and wariness, and it is not courtesy, but wariness that prevails. Besides: what use are we to them?! The treasured tags go to the Americans, to our own people, and most of all to the television people.Television is the main god, which, like all American gods, superstitiously and fussily serves not eternity, but the minute, and this convention is not so much a fair as a four-day television show. And in order to reach as many millions of people as possible with television gatherings, the convention meets in the evenings (taking away delegates from theaters and cabarets), at prime time - the best television time.There are two and a half thousand television workers. Their closed, carriage-sized trailers stand behind the scenes, in the corridors, and on the street. Their temporary offices are open across the street from Madison Square Garden, although they are no more than twenty minutes away from their New York skyscraper headquarters. And at every step there are familiar fonts and letters of their names, their signature technicians and security guards, their long-legged secretaries.Delegates are actors who can speak fluently and behave well in front of television cameras. At any moment, they are happy to give their remarks, responding to television reporters known throughout the country, who spend day and night in the hall and with the rods of their antennas and traveling transmitters behind their backs, they look like scuba divers or Martians from science fiction novels of yesterday, refuted by today's cosmic reality. And yesterday's Martians are subordinate to their television directors, who rule in seventh heaven at Madison Square Garden in glass, specially mounted studios hanging from the ceiling above the hall...The television screen is so rich and colorful, so intrusive and irresistible. It seems that he depicts America in life-size. It seems that this is nature. It seems that nothing escapes and simply cannot escape his all-seeing eye. He is omnipresent and omnipotent - and yet shake off the obsession, this is just a clever imitation of nature. It is worth leaving the convention hall onto the street, onto Seventh Avenue, where Madison Square Garden and the Statler-Hilton Hotel are located opposite each other, and - where is it, the television illusion of the completeness of the image of life? Life cannot be captured in any lens, nor can it be contained in the widest and fastest screen. Life is always broader.... Steamy natural New York air. Blue evening, permeated with orange neon. People in the blue evening. Here is a girl with an arrow sign on her chest: "To the convention delegates' buses." A large cardboard arrow points to where another girl stands across the street with the same arrow and words written in bold marker. Near the second girl is a guy with a megaphone. "Here! Here!" - he shouts, raising the megaphone to his lips. He's young. It seems to him that he is busy with important work. He is annoyed that they do not listen to him. "Here! Here!" he calls. People are arrows, events are arrows. But they don't hear them, they go on their way.At the doors of the Statler-Hilton Hotel they sell badges with the Candidate's smile. Different icons with the same smile. The smiles of the other contenders disappeared from the sale. There is no longer a demand for them.The police are pushing more demonstrators from the pavement to the sidewalk. In their hands are slogans: "Give us our rights as parents!" "Where would you be if your mother had an abortion?" This new social movement is anti-abortion. They do not resort to violence and do not pose an increased danger. The police watch them lazily.The police, as always, amaze with their physical impressiveness and equipment: batons, Colt guns, handcuffs, walkie-talk transmitters, bandoliers, bunches of keys. Plump receipt books protrude from the back pockets of his trousers.The New York people are disheveled, multi-feathered, spoiled, but not satiated with spectacles. There are a pair for each creature. Exotic blacks with amulets on their necks and wrists, shiny black in T-shirts of poisonous colors. An Indian woman, wrapped in a quilt, took refuge against the wall for the night. Some drunkards with swollen, inflamed faces and dirty, disheveled hair. A Hasidic Jew with a long black beard, wearing a black bowler hat and a black suit makes his way sideways, raising his cane and as if distancing himself from the other rabble.At the entrance to the bookstore, on the covers of books, the Candidate's wide smile awaits me again. The binding is paper, the book is not yet in hardcover, the publishers, apparently, are afraid that the reader will not be generous.I walk along dark Seventh Avenue towards Forty-second Street. Let the convention reign on television and at Madison Square Garden. And here is ordinary life with other mysteries and buffoonery. Queue for the Phantasex porn films. Purity and simplicity on the faces of young boys and girls; dancing on the corner, they sing spiritual hymns in rock style. And again people with posters, another demonstration: "We are Christian lesbians!", "Freedom for homosexuality!", "Perverts, unite!" They are walking along the pavement. Defiantly confused faces. Protecting this freedom, the police are driving slowly.Familiar places. On Broadway there are fewer lights and extravagance, more blacks and fatigue. On Forty-second, the same dazzling beads of light bulbs light up the canopies of cinemas, giant posters for porn films, display cases with watches, tape recorders and electronic calculators, in dirty, dangerous entrances there are donor points where lost people sell their blood because they have nothing else to offer in the market of life. And it's scary to turn around the corner, onto Eighth Avenue - the possessions of thieves, drug addicts, pimps and girls at the doors of massage parlors - that's what mini brothels are now called...What is it?At the corner of Forty-second Street and Eighth Avenue, as befits a New York corner, there is a wire trash can the size of a beer keg. Stuffed with newspapers and beer cans. and soft drinks, paper glasses and plates, packaging bags, leftover food... And, with his butt buried in a basket, his legs up, some drunkard sits on a pile of garbage. The drunken sea is knee-deep. Blissful wet-lipped smile. With his arms spread wide, he is ready to embrace the whole world, and in his right hand a glass flask glitters as a guarantee of inexhaustible happiness. Nobody cares about him. All around is the city, advertising lights, shuffling feet, people talking and screaming, car horns, a hot, stuffy summer evening, on which the lit stars look down from above, from the dark skies.Coming from WashingtonThe rustling of their cars greeted me with the familiar noise...It's fitting that Pushkin's altered line suddenly comes to mind when, early in the morning, hearing cars rushing like bullets along the highway, I wake up in an old apartment on Riverside Drive. A sharp, clear, cool morning. The sun festively illuminates three tower houses on the other side of the Hudson. The river shines joyfully, freshly and blue. Midway, a tugboat pushes a green barge; in front of the bow of the barge, crumbly water dust rises, glistens and sparkles. The sun has not yet come to the park under the windows; among the rare spreading trees, runners and dog walkers are doing their morning exercise. Cars stretch along the side of the road, varnished in different colors. At this calm early hour, the people, the trees, and the river look like they are in a showroom.Mid-April. The morning promises a good day, one of those clear, moderately windy, moderately warm spring Sundays, when the city lazily wakes up, leisurely has breakfast and leafs through the Sunday newspapers. The streets are deserted. By midday it's nice to walk into Central Park, closed to cars on weekends, and wander around the lawns, granite boulders, ponds and lakes to your heart's content.My New York colleague is in Moscow. Having arrived from Washington, I have been living in the Schwab House for a week now. One. And every morning the familiar noise of cars on the highway immediately takes me back in time. I look at the river and the square under the windows, I sit at the old desk - and I can't get rid of the memories. They hover, as they said in the old days, light and sad, elusive, like rings of tobacco smoke.When we lived here, the Hudson was always nearby, outside the window, and in dreams the feeling of the proximity of the big river did not go away, and the morning invariably began with a look at it. In spring, summer, autumn, winter I observed this river, and among the unfulfilled plans was a book with a title-line from Mayakovsky: "The sirens will sound and die over the Hudson..."On clear days the river is clear, sharp, and harsh. The other, right bank is visible clearly, like through binoculars; We still found this other shore, the state of New Jersey, completely empty; multi-story buildings were growing there before our eyes. On summer, hot, nasty days of one hundred percent humidity, that bank is obscured by a whitish haze, and the river itself seems to lose its elastic energy and strength, becoming a flabby, weak mass of water. There were fogs, and even this shore disappeared, and cars walked along the highway in white milk. The rains were drumming. Thunderstorms rumbled. Everything was. In the short winter there were edges of ice near the shore; in early spring, crushed ice floated down the river from the upper reaches. And there were cleansing and refreshing days in winter and spring, a tight and strong wind from the west, from the continent, ripped up cold white caps on the water, rushed at the window panes, shaking them threateningly.And the sunsets over the Hudson! A special topic. A special window to the world. After the madness of the New York streets, you will come home, and in the window, across the river, there is a pristine sunset, as in a field, as in the sea. The unconstrained and unobstructed free sunset sky casts thick lemon and crimson reflections on the Hudson, and the river, as if frozen, as if stopped in order to better reflect the sunset with its mirror, is filled with glassy heat, flames crimson and is about to flare up rebelliously in tongues fire. In this evening embrace, the sunset and the Hudson are brothers. But Hudson is a captive brother. He will stay with us. And the sunset, having come for a date, is in a hurry. Having reminded the amazed, thoughtful people what a beautiful world they had turned their backs to in this city of theirs, the great sunset painter mercilessly destroys his masterpiece. Till tomorrow.Living on Riverside, we reserved the miracle of sunset for guests who flew in from Moscow. Having run and driven around Manhattan, tired and at the same time excited by their impressions, they quieted down, at least for a minute, finding themselves face to face with the solemn nature, which, it turns out, was very close, outside the city window...And here I am again, a short-lived guest from Washington, and, like reflections on the spring Hudson, images of the past, softened and romanticized, hover before me. Memory is more merciful than consciousness, harshly bombarded by today. "What passes will be nice"... Memory easily forgives, it does not recognize the bitterness remaining in the previous notes made in hot pursuit. And with surprise I realize that these are two different New Yorks - the place where I lived for more than six years, and the city where you return from time to time for a week. I used to suffer: is it possible to attach your heart to a piece of ice, to become infected with affection where you rarely find affection for your country? Where you sometimes catch a sideways, glancing, wary glance: "What kind of guy is this? And why is he sticking around in our America?" These bitter questions - in them a long-standing and mutual chain reaction of rejection and hostility - remained with you. But now you are addressing them to Washington, your second place of work in America. And suddenly you look at New York through the lenses of sentimentality. Truly, man is made of contradictions. New York now attracts, if only because Washington repels. From there, from the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, from another American house called Irene House, with the idyllically beautiful mansions lying under the windows of the holiday village of Sommerset and with a special comfortable, stuffy boredom and melancholy, you come from time to time to New York to plunge into colorful Babylonian life, to walk through the streets, where people are not only in cars, to see America, pulsating in reality, and not on the screen of a color television, that indispensable assistant correspondent and clever imitator, who, sowing alienation, passes it off as life in the wind, in the draft of the "global village".It's embarrassing to admit, because I was worried before this, another visit to New York, I couldn't sleep, I thought: this time it won't go away, I'll grab it and understand it, and put it on paper. And then, after five hours of freeways, as I approached, I saw from the high bank the Manhattan skyline, the Empire State spire, the scales on the roof of the Chrysler Building, the two gray twin towers of the World Trade Center, got stuck in a queue of cars in front of the Lincoln Tunnel toll, jumped out of his two-kilometer tiled hole under the first New York traffic lights, jumped Oldsmobile tires on potholes and rutted pavements that spoke of the progressive poverty of the municipal treasury - houses, familiar silhouettes of avenues and streets, playing with traffic lights, a crowd at six in the evening, lighting up lights, yellow-canary taxis, pace, advertising, sodom and gomorrah... All this immense mass piled up, as before, where "I'll grab it and comprehend it," provincial by provincial, although he came from the capital, not a trace of the confidence that saved in the Washington wilderness...A week of meetings - with the deputy mayor (from blacks, the first in the history of the city), the mayor's press secretary - an Italian, a municipal economist - an Irishman and a municipal statistician - a Jew (on the 30th floor of one of the municipal buildings), with a sleek, chocolate-beautiful black man leader and his energetic white assistant in the new headquarters building of a famous Negro organization, with a less sleek and intelligent Puerto Rican leader from the Bronx, with a young lady dealing with the problem of the elderly... Etc. Old-fashioned with a turret, City Hall , lost among the huge buildings and becoming a symbol of the ungovernability of New York... Police Square - is there anywhere else like this?.. Wine and dancing, "hero sandwiches" with fried onions and peppered sausages at a fun festival in the Italian quarter of Little Italy. .. Skeletons of abandoned buildings in the South Bronx, vacant lots with piles of broken bricks, dogs near garbage heaps, outcast people... A new building at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - especially for the extensive ancient Egyptian collection, which is crowded in the old building... A line of unemployed people at the employment office on Jerome Avenue... Three pounds of well-packaged information about the World Trade Center... Etc.A kaleidoscope of faces and words, another notebook filled with hasty notes...- The main problem is money. Prices are jumping. Life is becoming more and more expensive... The second problem is migration, new residents. Now more than forty percent of the population are blacks and Puerto Ricans... Their standard of living is growing, but, of course, not as fast as they would like... And big business is still fleeing from here to small towns, to the surrounding areas, where it cheaper, better, safer. Who will pay taxes in this case? The tax base is shrinking. Less money means worse schools, poorer all municipal services. But meanwhile, New York still remains a strong magnet...- What about the problem of size and size?! The largest city. Schoolchildren - about two million... Old pensioners who are over sixty-five - a million. There are a million physically infirm and mentally ill people. Six thousand miles of pavement. About five hundred cinemas. Don't forget that our city budget is second only to the federal...- Problem of size? It's right. But the main thing is the problem of taxes. She takes up seventy percent of the time of us, the leaders of the municipality. The mayor is now in Washington, wringing out new appropriations from the federal government... We are facing a deficit of eight hundred million dollars next year.- And there's City Hall. There, you know, they take taxes from us. In this country, you know, taxes are the biggest problem...- Growth of the Chinese population. It's just an explosion - and not only in Chinatown, where they traditionally settle, but also in Queens, in Jamaica. Where can you find teachers for Chinese schoolchildren? How can you tell the Chinese from the Japanese? There are also more and more Japanese, although they usually come for a while... Some are fleeing New York, while others are coming here, new and new immigrants... In Brooklyn, for example, there are now twenty-five thousand Haitians, many entered illegally, without immigration documents. And they live in their own community, even, imagine, they practice black magic. The number of Greeks is growing rapidly. There are also a lot of Indians, we count them in the same group as the Pakistanis..."There will be more and more old people, and they will be poorer. There will be more and more black old people and Hispanics...- New York is called a melting pot. Whoever was thrown there to be melted into Americans: Italians,... Jews, Irish. Now it's our turn-Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking residents. In the Bronx alone there are four hundred thousand of us, and in New York there are more than a million. There are about three hundred thousand children in Spanish-language schools. And we live worse than everyone else. In terms of suicides it ranks first. You ask why we are not as visible and heard as blacks? To begin with, there are a little fewer of us, and then it is not in our nature to directly challenge the established order. Alas, we lack aggressiveness, and New York loves force, pressure through electoral votes...Quotes. Numbers. Facts and factoids (someone came up with a good word). A journalist without facts is like a cripple without a crutch. Praying to facts. Facts lays the soul. He feels uneasy without facts and factoids. But how to convey the spirit with facts? How can we use statistics and quotes to satisfy that painful human need, about which the poet said: "The impersonal is to be humanized"? To humanize, even if it is a big and foreign city...When, as a child, America was all there was in my life - wide-nosed, powerful, white Studebakers on the snow-covered streets of military Gorky and the taste of stewed pork, also supplied under Lend-Lease (at first, when I arrived in New York, I was looking for... Yes, I could not find stew as tasty as in childhood). And now, in the largest American city, I have quietly acquired the right of an old-timer - the right to compare and contrast. An outsider, I saw here something that has already sunk, that new generations of Americans will not see.How many times, driving along this highway along the Hudson, visible from Schwabhouse's window, have I heard strange hoarse, strained roars. Occasionally they came here to Riverside, day and night, like sounds from another world. These huge, largest passenger ships in the world, starting from the piers on the Hudson on their way back to Europe, cleared their tinned throats before meeting the Atlantic Ocean. Back in the early 60s, a unique, one-of-a-kind company gathered on the Hudson piers - the twin sisters Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, each with a displacement of more than eighty thousand tons; a proud prima donna, making her first voyages and obviously intending to live a long time - "France", dapper, with foppish lace pipes, two noble Italians - "Michelangelo" and "Raphael". The heart sank sweetly at the sight of these great and noble wanderers of the sea, their decks and masts rising above the long warehouses. On the days of departure, hundreds of taxis and other cars with passengers drove up to them, porters and dock workers threw suitcases, boxes, cardboards onto the conveyor belts - without a cat, and, seeing off our acquaintances, and once going on vacation ourselves, we, with the delight of children, plunged into the bottomless ship's bowels, rode elevators, walked along corridors; cabins, salons, lost and found each other...But I remember how it struck me that this incomparable grandeur did not stand out in any way and, moreover, disappeared in New York. The arrival of such ships was an ordinary occurrence, not a holiday, but an everyday occurrence. Bridled by small but stubborn tugboats, world record holders were pulled to berths on the river just on the river! That's the New York measure of things. They were tailored and sewn specifically for this city.They passed under the bridge, yes, under the bridge!.. But what a bridge it was, which before our eyes stepped from Brooklyn to Staten Island across the strait connecting the ocean with the harbor and named after Giovanni Verrezano, a Florentine who served the French king, who discovered the new York Harbor in April 1524. We often went to admire it, having found a good place on the other side of the strait in the park near the old fort. From there, in all its glory, a graceful arc was visible - more than a kilometer long, hanging between two support towers the height of an 80-story skyscraper. The great triumphal arch, also tailored to the standards of New York and placed where the city began and the ocean ended. A true work of engineering art. And New York built this longest miracle suspension bridge in the world without noise or advertising, having become accustomed to such miracles and not being able to be proud of even such work (one of the paradoxes of a country where all kinds of advertising are so developed). On its two tiers, the handsome man passes two tens of millions of cars a year. And this is also a New York measure of things.And those giant airliners that passed freely under the bridge disappeared because of jet planes. They became unprofitable. Shipping companies, unable to bear the losses, transferred them to cruises or even put them on hold - and my heart bled when I read about the unfortunate fate of the recent rulers of the ocean. And New York seemed not to notice their disappearance, just as it had not noticed their arrivals and departures before; the empty warehouses on the Hudson piers were now filled with cars that careless owners left in unauthorized places, and police trucks with winches picked up and drove away - a fine of at least fifty dollars. And this easy farewell to the age of large courts is also in the character of New York, its character, its measure of things, its forgetfulness.This city first surprises a new person, and then discourages him from being surprised, supplying him with his yardstick for the rest of his life, which you apply here and there: it's not new, we've met, we've seen, we know. Experience and sophistication are achieved here as if by themselves, without effort, automatically - you just live in New York, breathe its air, walk along its streets and comprehend its dialectics. The vast experience of the local residents turns into bitterness and cynicism, borders on emptiness, and even breaks down into bottomless vice. In order not to get lost, not to drown among the crowd, here they look for - and find - themselves through various kinds of loud and immoral display. Individualism, this spiritual basis of bourgeois society, is strengthened in New York by the fact that many immigrants were pushed to the city by the ferment of individualists - to elbow their way to a better life. Moreover, individualism is also a way of self-preservation in the realm of human alienation, an opportunity to painlessly enjoy the material and cultural treasures of the city, turning away from its ulcers and its dispossessed. And on the rich New York palette there are also colors of simplicity and democracy, mixed with the same experience, and the New York special measure of things, recognizing strength, resists arrogance: after all, there is nothing absolute, this city proves - neither truth, nor beauty, no power, everything is relative in the diverse human anthill, all is vanity of vanities and all sorts of vanity at the foot of old and new skyscrapers.I also now look at the Schwab House, which was once my home, with the eyes of an old-timer. The walls of the corridors were painted a different color, in the hall downstairs they placed different, cheap, but in the spirit of new fashion, sofas and armchairs, in a cigarette machine, a hundred. near the post office, prices doubled. The side doors are now locked even during the day, and at the main doors the porters are more vigilant, checking strangers more strictly. New times are a boom in strong locks, home alarm systems and indoor television, security guards and bodyguards. How much land? Lords changed during this time at our Schwab House in the eternal New York leapfrog, and each, of course, raised the rent! Other porters, other half-price elevator operators with broken English and Latin American faces, the affable Eddie with the gray beaver hair is no longer there, the old night elevator operator with a sagging face and wide orthopedic shoes on tired feet has disappeared, but Charlie the captain, the head of the elevator operators and the porter , in his place at the old-fashioned internal telephone remote control, is older, but also stout, bald and energetic. And the team of blacks in the garage under the house has hardly been updated, only the youngest of them has now become the most important. When I dive by car into their dungeon, they accept me as if they parted only yesterday, even if three years have passed since their last visit - without surprise or emotion. Apparently, their affection is not so great, although Muscovites from Schwab House brought them many bottles of vodka and whiskey during the Christmas holidays. But most likely it's different - they don't notice my long absence, because their time, unlike mine, flowed without interruption, it was still the same, New York.According to the theory of relativity, time passes a little slower at the equator than at the poles, and this guess of Einstein, as you know, was experimentally confirmed using atomic clocks and a globe modeled as a flat disk. But do we need the gift of insight and atomic clocks to assert that in human society there are very different individual, national, and world times? This truth seems to need no proof. In any case, with the Americans, time passes differently, not only because of the difference in latitudes or time zones, but because it is filled differently with different lives, different history. You can draw from this simple truth like from a deep well. Not to forget about it means to protect yourself from many unnecessary illusions. For example, more than thirty years after the end of the Second World War, we appeal to the spirit of our fighting alliance, but among Americans these appeals do not find the desired response, not only because we were divided by the long years of the Cold War, and not only because that war did not go through America itself and claimed fifty times fewer victims, but also because Americans have since experienced two more wars - Korean and Vietnamese, and have changed their presidents six times, and have experienced a lot of other, genuine and exaggerated national events and sensations. In addition - and this is perhaps the most important thing - with the whole structure of his life, its pace, the unusually intense struggle for existence and prosperity, the American is extremely focused precisely on today, instantly erasing yesterday, forgetting the past, having no time for memories.Returning to New York after long or short absences, going around and around familiar places, I better understand one of the fundamental properties of America - rapid transformation, of course, within the framework of the system. Not only people's clothes, but also the appearance of the streets changes with the speed of windy fashion, and political slogans fly around faster than the leaves on the trees, and while some of our dissertation students academically leisurely writes a critical work about some "great society" proclaimed by the president Lyndon Johnson, the American manages to forget about Johnson with his "Great Society," which, however, he never took seriously, and about Nixon, who replaced Johnson, and about Ford, who replaced Nixon, and American books on this topic have been around for a long time were written, published and off the bestseller shelves, discounted, migrated to dusty corners where no one is interested.Where there was a corner pharmacy on Broadway, a betting shop opened, one of many that suddenly filled the city after some change in local law, but the betting shop did not stay long, giving way to a branch of an insurance company. There was a popular bar "Mayak", where dozens of people crowded in the evenings and a stout elderly black man in a tuxedo, his white shirtfront phosphorescent in the dark, made piercing sounds from an electric pianola - this "Mayak" was and sank into oblivion, and a cafeteria with plastic tables appeared in its place and scrambled eggs, which also taste synthetic, but I'm afraid I'll be wrong, isn't the cafeteria already gone? Where the cheerful Italians sold their pizza, which my daughter and son loved, the Greek now sells piping hot Greek pies. One Chinese man closed his restaurant, but another opened it nearby. The semi-basement restaurant "Sacred Cow" has survived, but it seems to be burning out, and opposite, a nice youth cafe is thriving, located on the sidewalk in Parisian style, but, however, am I becoming a leisurely dissertation writer? Is it thriving? Where there was a branch of the brokerage firm "Francis Dupont & Co" and the old people looked with hope and despair at the moving light board, now there is a vegetable shop with outposts of trays with cucumbers and tomatoes. Only a funeral home with an eternally closed, mournfully respectable door stands in place, outside of fashion and fads and, one must think, with a stable business in the area, where the stratum of old people is growing and growing. Yes, the Embassy and Beacon cinemas are half empty in their places, but how and what will you convert them into? And in the old place, a branch of the indestructible, but displaced. other competitors, Rockefeller's bank Chase ManhattanBut where is that clean, gray-haired old woman with an accordion who came to its walls, where are the old sad motifs that made you think about the passage of time? What with her? Will she show up before Thanksgiving or Christmas? And if she gone, who will replace her?..Competition is the most universal of keys to the secrets of American life, including the secret of dynamism. Competition is like a way of life, its core, blood and flesh. Traces of it are also in these rotations of familiar streets. She makes you move, rushes you to conclusions: if you suffer losses, close your shop without waiting until you are completely burned out; succeeding, strike while the iron is hot, expand your business, open something new. Time is money. A rolling stone gathers no moss.Time is change. Before my eyes, the silhouette of Manhattan was changing, its floors were growing, especially in Midtown and Downtown. The Avenue of the Americas is now dark from the new gloomy headquarters of television and publishing empires - forty to fifty floors... On Third Avenue, new, bright, expensive residential buildings have risen - thirty to forty floors... Taking away fame and tourists from Empire State Building", the new symbol of New York has risen two elegantly grandiose hundred-and-ten-story towers of the World Trade Center, built at the very mouth of the Hudson: on their observation decks the views of the city and the ocean stretching at their feet are breathtaking, and suddenly Sartre's remark about the extraordinary New York's proximity to nature: below, in the swarming streets, you won't agree with him, you'll take him for a paradox that betrays a person who has not lived, but only visited the city...Changes... Changes... In the mid-70s, the municipality found itself on the verge of bankruptcy - there was nothing to pay the salaries of city employees, social security benefits... Not Harlem, but the South Bronx, populated by Puerto Ricans, became the zone of the worst disaster... The municipal boss of Manhattan a Negro was elected for the first time... The flight of white residents, which deprived the city treasury of hundreds of thousands of wealthy taxpayers, seems to have slowed down, there is talk of the possibility of a reverse wave, although the main trends in the composition of the residents remain the same: the city is darkening, poorer, aging. (After all, if in parentheses, to briefly summarize, then it must be said that New York, this yesterday's worldwide apotheosis of urbanism, has today turned into a symbol of the elimination of the process that gave birth to such incredibly large cities) ... Instead of the British and Italians, to the empty piers on the Hudson "Mikhail Lermontov" comes from Leningrad in the summer and at one time stayed for a long time, working on Caribbean cruises, our flagship "Maxim Gorky" (formerly "Hamburg"), evidence of the enterprise of the Marine Fleet and at the same time inattention to the history of literature: "Maxim Gorky", earning foreign currency in City of the Yellow Devil, chartered by a Wall Street company.Changes... On the Avenue of the Americas, near the skyscraper of the CBS television corporation, in a very lively place, I remember, there stood like an idol a very strange man, even for someone accustomed to everything in New York - a huge man in the garb of a medieval monk and warrior, with a staff and wearing a helmet. From under the helmet, gloomy eyes looked at passers-by who came across the idol. The meaning of his long-term watch was clear - an ominous harbinger of the inevitable Apocalypse. The city did not listen to this eccentric. He disappeared, just like our sparrow-like old lady from the district with an accordion.Everything changes - and everything remains. They say Paris is always Paris. In this case, New York is always New York. It makes you want to visit again and look, to be curious. And leave on time without staying too long. So as not to have time to become bitter. After all, to warm up this city, the warm breath of your own memories will not be enough for long.On the way from MoscowIn the winter I published my New York sketches in a thick magazine, and in the summer I spent three weeks in Maleevka, a writers' house of creativity near Moscow, multiplying and expanding them, securing an agreement to publish them as a separate book. I lived in a new building, birch trees on the lawn under the windows, my son was with me for half my term, sometimes I took a boat on a neglected green pond, in the dining room I sat opposite a touching couple of elderly people, after dinner I took walks along the highway, to the village and back, in the company of a new acquaintance , a physics teacher at a Moscow institute - like me, he could not, and did not try to penetrate the dense circle of permanent inhabitants of Maleevka, which rejected outsiders, which that season was seething with controversy over Kataev's new story. Alexander Semenovich was an intelligent, pleasant and attentive conversationalist, and amid the delights of the summer near Moscow, under the calm evening sky, waving and even running away from mosquitoes at a quick pace, I went about my strange occupation - I explained to Alexander Semenovich, who was also energetically driving away mosquitoes, how, according to what written and unwritten laws do Americans live in America, or more precisely, how I saw and understood their life.I spent the beautiful June and July days in New York. Every morning, just breathing in the freshness of the grass and trees on the way to the dining room and back, he left his son to the mercy of fate, sat down at his desk and began to restore some moments from bygone years and life in a distant city that had absolutely nothing to do with Maleevka and the summer near Moscow, and there was no time for the beautiful birches under the window, and I deliberately slammed the window loudly when the writers' wives and children started a long loud conversation on the bench at the entrance, and watched with envy as always at the same time arose a famous critic ran from the forest and jogged past, shaking his beard as he walked and his bald spot and tanned, strong torso shining in the sun.He was in a hurry, like a newspaperman is in a hurry, doing something that, from the newspaper's point of view, was almost illegal - preparing a book. I was in a hurry because the deadline set by the publishing house was pressing. And I was in a hurry, because next month, in August, I had a business trip to New York - as a special correspondent for the next mystery-bouffe, for the national convention of the US Democratic Party. I wanted to put an end to it, afraid that during a new meeting a fresh and strong stream of impressions would pour in and, what good, would wash away the already erected structures and force me to start anew the task that seemed almost completed.And now - goodbye, Maleevka. Goodbye, calmly festive, unusually sparsely populated Moscow, which has just released an Olympic bear into the evening sky over Luzhniki... In the new, brand new, very foreign Sheremetyevo airport, a jam-packed IL-62, with Americans who, despite Jimmy Carter, did not want to boycott the Olympic Games. And in this cramped plane I sit, knee to knee, next to Gena. Isn't it nice to have an old friend as a travel companion to New York, who, if the reader has not forgotten, met me there back in 1961? And other American old-timers are with us, Oleg, Sasha, but the third passenger in our semi-row is somewhat of a debutante, an unfamiliar woman, about forty years old, plain, in provincial socks, flying there for the first time, to Florida, to stay at the invitation of some relatives. To visit America?! Miracles... And she wants it, since she's flying, and it's scary, alone, with a complete lack of knowledge of English and in these provincial socks. We haven't taken off yet, and she's already frantically clinging to Gena and me with her questions, looking for support and consolation, and we willingly console her, it's okay. But what's the use of other people's words, you have to see for yourself, take a closer look, figure it out...Apart from returning from vacations, I flew to America on only two business trips: once for six and a half years, the second for five years. Now the third one is for two weeks. At the old place, these weeks turned out to be nostalgic.As before, plugging my ears with cotton from the noise of the highway, feeling the fresh, tickling wind from the Hudson in the morning, penetrating through the half-open window, I slept on the bed that twenty years ago I inherited from my predecessor and since then has survived three more shifts of famous correspondents. In the morning I looked at the river, which was beginning to be blinded by the August sun, fried eggs and bacon like a bachelor and poured corn flakes into a plate with milk. I turned on a beautiful large box, looking expectantly from the corner with its concave semi-oval, and in a split second, without any warming up, the screen came to life with color pictures and the broken voices of cheerful, youthful announcers - the pictures changed at a speed from which I was unaccustomed, and the announcers spoke every five times faster than ours, and their appearance inspired: we don't care about anything, absolutely everything. Although, as if contradicting themselves, at the same frantic pace and with the same forever confident look, they often uttered the favorite word of American (and only American?) journalists - neb v aloe.A sky hurricane named Allen crushed Haiti and Jamaica, approaching Texas, leaving behind dozens of casualties, uprooted trees, fallen huts, littered beaches and requests from tiny governments to the North American giant - to send helicopters, to at least survey the damage done (and helicopters were already in place - from American television companies that supplied pictures to American viewers).An unprecedented incident tickled the nerves of New York residents: the driver of a propane tank, sensing a gas leak and fearing for his own life, ran away, abandoned his explosive equipment at the very entrance to the Washington Bridge over the Hudson, and the bridge was blocked , the entire West Side Highway, passing under our windows, became a continuous traffic jam, the traffic police hastily reorganized traffic, increasing the load on the tunnels under the Hudson, residents of the houses closest to the scene of the incident were evacuated in case of an explosion - and on the television screen a lonely tractor with a tank glistening in the sun in every possible way savored, the tank was turned on all sides and even filmed from above, and firefighters in helmets and black wide jackets with yellow stripes watered the tank with long tight streams of water from their fire hoses - and all this, accompanied by television conversations about the vulnerability and uncontrollability of Manhattan, lasted for a long time, until one the hero - a fireman, who had not lost his ordinary common sense in the unprecedented turmoil, did not think of buying a plaster (for four dollars) at the nearest hardware store and sealing it with the gap formed in the tank...And, it goes without saying, no matter how hot it is... I have the impression that it accompanies any New York August. But they talked about this one with conviction - the longest and most unprecedented. More noticeable than in Olympic Moscow, New York was under the influence of track and field athletics. Young people walked the streets wearing only shorts, even barefoot, jogging enthusiasts of all ages jogged along the sidewalks, maneuvering through the crowd of pedestrians, and a new hobby appeared - roller skates.The heat was oppressive. Under the glare of the sun, I took a short walk to Seventy-second Street and bought newspapers and magazines that had become more expensive in a familiar store. Having grabbed a Coca-Cola in a plastic liter bottle from the corner store and a couple of watermelon quarters wrapped in transparent plastic, I hurried home. Carefully touching his steamed back to the fabric back of the sofa, he looked through the press, cutting out the most thoughtful comments with a razor blade, so that, after quoting one or two phrases, then stuff large envelopes with the clippings and take them far away to Moscow - an ineradicable professional habit.Meanwhile, the new mystery-bouffe unfolded in Madison Square Garden in almost the same way as the previous ones, like the one that I described (which flattered my author's vanity). There were still some residual passions swirling around the rivalry between Senator Edward Kennedy and President Jimmy Carter, but the outcome of the convention was a foregone conclusion. It was clear that in New York the winner-and the Democratic presidential candidate-would be Jimmy Carter, even though he had completely debunked himself during his four years in the White House. In November, Carter was expected to lose to Republican Ronald Reagan in the general election. What was expected came true, but more than ten thousand of all kinds of media workers (how can I come up with a shorter name?) covered the Democratic convention. There weren't enough places for everyone. The passes were renewed every day, and, sweating, the journalists stood in long lines for these passes on the fifth floor of the Statler-Hilton Hotel, a. Across the street, on the sidelines of Madison Square Garden, crowded with duralumin television vans, political and television celebrities strutted like modest peacocks, demonstrating blooming health, tanned faces and inexhaustible optimism.I confess that I rarely visited Madison Square Garden, although in self-justification I must say that I regularly fulfilled my duty as a correspondent. I even revived the long-forgotten habit of working late and, having prepared the next three or four pages, waited impatiently after two o'clock in the morning for a telephone call from Moscow: would my dispatch be in time for the newspaper page?Sometimes, while passing the time while waiting for a call, I would go to the box in the red corner and click the lever, mastering, in addition to the familiar thirteen, countless channels of the relatively new, paid, so-called cable television. Unprecedented pictures flashed there, confirming how the Americanist writing these lines was losing his qualifications, falling behind America, which he had not visited for three and a half years. On the television screen, young men and women were shown in the form they talk about - in what their mother gave birth to, completely naked, and all their actions were played out in the bed and around the bed, and all their conversations were, naturally, about sex. Among the more decent, so to speak, static, I remember this television scene: two naked men, one holding a microphone, and between them a naked woman, sitting in bed, in a tone that I would call academically obscene, meticulously discussing the question of how a man can and should excite a woman. Rouged, with painted lips, sweetly disgusting homosexuals no longer defended themselves, but attacked, pushing the limits of their freedoms ever wider - and this was also reflected on the television screen. A well-known pacifist, a left-wing figure, famous for his participation in the anti-war movement, now stood with a mountain for the same humiliated and insulted homosexuals, counting them along with the poor, blacks, Puerto Ricans - in the army of fighters against the American establishment, against the ruling system. Where is the right? Where is left? I felt that I was confused in these concepts, like Gogol's illiterate coachman Selifan.Horrified by the revelations of the night and daytime television screens, I could not stop myself from thinking that in its moral promiscuity, in its destructive concepts of freedom, equal permissiveness, in its unbridled passion for change (any change!) America (but not all of it?) had passed a point beyond which there will be no return. They were literally exposed before our eyes, making the task of exposing the American way of life incredibly easier. Oh, if only their vices would become a means of solving our problems! If there was an inversely proportional relationship: the more vicious they are, the more perfect we are. This thought also popped into my head-selfish, humorous, and absurd. And she left without stopping, giving way to another: we are antipodes, it's difficult for us to understand each other and even more difficult to trust each other...Every nation, like every person, has its own inevitable dose of egocentrism. Americans, in my experience, are more self-centered than others, and this comes from the history of a nation created from immigrants, from the persistent myth of a promised land that is better - and more powerful - than everyone else. Looking at America not from the inside, as I was used to as a correspondent, but from the outside, from Moscow, I saw first of all its foreign policy, its external side, addressed to others. And having returned for a short time, he immediately restored a familiar feeling: it is turned inward, this power is preoccupied with itself to the point of obsession, which is especially noticeable in the empty year of the presidential elections, and, even panicking about the "Soviet threat," only half-eyed, with the same condescension, glances she to the rest of the world, koto. ry is trying so hard and intensely to unravel it.But let's return to New York - and the epilogue. I still cameand traveled around it, alone and with comrades, old and new. It was the same great, motley scene, full of dramas and comedies. The same mass of everything and everyone... The city shimmered with its own reflections and there were a million times more of them than those that I tried to depict in my notes. I checked my fifty and fifty with millions and, not without surprise, discovered that there was no need to correct anything or renounce anything. Much could probably be added, but either because of the heat, or because of the power and oppression of memories, I did not fix new highlights and faces on paper, contenting myself with comparing the nature with the sketches already made. Or maybe the point is different - that we see only what we are ourselves, and that our own portrait appears through the city we have painted.  On the way or at the entrance to this or that place, as if anticipating its physical appearance, a special memory mechanism often worked: and now this and that will happen... It must be! And the due appeared. At such moments, I was ready to believe that it was completely returnable, this long-ago, forever-gone life. But the hallucinations in reality were immediately interrupted. And the time is not the same, and you yourself have changed, and, most importantly, the environment is not the same, there are almost none of your close people, friends with whom you once lived in this strange, attractive and repulsive city. And what, besides the continued closeness of loved ones, besides dear human warmth, can warm up the "coldness of being" and preserve the saving illusion of the infinity of life and the ten-heartedness of time?When you come for just two weeks, you don't understand how you could live here for years and years. Missing the home. The most joyful moment was when the three of us - with Gena and Oleg - again climbed into the shuttle of the Eastern company to fly to Washington and the next day go to Moscow by Aeroflot.It was midday, unbearably hot. Sitting in the plane seat, I looked out the window. All passengers have already boarded. It was empty near the plane. The concrete of the airfield languished lonely under the scorching sun. Suddenly, a man in a white work uniform appeared from the door of the airport terminal, either an aircraft mechanic or some other employee. And another man. Two people walked along the concrete plane, not at all afraid of the sun, towards our plane. And a bright, aching, sad feeling came over me. Somewhere, once upon a time, I saw this many times - hot sun, hot concrete. the sparkling wing of the plane and these strangers. They walked as if from their youthfrom childhood...1979-1980On the other sideFuriousCaliforniaVasya, old man," I shout into the phone, and also: "Order a millionaire." And I hear Vasya's hoarse, energetic, mocking voice:- What, brother, do you want a millionaire? .. It's not a big task to order a millionaire if you travel around the United States with letters of recommendation from a familiar editor of Business Week, a New York business weekly, whose correspondents, by direct duty, are obliged to know millionaires and have access to him access. And Vasily Ivanovich Gromeka is a correspondent for the Moscow Economic Newspaper: the name itself intrigues millionaires. And finally, I ask you to order a millionaire from Los Angeles, from Southern California, where there are more of them than even in Texas with its oil fields.Vasya has been on the road for several weeks now - with his wife Tanya in a Fury car, a product of the Chrysler Corporation. On a transcontinental route. He has already arrived from New York. to Texas and from some motel on the outskirts of a wealthy Texas city, Houston calls me using the collect call method, a long-distance telephone conversation for which the person being called pays. When the operator, stumbling over his last name, asked if I was ready to pay for Mr. Gromeka's call, I answered without hesitation: I'm ready!- I don't mind.- I'm crying.On the Californian section of the long journey, Vasya takes me third in his swift dark blue fury, a metallic smart "fury" of two hundred horsepower.At my desk in New York, I desperately envy Vasya, who, moving in the depths of the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, seems to tease me with his calls from different cities. After all, I could have been third from the very beginning and I myself had long dreamed of such a leisurely journey across America. The turnover, the squirrel wheel of a daily newspaper correspondent in a country where events always get them up to their throats, where they catch up, overtake and overwhelm each other and the journalists called upon to reflect them, got in the way. The fear of encroaching on the time that belongs to the newspaper prevented me from doing so. And, to hide it, I was deceived by the eternal, unreasonable and ineradicable Russian feeling that everything is ahead and there is nowhere to rush. And those. now almost everything is behind us, six and a half American years, and only a month ahead, the departure dates have been agreed upon and the successor is delicately urging him on, sitting on his suitcases in Moscow. And where is it, it is already unrealistic, a long-standing dream of crossing the North American continent in a car. But something is better than nothing, and I gladly take up Vasino's offer to drive at least around California - from Los Angeles to San Francisco through Yosemite National Park and the resort town of Carmel on the Pacific Ocean.A millionaire ordered by phone is a touch of the program. You can't do without Calfornia if you're seriously interested in America. It is the most populous and perhaps the most dynamic of the fifty states that make up the United States. Every tenth American lives there, and many of them have no doubt that it is California, and not New York, this illustrious veteran of the East Coast, that will lead in the last decades of our century and will be the first to touch the 21st century like God for the borscht.And then one fine day in the second half of May I fly to Los Angeles. I'm flying, not driving-four thousand kilometers in five hours. And what is there, behind the oval porthole? The heavenly clouds - eternal wanderers - covered with their whitish cosmopolitan blanket all the national signs of the mainland lying below.In the belly of DC-8 is America, which cannot be confused with another country in its two popular guises - comfort and advertising. The comfort is modest, tourist class, a little cramped, you can't stretch your legs, you hold your right elbow, keeping a boundary with your neighbor on the armrest of the chair. Like in AerofLot. But then there is tireless advertising, and with a minimum of costs, maximum effect is achieved, and ordinary modest comfort is turned almost into extra. What is needed, however, is your consent to some kind of psychological operation, your participation, albeit unconsciously, in some ritual of a modern mass cult - the cult of service. And you are already in the realm of instant metamorphoses, which elevate you in your own eyes.So, you are only flying in tourist class, and the worm of inferiority will remind you of itself. What nonsense, however! A session of advertising psychotherapy, and there is no tourist class, although you are in the same cramped chair and your neighbor's elbow still lies, resting against yours, on the narrow demarcation line of the armrest. There is no second class, no tourist, everything that is behind the curtains of the first (which remained first - for its passengers) has been renamed coach, which - let's check in the dictionary - means a carriage, a stagecoach, a passenger reserved seat carriage. Strange, but romantic and even respectable. And on earth, a sweet girlish voice, for which you ordered a ticket over the phone, announced you as a passenger on an air stagecoach, intriguingly connected you to the club of the elite, whispering in your ear: "This will be a flight with a foreign accent. Along the way, enjoy a three-course lunch and the movie "The Day of the Evil Revolver."And now you are flying in a carriage, the coachmen from the pilot's cabin are driving thousands of horsepower, but this is not the end of the pleasant metamorphoses, because, further tickling your pride, the winged stagecoach is also called a penthouse, and what is a penthouse if not the luxurious home of the rich at the very top floors of Manhattan houses, where there is a special elevator for them and their households and huge solarium balconies, the air is cleaner, there is less noise and trees in tubs under the windows, celestial gardens that puzzle newcomers who glance at New York skyscrapers for the first time.Manhattan Penthouse is TWA's signature evening flight to Los Angeles, and it's not just an empty phrase. You are made a welcome guest at a social event: the lights in the cabin are intimately dimmed, the evening dresses of the flight attendants flash with voluptuous gold, and is it hard to forget that this gold will be thrown away at the Los Angeles airport - it is artificial, synthetic paper, disposable.Join this game with a glass of whiskey and soda. Turn on... And a miniature screen has already been deployed in the aisle, and the film beam, highlighting the high backs of the seats and the backs of the heads of the passengers sitting in front, begins the story about the day of the evil revolver, predicted by a warm girl's voice. Straining with its four engines, the plane rushes west in the dark icy heights, and your feet are warm, the hot sands are floating overhead somewhere in Arizona, not far from Mexico, and, drowning in them, two long-legged tramps with revolvers amuse you with their bloody adventures ...Where I am? In the cabin of the plane? In a Manhattan penthouse? In the Arizona sands? Who am I, a passenger flying on business to the other side of the continent, an involuntary guest at a party where these girls are the hostesses: prettier for first class, worse for a stagecoach, or a film buff savoring the story of an evil revolver at an altitude of ten and at a speed of eight hundred kilometers at one o'clock?And how strange, how blasphemous, damn it, that I am not delighted with the promising idea of film distribution on an airplane, which in time will perhaps come to Aeroflot, but for now here, in the North American sky, and even on transoceanic routes, it is developing the great concept of life as sheer pleasure and entertainment. Is it because this reagent. Film distribution is akin to a loudspeaker in a city square or a transistor in the hands of a stupid enthusiast who is killing a forest. new silence? On the road, no matter how short it is, you want to be with yourself and your own thoughts the old fashioned way, without film actors Glen Ford and Arthur Kennedy and even without playing penthouse. Or am I just tired of advertising stuff, having lived for a long time in a country where people are fed and fed with all sorts of, but mostly commercial, information? Or is it all in this stupid day of the evil revolver, in the contrast between the unshakable vulgarity of tastes and the miracles of technological progress, which routinely threw film distribution into the belly of a regular airplane - after all, if the prevailing taste had been different, the film would probably have been different.I put my headphones in a plastic bag into the pocket of my chair and take out a notebook with old notes about Los Angeles. However, this pair of tramps in gray pants against the backdrop of beautiful yellow sands, blinding sun and blank Mexican walls does not allow you to concentrate. I glance at the screen, without putting on headphones and vindictively dooming the couple to muteness. And so they silently open their mouths, silently fire from their revolvers - which one is evil? - silently suffering from the Indians, tied to stakes, stretched out flat on the burning sands under the scorching sun. And just as silently they save the captivatingly helpless white ladies with their children, killing the redskins and the main villain - an obese Mexican in a sombrero, and while getting out of the movie theater in the middle of the desert unscathed.The old notebook contains few notes about Los Angeles. What was he like then for a newcomer to America? A pitiful rival to San Francisco. Just a city that shelters the famous Hollywood. And then we went to the "Chinese Theater", where, since the late 20s, the handprints, shoes and boots of Hollywood movie stars have been immortalized in concrete on slabs in front of the entrance - an extravagant way to leave a mark on history. A friendly lady from the Los Angeles Council of International Affairs, who was welcoming two Soviet correspondents, took us to. Beverly Hills, a town of thirty-five thousand inhabitants, whose green hills were once home to beavers (Beverly Hills - Beaver Hills), and now - to movie stars and television luminaries. Having asked permission from the servant of a movie star friend, the lady showed us one rich house, leading us through the rooms: living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen - to the swimming pool. Luxury flaunted lightness and abundance of light. Our guide was selflessly jealous of her movie star, and we, too, did not stint in our admiration for the performance.I also remember a visit to the Los Angeles headquarters of the far-right John Birch Society. The liberal Council of International Affairs, of course, did not want to get to know the Berchists, considering them a noisy and worthless group of extremists. We found the address in the bulky telephone book that contains every room in every hotel and motel in America. The premises at 618 Serana Street were small and empty. On the table and shelves are issues of the Birch publication "American Opinion," which denounced all other opinions-communists, liberals, figures from Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc. A portrait of the nondescript Captain John Birch, after whom the society was named. The Stars and Stripes - everyone swears by it, from the far right to the far left...In another room, an attractive young woman was talking on the phone. When she hung up, my friend, without wasting time on psychological preparation, said: "This may surprise you, but we are Soviet journalists." He was not wrong in his assumption. Purple spots appeared on the face of Jeannette McLoskey, the daughter of a small businessman from Colorado. A lovely May afternoon suddenly confronted her with a hugely difficult question: how to move from general and absentee hatred of communists to face-to-face hatred of two rather young and seemingly amiable people who did not inspire fear? In her life, Jeannette admitted, she only saw a living American communist once, and even then only briefly.But never underestimate the endurance of an American, especially an American whose occupation deals with the press. Jeannette McLoskey quickly got over her anxiety. Not forgetting to smile, she provided us with free Birch literature, as well as the "Communist Manifesto" in the publication of the John Birch Society."We study those we fight against," Jeannette said. - Maybe you will learn something from our publications...With that, we parted ways-not only with Jeannette McLoskey, but also with Los Angeles on that first trip to California for me. We hurried to the plane. We raced through the streets and highways in a rented car (at that time we were still allowed to rent cars), and three FBI cars followed us, changing places, jumping out of cross streets. There were six agents in them, and each of them, due to their professional skill and zeal as "witch hunters", would be quite suitable as mentors to a young burchist: by the way, when they retired, full-time detectives often became burghist activists.  With such an escort, we rushed to the airport, and the heat was already flowing over the freeways, and lightly dressed young people in open sports cars reminded two foreigners that they had not tasted anything of the delights of Californian life, the blessed south, the famous Pacific beaches...Meanwhile, in the Manhattan Penthouse, the day of the evil revolver was drawing to a close. And, having hidden the notebook with old notes, I saw that no, the film story was not going to a happy ending, not to a traditional happy ending, but to a tragic denouement. The evil revolver ended up in the possession of experienced movie cowboy Glen Ford. And when the two heroes overcame the desert and, on the edge of it, came to a small dusty town, the cowboy, played by the famous dramatic actor Arthur Kennedy, decided to kill Ford's hero. But he himself was struck by a bullet from an evil revolver and jumped up in his dying breath, and skillfully fell into the dust of the city square, spreading his legs in hiking boots.And before the prostrate Arthur Kennedy had time to be dragged by his long legs through the imperturbable crowd in the fake town of the last century, under the wing of our DC-8, the lights of Los Angeles of 1968 appeared with enchanting flashes - running lights of freeways, flashing advertisements and signs, and light in the windows, and illumination of numerous home swimming pools. The plane's spotlight crashed like a white blade into this light show, and among the host of lights, the pilot confidently stepped out onto the blue squat lights of the landing strip, and the car fell softly onto the concrete of the airfield, streaked with heavy landing gear, which handles fifteen million passengers a year, and, rocking us in the waist belts, like to the home garage, taxied to the sector of the airfield complex where the letters TWA shone. And the aircraft commander reported the local time and weather, thanked the passengers for resorting to the services of TWA, and, bidding farewell, urged them not to forget the three magic letters when need or hunting calls again into the air.And the familiar letters multiplied, becoming even more firmly entrenched in the memory - on the sides of the luggage cart, which instantly jumped up to the cargo hatch, on the pockets, backs, helmets of workers in white linen overalls, on the accordion of the sliding corridor, which moved like a quadrangular mouth onto the opened hatch of the aircraft. And, having said goodbye to two girls in golden dresses, who were finishing their role as hostesses at the door, I stepped onto the accordion-shaped carpet of the corridor, with quiet, melodious, gently soothing music pouring out of nowhere, which inspired: there was nothing terrible in this everyday journey, but now . and it's completely over, shake off the tension, because you are on earth, and although you are leaving our care, we hope that everything will be okay for you, everything will go just as well as in the sky between New York and Los -Angeles.A conveyor belt drops suitcases onto a slowly rotating wide metal circle. Here is my yellow leather suitcase, once elegant, now with fringe on all four corners. Loud laughter, kisses and punches from some friends we met. Jealous. And you are alone, already without guardianship and not yet accustomed to the place where you once were and where, however, everything is new - a wary stranger. It's okay, you don't expect any provocations or attempts, you don't notice a gliding professional glance - none of those guys who last time accompanied you almost to the gangway meet you. But there is still this feeling of alienity that does not go away.However, somewhere among the sea of lights that opened up from the side of the plane sliding down, there must be a friendly light. And you say to the young Mexican taxi driver, "1775 La Cienega Boulevard South." The taxi pours its drop of light into the evening mystery of the freeways and carries it to the blue and red neon of the Annes Motel, to the sign that, in concise language for the motorist, informs about "vacant rooms, TV, background (telephone), heated swimming pool (the height of moderate comfort price)".Vasya travels the American way - with the AAI (American Automobile Association) guidebook, which contains the necessary information about all the more or less decent hotels and motels in all American cities. He chose the Annes Motel without even seeing it, being in Texas, for its reasonable price and location. After all, in addition to the Hey-hey-hey directory, Vasya also studied the road map. Los Angeles is a city that is open to us Soviets, but which, however, has many closed areas. Moving without a road map, you can run into a closed area - and get into trouble. And Vasya chose a motel in Beverly Hills - this area is completely open. In the rich mansions of the Beaver Hills, life is full of secrets. But these are private secrets, and the authorities do not protect them as much as the secrets of military enterprises and installations that litter Los Angeles County and all of Southern California.Here it is, a modest motel with neon letters "Annes" above the entrance to the cramped parking lot. The old man on duty confirms that a married couple with a strange last name has already arrived and that, yes, the next room has been booked for another person, also with a strange last name. The old man doesn't ask for documents. Having filled out a short form and received the key, you notice a familiar blue Fury in the dark of the parking lot - and up the stairs to the second floor gallery, a suitcase and briefcase - at the door of your room, and with your fist on the door of the next one, and from there a hoarse bass voice in Russian: "This is you, brother?Vasya at the door - skinny, with lively eyes drowned in energetic wrinkles, mocking and just out of the shower with wet curls and rubber slippers on his bare feet. They just traveled - all day on the road - four hundred miles across the Nevada and Californian deserts, through the sands that I saw on a tiny screen over dark America - under the same hot sun, but without an evil revolver, but with an endless, temptingly beautiful ribbon road, over which there was a glassy haze, the same as the air trail behind the wings of a jet plane, which turned on the engines and rolled towards the starting line...And for starters, I put a bottle of hunting on the table in my room. no one's vodka and a can of minced sausage is the little I can do to console a colleague who misses the domestic product in road cafeterias in America.The next morning, we had barely finished a spaghetti-like omelet at the corner diner and flipped through the most worthwhile pages of the hundred and fifty pages of the plump, everyday Los Angeles Times when a semi-sporty Mustang pulled up to our motel. Out came a man of average height, over forty years old, light and nimble, with a sharp, as if slightly charred face - Tom Self, head of the Business Week office in Los Angeles, our main guide and guardian. Five minutes later he was just Tom to us, and we were Vasily and Stanislav to him. And the first thing Tom did, as is customary for guests in America, was to pull out of his pocket a piece of paper folded in four-our program. The paper contained everything that had been ordered in advance by telephone, including the millionaire. The program set haste and speed. Having agreed to live according to the law of American efficiency, blame yourself: the day will be planned in such a way that you won't be able to escape, and walking, sightseeing, and loitering are the last thing, in the opinion of business people. We got into the Mustang and rushed off, leaving Tanya with a sunny morning on the boulevard with the sonorous name of La Cienega.We jumped onto the freeway. Tom increased the gas and moved the car to the left, fastest lane. The Mustang's tires rustled over the ribbed bumps that mark the medians on Los Angeles freeways. The cars were moving in four rows in both directions. And on the huge green billboards hanging over the road surface and indicating exits, entrances and interchanges, as in the memorial of Catholic saints, the names of neighboring cities flashed: San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa -Monica, etc. The memorial proved that Franciscan monks were the first Europeans to explore California.We crossed the Los Angeles border into another city, but there was no countryside between them, the same cityscape flashed to the right and left - with houses, factory buildings, steel mesh refineries, gas stations, shopping complexes.One endless multicity stretched on and on - a metropolis. (Is it not from California that this word later entered our language - metropolis?)Four days of crazy freeways and different offices, and when the schedule of our trip, approved by the State Department, dictated separation from Los Angeles, we remembered the great ocean, for its sake alone it was worth crossing the continent, and finally rushed along the coast, catching the bitterly refreshing breath of the big water , and Interstate 27 catapulted us back into the interior of the continent, four hundred miles from Los Angeles. And only there, in the peaceful village of Fish Camp, under the giant sequoias on the southern edge of Yosemite Park, time passed more slowly, and, replaying the crazy days in my memory, I tried to remember: had I forgotten something?I forgot to look at Los Angeles through the eyes of a pedestrian, the most reliable in the world. The city just flashed outside the car window. However, this is exactly how Los Angeles residents perceive their city, from the wheels.In the small and not-so-small cities of highly motorized America, the pedestrian has been crowded out as an anachronism since the late twenties; outside business and shopping areas, sidewalks are overgrown with grass or absent, people are on the pavements, in cars. But in such giant cities as New York and Chicago, in such "compact" cities as San Francisco, residents have not yet forgotten how to walk, if only because there is nowhere to park a car, and public transport is quite well developed. Los Angeles, third in population, is an exception.So what's wrong with watching L.A. the L.A. way? Date with a millionaire? We dived into the Century City underground garage - and straight from the dungeon in the elevator to the seventeenth floor. Richfield Atlantic Oil Refinery - viewed from the director's car, with the director at the wheel. There is a glass-enclosed checkpoint booth in front of the campus. A university policeman, drawing with a pencil on a sketch map, explains how and where to get there and where to leave the car. In the evening on La Cienega Boulevard you roll up under the canopy of the restaurant, the key is in the boy's signature cape, he will take care of your car and deliver it to the fields.It was only at Disneyland that we were separated from Tom Self's Mustang for a couple of hours, remembering its row and place among thousands of cars in a huge parking lot. Anticipating the inevitable walk, Tom took with him a pair of special lightweight boots.By the way, Tom said, Dieneland, which welcomes millions of children and adults every year, some come on business trips - to gain experience in crowd management, crowd management. The ability to process and serve large masses of people quickly and in an organized manner is important in the age of mass spectacles and gigantic crowds of people. Queues can be organized scientifically. Scientifically organized queues are those that cannot be avoided, but can be made to move quickly, saving the time and nerves of those standing. Unscientific queues do not need to be characterized and, alas, are known to us too well. The simplest example is when the work of a salesperson behind the counter is organized, as it was decades ago, the products are not packaged - a luxury that in the States is available only to gourmet food stores aimed at gourmet rich people, and the antediluvian cash registers are not trained to automatically display the amount knocked out and change (which Their brothers in America have been making them for a long time).There was a modern queue to the "Cave of the Caribbean Pirates". Her tail quickly retracted between two metal barriers. There were at least a hundred people, but twenty minutes later we were already sitting in a boat and rushing along an artificial underground river in the spray of rapids (the spray was natural) and the coolness of the grave. Lianas, stalactites, the aromas of the tropics, the croaking of cockatoos - and the wreckage of wrecked ships, and human skulls, scattered bones and complete skeletons shone with an eerie brilliance, and piles of pearls and diamonds flashed in the open forged chests. The one-eyed drunken pirates, seated on wine barrels with pistols and crooked sabers in their hands, looked so natural and were so close to the sliding boats that children squealed in fear and even adults for a moment forgot that these were just masterpieces of Disney "animatronics" reproducing living world.But let me return to my Los Angeles impressions. Moscow has the Kremlin, New York has the Empire State Building, Athens has the Acropolis, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. What is the hallmark of Los Angeles?Wilshire Boulevard? This central avenue, lined with huge banks and corporations, is as famous on the West Coast of the United States as New York's Fifth Avenue is on the East Coast. Land is second only to Manhattan in terms of cost.Hollywood? Only for visiting eccentrics with outdated ideas. The Golden Age of Hollywood is over, and Los Angeles considers itself with a good future. In terms of population (three million in Los Angeles proper) it ranks third after New York and Chicago. Chicago overtook Chicago in terms of industrial output a long time ago. Physically, Hollywood in the wilds of Los Angeles is as invisible as the river that gave its name to the city. It survived economically by entering into a deal with its worst enemy, television, adapting its pavilions and workforce to produce television shows and television films.No, and Hollywood is not suitable as a symbol of Los Angeles.So, maybe Century City is an elegant prototype of those cities of the future that usually attract only in drawings?But enough mysteries. The symbol of Los Angeles cannot be found among the houses, streets, and architectural complexes. The symbol is on the roads, in the famous freeways. A strange symbol, but the roads are also unusual, the city and the century into which he looks first in America are unusual. These powerful strands of freeways are photographed from the air when they want to convey a visual image of Los Angeles. The main Los Angeles landmark is located under the wheels of millions of cars...When a person lives at the New York pace, Moscow seems like an oasis of calm. And Los Angeles is amazingly fast even compared to New York. It is lost among its roads, in it you become infected with one end-to-end feeling that connects everything - a haunting feeling of speed and pace, the running of powerful cars, freed from the shackles of traffic lights. It's as if, against your will, you were included in the vast, elemental, rapid movement of those like you. Where will this element take you?Not for the sake of a catchphrase, two metaphors come to mind. People on freeways are like centaurs - not mythical, but extraordinary. Here they are rushing behind, and in front, and on the sides of you, with their heads bent, hanging over the steering wheel, merging with their cars, pushing the windshield shield forward. But if the fairy-tale centaur was, as it were, on the verge between animal and man, as if growing into a man, separating from the animal, then the Los Angeles centaur is already "outgrowing" a man. What?And another metaphor born of freeways. Within a day, the feeling of constant movement, constant speed so permeates you that, it seems, you will not be at all surprised to see, behind the next smooth bend of the freeway, a fantastic cosmodrome with a rocket aimed at the zenith, and - you are fully prepared for this miracle - you will fly in without slowing down movement, into a spaceship, and everything else will not even be a new quality, but just a quantitative increment - up to the second cosmic speed. And you will dissolve in the Universe. You'll get scattered. You are atomizing... In the name of what?Freeway literally means a free path. Free from traffic lights and other speed restrictions. Free also means free, without security guards to whom the motorist hands out his cents, or even dollars, from the car window, free from metal mesh machines that must be appeased with coins in order for the green light to turn on. This is the difference between Los Angeles freeways and many similar American freeways.These are first-class concrete highways that cost an average of three million dollars per mile to build (between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, each mile cost twelve million). The cost of construction is covered by the state of California, federal funds from motorists who pay a tax on every gallon of gasoline purchased, and other special taxes.In terms of quality, quality, and width, Los Angeles freeways have many worthy rivals in a country that is crossed up and down by freeways, highways, turnpike, expressways, and so on. Many American cities are blown through by drafts on highways without traffic lights. But nowhere do roads invade the boundaries of a big city so boldly and freely as in Los Angeles, they don't set the tone so imperiously and dominate.For clarity, imagine, suppose, the Garden Ring in Moscow. Lengthen it a hundred times. Cut into unequal sections and, connecting them with powerful junctions, send them to all four cardinal directions. Remove traffic lights from this Garden Ring. Sweep away, break, level out everything that interferes with its rapid rush into space, move the survivors away from the roadsides, forming a wide exclusion zone - during the construction of the 27-kilometer Santa Monica Freeway, more than four thousand homes, banks, and businesses were removed for compensation of $95 million , churches, shops, etc.In the center, instead of a reserve lane, build strong metal barriers, the task of which is to absorb the blow of an out-of-control car and prevent it from crashing into oncoming traffic - the worst possible catastrophe, and along the sides - the same barriers and metal mesh, over which a child or child cannot climb , let's say it's a dog, and it wouldn't even occur to an adult to set foot on the freeway (and the dogs, it seems, are trained). The clear path must be absolutely free of anything not on wheels.Mark this concrete river, seventy meters wide, into eight rows - four in each direction.Give her a dozen sonorous names of cities and counties adjacent to Los Angeles: Santa Monica, Ventura, Pasadena, San Diego, Harbor, Long Beach, Hollywood, etc.Finally, map out a grid of these roads over a small portion of Southern California.The area of Los Angeles County is ten thousand square kilometers. Actually, Los Angeles reigns there over almost a hundred younger satellite brothers, over a conglomerate of cities, towns and cities. Everything is so intertwined that even old-timers can't tell where one city ends and another begins. Their borders are also bizarre. Beverly Hills, for example, is considered a city, although it is surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles.A strange city. Freeways connecting it to satellite cities simultaneously dissect and fragment it, turning it into "a roadside parking lot bordered by several buildings," as one Georgia congressman put it in a condemnatory vehement.Three million people live in this "roadside stop"-the population of Los Angeles proper. There are seven million people in the entire metropolis. And at least four million cars.Multiplying people, cars and roads, we get truly cosmic figures for motorization in Los Angeles. On the freeways of Los Angeles County, named after the city, and the neighboring counties of Ventura and Orange, cars travel forty-three million kilometers per day, a distance equivalent to fifty trips to the moon and back. Machines are multiplying faster than people. Three out of every four residents drive their own cars to work. A typical Los Angeles resident, between work and more precisely, between work and home, does a hundred or more miles a day, and not out of the love of a centaur man for his car, but out of necessity. The freeway network gives the resident a certain independence: his home can be dozens of miles from his place of work. He is mobile not only in choosing work and housing, but also on vacation. Mountains, ocean beaches, stadiums and racetracks in neighboring cities are all within reach; Having entered one of the freeways, it is already connected to their entire network.Of course, you have to pay for mobility. It is estimated that a resident of Los Angeles spends on average almost twice as much as a resident of New York on a car and all its operating costs. By the way, he thereby pays for the lack of developed public transport.After the famous 1965 riot in the Los Angeles black ghetto, Watts noted the direct correlation between high black unemployment, the sprawl of Los Angeles and the city's poor public transport. Here is one of the paradoxes of America that is little understood to us: a person must have a car even in order to look for a job and a modest piece of bread.Carless blacks were walled up in their Watts, even if the newspaper ad columns offered jobs outside the ghetto.Frankly, I never found out whether the Watts area was open to Soviet correspondents. But one day, having completed the day's cycle of meetings, we were returning to our motel with Tom Self, and he intriguingly asked on the way: "Would you like me to show you Watts?" We remained intriguingly silent: he must have ventilated this idea from whoever needed it - and after all, what are the military secrets in Watts?Tom drove off the freeway and, like a city dweller on forest paths, wandered for a long time and uncertainly along some back streets and access roads, until we found ourselves on unkempt streets with one-story houses, with black plump matrons, so different from their lean white compatriots, with black temperamental, restless children and black tired men. We didn't stop, didn't leave the car. Like reconnaissance on foreign territory, although we were driven by a native Los Angeles resident and his fellow countrymen lived on the unkempt streets.Black fellow countrymen - that makes all the difference.Silent and looking around, we drove through Watts, where for mile after mile there was not a single white person, not a single white face in sight. And our guide joked tensely: "The natives are acting calm now."We had already become friends, but there was another frankness in his intonation - a white man counting on the understanding of other white people, and the word "natives" concealed not only an ironic, but also a serious meaning - he perceived blacks as bearers of another, a primitive and potentially hostile civilization that does not fit into the dominant civilization and therefore causes a lot of trouble. Tom didn't like the growing number of poor blacks and Mexicans in the Los Angeles area: they were helplessly floundering in a rigidly organized society, they had to be helped, they were not treated like boring dependents. This common view was clearly expressed by a roadside banner we once noticed with a picture of a bearded Uncle Sam in a stars-and-stripes top hat and the clarification for those who have forgotten: "This is your uncle, not your father."Los Angeles became a major city during the era of the mass automobile, which came to America in the twenties. Since the beginning of the century, the population of New York and Chicago has less than doubled, and Los Angeles has increased almost tenfold. Old cities, which had formed even before the advent of the automobile, could not help but develop public transport, building subways and overgrounds. Los Angeles has previously relied on individual cars. There were more and more of them, the city grew not in height, like New York and Chicago, but in breadth, and then it was the turn of the freeways.America is unthinkable without roads, the dynamics of its big cities and, of course, cars. Los Angeles seems to be a synthesis of these three essential elements of American civilization. America looks into it as if into a mirror of the future, and... often recoils. Why are there so many of them, people who are afraid of the rapid growth and contagiousness of this Rhodesville - Dorogograd?How to explain that excessive motorization of life also brings with it problems, and considerable ones? Explain to the reader who most likely dreams of owning a car? How to explain to a person who doesn't know what it's like to try to take a deep breath on the corner of Fiftieth Street and Americus Avenue at five in the evening in July, how to explain to him that Moscow, which is by no means clean air, seems rustic after New York? Or what are the nerves when, being late and cursing, you circle and circle the streets, trying to get your Chevrolet somewhere, and the cars are parked bumper to bumper, left and right at the edges of the sidewalks, and there are free spaces only where the poles are? with prohibitory signs, and queues of cars even at underground paid parking lots? Or that you cannot feel the grandeur of the Hudson flowing under the windows of your New York apartment - "You look and don't know whether its majestic width is moving or not" - because the grandeur is interrupted by the incessant roar of cars - day and night, day and night - on the coastal highway, and you no longer care about greatness, but just to plug your ears with cotton and get a good night's sleep in relative, unreliable silence. And why explain all this if I am also for a mass-produced car and don't want to be branded as a retrograde. And yet...In this case, as in many others, our problems are of a completely different nature than those of the Americans. For us, the mass-produced individual car is not today, but tomorrow. It is needed, without a doubt, like good roads, it can be said to be on the way, although it will take decades to approach American car saturation.Is a car good or evil? The answer is more categorical in a country where there is no mass-produced automobile yet, and not in America, which loudly moans to the whole world that cars oppress people, although it has no intention of giving them up. The phenomena of technological progress look uniformly blue only in theory, but in practical, uncontrolled development, the blueness is often obscured by thunderclouds of so-called side effects. The practice of cohabitation between a person and a mass-produced car introduces a dialectic in which good gives birth to evil, and it is quite difficult to determine the balance of pros and cons. We would care about them! - the reader will say to this and grumble at those who are furious with fat. And he will be right. I am afraid, however, that Los Angeles residents will not understand him.The two victims of the car are obvious - efficient urban transport, as mentioned, and clean air. Los Angeles smog is no less famous than London's, but not so long ago, on the advice of doctors, pulmonary patients settled in Los Angeles, in its warm, dry climate. Smog was first recorded on September 8, 1943, and since then the toxic whitish fumes, generated primarily by exhaust gases, have become a "climatic component" of the city, preventing the sun's rays from the blessed subtropics from reaching the earth.Here is the sadness of old-time California science fiction writer Ray Bradbury: "Once upon a time there were few cars, there was no smog, the subway worked, public transport was alive, the skies were clear, blue, irresistible. This truly was the promised land. Nowadays, clear skies are such a rarity that when you see them after rain, your heart is heavy with memories of days long gone."Or the sadness of the famous film actor Jack Lemmon: "They want to build a freeway through Beverly Hills, and it's like shredding a Rembrandt painting... Leave the beauty alone. I reject the idea that there is nothing more beautiful in the world than the shortest distance between two points."There is something almost elusive, from the field of psychology. They complain that in Los Angeles there is no community - community, community, neighborly ties, relationships of human coexistence. Not only is the city torn apart by freeways and high speeds, the warmth of neighborliness, camaraderie, and friendship is torn apart.One day, after another meeting, we rushed along the freeway to the city center, to Tom Self's office. It was rush hour, the roads were full of herds of cars hurrying to their home stalls. Tom pulled off the freeway and stopped at the red light. To the left, right at the intersection, a car was smashed, a freshly smashed windshield that had shattered into pieces, dusting the pavement, the hood raised and flattened, a dented radiator, exposed engine innards. A police Plymouth was already standing to the side, and behind it was another, also freshly beaten car."Thank God, there were no casualties," said Vasya.They gave the green light and we set off. I glanced at the expanded stage. There was a victim. Behind the last car on the sidewalk lay a man, motionless, submissive. There was a victim, and she was seen from cars on the crossing street when we were standing on red, and they had green. There was a victim, but the cars did not hesitate, they passed without stopping. Alienation associated not only with traffic rules, haste, the pressure of other cars, but also with the fact that everything is familiar, with extensive experience, with a huge amount of information, including the most dramatic, which befalls a person every day, and finally, with the law self-preservation, saving mental and brain energy. Was he wounded or killed? Wounded, killed - they thought no more about the unfortunate person on the sidewalk than about the person killed in pretend on the television screen. And is it possible otherwise? A huge city is not a village with rare incidents that people gossip about for years. Car accidents are common. You swear at a policeman ordering you to slow down, a short glance at the victim - and again your eyes on the road, hearing - on the radio news, which the brain has already equated with the "unit of information" you have just obtained as an eyewitness. By the time you get home, the unfortunate person on the sidewalk will already be out of your mind. You won't be able to bring it to a conversation with your wife at the dinner table...But doesn't the same thing happen in New York? Didn't we see this in Moscow? Yes, it happens, we have seen it. In Los Angeles it seemed even more natural, more logical, but not normal.A day later at the University of Southern California we talked with Professor Louis Davis, head of the "socio-technological" department. Scientists - half natural scientists, half humanities - are struggling there with a specific problem: how to apply the mathematical methodology of "control systems" when solving social issues? How, for example, can English shipowners be helped to introduce improved methods of loading and unloading if this is met with psychological opposition from the stevedores' union? How to ensure high labor productivity in an aluminum smelter built in a rural area if the rural area for some reason has a detrimental effect on productivity? American and foreign businessmen pose such problems to the professor and his employees, and they undertake to solve them by concluding paid contracts with clients. Professor Davis, a dry, amiable man, spoke self-critically about the difficulties of a new undertaking, that "physical systems," unfortunately, do not mechanically superimpose on "social systems," that much must be comprehended, that one has to look closely at the "biological guidelines" that explain behavior of human individuals.He also used a local example: how to use "control systems" in case of accidents on the roads, how to quickly and efficiently help victims in conditions of heavy traffic and traffic jams on freeways?Remembering the episode at the intersection, I thought about the amplitude of Los Angeles: from the victim on the sidewalk to the "socio-technological" specialist for whom this victim is just an element of the equation being solved. Old-fashioned help to a neighbor in trouble disappears, firstly, because there is no time or energy left for it, because it does not fit in with the style and pace of life. Secondly, it is artisanal and unspecialized - the efforts of random individuals in an age when car accidents are a regular occurrence. They are being replaced by socio-technological systems that link the reactions of people and machines, science, and mathematics. Yes, the solution is in science. But she does not control the elements of cars and freeways. She takes upon herself the modest task of smoothing out and equalizing the most extreme, cruel manifestations of this element.  "What is happening today in California will happen tomorrow all over the world, or at least in the USA."Here is an example of Californian self-confidence, or rather, the self-confidence of a Los Angeles businessman. The Oracle's name was Don Muchmore, he was 45 years old, had a youthful face, an energetic mouth, beaver hair, and horn-rimmed glasses. Reclining in a rocking and swiveling chair, playing with a gilded knife for cutting envelopes, he pronounces his prophecy without pathos and exaltation, in the everyday hasty voice of a busy man, as a matter of fact, stating a fact and not really bothering himself with arguments. What are the arguments? Haven't you seen the dynamism of Los Angeles?Don Muchmore - pollster - a person involved in public opinion polls (American political terminology, very easy on new word formations, has produced this word, which is difficult to find the same energetic equivalent in the Russian language; from the word poll - survey). Don Muchmore is California's most famous pollster, California's George Gallup. His firm's 250 paid interviewers bring in considerable income by knocking on doors in California and soliciting opinions on issues ranging from the popularity of a political figure seeking election to a particular brand of coffee to the market chances of a new brand of coffee. The company has a solid reputation, many clients, and high accuracy of forecasts. Confidential surveys conducted on their orders help politicians during elections. Muchmore treats his charges with the condescension of a doctor who knows and protects other people's secrets. He considers himself a moderate conservative, but views political polling as a purely apolitical business.By profession, Don Muchmore has his finger on the political pulse of California and is obliged to know the mood of different groups of the population: erroneous assessments would undermine his reputation and reduce his clientele and income."Most of the current residents came to California in search of earthly paradise," he says. "And they're still looking for him." One third of the population changes their place of residence every two years. I don't want Pasadena - there's smog there, I want Long Beach, where there's an ocean breeze, I want Santa Monica, where you can find a good job - that's their psychology.- In their political views, Californians are distinguished by their independence. People are in a new place, they are not bound by traditions, they do not look back at their parents. Mom and Dad don't live close together like they do somewhere in Indiana. Only half of young people vote for the same party as their parents, while in the East 75 percent of young people vote the same as their parents. This is where the decline of the two-party system in its traditional form began. Of course, the Democrats, with their mass base, remain the first party in the country. But California proves that the second place comes to the idiosyncratic independent party, that is, voters who, not being loyal to Democrats and Republicans, choose not a party, but an individual, and are of little interest to which party she belongs to.Don Muchmore is one of the lucky ones in Los Angeles. There are a lot of them. Here's another one.Michael Tenzer, 37, is tall and massive, with an elegantly charming brunette. Beautiful large face. Noble gestures. Outwardly, he gives the impression of almost an aristocrat, although Michael's American ancestry begins with his grandfather, a Polish Jew who moved overseas. The grandson was born in New York, studied at a private privileged school, and has friends from influential families. After school I took up artistic photography. Then the Korean War, where Michael was a front-line cameraman. Having taken off my military uniform, I discovered that you can't get very far in artistic photography. Moved to the West Coast. In order not to lose friends and old connections, he visits New York twice or thrice a year. But in everything else...Michael Tenzer is vice president and director of sales at Larvin, the largest family-owned corporation in the United States for the construction and sale of residential homes: about three thousand individual homes a year, almost all on credit. The buyer's creditworthiness is checked by a government agency. According to existing rules, Tenzer says, the client's monthly contribution should not exceed one-fifth of his real salary, that is, the salary from which the amount of his obligations on other previously taken loans, for example, monthly payments for a car, is subtracted. Having determined the client's earnings in this way, the company determines the type and cost of the house that he can afford. The business is very profitable, as the Los Angeles area is rapidly developing, and the government guarantees penalties.Michael says bashfully about his income: "Very significant."He works sixteen hours a day, takes papers home from the office, but has the appearance of a man who is not in a hurry.The black Cadillac barely turns in the cramped parking lot of our motel. The Cadillac smells as refreshing as first class on a transatlantic plane. The owner is driving, with a telephone at hand: "I once even spoke to Australia on this phone." The Cadillac slowly rustles along La Cienega Boulevard, along Hollywood Boulevard - to Michael's house in Beverly Hills. The streets are quieter, greener and, as it were, more provincial, the houses are rarer and more luxurious, better hidden in large areas, behind trees and bush fences.And here are the stone gates, and we are in the peace and quiet of the fortified house, as if there were no freeways, patrol helicopters and high speeds in the world. Jackie's wife. Two twin sons, "one four minutes older than the other."The great American ritual of showing a home begins. First we are taken to the lawn behind the house, and by its size, by its spaciousness, I try to determine how much this estate is worth. The price jumps when I see how the lawn is located - behind it is a slope and a spacious view of the mountains, behind them the sun wearily passes. In the morning, when the family gathers in the cheerful breakfast room, the sun hits these mountains with its early rays. Now it casts a soft light on the well-groomed greenery, on the trees and on the bush fence, two rows of barbed wire hanging almost imperceptibly over the fence.Twelve-year-old twins, apparently not forgetting about their school lessons in political literacy, look at us warily, without the sweet ease of parents who are waiting for the enthusiasm for the sun, mountains and lawn to dry up so that they can lead guests to admire the house.Living room with a piano - Jackie has a musical education. Dining room... Children's... "Dark" room with a set of expensive photographic equipment... Library - on the walls there are half a dozen diplomas and certificates in frames, not a lot of books, but in solid bindings. The kitchen is densely packed with refrigerators, a gas stove with an alarm clock, a thermometer and other automation, two grills with heat-resistant glass - they automatically clean and wash themselves.And again, as if ashamed and apologetic, Michael confidentially says:"Few people live like me and my family." But, believe me, I have not forgotten the political convictions that I had in high school. I know that many Americans live in poverty. As a student, I once worked in a mine for a month. I haven't forgotten what it is. Back then, miners demanded that working time be counted from the moment they descended into the mine, and not from the moment they reached the face. We supported them...By conviction, Michael Tenzer is a liberal, and; in fact, that's why we're visiting him, a Liberal of the familiar New York type. Against the Vietnam War. For Soviet-American rapprochement. He believes that socialism "justified itself" in the Soviet Union. Has nothing against Fidel Castro and the revolution in Cuba. He is ashamed of the misery of blacks and mining families in Appalachia, this man who misses New York and has found his fortune in Los Angeles.Tom Self is usually sarcastic and sarcastic, but now we're on a date with Henry Singleton, and he's full of typical American admiration for the man who makes the big buck, for the miracle of enterprise in an era dominated by giant corporations, when seats at the table are occupied - elbow to elbow - and you won't be able to push your way to the pie. We are going to see the miracle worker, and Tom's delight is selfless: he cannot create a miracle, but who will take away the right to worship a miracle? Henry Singleton is the same, now personified, millionaire whom I ordered for Vasya over the phone. He's personally worth about thirty million dollars, Tom estimates. Not a record, no, but where and when did it start? And what else will happen?Henry Singleton is the founder, president and chairman of the board of directors of Teledyne Corporation, a manufacturer of complex electronic and semiconductor devices. Which? For what? Electronics are the flesh of the military industry, and we have no right to ask unnecessary questions, and the millionaire did not agree to the meeting in order to share military secrets. Bombs, airplanes - this routine work, as Henry Singleton put it, is not done by his corporation. Her specialty is advanced electronic systems and accessories. Singleton does not hide the fact that he has big business with the Pentagon.Later I found Telidine on the list of one hundred companies that received the largest orders from the Pentagon. True, her place was in the second half of the list. The first smelled of billions of orders. Sixty-eighth place - probably tens of millions of dollars. But Singleton also made his way to this order table not so long ago.An experienced electronics engineer, he founded the Teledyne Corporation in the early 1960s. One - hit or miss! - invested all his savings - three hundred thousand dollars. It is now a publicly traded company and its shares can be purchased on the New York Stock Exchange. Six years after the company was founded, sales exceeded three hundred million dollars.We dive the Mustang into the underground garage of one of the Century City buildings and then exit the elevator on the seventeenth floor into a reception area with wall-to-wall carpet, a walnut desk with a secretary at it, heavy leather chairs, nickel-plated ashtrays. on legs and glossy covers of advertising brochures. A young man with an intelligent face shifts shyly from foot to foot, Tom manages to whisper: "A very capable physicist. Works for Teledyne." But we have no time for physics. The miracle worker Henry Singleton himself appears at the door of one of the rooms opening onto the reception area.Oh, how hopelessly outdated is the image of a pot-bellied rich man in a tailcoat, striped trousers and with a bag of gold over his shoulders, familiar from pre-war childhood! Oh, how long it took the cartoonists to part with him! But it is necessary, this image shifts the emphasis. Millionaires have long ceased to be fat. They want to live longer. They have athletic figures beyond their age. And, by the way, they do without a bag of gold and even without green cash, saving gangsters from unnecessary temptation and for all occasions presenting personalized credit cards sealed in plastic - in America they don't pay cash even for dinner in a restaurant.So, a tall, masculine-looking handsome man. Nearing fifty, but youthfully straight and slender. Not a trace of flabbyness, and only slightly dulled facial skin, wrinkles on the bridge of the nose and around the eyes, and beautiful gray hair in his short-cropped hair betrayed the young man's age.We are again in the elevator, then the four of us walk along the elegant square to the restaurant of the Century City Hotel, and the millionaire walks, slightly moving his arms pressed to his sides, maintaining a sort of boxing stance as he walks, feeling our curious glances on him. It's lunch hour, the restaurant is crowded, but the table is reserved, and the arrival of Henry Singleton did not cause a stir. They serve well and quickly, but no better or faster than other guests, without lackey fuss and servility: you never know how many millionaires there are in Los Angeles.Over food and cocktails, the two of us tortured Mr. Singleton. Tom was silent, watching his colleagues - simple ones. in business. Torture, And the millionaire, however, answered delicately, our questions were simple and brief.Telidine Corporation has two dozen factories, twenty-five thousand workers, a thousand engineers. The workers are not unionized. Factories are geographically scattered, and it is no coincidence that the dispersion of the workforce is beneficial to the entrepreneur and prevents the creation of a trade union, and therefore strikes. The union is a burden, and Singleton does not hesitate to tell us this, counting on the understanding of business people.He personally owns three percent of the corporation's shares, more than any of the shareholders. Is three enough to control a company? He replies that he exercises control not through a percentage of shares, but through his position as founder, technical and administrative authority.- Who has the rest of the shares?The trend now is that the largest shareholders are not individuals, but foundations and other corporations. First, insurance companies, they are rich and invest in shares of industrial corporations. Mutual funds, secondly. Their capital is formed from contributions from individual investors, who alone are not able and not so profitable to purchase shares. These people participate in the stock market game, so to speak, by chipping in. Pension funds, thirdly. They are made up of contributions from trade union members and entrepreneurs - the latter, under collective agreements with trade unions, are required to contribute to pension funds amounts equal to the pension contributions of their workers. To increase capital and, accordingly, pensions, pension funds often buy shares and play on the stock exchange.As for the employees and workers of Telidine itself, they are also tied to the stock exchange game, for example, by a system of benefits when buying shares: for every four shares purchased, they are added a fifth for free.For hundreds of people holding top positions in the corporation, there are extra privileges that strengthen the loyalty of the necessary administrators and specialists. Each of this top hundred has the right to purchase a certain number of shares at their current exchange price, but without paying a single cent at the time of acquisition, as if on credit. He will pay later, in the future, when the value of these shares rises, say, from ten to thirty thousand dollars. He will pay the same price - only ten thousand.- Do you, Mr. Singleton, make sure that no one has more shares than you? Are you afraid that someone else will take control of your corporation?This question is in violation of the unwritten rules. A shadow of irritation on the face of a millionaire. He shook his beautiful head slightly, looked sharper and more firmly, but his hands also lay calmly on the tablecloth, and in the answer there was a hidden challenge. No, he's not afraid. And if they take control, well, nothing deadly, he's ready for it.- It will be difficult to buy Telidine: now it will cost, perhaps, a billion and a half...These carelessly dropped words thundered over the table. One and a half billion... After all, for this amount - without going far for examples - you can buy this restaurant with sofas and chairs in red morocco, with a head waiter and waiters, and what kind of little things - the restaurant, the entire hotel and, perhaps, the entire complex With dozens of elegant buildings, Century City is the crown jewel of Los Angeles. One and a half billion... Henry Singleton stands firmly and noticeably on this earth, and his beautiful head rises above the skyscrapers.There were and are competitors, this outwardly calm man - in the tension of constant struggle, although his story is simple - is epic like a soldier. The main thing, he talks about the origins, about the first months, was to offer not a completely new product, this happens extremely rarely, but a product that already has demand in the market, but is promising and of high quality. Extensive acquaintances and connections in the Pentagon and with other customers helped. He was known as an excellent specialist and was trusted. But the rivals were not asleep either. People from other corporations, already established, tried to persuade buyers not to take Henry Singleton's "product."- So they directly persuaded you not to buy?- Yes, they whispered directly: don't buy from this guy, he'll deceive you..."Telidine" could not be strangled in the cradle. Now try it! The corporation is thriving, the share price is growing fantastically, the position is stable, the product has a good reputation, and it is one of the largest in its field. Singleton has a knack for retaining valuable people, and stock lures aren't the only ones. It is very important to attract talented young people. Youth are the future. Favorite aphorism in the mouths of American businessmen! Young people are the future big profits in an age of unprecedentedly rapid technological development. Investing in inquisitive young brains is one of the most profitable, it is the yeast of business. And Henry Singleton said that Teledyne emissaries travel to universities, search for, recruit and lure talented students throughout the country. Study the grades. They ask professors...Dealing with an advanced industry, with a skilled workforce, with the talents of scientists and engineers, Henry Singleton does not skimp. A specialist himself, he knows how profitable real specialists are. Saving dollars on their salaries is like going fishing with a rotten net. The businessman of the new formation values science, does business on a large scale, understands that low wages mean low quality workers, low profits and, in the end, bankruptcy. He is fierce. new competition.  "The dynamic, capable people came here," that's what people see in business, they came to make a path for themselves, the reason for California's prosperity.Like Don Muchmore, he looks at his country as a kind of huge and complex enterprise that must be managed by economic businessmen and political businessmen.Coffee cups are empty, lunch and questions are over. Water gurgles in the fountains on the elegant Century City Square. We return to the mid-size skyscraper where the president and chairman of the Telidine Corporation reigns on the seventeenth floor. Here he is, next to me, elbows pressed to his sides, and people scurrying around the square do not suspect that it is a miracle worker walking. Great world...- Mr. Singleton, I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that corporations are having difficulty recruiting graduate students. That students do not want to serve the military business. Is this true?- No, that's wrong. You never know what they write in the newspapers...Honestly, the conversation turned out to be conflict-free, and I don't want to part with this millionaire just like that, I'm tempted to hook him with something, and not out of journalistic enthusiasm or mischief, but out of a desire to overcome this business one-dimensionality, to provoke him to some emotions - they were missing from our conversation. And I feel how the person walking next to me tensed internally. He believed that the usual ritual of communicating with the press, this time the red press, had been successfully completed, that these two unfamiliar guys generally behaved normally. But there is some kind of catch in the last question. He mistook us for business people, but this question smacks of politics and propaganda. I catch him and they throw some kind of reproach at him.- What about Dow Chemical? - I'm not far behind."You mean that noise about napalm?" - he turns to me.I confirm that yes, I mean this noise, these protests in universities against the Dow Chemical corporation supplying napalm to American troops in Vietnam, these sieges of Dow Chemical recruiters on university campuses, these retreats through the back door under students' hooting.And then, not to me, but to the side, sparing me as a person not involved, as a foreigner with whom one must be polite, towards those who disgrace his country and dare to refute his principles and his miracle, Henry Singleton throws a quiet, angry remark:- Bunch of educators! (bunch of educators literally means a handful of educators, a bunch of professors, but in this hostile intonation it sounds like a bunch of moralistic humanists.)Well, you achieved your goal, aroused emotions, and for a moment pissed off this reserved man. And I realized that further conversation would be useless, because he had drawn a certain line, and you found yourself on the other side of it - with those whom this millionaire rejects, and you consider the hope of America.Bunch of educators... Henry Singleton finds all these moralistic humanists, these saboteurs of his business funny and absurd.Bunch of educators.., It was like a blow from a whip, like a click on an endangered but still annoying autumn fly, like the hatred of a business man for rotten liberal liberals in the humanities, for all opponents of the Vietnam War who squeal about their conscience and interfere with the smooth process of arms production and, what good, if they are let loose, they may take aim at his, Henry Singleton, brainchild. "The business of America is business," President Coolidge once said. Business comes first. And if this principle collapses, then he, Henry Singleton, will not have a place on the upper steps of the American hierarchical ladder, along which he climbed with labor and talent...He was ready to continue our conversation in his office, but we were in a hurry to another meeting, with other business people, and to the melodic tinkling of the doors of the musical elevator softly came together, hiding the Los Angeles millionaire, ordered by phone from New York via Houston. In the car, as usual, we gossiped about Henry Singleton, neutrally agreeing that he was a strong and large man. Tom Self also spoke about a pleasant person in all respects, and about how difficult it was for the miracle that was so simply told about in the Century City restaurant.And then I even suffered a lot from the editors because of Henry Singleton.- What other handsome millionaires are there if capitalism is rotting? - asked me those who had not seen him or others like him, but knew in advance what millionaires should look like.These minor misunderstandings speak to the strength and persistence of long-standing stereotypes. I can imagine Singleton's grin. A man from another world, he perceives us as competitors - strong and therefore worthy of respect. What weight would be lifted from his shoulders if he knew where our confusion began? It is dangerous when a very complex, contradictory, but also very viable country is judged at the level of such stereotypes. It is dangerous for many reasons, in particular because, when shattered by reality, stereotypes can give rise to illusions of a completely different, opposite nature. Indeed, why doesn't Henry Singleton look like Kashchei the Immortal? And if there is no universal physical ugliness, then there must certainly be details of a compromising order: a furtive, darting look, or hooked fingers, or, at worst, a sharp Adam's apple.I believed Henry Singleton's words-that his workers and employees were paid well, that the financial rewards offered by Telidyne helped retain valuable people. A millionaire fears a trade union-the class position of an entrepreneur. Aren't you afraid of losing control of your corporation? Maybe he is afraid, but it is unlikely that this is the paralyzing fear that does not allow a person to live.Man is a social being, with all his entrails he is inscribed in the economic and political system. The owner of a corporation that ranks high among Pentagon contractors can be an exemplary organizer of production. But as a defender of Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of napalm, I reject it.This product, which turns living people into burning-unquenchable-torches, has become a symbol of the inhumanity of American business in a war far from American shores. In defending Dow Chemical, Henry Singleton is defending himself, his morals and reputation, his purpose on earth, the nature of the miracle he performed in turning three hundred thousand dollars into thirty million personal capital and into a large corporation worth one and a half billion.Among Dow Chemical's products, the share of napalm, which is cheap to produce, is negligible. Why are they shouting about napalm? - Dow Chemical executives deny critics. Why aren't the amenities we bring to millions of American homes celebrated? Go to any supermarket - everywhere there are the thinnest, strongest transparent plastic tapes, also a product of Dow Chemical. In rolls of two hundred or more feet long, they are laid in cardboard beams, on the edge of the beam there is a fine-toothed file - cut as much as you want from the tape. It is indispensable in the home kitchen: jars of juice, plates and bowls of food, ham, butter, vegetables are wrapped in this plastic to be stored longer in the refrigerator. Now Dow Chemical also offers Americans Saranrap, a transparent fire-resistant tape that can withstand the heat of the oven. Chicken, leg of lamb, and a piece of veal, wrapped in saran wrap, are deliciously baked in their own juices.A distant man somewhere out there, across the Pacific Ocean, in convulsions, along with his own skin, is trying to tear off the flaming napalm jelly. The chicken is languishing in the oven of an American housewife. Napalm and saranrap are produced in neighboring workshops or even in the same one. They eat delicious chicken, perhaps in front of a television screen, on which from time to time human torches appear, caught under napalm.Dow Chemical recruiters are haunted by universities, and the company needs young staff (youth are the future), and its management has developed special instructions. When recruiters are harassed with napalm, they must shout back: "Saranrap"! Any product is legal as long as there is a demand for it, because American business is business, and is it really Dow Chemical's fault that those distant black-haired small people without an American smile on TV were born not in the country that drops napalm, but in that , on which they drop napalm?!In the kitchen of my New York apartment, I saw an elegant cardboard block and on one of its edges the small letters "Dow Chemical." I threw it down the garbage disposal and told my wife not to buy anything with the Dow Chemical brand on it. But, despite the noisy protests, the profits of this corporation are growing, and not due to napalm - there is still great demand for its peaceful products.An American values conveniences, even small ones, and what a waste it is to ostracize a corporation that is just doing its job. If a pilot drops canisters of napalm without remorse, why should the conscience torment the napalm manufacturer, much less the saranrap buyer? Business in America is business. Everyone does their own thing, wants to live and have a piece of bread, spread with American butter of the second half of the twentieth century, that is, a car, and a house, and a color TV, picnics on weekends, fireworks on the 4th of July, Independence Day, children in colleges and money for summer vacations to fly to old Europe and walk in the shoes of a man from a new empire. knock on the ancient stones of the Colosseum.And all this is contained in Henry Singleton's short remark about a bunch of educators.Henry Singleton created his miracle in a place where there are many such miracles. Let's take a closer look at the stage on which our millionaire stands and the carousels of Los Angeles freeways are spinning. They contain the dynamism of the main US military forge.The history of economic development in Los Angeles has a few magic words. Railroads - in the era of the development of the Wild West, they followed the pioneers in wagons, fastening the steps of progress with lines of sleepers... Oil - it was discovered in the nineties of the last century and turned Southern California into an industrial region. Oil pumps are still visible on the streets, near restaurants, next to rich mansions, although our own oil is no longer enough for a powerful local industry.Next is the plane. In the twenties, this word was rather romantic. Aircraft factories appeared in California because the warm climate made their construction cheaper, and the always clear skies did not delay product testing. A man was flying into the sky. More and more aircraft were produced during and after the Second World War. By the end of the fifties, rockets and electronics entered the California industrial scene. The English language, which loves brevity, has acquired the word aerospace. In a practical context, aerospace means a modern, predominantly military, industry in which aircraft manufacturing, rocketry and electronics are closely intertwined. Los Angeles accepted the burden of the arms race with delight. Here we are not talking about a burden, but about a powerful economic incentive.In the California Directory, I found brief information about the cities of Los Angeles County. Burbank is the center of the aviation industry. Culver City - Hughes Garden Corporation aircraft factories - electronics and aircraft parts mixed with a casino. Inglewood - aircraft factories and Los Angeles International Airport. Long Beach is a naval base, a shipyard, and an annual international beauty pageant. Lingwood - electronics and aircraft parts. Monrovia - electronics and food processing plants. Polmdale - Edwards Air Force Base. Pasadena - the famous Jet Propulsion laboratory, associated with the preparation of flights to the Moon, electronics. Pomona - missiles, aircraft parts. Santa Monica - RAND Corporation, aircraft factories, electronic laboratories and the annual Oscar Awards ceremonies for the best films, film directors, and actors.The main military forge of modern America has insured itself from different sides. Through the assembly lines of its military factories, Southern California is driving the Cold War and small wars, weapons for nuclear war, and space-age expeditions closely tied to the needs of "defense." By some estimates, sixty percent of the people employed in Southern California's manufacturing industry work in military plants.An ebullient, ultra-dynamic, super-American city, where people come for earnings and happiness, where the future appears in the form of self-sufficient speeds, where even a girl with viciously burning eyes, from a burlesque on La Cienega Boulevard, rotates her buttocks at a general mechanically detached pace - this Los -Angeles makes you think hard about the complex metamorphoses of the century. The traditional image of death - a bony old woman with a scythe - belongs more to the times of the Franciscan monk Crespi, and does not fit in with the sharp edges of modernist buildings, with the rapid concrete rivers of freeways. And of course, American wealth does not come solely from the lucrative arms race. But the main undeniable background of the post-war economic miracle of Los Angeles is the business of war, work for the old woman-death. High average income per capita, how much from contracts with bony? Tens of thousands of home swimming pools sharing swimming pools and even more private yachts - how many are subsidized by the crops of death in the hills of Korea, in the jungles of Vietnam?The world is like a manufacturing plant. At one end, a miserable bowl of rice is knocked out of a person's hands, and at the other, a beautiful house is sold in installments for another person, and both, perhaps, are really innocent, both victims, only one victim is unhappy, and the other is happy. Who should I ask? It's easier to ask an individual Shylock. And when is Shylock impersonally collective - an empire, a system?Mary McCarthy, a famous writer and critic, cites the following episode in her book of essays and essays on Vietnam:"When I was flying to Gue on a big C-130, I heard the pilot and co-pilot discussing their personal goals in this war, and they were to go into the real estate business in Vietnam as soon as the war was over. With an eye on the Viet Cong, they weighed different options and decided that Nga Trang, where there were "beautiful sandy beaches," suited them better than Cam Ranh Bay, which was a "desert." They disagreed on where to make more money: the pilot wanted to build a first-class hotel and villas for sale, and the co-pilot believed that the future lay in cheap residential buildings. For me this conversation was like a hallucination, but the next day in Guay I met a colonel of the Marine Corps. After fighting the Japanese, he made money from land projects in Okinawa and invested the profits in importing frozen shrimp from Japan, which he supplied to restaurants in San Diego. War, this cheap form of mass tourism, opens up business opportunities for them."By coincidence, symbolic but not accidental, all of these writer's companions turned out to be Californians.Sequoia National Park. Reddish-red columns of giant sequoias. Their greenness is above, in the sky. Below, on the human level, they are naked and clean, shining reddishly in the sun, as if some benevolent beings had propped up these tree columns with their mops before handing them over as worthy exhibits to the world exhibition of earthly beauty.The sun, as in a temple, filters its scattered rays. Rising above the ferns are two dead redwoods. Once upon a time they fell backwards into this chasm and, having broken, lie next to the living. They are gray, ashy, layered. Their roots stick out above the ground like the nozzles of ancient, defeated rockets. Such roots are brought by sequoias from the past and from our day they will be carried into the future. Without leaving the ground, these rockets of the Sierra Nevada Mountains move through time. How many have they counted, how many annual rings have they made on the reddish-purple wood under this deceptively rotten bark that rubs in your fingers?Behind the fence is "the largest living plant on earth" - a sequoia named after General Sherman. Wooden tablet with numbers: age - 2000-3500 years, weight - 1319 tons, height - 272.4 feet, circumference at the bottom - 101.6 feet, diameter - 36.5 feet, diameter of the largest branch - 6.8 feet, height to the first large branch - 130 feet, trunk volume - 50,010 square feet.The veins of the roots, which had been clinging to the ground for thousands of years, swelled. How many years will they still remember General Sherman, the leader of the northerners in the war with the southerners? And won't the descendants rename the sequoia, having acquired new glorious heroes?..Yosemite National Park. The Big Three Lodge Hotel is in the southern part, near the Mariposa Grove. This is also not an ordinary grove, but a sequoia grove, and the Americans, with ironic warmth establishing relationships with the giants, nicknamed them "big trees."Cafeteria tables under the shade of redwood trees. On a sunny day, we can't stop looking at the red trunks of sequoias, at their younger sisters, not so stocky, but powerful and slender "sugar pines" with beautiful, scaly bark, like a snake's. Happy to have escaped from crazy Los Angeles to this majestic paradise.Sequoias are like aliens from another world. None of us have seen this world, everything that was in their youth has faded away, only mountains and rivers and the mother earth itself have remained. Their peers of other breeds disappeared into the ground a long time ago. And they, lonely and alienated, carry themselves among new and new generations, who know how to hear, saying wisely and simply: "Well, let's wait and see..." And this touch of the millennia seems to heal. Helps to more accurately determine the meagerly measured eyelid...We drive around the park, looking around, among the pines, for sequoia trunks and rejoicing that we recognize them without even looking at the sky.According to our understanding, this is not a park, but a large reserve with an area of 1200 square miles on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.Sunday. Yosemite has many motorist visitors. Guidebooks advise speeding no more than forty-five miles per hour and allowing at least an hour for every thirty miles of road.Of the one and a half million Americans who come to Yoseshchi every year, almost all are transit travelers for a day or two. "On road trips, remember to occasionally get out of the car and walk under the trees and to the waterfalls, peer into the rocks and meadows - this will be the greatest reward of your trip."And people dismount, go to the observation platforms, so that, realizing the powerlessness of cameras and movie cameras, they become silent, leaning on the iron handrails, and from a kilometer height take in the bowl of the Yosemite Valley - forests, and roads, buildings, blue mirrors of swimming pools and the distant merged the roar of waterfalls, falling in shiny ribbons from the rocks, and the granite rocks themselves, ringing the valley.The rocks are even more regal when you go down the highway into the valley, and the ribbons of waterfalls, motionless from afar, are already flying white hairs, and the rainbow stands right next to the ground, within your reach.A hundred years ago, John Muir, the famous naturalist and conservationist, wrote to his friend the poet Emerson: "I invite you to pray with me to Nature in the high temples of the great Sierra that rises above our holy Yosemite. It will not cost you anything except time, and it will take very little time, because you will be close to Eternity." 67-year-old Emerson, heeding the pathetic invitation, visited Yosemite. "In Yosemite, the majesty of the mountains seems to have no equal in the world," he wrote in his diary, "for they bare themselves like athletes in a competition, and stand perpendicular with granite "walls to their full height with the snow caps of freedom on their heads."The rocks have remained the same, and for more than a hundred years redwood trees have not been cut down in Yosemite. Freed from human encroachment, large trees can rely on their unrivaled vitality - immunity from pests provided by the rich tonin content of the wood, and fire resistance provided by bark with the heat-resistant properties of asbestos.Sequoias are a rare gift, nature gave it only to California. The "monarchs of the forest," which make even the baobabs look like teenagers, are scattered singly and in groves in Central California, along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada at an altitude of four to eight thousand feet. Every year in February - March, when there is still snow in the mountains, bright yellow flowers bloom in the sky and millions of seeds fall to the ground in small cones. Each seed, scientists say, has less than a one-in-a-billion chance of growing into a giant.Giant sequoias have only one worthy rival - "redwood trees", which also grow in California, are also long-lived and also from the sequoia breed. They are inferior to giant sequoias in volume, but not in majestic beauty, and are even superior in height. The tallest tree on earth is the "mahogany tree". It was called the "tree of the Founding Fathers" (authors of the Declaration of Independence). It is 364 feet tall and grows in California's Humboldt Park. Unlike giant sequoias, redwoods are found in Northern California along the Pacific coast.Sequoias are protected and owned by the state, behind the cordons of national parks, just like the geysers of Yellowstone, lakes in the Grand Teton Mountains, the Colorado Valley of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls. In America there are more than a dozen national parks and state parks - protected principalities of nature, open to everyone for a small entrance fee or free of charge, dissected by good roads and hiking trails, with hotels, campsites, and picnic tables. nicks, restaurants, cafeterias, garbage cans near each stop site, with toilets, souvenir shops, zines selling photo albums and slides, with gas stations and even paper bags for garbage, which are given to motorists at the entrance to the park. And even with tame bears that go out onto the highway towards cars, for example in Yellowstone Park.These nature reserves are the undisputed pride of America and Americans. They seem to peer into the face of the land where the pioneers came, into the remnants of virgin nature, which people so difficultly, and sometimes ungratefully, transformed. There, America even rejects itself: competition and commercial advertising in the parks have been abolished, visitor services - hotels, restaurants, gas stations - have been given over to concessionaire corporations. they are controlled by the National Park Service, subordinate to the Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the conservation of natural resources in the United States.Enthusiasts of Yosemite Park consider it to be the first in the country in terms of its creation. They date back to June 29, 1864, when, under a bill signed by President Lincoln, the state of California received a certain amount of money to preserve the "undisturbed" beauty of Yosemite Valley. The official pedigree of national parks dates back to 1872. Then the US Congress placed the geysers, canyons, forests and rocks of Yellowstone (on the border of Montana and Wyoming) under federal trust as "a public park... for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." This action was preceded by a long struggle, which in a certain sense continues to this day; after all, they have never talked so much about violence against nature and the fact that it is increasingly taking revenge. Many congressmen then voted against the Yellowstone bill, finding it a "luxury" and declaring that it was not the government's job to "guard wild animals."The "white man" saw Yosemite Valley for the first time in the fifties of the last century, when, scouring the California mountains during the "gold rush", he burst into this sacred land of the Indians. He gave the place a name from the Indian word "u-zu-ma-te" (grizzly bear) and destroyed the silence temporarily, and the Indians forever. The first businessmen in these places did a shameless business in sequoias, and two of them went down in history by the fact that in 1853 they felled the "mother of the forest" - a hundred-meter sequoia twenty meters wide at the base, cleared the trunk of bark, cut a log of forty meters and transported it to show around the world for money - first in the cities of the Atlantic coast of the United States, and then overseas, to the once famous Crystal Palace in London. No one believed that a mass of wood the size of a five-story building across was a piece of a single tree. The companions were considered swindlers. To the credit of enlightened Americans of the time, this attraction sparked protests and calls for the creation of a society to "protect trees from cruelty." The vandalism gave birth to a movement to save the big trees, and ten years later it won its first significant victory.In Yosemite Park, the many faces of California turned to us with a beautiful face.But we are also transit travelers. On Monday, the park and our Big Three Lodge hotel were empty, the birds were singing to themselves, and already in the desert, the columns of sequoias and "sugar pines" were glowing reddishly and mysteriously from the first rays of the sun. We took a walk. Not far from the hotel we found our own gorge, not indicated in the guidebooks, from where coniferous trees stretched towards us in peaks. We sat in the sun and talked about how we would like national parks like this, with excellent roads, hotels and services in the midst of undisturbed beauty.And off we go. Suitcases in the trunk, Vasya is driving again, Tanya is behind, and I am next to the driver, navigator; In this highway-strewn land, we can travel only in corridors authorized by the State Department, and I have in my hands a Rand McNally road atlas and maps of California, which are free at every gas station.Washington officials are far away, the mountain roads are deserted on Monday, and yet it is necessary to follow the agreement and make pretzels tens of miles around closed areas. And thank, if you like, the same State Department, because, having closed our direct route to San Francisco along the Pacific coast, it doubled our mileage, but added the temptation to visit Yosemite Park, and we made a gratifying four-hundred-mile dash to the redwoods.Now another three hundred miles from morning to early evening - saying goodbye to the mountains, a fertile valley around the city of Fresno, then a scorched, dull plateau, gray ribbons of roads, swinging oil pumps nearby and on the horizon and the sun, which became hot and merciless over the desert of the Gabilan Mountains. The distance, as always, turns out to be longer than when estimated on the map. We check road numbers, rack up miles, not impressions, leaving behind such broad topics as California agriculture and industry, farmers, winemakers, Mexican sharecroppers, etc. Lost in the desert, an involuntary fear of getting lost, although how to get lost on numbered roads roads, up and down the hills, the sun stinging through the windshield, hot seats and at noon the sleepy boredom of an unknown King City where a dash along Interstate 101 to Carmel, where we stop for another day and a half.Carmel - five thousand inhabitants, a small town on the ocean, 130 miles south of San Francisco. Another surprise, a charm, a lyrical interlude between California's two main cities. Another place where guilt and awkwardness are usually mixed with joy - I watched it myself and enjoyed it, but my wife and children were locked in a stone sack in Manhattan, relatives and friends did not see this beauty.We quietly rolled down Ocean Avenue, and there it was, the ocean with all its vastness, slightly limited by two capes and brownish barriers of algae floating half a kilometer from the shore.We hurried to the beach, the sand was clean and soft, but the water was cold and scalding-the Pacific Ocean is no joke even in late spring. Two Amazons galloped along the sand, close to the water. The grace of youth, the agility of horses and the caress of an ocean wave, ready to roll up to the hooves and splash the laughing girls' faces with splashes.The ocean worked, sighing with its eternal wave, making noise with that noise that does not disturb the silence.The ocean united, and you are no longer a Russian in a distant country, but a man among people and near the elements.The ocean ennobled everything: what beautiful, pretty, graceful people there were all around. A young bearded man in heavy hiking boots came, threw himself on the sand, spread his arms and calmed down, looking into the sky, like a prodigal son at the ceiling of his newly found parental home.Evening ritual of Carmel: people gather and gather to say goodbye to the sun. Hanging over the ocean, it blinds the eyes with its last rays. Lower and lower to the water, it sinks - a melting burning piece of gold above the darkening surface of the water.At night the beach is dark and empty. A young couple wanders to the car. The ocean works alone. A white wave hits the shore in the dark. The sand is vaguely white, and against its background we can barely make out we are sitting on a bench, looking at the waves and the stars appearing in silence over the ocean. And along with them in the darkness, memories of youth about places far from the ocean appear in the memory... "Listen: if the stars light up, does that mean someone needs it?" ..."Carmel is a state of mind," Mr. Plaxton explains to us. Philosophizing is unexpected from the mouth of the mayor's financial clerk, but Mr. Plaxton does not look like an ordinary clerk.- How else can I help you? - he says. "It's somehow inconvenient for me to part with you guys." It's a pity that you have so little time, otherwise you would have a barbecue on your veranda...Barbecue is home hospitality at the level of shashlik, fried bones soaked in hot spices. Mr. Plaxton, an elderly man with a gray mustache, is full of goodwill and inner contentment. He admits with a grin that, according to generally accepted categories, he is one of the losers: he was a plumber, a sales agent, and now a humble clerk. Not rich. "Is money the most important thing?" - in the mouth of an American, this is a revolutionary discovery. He put the state of mind above the material state and found himself in Carmel, where, according to Mr. Plaxton, there is no regulation, that is, that rigid action of the social mechanism which, despite all the diversity of America, inexorably drives the American to that and only that shelf where expects him to be in accordance with the size of his bank account, the club to which he belongs, the block where he lives, the make of the car, the value of the house, etc., etc. In Carmel, Mr. Plaxton slipped out of the clutches of regulation. Just a clerk, he belongs to the same club with retired generals and big businessmen. Isn't that enough? A lot for Mr. Plaxton.I'm wandering around Carmel. Yes, this is a state of mind. The comfort of one- and two-story houses, elegantly decorated shops, tiny art galleries where the creations of local and non-local artists are put up for sale. The streets are not shy about looking like cute nooks and crannies, and in some places the sidewalks have been bent to save the pine trees. Neon advertising is banned by the municipality, there are not even street lights, and gas stations are hidden under tiled roofs.It's good here for a person who is tired of the drying functionality of big cities with their dominance of the car. Carmel is indeed not for cars, but for people, a rebuttal to Los Angeles, albeit an unconvincing one when you compare their size. It's an envious look back at old Europe and an attempt to escape standard America. Where is the truth? When acquiring something important and necessary, a person always loses something, and often something also important and necessary. So is salvation really that another generation comes and simply does not know what is lost?The history here also began with the Spaniards, with the same expedition of Gaspar de Portola, Columbus of California in 1770 - the first Carmelite mission on the southeastern outskirts of the current town. Its founder, Father Serra, now lies in the old basilica, next to Juan Crespi, the progenitor of Los Angeles. The Anglo-Saxons came here later than the Spaniards - not as crusaders, farmers and land traders.But the current face of Carmel was determined by one tragic event - the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Left homeless, a group of artists, artists and musicians moved here. It was they who decided, as the city's official historical certificate says, "to preserve the natural beauty and rare charm of the settlement in the forest above the white sandy beach." A library, an arts club, and a theater appeared in the town, pine and cedar trees were planted along the shore, and in parallel there were "fierce battles between the cultural and business groups of the population." In 1922, residents created the city's first planning commission, charging it with keeping Carmel out of "undesirable commercial developments." Perhaps the main milestone was the invitation of a professional urban planner, who, saving the city from the hegemony of the car, moved the through highway beyond its boundaries. Businessmen then rebelled, overthrew the city council, demanded that the road go right through the city, but in spite of them, a city law was passed in 1929, declaring that commercial interests would "forever" be subordinated to the interests of residents.Thus Carmel protected his charm from the "destructive forces of progress," which is treated here with irony and horror, because businessmen, having monopolized this word, made it just a synonym for profit at any cost. The residents of Carmel, the city certificate proudly declares, "dare to be different."Lovely Torres Avenue, flowers under the windows of the Rosita Lodge Hotel, outside the door of the room your personal pine tree darkens against the blue sky. Bob Martin, the hotel owner and an excellent hunter, sitting in a chair under the bronze figurines with rifles - all his prizes, smiles and says:- Good morning! Looks like we're in for another great day?Yes, there will be another wonderful day. You look forward to walks along Ocean Avenue and side streets, conversations with people who have a Carmel state of mind, a trip to the paid Del Monte Park, where there are golf courses, a deserted shore, picturesque cliffs on which waves crash, a rookery of sea lions sunbathing in the sun. and lazily wondering if a person had come too close to them, and in the evening - the French Poodle restaurant, where Bob Martin, leafing through the filed menus of fifty-three Carmel catering outlets, smacked his lips - "chicken in wine will take you to seventh heaven.""You don't have to read the newspaper while drinking your morning coffee or tune in to the radio for the next shock injection... You don't have to rush to work in a crowded, foul-smelling subway, hang on the phone all day, run into picket lines or police throwing tear gas bombs into a panic-stricken crowd. It is not necessary to buy a TV for children. Life here can go on as usual, free from so many of the anxieties that the rest of America is without." This is said by one writer about Big Sur, another lovely place on the ocean, thirty miles to the south, but these words can be fully applied to Carmel.Carmel ran away from America, but America clings to him because he dared to be different. Bob Martin says that during the season, from June to October, it is dark with tourists: cars, bumper to bumper, from the through road No. 1 down to the beach, and the same mile and a half long line back. They will look at the cozy town, sigh or marvel, and return to the standard country. Seventy to eighty thousand cars pass by every day. And from the cars, dollar after dollar ends up in Carmel: in restaurants, in fifty motels and hotels and in hundreds of other small establishments. The city makes money on uniqueness.Mr. Plaxton, saying goodbye to us on the steps of the city hall, waves his hand towards Del Monte Park:  We have our own clique of "merciful barons" there on the peninsula. They don't let outsiders in...Fame is growing, land and real estate are becoming more expensive. Artists and writers are local exotica. Their percentage is negligible. About a quarter of the residents are retired military personnel. Together with elderly businessmen who have retired, this is almost half the population.At first I neglected the figure about the layer of military retirees. But then in Montreux, a standard town, the center of the county in which Carmel lies, we stocked up on some brochures at the Chamber of Commerce. It turned out that in a sense, the Montreux Peninsula and the county of the same name are no less militarized than Los Angeles, adjusted, of course, for their size. On the peninsula adjacent to sea lions basking in the sun is Fort Ord, home to an infantry training center as well as a command experimental center. There is also a school for training naval officers, a military institute of foreign languages, a naval training airfield, and a coastal border guard outpost. If you add retired military personnel and their families, you get more than a third of the total population of Montreux County.Economic prosperity here is also associated with work for the war.For the last time I see the morning pines and the deep blue sky of Carmel, which retained the richness of the night. The morning shuffling of cars along the crooked streets, the heavy faces of people from sleep."Good morning," we hear from Mr. Martin. -It looks like we'll have another wonderful day.Yes, it will, but not for us. Freshly shaven and amiable, he takes our dollars and apologizes once again for offering rooms with sidewalk windows rather than the suites with loggias, fireplaces, and kitchens advertised on his business cards.- Come back!And we console him. Everything was lovely, Mr Martin. Everything was lovely, and it's a shame it was so short.And the Fury, with its owner at the wheel, takes us out onto Ocean Avenue and up onto Road No. 1, which Carmel did not allow into its borders. Advertising and road billboards flashed, the faceless boredom of the city of Montreux, killed by the dominance of motorways and gas stations. The sky has faded...From Carmel to San Francisco is about a two-hour drive, mostly along Interstate 101. This is a highway through a fertile valley, well known to drivers of huge trailers. The road, like a street, cuts into cities and towns. And again! Green fields and vineyards, reddish low mountains. Along the road there are signs: "Fruits - Vegetables", "Fresh Artichokes", "Peaches", "Wine Store, Tasting Room". California produces eighty percent of America's dry wines, and the best varieties come from vineyards near San Francisco.San Francisco is good when you fly in from New York, but now its green signs and the quickening rhythm of freeways flew towards you, like a lasso around the neck of a horse that had been pampered under Yosemite redwood trees and on the sand of Carmel beach."San Francisco is a city that everyone loves.""People love San Francisco because it's San Francisco." "People love San Francisco because it's easy to forget." This is a comic boast from an advertising brochure. These are what they provide to visiting journalists so that they don't reinvent the wheel. Every nation has its favorite cities, and I have yet to meet an American who didn't love San Francisco. They love San Francisco because it is San Francisco, and yet it boasts of itself as the Paris of the ocean," "Baghdad on the Bay," "the gateway to the East." The more immutable the standard, the more popular the exceptions and the stronger the American one - and only the American one? - passion for any exotic: your own, be it San Francisco or Carmel, or New Orleans with a French flavor, San Antonio and Santa Fe with a Mexican flavor; to someone else's - and hence the summer invasions of American tourists in Europe. A person reaches out to the unlike in order to renew his commitment to the familiar and familiar.Who hasn't heard of San Francisco? When I first got there with a friend at the end of April 1962, I was already ready to declare my love to him. It was evening; we took a taxi from the city airport terminal to the hotel in Union Square.- Where are you guys from? - asked us like old friendstaxi driver.- From New York.- Is it hot there?- When we left, it was cool. However, ten days passed.- Eh, brothers, it took you a long time to get there. Probably, we met cats along the way...Having checked into the hotel, we hurried out into the street. Dashing music and singing flew out of the open doors of the bar, and a barker in livery stood nearby. Let's go. The bar resembled a turn-of-the-century saloon, and the audience sang a jaunty old song in unison. A broken-looking guy in a hat was sitting at the piano, and a mandolin player was sitting on the piano. The ad recommended the mandolinist as "our music professor who plays whatever you want"...The first acquaintance confirmed the charm of San Francisco. The magic lies in the interplay between the forty steep hills on which the city stands and the mass of water. Cars storm the slopes like climbers: what's behind the ridge? And you fly to the top, and there it is, another panoramic view of the city and the ocean. The spatial power of the ocean, the element in its most heroic manifestation, enters the human settlement. The ocean does not bring stifling humidity, like the Atlantic in New York, but freshness and a good measure of coolness.The ocean exhales, and the bright red farms of the famous San Francisco "Golden Gate" are already shrouded in a damp cloud.Nature tempts man to become equal to it. The Golden Gate Bridge across the throat of the Gulf proves that man has not shied away from this challenge. Almost one and a half kilometers of the central span hang on support towers that rise two hundred and fifty meters above the water level. Vessels up to more than seventy meters high can pass under this bridge, and more than twenty million cars cross the bridge every year. Another, multi-span bridge across the bay, from San Francisco to Oakland, stretches thirty kilometers and carries about fifty million vehicles a year on its two tiers.Then, on our first visit to San Francisco, we were received well. The interlocutors valued the reputation of a cosmopolitan city, which is not a stranger to foreigners, which has digested many of them in its cauldron (in San Francisco, as you know, tens of thousands of Italians, Mexicans, Canadians, Russians, fifty thousand Chinese - the Chinatown there is considered the largest Chinese settlement outside Asia) and instilled a broad-mindedness characteristic of the inhabitants of port cities, where tolerance is simply dictated by the laws of commercial communication.Young scientist Don Rea took us to the Muir Forest to visit the younger sisters of the giant sequoias, telling along the way his story of a former Canadian who became an American citizen: he liked San Francisco, where there were more opportunities for scientific work. Another volunteer guide took a tour boat around the bay to the prison island of Alcatraz. Under the blue sky, among the water glistening in the sun, the walls and buildings of the famous prison rose gloomily, and the passengers, with the cruel curiosity of onlookers, looked for prisoners with the eyepieces of their binoculars. Stationary heavy binoculars mounted on metal posts on the shore opposite the island also made it possible for those wishing to safely approach the prison before it was closed: it was difficult to escape from there, but perhaps the authorities realized that people were not put behind bars for the entertainment of careless tourists .Of the conversations, the most memorable was the conversation for the first time in the house of a San Francisco doctor. Being an activist of the Council of International Affairs, he invited us to his place for lunch, and then, over coffee and liqueur, on the sofa and in the armchairs of a cozy living room, together with other guests, we all began to butcher the immense carcass of everyday experience and the philosophy that flows from it. The conversation suddenly turned into an argument.The owner and his friends, also doctors, discussed in front of us whether it was possible to forcibly sterilize women and men who do not have the means and opportunities to raise their children. I was then still a young man, unaccustomed to dispassionate intellectual debate. I was stunned by the topic itself and even more by the tone - calm, without emotion, it conveyed a sense of one's own right and superiority, and the superiority was that the participants in the conversation and their wives would not have to be sterilized, since when giving birth to children, they check with their family receipt and expense books. So what, the reader will say, we don't live in heaven and, as the comparative level of fertility proves, we compare better than the Americans. That's how it is, but what would it be like if someone checked for you, thinking that you couldn't really check yourself?Our interlocutors were concerned as doctors and as citizens. In San Francisco, there is a growing number of dysfunctional families in which they cannot properly support and raise their children. They are seen as a burden and a threat to society, since American civilization implies at least a minimum of humanity, a certain level of assistance to those in dire need, and the funds for this are provided by taxes, which have to be paid by more prosperous, wealthier citizens. Wouldn't it be better to sterilize the parents? Isn't it more rational? Isn't it more economical?Where do these children come from? The doctor who invited us explained that people are divided into classes, but not into those that we are used to seeing in a capitalist society. No, this division is observed according to the principle of the absence or presence of ambition, or rather, vitality, vitality. Below is a kind of genetically programmed abyss, peculiar screenings and scum, people who cannot, essentially, bear responsibility for themselves, and therefore society, represented by the middle and upper classes, must control them in its reasonably understood interests, must limit the possibilities of their self-reproduction , including the method of forced sterilization.There are, of course, real differences between people - moral, mental and physical potential, at the maximum ceiling of stupidity or genius. There is "inequality of development" - the strongest of inequalities, as Herzen noted, and it occurs not only due to the fault of objective circumstances, social environment, opportunities for development, but also "due to the fault" of nature. People are not the same and will be different, but what kind of society is this that naturally leads its members to conversations of the type that we heard in the drawing room of our kind host?I will return to this topic later, because on my new visit San Francisco prepared some arguments for that old dispute.As for that long-ago visit, on its last day we visited the then mayor of San Francisco, George Christfer. An American from the Greeks, he, it seems, had a spiritual weakness for his co-religionists, even if they had become atheists. His calls for good relations between the two countries on various occasions were heard quite often in those years. In a conversation with us, the mayor also lamented: "There is no progress in the science of understanding man by man." And he handed us personalized keys to the city. He probably gave out dozens, if not hundreds of them. However, attention is expensive.The key was made of gilded plywood. It read: "Please come back!"And I returned two years later, in July 1964, as a correspondent for the Republican National Convention, which met at the San Francisco Cow Palace to choose its presidential candidate. The choice fell on the far right. nator Barry Goldwater, who triumphantly won at the Cow Palace. But in November of that year, another man emerged victorious in the presidential election: Democrat Lyndon Johnson. A voter gives an extremist from Arizona a ride. And then he returned - at the end of May 1968 - I will determine exactly in time and in the political calendar.Carmel is far behind, and the Carmel state of mind is at the same speed as Federal 101. When entering San Francisco, road signs provide directions to motorists. I'm looking for acquaintances, and here's the right to remember the pointer to the Cow Palace - Cow Palace.Where are the old passions?Meanwhile, the carousel is spinning, and again it's an election year, but it's not San Francisco, but the resort Miami Beach that invited the Republican convention. The Democrats, having made a mess of the Vietnam escalations, helped the Republicans somehow hold together the party, demoralized by the crushing defeat of Goldwater. Johnson withdrew from the game, refusing to run for re-election, giving Republican opponents a new chance at the White House. But there is no longer any talk about Barry Goldwater. Others are on the Republican front, including Ronald Reagan, the former film actor and unlikely product of Hollywood unemployment. During the convention at the Cow Palace, Reagan was still playing the role of cowboys in movie stages, and now he is the governor of California. But the main Republican is Richard Nixon, also a Californian. He was beaten twice - by John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election and by Edmund Brown in the California gubernatorial election in 1962, and was completely written off more than once, but "unsinkable Dick" is again the favorite in the presidential race.Political passions have returned to California soil in just a taster, albeit an important one, with the upcoming June 4 primary election. Focus on two Democrats - Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy. As for the Republicans, Nixon considers it tactically unprofitable to challenge Reagan's influence in California.All this flashes through our minds as we pass under the green shield indicating the way to the Cow Palace. We don't want it!We don't need a palace, but a hotel and Mr. Lamb. Hotel and immediate telephone contact with Mr. Lamb, who has already prepared the program for our meetings today and is not accustomed to being late for meetings, must already be grumbling to himself about the Russian eccentrics who did not book a hotel in advance - an absurdity for a traveling American who gets the most out of the telephone, which in their country can be used to contact any city without hanging up, and from directories that indicate prices and hotel locations.Vasya prowled the streets of San Francisco in his Fury, and I, sitting next to him, leafed through the pages of the Hey-Hey-Hey guidebook, debating the names and prices of hotels. Unlike Los Angeles, which is open to us in parts and stripes, everyone's beloved San Francisco is open in its entirety, but the last lines of short information about its hotels turned us away from the temptations of bourgeois fashion, from solariums on the roofs and high-rise life on sophisticated Nob Hill . The last lines were full of the well-known dollar signs with which cartoonists mark the sides, backs, cuffs and top hats of American moneybags. The prices did not fit into our estimates. We rejected hotel after hotel until we reached the Governor. Aurally? It sounds. Place? "In the heart of San Francisco." Price? Also suitable. "The finest well-located hotel in San Francisco."And we chose "the finest" - a brick structure on the corner of Turkey and Jones streets. The carpet in the hall, of course, did not have spring under the sole, and the chairs were only leather-like. But at the reception desk, as a promise of the diverse and accessible joys of San Francisco, there were piles of colorful booklets. "Have fun!" urged one, offering nightly nightclub tours under the tried-and-true guidance of Holiday Tours, "including cover charges, refreshments, transportation, taxes and gratuities." Jackets and ties were recommended for gentlemen, even single ladies were accepted, and only minors were left out.Having a car was more difficult; the modest hotel did not have its own parking lot, and San Francisco was not Carmel; Leaving a car on the street in the wrong place and at the wrong time could result in a fine. But there is always paid parking nearby in an American city, and we found one in Turkey Street, unloaded, went up to our rooms, praised them, and hurried down to meet Mr. Richard Lamb.Twenty-three years ago, the American Richard Lamb came to San Francisco, and at the same time you came to Moscow, and all this time you freely managed without each other, unaware of each other's existence, and suddenly fate brought you together, and in... One fine afternoon, by the magic of an order transmitted by teletype from New York from the editor of Business Week, an elderly gentleman in a light brown suit appears, stopping his car near the visor of the Governor, and now he pushes the door opener with his hand and looks for two strangers with his eyes.- Mr. Lamb?- Mr. Gromeka?- And this is Mr. Kondrashov.- It's a pleasure, Mr. Kondrashov.- I'm very glad, Mr. Lamb.It's finished. Mr. Lamb materialized, and together we go to his car. You may not know the wife and children of an American, his friends or parents, his home and boss, but if he has ever picked you up at a hotel in his city, you will know his metal girlfriend on four wheels, for it is not for nothing that they say about the American that he is married to a car and, of course, they are more inseparable than husband and wife. Three clicks of well-adjusted doors, and poor Tanya is again alone in an unfamiliar city, and we are busy people again - where are Yosemite and Carmel? - and along the tangle of streets, along the lower tier of the Oakland Bridge - the ripples of the bay on the sides, and cars even overhead, on the upper tier - we are going to Berkeley, to the University of California, to a meeting with two professors and one dean.Richard Lamb did not become Dick for us, as his former student Tom Self became Tom. He remained Mr. Lamb - reserved, dry; more of a businessman than a journalist. And very neat - from the important, small gait to the hat that preserves the careful parting on the head, and the manner of speaking, as if tasting every word."There are different attitudes towards your country, different - from love to hatred," he slowly pronounces.And after carefully chewing his lips, making sure that the words were not too offensive, but also not evasive, he adds:"I'll tell you frankly that communism is not my concept of happiness, although perhaps I don't know enough about communism. As for peace issues, of course, I am for peace. I will not hide, I had suspicions about your country and they did not completely disappear...Mr. Lamb is a country gentleman. A rare fact for people in his circle: he has never been abroad, except for Canada and Mexico, but what kind of foreign country is this for an American? Two adult children, grandchildren already gone. Lives a few dozen miles south of San Francisco, near Stanford University. Typical hassles associated with a car. He travels to his San Francisco office by train, because traveling by car means traffic jams and nerves. Looking at the long line of cars running across the Oakland Bridge, Mr. Lamb says it would be nice to take away cars from Americans and create a developed system of cheap public transport in return. And another common concern is blacks. Like a state of mind, like anxiety, like guilt.  - Why hide it, I live like few others. Material acquisitions. House. Car. Dear wife. Dear children. Even if I don't feel the Negro problem here - hand on heart, chewing lips - I, how can I put it, understand them - both the fact that they have been oppressed for so long, and the fact that now they threaten my position.Here is Mr. Lamb - in the circle of the chosen, knowing his social opponents, with a humanism identical to self-preservation.And I also read resentment in his eyes behind his glasses and in his saggy, senile cheeks. A momentary resentment - against us and against the situation that connected Mr. Lamb with us. He gave us the price in the lobby of the Governor Hotel, at that moment when, for a short two days, we appeared in front of each other from oblivion. I realized this when his gaze ran over Vasya's wild curls, which are simply biologically incompatible with the usual appearance of an American business man, and also over our expensively wrinkled trousers - oh, the revealing national habit of allowing yourself unironed trousers! And along the lobby of the Governor Hotel. Most excellent? Mr. Lamb, an old resident of San Francisco, did not know this hotel and did not want to know, which he immediately gave us a feel for. He winced with disgust when he saw the nakedness of the very modest "Governor", covered with fig leaves of advertising brochures. And it was then that I read the offense in his eyes and his quivering, saggy cheeks. The almost childish resentment of a respectable elderly man, who, for the sake of some kind of fashion for international communication, is ordered to become a guide and almost an errand boy for two relatively young eccentrics in rumpled trousers, who came from a foreign, incomprehensible country.We unwittingly added insult to injury because our first meeting booked at Berkeley was with two English professors specializing in management systems. Two foreigners, having arrived in San Francisco, force an old-timer there to take them on a date with two more foreigners. Agree, not very polite. But the gentlemen did not show any indignation, and Mr. Lamb, putting his hat on the table, silently sat out our conversation with the English on the sun-drenched veranda of the professor's cafeteria. And a day later he arranged for us to meet with two senior economists from Bank of America. Provided some reference literature. And, having politely said goodbye, he made it clear that friendship was out of the question and that he was again choosing non-existence, having ceased to exist for us. And he went to Stanford for the weekend.We stayed at the "Governor".The hotel is perfectly located - no, its advertising is lying. Everything is at hand. The municipal center includes City Hall, where the city government resides, with administrative buildings for various departments and services of the state of California and the federal government, with a public library and a meeting and convention hall, with an opera house and an art museum. A two-minute walk from Market Street, the main thoroughfare that cuts through San Francisco from southwest to northeast. It was all opened up, in the chaos of destruction and creation, in wooden walkways across the dug-up pavement - a subway was being built that would pass under the bottom of the bay to Auckland.Nearby is the station of the most famous Greyhound bus company and the city air terminal with express trains leaving for the international airport.And the eternal bustle of Union Square with hairy hippies, debating circles and preachers preaching from folding chairs and granite barriers next to the fashionable St. Francis Hotel.And, if you want, it's not a task to get to Dolores Street, where among the modern houses and houses, an adobe church neatly whitens like an old man. Having passed through it, you find yourself on a patch of cemetery-museum. Among the flowers and trees, mossy tombstones are relics of San Francisco. The city began counting its days on October 9, 1776 with the Franciscan mission of Dolores. It was founded seven years after the expedition of Gaspar de Portola saw a bay so beautiful and majestic that it was christened after St. Francis.On the very first evening, after walking three blocks, we came to the beginning of Powell Street, to the turning circle of the famous San Francisco cable tram, and in a carriage made of old varnished wood we were immediately imbued with that spirit of teamwork and adventure, which, apparently, preserves this a San Francisco curiosity.But in the immediate vicinity of the hotel there were some attractions not named on the "Welcome Card" of San Francisco.After walking around the immediate area, I realized why Mr. Lamb winced as if he had been stuck with his nose in sewage. Streets, like people, have their own social status. with some skill you can look at it quickly. There was an "Arab Club" on Turkey Street next to the hotel, and Arabs in America settle down in cheaper places. A little further away we found a "tattoo studio" with dusty windows. A cinema where a film "for men only" was shown. The Sound of Music bar did not have an advertising window facing the street, which proved that they were not counting on random passers-by. Decorative streams of water flowed down the wall that separated the lobby slightly from the shopping area. We stopped by. Dark and quiet. Behind the counter, in pairs, cooing with each other, only men - nothing less than homosexuals.On Jones Street, in the lobbies of cheap almshouses, lonely old men sat indifferently and silently in armchairs, looking through the windows onto the street. And here is the "Women's Hotel" - a haven for lonely old women.In the cafeteria of our hotel, the waiters were Filipinos, the gatekeeper, who was also a porter, looked Mexican, the kiosk man on the corner was one-armed - something you wouldn't imagine at the St. Francis Hotel. And along the sidewalk in an abnormally increased proportion walked people in frayed clothes and with the living decaying faces of alcoholics and outcasts, submissive inhabitants of the bottom, not rowdy and not rowdy in public places. Their faces, like the surrounding establishments, revealed the simple secrets of a region in which a complexly managed life compressed poverty, old age, loss, failure, and vice.The Governor Hotel "loomed over this microdistrict like an oasis. He still remained on the surface and on the pages of the directory Hey-ey-ey, which certified his belonging to decent America, but his days were obviously numbered - he would be removed from these pages, expelled from this America.Looking out the window at twelve o'clock at night, I mentally gasped. No, I didn't have to stop in such places. Just below the window on Jones Street, between the corner store and the Club 219 bar, women of more than dubious behavior strolled. The men, approaching them, took a closer look at their merits and inquired about something, obviously about the price. The girls were white and black, and I did not notice any racial hostility, although each took its own separate position near the "Club 219" and on the corner by the store. I realized that Club 219 is one of the local joints, the San Francisco night market...And in the morning there is an empty sidewalk and no night trade. But in the bar, with its smeared counter and tattered stool seats, there is the undissipated stench of cheap vice and a huge semi-pornographic picture on the wall.In San Francisco, a city of all trades, they invented their own version of striptease - the so-called topless. In night, and also in daytime, establishments of a certain kind, not only dancers, but also waitresses at the tables work naked to the waist, "without a top" - in the sense of clothing. The first "topless" establishments established themselves through scandals and despite the attempts of the authorities to put an end to the new encroachment on public morality. Experimental restaurateurs were deprived. trade licenses, but private initiative made its way and won here too, and loud scandals in the Newspapers came in handy, providing useful publicity for the innovation that took root in other cities.You could admire the topless girls even during the day during lunch break. But a steak served by a topless young waitress naturally increased in price.At the bar we went to on Powell Street, the topless girls were justifying the markup not on the steak, but on the beer. On a small stage, a young black woman danced, shifting from foot to foot, waving her ugly breasts. She worked-a word that perfectly suited what she was doing-without enthusiasm, to music from the jukebox. Having sat down at the counter and looking sideways at the black woman, we did not immediately notice another stage - on the right, at the very entrance. A very young blonde worked there, reluctantly shifting from foot to foot. There were only five people sitting at the counter, including two more girls who, having thrown off their dresses, then climbed onto the stage - their turn came.The business was organized economically (jukebox instead of jazz) and rationally, in compliance with the famous principle of equal opportunity: the dancers changed, . so that the client can get a better look at them from any place.When the music box fell silent, changing the record, the girls covered their bare breasts with their hands. With music it was work, without music it was indecent nudity. The black woman was replaced by a middle-aged white lady, heavyset, like a sea lion on the coastal rocks of Carmel. The first two, having dressed, sat at the bar, smoking cigarettes, like workers on a smoke break. It is unlikely that the craft did not touch their souls, but there is also a psychological barrier - this is a job that is not as decent, but almost as legitimate as the work of secretaries or fashion models. Among the dancers are students, and some are married. Like any consumer goods, "topless" went on stream. Conveyor sales of sex, as affordable as Woolworth's dime stores.We are back in Berkeley, without Mr. Lamb and the two Englishmen, secretly complaining about American life, but finding better use for their talents in it than at home. Let's get our bearings on the map. Berkeley is a city of about one hundred and fifty thousand, on the bay, part of Greater San Francisco. but when they talk about Berkeley, they usually mean the university located there near the picturesque hills, or rather, part of the University of California. I walk around this university, Berkeley, with a map. You'll get lost there without it. The University of California, which has grown enormously in the last decade, is geographically dispersed throughout the state and consists of nine campuses-university towns that enroll nearly one hundred thousand students. Berkeley, the largest and most famous of the campuses, has about thirty thousand.On the other hand, Berkeley is a highly respected institution. What other university in the United States, or perhaps in the whole world, has nine Nobel Prize laureates among its professors?! (There were thirty of them in the entire University of California.)  On the other hand, more than professors, Berkeley is known for its politically active student body. In this sense, he has truly worldwide fame. It was there in 1964, when talk about the "silent generation" had not yet ceased, that the free speech movement began - for freedom of speech - the predecessor and herald of the student unrest of the late 60s, which swept campuses throughout the country. Berkeley students were the first to demand that they be given a say in the development of the educational process, the first to protest against its standardization and impersonality, against the fact that specialists with higher education were manufactured in the same way as Chevrolets or Fords on Detroit assembly lines. Clark Kerr, the former provost of Berkeley, called American universities "factories in the knowledge industry." He seemed too conservative for the students who targeted him, but Ronald Reagan, having become governor of the University of California in 1966, scandalously expelled Clark Kerr as a liberal who could not cope with the rioters.Then the student protest was filled with specific political content - against the Vietnam War and the connections of universities with the Pentagon, against discrimination against blacks. Again and again there were reports from Berkeley about student occupations of university halls, about protest marches to the naval base in nearby Oakland, which Jack London once described and where his photographs are still displayed in port restaurants. Now the police are a frequent visitor to the campus and, without a map, can easily navigate among the dozens of campus buildings.Berkeley is a whole world, a young tribe, unfamiliar and not fully aware of itself, but open and impetuously searching. It's nice to wander around there and stand and take a closer look. Students with books under their arms, with backpacks, on foot, or even on bicycles, move along the paths between the halls. Open shirts, sweaters, linen jeans. Many are barefoot. The youth, not tolerating the condescension of adults, is an embryo cramped in the womb of its mother - into whom will it straighten itself out?But in those days it was a quiet time in Berkeley, exam time, and I chose not the area in front of Sproul Hall, where passions usually boil, but Wurster Hall, where the College of Urban Planning is located.Professor William Wheaton, dean of the college, a prominent expert in his field, graduated from Princeton University and received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, and for ten years directed the Institute for the Study of Urban Problems at Penn. University, was director of the department of regional planning at Harvard University, an American representative on the UN Commission on Housing, Construction and Planning, an authoritative consultant to the State Department and a dozen different departments, committees, and groups related to the problems of American cities. From an office on the second floor of Wurster Hall, Professor Wheaton directed the largest college in the United States dedicated to the study of the "human environment" and the training of architects, planners, and economists. All these specialists are in one way or another trying to regulate human tangles in cities governed by the laws of private initiative.The professor is satisfied as a person who has elected to. in his youth, a rare and incomprehensible area of application of strength, and now, when the "crisis of big cities" has become perhaps the largest American crisis, he has convinced himself and others how correct his choice was."Gifted young people are increasingly drawn to the social sciences," he said. - The halo that surrounded physics, chemistry and other exact sciences in the first post-war years has disappeared.Puzzled by the dynamics of Los Angeles's urban sprawl as it faces the 21st century and the degree of human alienation on San Francisco's Turkey Street, I came to William Wheaton for answers to my perplexities. After all, he professionally monitors the pulsations of American cities. Los Angeles?  Planners view American cities as chaotic and dispersed. Architects find them aesthetically ugly. But astute economists see that they are productive, Its economic and Los Angeles is the most efficient of all. Its economic base is the aerospace industry, electronics and related scientific and industrial research. This business is dependent on government contracts, and the entire city seems to be balancing with them, constantly searching for a complex balance. Its skilled workforce has generally stable employment, although the location and even type of work may change for many people. A Los Angeles resident says, "I'm willing to spend 30-40 minutes driving to my place of work, but have a nice home and a good job." Unlike banking centers like New York and San Francisco, Los Angeles does not have to be compact.Acute urban problems?"We are behind on housing and government subsidies for low-income housing." In our cities, the situation with public transport is not good. And there are big problems in the development and planning of urban centers. Wealthy residents, as you know, are fleeing the center to the suburbs because cities are crowded, dirty and unsafe, and taxes are rising there, for example, to cover the cost of the police. But in the suburbs, those who have fled are beginning to groan under high local taxes to support schools, and in cities, the tax pressure is pressing harder on the poor as the stratum of rich and solvent people in the population decreases and has moved to the suburbs. It turns out that the progressive income tax levied by the federal government is essentially offset by regressive local taxes that hurt the poor much more than the rich.- Modern American cities are populated according to the principle of concentric diverging circles, and, contrary to... traditional concepts, the poor live in the very center, and it is rotting.San Francisco?"It's in San Francisco that these concentric circles can be clearly seen. As is the case in the Greater San Francisco area, which includes cities along the bay. Look at the map: San Francisco itself, across the bay - Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond. In this entire metropolis there are now 13-14 percent blacks. In Berkeley there are about 25 percent of them, in Oakland - almost every third resident. So, if you squeeze the bay, then again in the very center you will find the poorest residents, who settle closest to the shore.- Authorities began clearing the slums on Fulton Street.and other streets of the black area. But the operation was slowed down due to the racial situation. What should the residents do after this clearing? We have to take their protest into account. Now more effort is being spent on improving and renovating the area.- As you know, the problems with blacks are very acute. For example, the shipbuilding and manufacturing industries are moving from San Francisco proper to Richmond and Oakland. But what about the workers, mostly blacks, who were employed in the relocated factories? Or, the General Motors auto assembly plant was moved from Richmond to wealthy Fairmont. Some black workers promised to keep their jobs in the new place. But not all of them want to leave the ghetto, where they are surrounded by their own people. On the other hand, white residents of Fairmont do not want to be neighbors with blacks - because of racial prejudice, because of possible losses like the drop in land and house prices that usually occurs when an all-white area becomes mixed, because of additional taxes on schools .- And in the ghetto, some of the black leaders are against integration, seeing it as a betrayal of the race. To rise from the bottom - all together, not alone - this is the ideology growing in the ghetto, no longer liberal, but rather a type of Marxist...In passing, Dean Wheaton also criticized fellow Soviet planners he had met. at international conferences:"I told both yours and the Japanese: why do you refuse to look twenty years ahead, building houses that last forty years?" Why don't you create garages or open parking lots for cars? After all, a mass-produced car will certainly come to you...Of the wards of William Wheaton who annually receive master's degrees in urban planning from Berkeley, a third are foreigners. Of the foreigners, half, as a rule, settle in the States and do not return to their homeland.- Almost all of them remain Indians. Why? Yes, because here with such qualifications a decent job, decent earnings and a decent life await them. But in India they are faced with modest incomes, unhygienic food and, worst of all, a bureaucracy that is impossible to overcome. In addition, according to life expectancy statistics, he will die there in twenty years. In short, I decided not to accept Indian graduate students if they do not have guarantees of work in their home country in their specialty. I don't want to ruin this country at all...He grinned ironically, and I thought about the origins of American supermanship. Of course, William Wheaton is not able to ruin or not ruin India, but a certain channel of "brain drain" passes through his office - to America from many Western and "Third World" countries. And in his place he is free to open or close this channel. For people without a strong sense of homeland, with the views of individualists and bourgeois, America provides many attractions - in the form of high salaries, in the form of at least attractive political activity of young people on the Berkeley campus, the spectacle of freeways and a host of cars, wealth spewing from everywhere, so stunning for an Indian, let's say , a graduate student, that it obscures American poverty in his mind, especially since American poverty seems prosperous in comparison with Indian poverty, with people dying of starvation somewhere on the streets of Calcutta. America also attracts with its vast field of application of forces, advanced technical and scientific thought, and interest in new promising - and profitable - ideas. For this, of course, one must pay with a refusal of patriotic responsibility to one's people, moments of acute melancholy and years of difficult adaptation to someone else's life. Alas, there are people - and, judging by the statistics of the "brain drain", there are many of them - who are ready to pay this price for the right to get into the developed industrial society of the second half of the twentieth century alone, because they realized that they would not be able to get there with their country. They sell theirs. brains, enriching America and prolonging the backwardness of the people who gave them life.Professor Wheaton played the chaos of California like a familiar game of solitaire, and it was impressive. A critical look came later: the strategist regulated the elements primarily in his brain. City planners are only empowered to add touches to the kaleidoscopic picture that private initiative paints. The state of California, for example, does not have a central planning authority responsible for urban development. Wheaton's dreams are modest - to strengthen public control over urban planning, to give local authorities at least some levers of regulation. scale of expanding urban metropolises. He believes that the dynamics of progress are best ensured by private initiative, but at the same time he advocates elements of regulation with the help of government subsidies for housing, for schools, for the appropriate location of industries, which would soften the current confrontation between poverty and wealth and reduce stocks social dynamite in cities.In the evening I again pull back the curtain and from the eighth floor of the Governor Hotel I see short, flattened human figures, reduced to heads, shoulders and legs, to soldier's caps and boots, to the fluffy hairstyles and patent leather boots of prostitutes. The experience of overcoming human alienation and the formation of fragile molecules continues at Club 219. And I think: how long a chain must social medicines follow before they reach the street prostitute from professors?The boundaries of the ghetto are not demarcated, and the concentric circles bursting San Francisco with the force of internal tension do not have geometrically correct lines; William Wheaton simply has a craving for figurative formulas. House number 1360 on Turkey Street was quite decent and stood at the edge of the ghetto, and not at its seething epicenter. Carlton Goodlett worked in this house, the doctor's office testified to his profession as a physician, and the cramped editorial rooms indicated that he was the publisher and editor of the Sun Reporter, "the largest Negro newspaper in Northern California," with a circulation of ten thousand copies. In addition, Dr. Goodlett was a member of the World Peace Council and a leader of a local black organization affiliated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Martin Luther King.That Saturday, Dr. Gooddette had two responsibilities: chairing the Black Today symposium and organizing a boycott of the televised debate between Eugene McHarty and Robert Kennedy; In the morning, both senators flew, or, one might say, flew into San Francisco with their retinues, flashed through its streets like comets, showing themselves to voters, and at four in the afternoon they met each other for a half-hour television showdown in front of the entire American nation.Dr. Goodlett, as the reader has already guessed, was an American with black skin, and this determined his anger and sarcasm on Saturday morning, June 1, 1968: both senators hunted for the votes of blacks, did not skimp on words about their pitiful lot and promises of a better one, however Of the three correspondents who were supposed to ask questions to senators in a San Francisco television studio, not a single one was black. Once again, only whites will talk about blacks. Carlton Goodlett wanted to give both senators a hard time by setting up protesting black pickets outside the television studio.In the meantime, he shoved me into his nimble little car and, transferring some of his energy and anger to the accelerator pedal, rushed through the streets and freeways to Daly City, where the aforementioned "Black Today" symposium was taking place on the grounds of San Francisco College.In my hands I have the program of the symposium, on it there are typographically applied black smudges and blots - shapeless and chaotic, just as the self-awareness of the American Negro is chaotic now. I read in the program: "Black today is not the same - not the same as ten years ago, six months ago, not even the same as yesterday. What does it mean at this moment in history to think like a black, feel like a black, and be black? They believe that anyone can speak for black people. But now here are some of the most famous black thinkers in the country - theorists, teachers, students - and they speak for themselves. It's one big fist affirming today's blackness."There are more blacks than whites and adults than students in the room. These are not the black poor, but the intellectual elite, groping in different ways for bridges to the masses. Dr. Goodlett takes the chair. On the podium, Dr. Na tan Har is a handsome Negro with a courageous face, an American Negro in African attire falling from broad shoulders - and this is the challenge and the beginning of self-affirmation, a break with another America.The challenge is in speech too."I see a number of familiar faces here," he begins, looking around the room and filling his voice with undisguised hatred, the FBI, the CIA and the KKK (Ku Klux Klan)...A challenge in thought: Dr. Har divides blacks into blacks, that is, real ones, and "whites" - compromisers and servants of dominant white America who have betrayed their race.To think is to live. To think like a black person means to live like a black person, and most importantly, to act like a black person... As a child, my mother scared me: if you drink black coffee, you will become even blacker. This is how the black "I" is destroyed...Such words always evoke in me a mixed feeling of sympathy and irritation: they are super radical, but they are of no use, like spells. Verbal radicalism is just another form of hopelessness and hopelessness, just like black racism.Another speaker is Benny Stewart, leader of the college's Black Student Union.Black thinking, he emphasizes, must be specific, realistic and goal-oriented. Black thinking must be optimistic and constructive."If we want to destroy today's America, then we have to think: what will happen in its place?" If we want to destroy capitalism, then we need to think about what kind of system we will create...Dr. Goodlett disappears somewhere. Afraid of losing him, I also get up and leave the hall, feeling the eyes of the audience on me. Everyone here knows each other, but who is this white guy with the notebook? Is it one of those organizations that Dr. Har listed?In the corridor, black (Negro) literature is laid out on tables. In the new anthology of black poetry, there is a world of suffering, anger, passion.In the student cafeteria, I take a ham and cheese sandwich from a machine and a carton of orange juice from another.Then, about a year later, already in Moscow, the path between the Arts Auditorium, where the symposium was held, and the student cafeteria will emerge in my memory. I will see a photograph and in it a young black man armed with a chair cushion - isn't it the same one on which I sat, washing down an orange juice sandwich? And next to the black man is a young white bearded man, and in his hands he has a metal frame of a chair. Both are like the vanguard of an excited crowd, looking somewhere. Where to? And here is another photo, another news from San Francisco College: two policemen in dapper dark blue uniforms - on wide belts there are Colt guns, cartridge belts and all sorts of master keys, and scabbards for batons, and gas masks; there are helmets on their heads and transparent plexiglass visors on their faces. They are dragging a huge black man. Dark smudges, dark blots on his shirt and a large dark spot on his stomach - like a transcript of those abstract blots that the artist threw on the program of the Black Today symposium.They are dark only in a black and white photograph; in life they are red.It was once again that black college students and their white allies rose up and met the police with bricks, bottles and dismantled furniture from their cafeteria.There were many carnages then on the lawns of San Francisco College. They appeared in headlines on the front pages of San Francisco newspapers, and then, shrinking in size, onto the pages of New York newspapers, because newspaper space was also needed for events at Columbia University, the City College of New York, Harvard, and Cornell. , in dozens of other universities - no matter where you point your finger at random, almost everywhere there were battles with the police and seizures of the administration.San Francisco College reached Soviet newspapers with scanty notes. But it's another thing when you were there and saw something on a peaceful Saturday afternoon. Although the chain is long, it is forged from the same material, and the "Black Today" symposium, with some distance in time, already looked like a verbal rehearsal before action.With Dr. Goodlett I returned to his office, the city stretched around us under a cloudless sky, and a resident of San Francisco told the guest about the symposium as a new attraction, albeit not as famous as the Golden Gate, but very interesting in its own way.In his views he is just a liberal, but...- Have you seen how the young people perform? They are more militant than me. But I understand them. Imagine what they see in front of them, these young blacks - unemployment, discrimination, abuse. They are ready for riots. For them, dying is the easiest way.In terms of financial status, he is a wealthy bourgeois, but...- Freedom is relative. I was able to use the opportunities of this society. But what freedom does a person have who doesn't have a job, a home, or the means to feed his family?! But in a certain sense, it is this person who determines the degree of my freedom.They "limit" his freedom because they are getting their way, because in the overall balance his freedom, like Mr. Lamb's freedom, like the freedom of the San Francisco doctor who, over coffee and liquor, once discussed the issue of forced sterilization of America's losers, achieved at the expense of the freedom of others.Dr. Goodlett is a reasonable, enlightened egoist, a black liberal who understands that we must hurry, because the question formulated by Martin Luther King is rising in full force: "Where are we going - towards chaos or community?"Waiting for Dr. Goodlett in his office on Turkey Street was a giggly, gaunt old woman, his white secretary, Eleanor. Rushing headlong into the room, he began dictating slogans for the picketers. Slogans came easily to him:- McCarthy and Kennedy! Will you cross the picket line?"No debate without black representation!"-You need votes! Do you need blacks?Laughing at the hectic boss, Eleanor began making posters on sheets of Whatman paper. The tiny workshop of American democracy was in full swing.Dr. Goodlett, meanwhile, called the mayor's office, the black organizations, the headquarters of the two candidates, the newspaper editorial offices, warning everyone and everything that he would show, damn it, the American Kuzkin mother to two eminent senators - and disrupt their televised discussion, even if her All of America is waiting. When he hung up the phone, the calls rang back. The mayor's office reported that picketing is permitted. The newspapers were interested in how many picketers there would be. Goodlett himself did not know how many, but he confidently said that it was about a hundred.He clearly liked to be the center of attention, and at the same time show the red reporter how it was done in America. Almost boyish excitement and challenge made its way through the serious expression on his face.Meanwhile, from under Eleanor's quick hand, homemade posters came out one after another, and her boss looked at his watch more and more often: it was time to go.He folded the posters into a pile and carried them to the car. I walked along empty-handed: the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country is higher than politeness. Internal affairs consisted of picketing the building on McCallister Street, which houses the KG-O television studio, the San Francisco subsidiary of the ABC television corporation. What if some local "witch hunter" sees a Soviet correspondent carrying posters from the Sun Reporter's editorial office? Doctor Goodlett will be so labeled that he will curse the day when fate accidentally brought him together with me.Dr. Goodlett is already relaxed, but this thought struck him too. Having dropped me off at the Governor Hotel, which was located very close to the television studio, he parked his car in an alley and, taking the posters from the back seat, said:"And now, perhaps, it's better for us to part." They may not understand...And with his cheerful gait he went around the corner, to the building, where behind the police barriers a crowd of McCarthy supporters and Kennedy supporters and just onlookers, without whom not a single such event can take place, was already noisy.When Vasya and I arrived at the television studio, the crowd was already filling the entire space between the police barriers and the wall of the opposite house. A corridor of people formed near the building itself, and the police guarded only the passage to the doors, over which hung posters "Let's get clean with Gin!" and "Bobby for President!"Gushlett's picketers were probably much less than the promised hundred: I didn't see them at all.We made our way into the lobby using our press cards. There was also a crowd of different ladies and gentlemen and, of course, journalists: McCarthy on his election travels was accompanied by a plane with journalists, and Kennedy, perhaps, two.-Have they arrived? - that was all the crowd could hear in the lobby... I was at the elevator when a rustling sound swept through the crowd, and all the heads suddenly turned in one direction and continued to turn, following someone's movement, and because of these heads, two steps away from The familiar head of Robert Kennedy appeared in my mind - with wrinkles on his forehead that were sharp beyond his years, with drooping edges of the upper eyelids, under which light eyes gleamed coldly. A cold look, ready for a quick reaction and, however, a shy smile, and at the same time calculated gestures of a man who is used to presenting himself to the crowd and being the idol of thousands and thousands, although internally, perhaps, he has not gotten rid of out of surprise that it is so easy to become an idol.He was wearing a dark blue suit with small white stripes - it seemed to be a family taste: John Kennedy also loved these. His famous forelock was carefully combed, as if glued on, and because of this, his asymmetrical hooked nose somehow stood out predatorily on his face. The forelock falling over the forehead captivated young voters, but convinced older voters that he was too youthful, and therefore, after weighing the pros and cons of the forelock, they apparently decided to remove it for the period of the televised debate with McCarthy, who looked more respectable than his opponent. Next to Bobby was his wife, Ethel, pale from pregnancy and makeup, who in the turmoil was hit by enthusiastic fans with a poster.The crowd was shrinking, making way for the senator to the elevator, and many looked at him as if without even looking, because a direct look would have conveyed some kind of challenge, and what kind of challenge can you, a mere mortal, throw at this man. The senator turned the back of his head to me, and for some reason I was struck by how carefully - hair to hair - this narrow Anglo-Saxon back of his head was combed.But then the figure of Dr. Goodlett suddenly emerged from the crowd with his sloping forehead and funny mustache on his oval Negro face and made Bobby turn pro" towards me with an insistent address: "Senator!" And the crowd now looked at both, wondering what could happen, and a variety of looks ran over the black man in a brown suit, among them the looks of people whose pockets and armpits were bulging and who in such situations, as if by chance, stroked you from the shoulders almost to the knees- Senator! - Doctor Goodlett repeated his appeal, and, moving towards him, the reporters unceremoniously pushed aside other people: - Why didn't you agree to allow a Negro to the debate table?Dr. Goodlett was worried. He knew that the matter had failed, but he had to go to the end. It was necessary to utter some words that could end up in television news and newspaper reports. And, losing his voice, letting the rooster fly, he shouted:"You need black votes, not concerns about blacks!" Everything took seconds. In this scene, the senator had to prove his speed of reaction, which he did dozens of times a day. Without showing his annoyance, he answered something to Goodlett, calmly, without raising his voice, and said something else so that they would not think that he was in too much of a hurry and wanted to evade, and only after that he moved towards the elevator, not forgetting to let his wife go first .- What did he say? What did he say? - correspondents asked each other."What about the Mexican Americans," that's what the senator answered, it turns out.And the answer was logical: if you allow blacks to the debate table, then why not allow Mexican Americans, who are no less numerous in California than blacks. What if representatives of other minorities also demand participation?The third floor of the television studio was also crowded and noisy. There are no less than two hundred correspondents - not only American, but also English, French, Japanese, West German, Italian and others and others, because, although San Francisco is far away, they everywhere follow what is happening in America, especially in an election year , especially with two people, one of whom, God knows, could become President of the United States for the next four years.We were assigned to Eugene McCarthy's press retinue, since there was nowhere for an apple to fall in the room allocated to Robert Kennedy's press.In the large room there were both newcomers and veterans, their editors attached to McCarthy since the March days of his victory in New Hampshire, which actually marked the beginning of the violent political upheavals of the year, revealing the scope of anti-Johnson sentiment and predetermining two other sensations - the decision of Kennedy to eat and Johnson's refusal to run for a second term. The veterans sang with each other in a working manner, studied the object of their observation, some liked McCarthy for his philosophical nature, disdain for politicking and professorial manners, others accused him of messianism and mysticism of the De Gaulle type and were sarcastic about his love of poetry and his friendship with the poet Robert Lowell. Now - straight from the buses, straight from the rallies on the streets of San Francisco, tired of the eternal rush and bustle - they crowded around the coffee tank, refreshing themselves before a new shake-up, sailors in the oceans of information, today here - tomorrow there.Elevated above the people, tables and chairs, the still-empty screen of a color TV dimly gleamed from the front wall.McCarthy arrived before Kennedy, both senators disappeared into the television studio, where only correspondents were allowed on their heels.The screen came to life, everyone was ready, a table appeared on the screen, and behind it, in color, two senators and three ABC correspondents - not a single black and not a single one from San Francisco, three aces from the New York headquarters of the television corporation ."Good evening," began Frank Reynolds, the main one. It was still day in San Francisco, but Frank was addressing television viewers on the Atlantic Coast, where it was already evening. The program was shown to them live, and for San Francisco and the entire Pacific Coast it was recorded on videotape in order to be played later in the evening, during prime television time.- Good evening. Today, two Democratic presidential hopefuls stand in the same room, in front of the same television cameras and radio microphones, to engage in a debate, or if you prefer, a debate on the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the American people in this year. This meeting comes at a significant, and perhaps critical, moment for both Senator Robert Kennedy of New York and Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. California's Democratic primary voters will cast their preference next Tuesday. Both senators are running in this state, and both campaigned broadly and vigorously.- We will ask questions to each of the candidates, and the one who is not asked the question will have the opportunity to comment on the answer of his opponent. At the beginning of the discussion I address. my question to both of you. Before the broadcast, we played the turn with a coin, and Senator McCarthy will answer first. So, senators, you stand before the American people and the voters of California today as candidates for the presidency. If you were President, what would you do for peace in Vietnam other than what President Johnson is doing? Senator McCarthy?Senator McCarthy reached towards the table:"If I were the current president, I would do or at least recommend two or three things." I would de-escalate the war in Vietnam by reducing some of our forward positions, while still maintaining strength in Vietnam... I THINK the following important points should be emphasized: first, de-escalate the war, second, recognize that we must have a new government in South Vietnam, including the National Liberation Front. I consider this a prerequisite for any negotiations:- Senator Kennedy?And Robert Kennedy spoke with his sharp Boston accent, which immediately evoked in the viewer the image of the assassinated John Kennedy: the brothers' voices, as often happens, were almost indistinguishable.- Well, I would continue the negotiations in Paris. At the same time, I would expect the government in Saigon to negotiate with the National Liberation Front. I would object to Senator McCarthy's position, if I understand it correctly, against a coalition with the Communists even before the negotiations begin...In addition, I would privately and publicly demand an end to the corruption, the official corruption that exists in South Vietnam, demand land reform... And I would put an end to the "search and destroy" operations carried out by American troops and place the burden on conflict on South Vietnamese soldiers. And over time, I would have the South Vietnamese increasingly shoulder the burden of the conflict. I cannot accept that here in the United States we draft a young man into the army and send him to South Vietnam to fight and maybe die, while in South Vietnam a young man, if he is rich enough, can buy your way out of conscription..."Smart guy," someone muttered loudly, grading the first round.Yes, the New York senator probably won the point. Both spoke in favor of de-escalating the war, but the practical Kennedy also emphasized: the war cannot be ended immediately, no American politician will agree to "surrender," and let the Vietnamese continue to die, but emergency measures are important to save American lives, to immediately reduce losses, - "de-Americanization of war." Coffins from Vietnam under the Stars and Stripes, delivered for burial in national cemeteries, are what hurt Americans the most. De-Americanization of the war - Robert Kennedy was perhaps the first to put forward this slogan.Meanwhile, the five at the table continued their conversation calmly and even casually.The press in our room scored points, in general, for them equally. Both senators are physically attractive. Both are Catholics, with Irish ancestors. Kennedy bases his bid for the White House on three years of activity in the National Security Council and as Secretary of Justice, McCarthy - on twenty years in Congress. Both are on a platform of criticism of Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam adventure. They compete in this criticism, and Kennedy says that by experience he is a senior critic, that he. began to criticize Johnson earlier, and McCarthy, on the contrary, claims that his opponent has a mug in the cannon, since the initial steps into the Vietnamese swamp were made under John Kennedy and not without the participation of Bobby, who, I remember, was then the Minister of Justice and his brother's closest adviser . Both are for civil rights of blacks but against riots, for law and order. Both are for selling fifty Phantom fighters to Israel: after all, voters. there are far more Jews than Arab voters. Both do not want to see the United States as the "world policeman," rushing without looking back to restore order everywhere-Vietnam alone is enough! - but nonetheless for some reasonable American fidelity to its global obligations.They sympathize with blacks, but so as not to scare off whites; they agitate for Smith, but so that Brown does not get offended and so that Jones does not think that his views are not taken into account.A great mystery gleams in the impassive pupils of television cameras: not a single senator knows how many votes he won by appearing at the debate on the ABC television screen, and how many, God forbid, he lost. And the Joneses, Browns and Smiths on their living room sofas, with Saturday beer cans in their hands? What about their wives and disobedient adult children? Can they, after sitting for an hour watching TV, decide who is better, determine who is the winner and who is the loser?Oh, the mysterious transformations of democracy in the age of omnipotent television, public polls and commercial advertising, whose methods politics borrows!An hour passed, the discussion ended, and without a second of respite, another program was switched on. From the smoke-filled room, correspondents rushed into the corridor to telephones and to tables, where they brought pages of transcripts one after another. In the adjacent, even more smoky press room, Kennedy, surrounded by colleagues, stood the famous columnist Tom Wicker, who was in the studio where the debate was taking place. Looking at his notebook, he shared the details. McCarthy, he reported, wore light makeup; Kennedy went without makeup. McCarthy kept himself more casual, but drank water when the television cameras switched to his opponent. Kennedy felt more constrained, but did not touch the water.- Tom, how did both guys evaluate the results?And it was in Tom's notebook. Kennedy said he thought the discussion was excellent, but that it was difficult to say how it would affect the outcome of the election. "I'm not going to analyze how I played my part, but I added: It was something like a boxing match - McCarthy answered the fight, with three referees, but it is impossible to decide who won."- Tom, repeat what McCarthy said?I also listened to the volumes, but I knew that my newspaper was not interested in either the light makeup on McCarthy's face, or the untouched glass of water in front of Kennedy, or in general the television debates that had caused a stir. The meaning of events changes with distance, when crossing state borders - what is great in San Francisco, unnoticeable in Moscow.Without waiting for the last pages of the transcript, we left for the hotel.The next day, Vasya and Tanya got into their Fury without me and disappeared around the nearest bend, starting the return transcontinental run along a more northern route. I waved goodbye to them, and I felt sad, just as I am sad now, because I write ungratefully little about my companions in these notes. But I blame California - she was the one who distracted me, and it was with her, and not with each other, that we came to get to know each other.I remained four more days awaiting the California elections, so that I could report the results from the spot in San Francisco.- Primary elections are better suited for killing candidates than for electing them.A young professor at Berkeley told me this. To kill is to weed out. He did not suspect that his words would come true differently, literally.There was a lot going on in San Francisco. Unknown persons blew up the supports of a high-voltage transmission line, leaving three hundred thousand houses without power for a couple of hours. The municipality was financially unprepared for the decision of the US Supreme Court, which declared alcoholism a disease and not a crime. A survey at Woodside Elementary School revealed a generational conflict: parents were most concerned about race, the population explosion and the communist threat, and children were most concerned about nuclear war. And so on.But two senators - newcomers from other states - crowded out all other events on the pages of newspapers, on television screens, as well as on fences and walls of houses. They spared no energy and money to shake up California Democratic voters, because the political fate of the two senators depended on them. The winner received the 174 delegates that the state of California sends to the Democratic National Convention.Experts, however, almost unanimously agreed that all this fuss would yield nothing to either Kennedy or McCarthy and that at the Chicago convention the Democratic presidential candidate would still be elected Hubert Humphrey, who, as President Johnson's successor, had a controlled by the party machine in most states. But the tactic of the two senators, and especially Robert Kennedy, was to establish their reputation as a vote-getter and voter's favorite and thereby force their candidacy on party activists and bosses.The candidates offered themselves, like any corporation offers its product, and, to put it exactly in the American way, they sold themselves to the voter. Everything went into play during this sale - appearance, views, biography, promises, family, religion, pedigree. But who will buy a product without advertising, who will even know about its existence in a country where there are so many different products? Of course, both were known - more Kennedy and less McCarthy, but you need tireless advertising to keep yourself in the minds of the busy American AND you need money for such political advertising.And the money flowed like a river, and Kennedy's river was stronger and wider. The newspapers wrote that the campaign in Oregon cost McCarthy three hundred thousand dollars, Kennedy four hundred thousand. In California, McCarthy, or rather his well-wishers, left at least a million dollars, and Kennedy - more than two million. Robert Kennedy purchased the best evening television time in San Francisco and Los Angeles without skimping. The television screen in my room seemed to be never far from the New York senator-his half-hour propaganda film was broadcast a dozen times a day on different channels.There is always heightened attention to big money. They protested against the money steamroller: Their middle brother was now crushing the senator from Minnesota just as his older brother John crushed another Minnesota senator, Hubert Humphrey, in the primary elections in West Virginia. Robert's mother, the elderly Rose Kennedy, rebuked the critics: "This money is our own, and we have the right to spend it as we want. It's in the nature of the election business. There is money and you spend it to win. And the more you can afford, the more you spend."And yet, by all accounts, the son of a Boston multimillionaire should have won with the votes of the poor - blacks, Mexican-Americans and others. He was popular among the stepchildren of America, addressed them energetically, and succeeded in convincing them that, like his murdered brother, he was sincerely concerned about their lot and would do anything to alleviate it. Kennedy was well received in the ghetto, at rallies of Mexican sharecroppers, and on Indian reservations. And he vowed to eradicate poverty in America and right wrongs.The students who brought McCarthy to the forefront of the election campaign, who came to him as voluntary agitators, chanted: "Let's get clean with Gene!" He was supported by many of the "middle class", the intelligentsia, people of science and art. On the eve of Election Day, on the streets of San Francisco, campaign vehicles were distributing free pre-election editions of Robert Kennedy's book "In Search of a Renewed World" to passers-by: At McCarthy headquarters, I was also loaded with badges and literature. Torn between phones and student volunteers, Mr. Holstinger, the commander at headquarters, said McCarthy was a breath of fresh air, a promise of real change and a symbol of what young people were looking for in society. He sold school furniture, but the Vietnam War outraged him, and two months ago, having transferred the establishment to a partner, he devoted all his time to the senator from Minnesota.Life in general was going well, but it is so diverse that it all depends on which side of it you see at the moment. In conversations with Californians, I did not find any extreme excitement. But the newspapers thundered with cannonade. The famous columnist James Reston, traveling through California, wrote: "Voices on the radio, university debates and campaign speeches all want to fix something or improve something. Every minute we are encouraged to take a Chrysler or a Kennedy, to end muscle wasting, or to get clean with the Gene. Everyone has a "new idea," and everyone from Henry Ford to Richard Nixon encourages us to "see the light." Maybe life won't change from all this introspection and self-improvement, but there is something inspiring and even majestic about these noisy debates. Whatever may be said about America today, it takes on the great questions of human life. She asks: what is the meaning of all this wealth? Is poverty inevitable or intolerable? What kind of America do we ultimately want to see? And what is its relationship with the rest of the world?For many, it was indeed a time of self-critical questioning and hope, but it ended with what less than exalted politicians had foreseen from the very beginning, namely, a choice between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, and in November this choice was made in favor of the former.This day was memorable, and I will tell you more about it.On the regular calendar, Tuesday was June 4, 1968.On the political front - the long-awaited election day in the state of California.And it was just a stormy day outside. In the morning, the Great Ocean overtook the old-age clouds over San Francisco, and a tedious rain, whipped by the wind, sprinkled the gray streets, oozed like some kind of water clock, as if nature, with its secret intention, slowed down the passage of time, hinting that the day would be long.But for how long?After five in the evening it seemed to me that the day was waning. At five in the evening I saw the black dull shine of a parabellum, which a burly boy suddenly took out from under his pea coat to show off his pear in front of his dear girlfriend. A sort of mustacheless sucker... The condescending word, however, came to my mind belatedly, and not when, in the muted light of a gray day, the toy was emitting dull-blue reflections all around. After all, one can be captivated by the dull shine of a parabellum in the hands of a stranger, especially in an unfamiliar apartment, and moreover, in a city that is also not very familiar.But the reflections were without flashes. The guy even gave me a lift in his truck to the hotel, generously waving his hot young hand goodbye and leaving a dramatic "well, well!" in my brain.And the impressions seemed to wane, as expected, and with them it was a strange day. When, according to the calendar, it ended, it lasted unprecedentedly. Stormily docked into the night, "the twelfth hour fell, like the head of an executed man falling from the block." for at midnight another man, not in an obscure San Francisco apartment, but as if in front of the whole world, also met a young stranger with a pistol. And there were not reflections, but flashes, and the man fell - as if in front of the eyes of the whole world...However, in order.In the morning I got on the bus and along Fulton Street, past the shops of black junk dealers, I went towards the Golden Gate Park, which opens with its green space to the ocean plain. Residents of San Francisco love this spacious park - with lawns and groves, enclosures for wild animals , with car alleys in which it is pleasant to escape from the bustle of the city. The subject of special pride is the Japanese garden, decoratively scattered stones, murmuring streams, flowers and sakura bushes skillfully recreate the harmony of nature.But suddenly the Japanese Garden, like San Francisco's Chinatown, was pushed aside by exoticism of American origin, walking and wandering, with two legs. A product not of harmony, but of decay. San Francisco has become the hippie capital of the world.I went out onto Haight Street, lined with low-rise and new buildings, and on its sidewalks the inhabitants of the new capital, not embarrassed by the drizzling rain, showed themselves with long unkempt hair, bare feet, biblical mantles and Mexican ponchos on their shoulders, thick frock coats a la Jawaharlal Nehru, decorative mini-chains with brooches on the smooth pillars of youthful necks; Pronounced - durable subspecies. A kind of protest party.They were beautiful, at least at first glance, beautiful with the strength of life that accompanies youth. But they also laid claim to significance. Among standard houses, standard cars and standard dressed people with their beards and biblical robes, they seemed to be aiming at the title of religious teachers and prophets, and then the inevitable question of mandate and powers arose.A guy of about twenty-three stood in a niche of one entrance, gracefully touching the wall with his shoulder. The face of Superman from the television screen is a strong, handsome chin, a straight Roman nose, and a beautiful oval face. He looked distantly into the distance and this prevented me from talking to him. Hesitating, I looked at the next window, behind the glass of which, conscious of its own greatness and high price, were super-high-quality heavy boots - a successful copy of the original of the last or the century before last - and rawhide sandals, also heavy and also successful, because that's what they looked like on at the feet of biblical shepherds off the shores of the Dead Sea and between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. And the guy, majestic, like a time-tested product in a window, cut me down in size until today's hectic day.Two hippies walked by. The guy threw some words at them. A cigarette passed from hand to hand. He struck a match for a long time, turning away into the depths of the entrance, and when his handsome profile appeared in front of me again, I stood on the step and said:- I am a foreign newspaperman. I would like to ask you a few questions.He slowly turned to me and looked at me with an unseeing, smoky, empty gaze of gray eyes. And he didn't answer. I'm a foreign newspaperman...But his gaze remained the same charmingly smoky and empty.- Hey, buddy, I'm a foreign newspaperman...The guy was floating on his own, strictly individual, undetectable waves of a narcotic trance.And, leaving him in this strange peace, I walked further along Haight Street. American powerful cars rustled along the pavement. American fire hydrants stuck out like cast iron on the edges of the sidewalks. American general pharmacies intercepted customers at street corners. But American boys and girls, dressed as Indian dervishes and gurus, as African blacks and Russian artisans of the beginning of the century, denied their country.The small hippie art co-op shop was called Wild Colors. Huge pillows, half the size of a mattress, echoed in the heart with sweet pictures of childhood under the auspices of grandmother, and the nirvana of the East emanated from the brightest yellow-violet-red variegation of the pillowcases. Meter-long twisted candles canceled out the electric light and encroached on the furniture, because the place for such regal candles was on the floor, near the regal pillows. Clusters of chains and beads, colorful blankets, coarse wool dresses, souvenirs made here on Haight Street, and not in Japan, which supplies America with souvenirs of America, the lingering aroma of oriental incense - all this posed a daring challenge to assembly line products.A young salesman was serving two hippies who had come to take a closer look at the product, without which it would be difficult to keep up with the age. They left with small incense candles, and I went up to the seller, and he, seeing an ordinary jacket and tie, no beard and short hair, must have immediately taken me to the standard one-dimensional world, to strangers. A stranger, a stranger, but I justified myself by saying that he was not just a domestic American tourist, but a certain researcher of morals from a distant country on the other side of the ocean.The boy was thin and blond, with long hair pulled back like a sexton's. The voice is thin and delicate, the intonations are painfully sincere. Fledgling chick. Four years ago he left his parents in New York and did not return to his parents' nest. However, the time comes to fly out of the nest, maintaining love and respect for it. But our chick has no love, and he confesses this to a foreigner, and this is not the first confession. "Mom admits that she's a writer," he reports, and one feels that it's not at all what he thinks his mother writes. About dad reluctantly and bashfully: "He makes money." Dad's occupation is not specified, because the main thing in his vocation is to make money.What can such a dad teach? Probably the ability to make money. And the wheel rolls from generation to generation, as in the song about pretty houses on the hillsides:"Little houses are all the same -Green and pink, blue and yellow,And in all of them: tick-tock-tick-tock...And people from these houses go to university,Where they are also placed in boxesAnd they release them identically -Doctors, lawyers and businessmen.And they all tick: tick-tock-tick-tock...Everybody plays golfAnd they drink dry martinis and have pretty kidsAnd the children go to schoolAnd then - to the university,Where they are placed in boxes,To release them exactly the same.Tick-tock-tick-tock..."Idyll?! Suddenly this hoop, so strong in appearance, bursts - the dream of millions, the ticking stops and, leaving dad making money, our fugitive rushes to Haight Street to find himself in "Wild Flowers", among the outlandish pillows "for which mom's imagination was not enough - writers.What strange speeches I hear from the boy's lips. He tells me about the recipes of Mario Savio, the legendary student who led the very "free speech" movement at Berkeley for the right of students to influence the educational process in American universities, which have become like manufacturing plants."Mario Savio said," I hear from my hippie, "that young people are being turned into machines, and if this is so, then we need to break the mechanism within ourselves so that it does not work." And the most determined ones break, drill, so to speak, a hole in their own body.What kind of hole? To be honest, the choice is small - drugs. After all, if you are hooked, it's serious, forever. The path back to society is cut off.This is what the boy said, leaning towards me conspiratorially, and in his voice there was not bravado, but despair. ."And recently, unexpectedly, like you, three black guys came here," the boy continued. - And a knife to my chest. It's strange... After all, I sacrificed my career and participated in the civil rights movement. And they came - and a knife to the chest. I understand them. I know how guilty white America is. But what does this have to do with me, because I have always been for them...Even then, in a hurry, wanting to get ahead of the knife at his chest, he whispered to them about his sympathies. They laughed sarcastically, but didn't touch him, didn't take anything except this little thing. Unlocking the glass display case above the counter, the boy took out a brass brooch - a popular symbol of supporters of peace and nuclear disarmament.- Why this particular thing?"I think it was a symbolic gesture...Three blacks spared him, but, having taken away the symbol of peace, they cruelly hinted that there would be no peace here, among the Haightstreet freemen, as long as the ghetto was nearby.Those very concentric circles that Professor Wheaton so abstractly spoke of passed through the water, the wave rolled up to the boy's shelter, and now the blond hippie looks differently at the door of his shop when, with a melodious ringing, it gives way under someone's hand. And without drilling any more irreparable holes, he would probably like to find a bridge back and has already looked at a room for "Wild Flowers" in the safe center of the city. But the landlords there, seeing his long hair, were afraid that other hippies would follow and that the rental price would fall, because other tenants would run away from such a neighborhood, like the plague or blacks."Shouldn't we throw everything to hell-both this shop and this country?" Should I go to Mexico, fortunately, she. Is it close and the border is open? - these are the questions the former New York boy asks.Having bought a photo album in which dancing hippies with Hawaiian garlands of flowers, without losing their exoticism, looked commercially acceptable for the average American, I wished good luck to my new acquaintance and went to where, as a menacing reminder of another world, three men with a knife appeared - to the black ghetto.And soon portraits of Martin Luther King appeared on the walls of houses as road signs - as a mourning for a man who dreamed of a brotherhood of blacks and whites in conditions of equality.It was drizzling, the streets were deserted and there was almost no traffic.Fillmore Street, the central street of the ghetto, began. And another song, another protest - not from the heirs of the bourgeoisie, but from the children of the dispossessed. On the walls of houses, photographic portraits of the apostle of nonviolence, King, sat side by side with images of people who preached that only violence could correct America. Beneath the portrait of the frantic young man with the chocolate-colored handsome face, Stokely Carmichael, was the cheeky caption: "Prime Minister of Colonized America."Another black youth was depicted in a portrait belted with bandoliers, with a rifle between his knees: "Huey Newton - Minister of Defense of Colonized America." From his pose, the chair that looked like a throne, the rifle and cartridge belts there was something defiantly mischievous and desperately revolutionary.And finally, there were numerous images of a girl with a thin, beautiful face and childishly frowning eyebrows: "Kathleen Cleaver. He is running for the Eighteenth District of the California State Assembly as a candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party. Also a candidate of the Black Panther Party. Put Kathleen Cleaver on your ballot!"I was in a hurry to go on a date with this girl - to the headquarters of the Black Panthers. On a business date. The beautiful girl was married. Eldridge Cleaver, a talented black journalist and writer, as well as the "minister of information" of the same government, was in prison on charges of attempted murder of a police officer. His book "Soul on Ice," a collection of angry essays, the fruit of a previous prison sentence, was sold in San Francisco stores. imprisonment.What do we want?1. We want freedom. We want the power to determine the fate of black people.2. We want full employment for our people.3. We want an end to the white man's robbery of our black population...7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and killings of black people...10. We want land, bread, housing, clothing, justice and peace...What do we believe?1. We believe that black people will not be free as long as they are denied the ability to determine their own destiny.2. We believe the federal government has a responsibility to give every person a job or a guaranteed income. We believe that if white American businessmen do not provide full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and given to the common use so that each community can organize itself and provide all of its members with jobs and a high standard of living.3. We believe that this racist government has robbed us, and we now demand payment of a long-standing debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised a hundred years ago as reparation for slave labor and the mass extermination of black people. We will accept this payment in cash, which will be distributed among our many communities. The Germans are now helping Jews in Israel by paying reparations for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans exterminated about six million Jews. American racism has destroyed over fifty million black people, and so from our perspective we make a modest demand...6. We believe that black people should not be forced to fight in the military to protect a racist government that does not protect us...7. We believe that police brutality in black communities can be ended by organizing black vigilante groups whose mission is to protect black communities from oppression and police brutality. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Therefore, we believe that all blacks should arm themselves for self-defense...These were the core points of the Black Panther program. The American government refused to take it seriously, and FBI head Edgar Hoover declared the Black Panthers the most dangerous subversive terrorist organization.Many Americans are frightened by the steps of the "black panthers," although the latter claim that they never attack first, that they only insist on the right of armed self-defense, protection from atrocities and police persecution. Yes, on the sacred principle of debt repayment. Yes, on the great "right of the people to change or eliminate" a government that does not provide citizens with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" - this is already from the Declaration of Independence.Surrounded by hunters, the "black panther" is unsafe, and the difference between self-defense and attack is determined by its opponents from the police and the white-skinned lady Themis. The result?"Minister of Defense" Huey Newton behind bars.Eldridge Cleaver's soul did not thaw within the prison walls.Kathleen Cleaver bravely but in vain works to make the voice of the "Peace and Freedom Party" heard in San Francisco's Eighteenth Congressional District on Election Day...I saw the first real Panther at the door of 1419 Fillmore Street. The young black man was wearing a Castro beret, spotted parachutist trousers and a black leather jacket, belted with a wide white belt, like a military policeman. On the belt is a baton. Not a homemade product, but a high-quality factory product, without cracks or knots, brand new, elastic - a minimal claim to power and strength beyond the distance of a fist. The club on the Negro's thigh struck me as words from the vocabulary of an enemy strike on the lips of a friend.I entered and came across blades of glances. They warned: "Not a step further!" They asked: "Who is this? With what intentions? And I tried to retract these blades, answering with my gaze that my intentions were the most peaceful, nothing more than benevolent curiosity. The looks still pricked me: after all, there is also the curiosity of onlookers at the zoo.Kathleen Cleaver had an almost fair complexion, the outline of her chin was not that of a Negro, her lips were thin, but her face was crowned with a demonstrative banner of race, a large mop of coarse, black, finely curly hair, like a mountaineer's hat. Leather jacket with a round badge "Free Huey!" Black high boots. The abundance of black was offset by the unexpectedly bright face and gray eyes of the leader of the "black panthers". A surprised, cheerful, childish expression, as if out of forgetfulness, sometimes appeared on her face. Recovering herself, she brought her thin eyebrows together on the bridge of her nose, returning seriousness and determination to her face.Things were not going well for the young candidate. In the morning, the newspapers reported that Kathleen Cleaver was an impostor, that she was not officially registered and that votes cast for her would be considered invalid. Kathleen ran around to television studios and editorial offices, proving that she had registered in compliance with all formalities. But everywhere there was a vacuum, as on the airless Moon, where it is impossible to hear a simple, so to speak, natural human voice, and astronauts, even standing next to each other, talk on the radio: such a special connection was had on election day among politicians who did not encroach on the foundations, but The voice of the "black panther" did not reach the voter without television and newspaper amplifiers.After apologizing, Kathleen disappeared to go about her business. I looked around the room. On Fillmore Street people were separated from society not by things, as on Haight Street, but by heroes, portraits of famous revolutionary bearded men - Ho Chi Minh City, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro. From the center of the San Francisco black ghetto, threads stretched, more emotional than consciously political, to those areas of the planet where the imperialist American spit broke off on the basalt stones of resistance.Kathleen returned. Eldridge Cleaver, also bearded, looked at her from the wall with inflamed eyes. Our conversation was constantly interrupted."Let's go to my house," Kathleen suggested.We walked out with a stocky white girl who was a reporter for the student newspaper, The Berkeley Barb. She drove us to the Cleavers in an old green pickup truck.In the apartment, simple and clean, there were also portraits of revolutionary heroes and a pretty, casually barefoot, white girl was talking on the phone - I was pleased that Kathleen's acquaintances refuted newspaper judgments about the racial intolerance of the "Black Panthers." And again, Eldridge Cleaver looked at his wife with bloodshot eyes, this time from the cover of the book "Soul on Ice." Approaching the bookshelves, I discovered Dostoevsky - "Notes from Underground", "Crime and Punishment"."My favorite writer," said the leader of the San Francisco Black Panthers and, smiling, added: "With the exception of Edridge, of course."I accepted the praise of my great compatriot."He revealed the soul of Western Man best," Kathleen continued. - All the others did not add anything significantly new."But isn't he too hopeless?"And then Kathleen took Fyodor Mikhailovich under her protection and said to me with challenge and reproach: Is there really hope for Western Man?Western Man is a man of the West, and according to the meaning that she put into these words, a man crippled by an anti-humanistic bourgeois civilization. Dostoevsky convinced the leader of the Black Panthers that her view of America was correct.The long-haired white girl, having finished the telephone conversation, told Kathleen another unpleasant news: a policeman was standing at the entrance to a polling station and warning voters not to vote for the "Peace and Freedom Party", since they are communists.Cursing, Kathleen immediately headed to the door, managing to tell me with her eyes: See? What hope can there be for the Western Map?The elevator clicked, and I was left alone with the girl, who was again on the phone. Looking at how the raindrops softly touched the glass, I thought that nothing great, true, ascetic is in vain - neither the desperate heroism of Che Guevara, nor the great pain of Fyodor Dostoevsky, that the winds sweeping the world carry seeds across continents, years and generations, which produce unexpected shoots in the most unexpected places.After hanging up the phone again, the white girl asked me: Are you American?I answered.- Russian? - She was not surprised, and asked ironically: "How do you like free elections in America?"The doorbell rang. Opening it, I saw a burly white guy. In this apartment, I was convinced, people did not introduce themselves to each other, as is customary in America.Now there were three of us. The girl left the phone alone. The guy stood by the TV, carefully leaning his elbows on the fragile structure. She turned to him, straightened up in her chair, throwing her long straight hair back, stroking the floor with the bare soles of her beautiful feet. They were having a business-like, skeptical conversation about the same free elections, and in the presence of a third person they wanted to look like adults, but underneath the top layer of their conversation there was so obviously another, deeper layer going on. With words they touched each other tenderly, as lovers touch with their fingers.She interrupted the conversation with a minimal test of her authority - instructing the boy to go buy cigarettes. And then, unable to bear it any longer, he unbuttoned his jacket and pulled out a brand new black parabellum. It was with him that he hurried to the girl, and he wanted to show off with him.Suddenly there were four of us in the room, and matte blued reflections were emanating from the fourth, and three of us were silently looking at them, trying to guess the future - with such a thing it can be dramatic and intermittent.I won't lie, I felt uneasy. You can't hold back a sudden thought: what will happen if the glittering pupil of the parabellum turns in your direction? And, most importantly, I, a foreigner, was not supposed to be present at this secret demonstration of weapons.The boy broke the silence.Nothing like a toy, huh? - he said in a voice deliberately careless and, however, choking with excitement. - Good at cops, huh?And he handed the parabellum to the girl, who, without flinching, put it near the phone.- Hold me while I run for cigarettes!He wanted to show off the toy and to free himself from its terrible weight.How could the missing Kathleen add to this sudden Parabellum interview? When the guy returned with cigarettes, I began to say goodbye. He volunteered to give me a ride to the hotel. Parabellum, blinking farewell with the reflection of the trunk, disappeared into the depths of his jacket. We went down to the street, to the guy's truck.On the way, he talked about himself, about the shipyard where he works, about the sons of bitches from the trade union who shout about patriotism, supporting the Vietnam War, and about the fact that there are still, yes, there are some fighting guys and in general -their number is growing."They think we'll just sit in front of the TV all the time." Hell no!We said goodbye at the crossroads near the Governor Hotel. It was five in the evening.I had to sit for a long time in front of the TV, which was supposed to cover the progress and results of the California elections.Having said goodbye to the boy, I was left alone with disturbing impressions and with the correspondent's workload for the evening - I had to report to the newspaper on two or three pages about the results of the Californian competition between Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy.Parabellum tempted me: that's what I should write about!But the evidence of the eccentric Haight Street and Fillmore Street was refuted by the big, solid, shady America.Do you see the fear of the hippies or the dangerous rush of the boy with the parabellum on these streets, where people walk and go about their business, where, having said goodbye to the boy, you went out to cool your heated head? There is no trace of them.All was calm in the basement restaurant serving German cuisine, where I refreshed myself before the TV vigil. The men sat at the table not in leather jackets, but in jackets, not long-haired and not at all frightened, but self-confident. Clearly their companions were not thinking about shocks or revolutions. The owner was setting up the television so that customers could watch Bobby and Gene's chances as they waited to pay.In the seedy surroundings of the Governor Hotel, black and white prostitutes in short dresses also independently walked along the sidewalks, and in the halls of cheap boarding houses, taking their usual places, old men and women looked indifferently through the windows onto the street, affirming with free girls the principle of peaceful coexistence on the basis complete indifference to each other.And the rain stopped by evening.Having stocked up on cigarettes and cans of Coca-Cola at the Mexican corner store, I retired to my room on the eighth floor, preoccupied with two or three pages.And at eight thirty in the evening, my assistant and eternal companion in America appeared on the television screen - Walter Cronkite, the chief supplier and news coordinator for the CBS channel, without whom, as they joked during the lunar epic of Apollo P, it was doubly empty and It's lonely even in space.I called him my assistant, and he is like a god - omnipresent, all-seeing, all-knowing. Available to everyone and having access to everyone, and why are there small examples if I saw how Cronkite's desperate reporters put the cord of a portable microphone around the neck of the US President himself, and he, on a split screen for the occasion, appeared before Walter, who was conducting the coverage of events from his studios on Fifty-seventh Street in New York. And he was pleased, because almost half of all Americans know Walter Cronkite - more than anyone from the superpower of the press and television, and his evening news program is watched by at least twenty million television viewers - keep in mind, with eight working television channels. You won't find a politician who wouldn't be flattered-and useful for his career-to appear on this program.So, sitting on the bed in front of the television screen, I called up Walter Cronkite, and he appeared in the guise of an elderly, leisurely gentleman with a substantial mustache, which he grew before the fashion for mustaches, wrinkles around his eyes - multiplied over the six years of our acquaintance, energetic, captivating and pleasant tired expression.He was broadcasting from his New York studio, but do distances exist for God? - the waves carried him to the Pacific coast without interference. He was in New York, and the elections were in California, on the other side of the continent. However, it was from Walter that they expected the latest, most up-to-date information - not only by ordinary television viewers, but also by journalists, politicians, even the two main characters - Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy, who were also probably sitting in front of their televisions.This god is not three, but dozens of persons. Radio waves reach his throne from a highly professional army of reporters and cameramen stationed in the Los Angeles headquarters of the two senators, in various California cities and counties, at polling stations, and in his reserve are full-time and freelance commentators, professors of political science, and directors of institutes. according to public opinion polls, etc., etc.Walter appeared and, running his hands over his clean table, seemed to wipe away all my worries.From the shifting soil of Haight and Fillmore Streets, from some pathetic hippie, from the leader of the Black Panthers and the guy with the parabellum, he again transported me to the world of great American politics, where everything is placed in its usual places, where you can even look ahead , and not to look at it at random, but using scientific forecasting methods.Yes, science and forecasting are two idols of our time, and Walter immediately made it clear that they were among his faithful servants.He said that only one percent of the votes had been counted, but is there any interference with science?! CBS, based on "profiles" taken from eighty-nine "scientifically selected" precincts, solemnly predicts Kennedy's victory (he should receive forty-eight percent of the vote) over McCarthy (who will receive only forty-one percent).CBS had forked out big bucks by renting computers for Election Day, and Walter Cronkite immediately put his card on the table, guaranteeing both the excitement and electronic precision of an evening in front of the television.But machines are machines, forecasts are forecasts, and the human element is also involved.- Roger Mudd, come out! - Walter called, grinning into his mustache, starting to check his army.And on the screen behind him suddenly another screen appeared, and in it was the face of Roger Mudd, with swollen cheekbones and eyes tired from lack of sleep - a younger colleague and faithful archangel Walter, a Washington correspondent for CBS.I was used to seeing Roger Mudd on the white steps of the Capitol steps, cheerfully questioning some senator or commenting on yet another congressional vote. But two months ago, he left his post on the hill and ninety-nine of the hundred senators for one, wandered around the country day and night in the tail of Bobby Kennedy, among a host of correspondents, following every campaign move of the senator from the state of New York.And today Roger was at Bobby's side, at his temporary headquarters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, tireless as always, ready for hours of reporting. Like a leaf before the grass, at the first call he had to appear before Walter. And he appeared on the screen in a captivatingly familiar manner and, however, accurately reported that yes, Walter, I, as you can see, am at the Ambassador Hotel, the senator is still at the country estate of one of his friends, and not in his luxury room. on the fifth floor, his retinue and supporters are understandably in high spirits, but, Walter, as you know, only one percent of the votes have been counted, and I, alas, have nothing to add to the predictions of our almighty computers."Okay, Roger," Walter accepted his report. And in the friendly intonation there was an unobtrusive but authoritative parting word: "Keep your eyes open, be vigilant!" Although he knew that old Roger would not disappoint.Then he called his other archangel, who was on duty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, next to Senator McCarthy, and he also appeared behind Walter, on the screen in the screen, and reported that yes, Walter, in McCarthy's camp , of course, they still refuse to admit defeat, but pessimism is already gnawing at its adherents - please persuade, and the tele-eye, running around another hall of another hotel, found dejected faces.Thus began the big show called the California Primary, another demonstration of American television's unsurpassed ability to turn any event into a spectacle, to rework any event into a spectacle, in order to keep Americans glued to the television screen.Demiurge Walter Cronkite created current history.His correspondents flashed by, new numbers popped up on the electronic display.The wisest machines, having processed six percent of the counted votes, crossed out their first forecast, promising Kennedy already fifty-one percent, and McCarthy - only thirty-eight,Oh, how entertaining! How interesting!Oh, if only I had flown to America yesterday...After an hour or two, my excitement dried up and irritation appeared. It grew, although I still watched and listened, because you can't leave a spectacle halfway if you need it for work.- What's the point of rushing? - I was angry, mentally talking to Walter. - What kind of pampering is it - to rent electronic brains for a lot of money, so that at one percent they make one forecast, and at six - another? What good are predictions if all the votes are counted in a few hours? What kind of childish guessing game is this in front of tens of millions of adults?Why, however, torture Walter with unpleasant questions? I myself can explain something, although in doing so I will have to reveal some flaw in his divinity. Look for money, not a woman! - here is the American amendment to the French solution to the mysteries. Look for money, and serious money.Hire smart machines and smart people, use Walter Cronkite's popularity and make a show of the California elections to lure millions of viewers to their television screens.And there will be viewers - and there will be corporations that will pay CBS top dollar to advertise their wares during these intriguing hours.Who will win - Kennedy or McCarthy? The carousel revolved around a political issue, and was impaled on the axis of commerce, for which it does not really matter who wins - whoever wins, a television viewer watching the dramatic vote count on CBS will remember something in passing other. What's this time?Disappearing from the screen, the famous Cronkite from time to time gave way to a certain nameless grandmother from an advertising film. Standing by a neatly painted white fence, the grandmother lamented that her beloved granddaughter did not want to walk with her. And the wise neighbor came to the grandmother's aid, pronouncing the magic word "Listerine" - an excellent remedy for bad breath. Other shots of the same neat fence, but what a change: the charming boy really clings to his grandmother, and she affectionately pats him on the head, having found perhaps the last happiness in his life. And why? Because grandma's mouth is fragrant, her heavy breathing no longer frightens her grandson. LISTERINE all over the TV screen.Or suddenly, from another advertisement, as if from real life, a shaggy-haired politician with bulging eyes flashed onto the screen a parody allusion to the well-known Republican senator and in a hoarse, labored voice he ceremoniously proclaimed: "The great state of Kentucky proudly presents our candidate Colonel Sanders, who swears give every voter fried chicken every day!"The ceremonial gesture, the waving of scarves, the dancing of balloons - everything is as if for real, as at real election conventions. And, to the delight of the crowd, a handsome old man in a white Southern suit, with an old-fashioned, wedge-shaped, gray beard and a bow tie, is carried out on their shoulders.Bowing and blowing kisses to the audience, the old man floats across the screen.Colonel Sanders.People's favorite.Creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken.I first met him in his homeland, Kentucky. The good-natured colonel was throwing himself at us from billboards everywhere. There was no hiding from his wedge beard, white tie and the temptation to try Kentucky fried chicken.And one day, in a roadside glass shop, we poked at the menu, as he commanded, and the waitress brought to our table something temptingly large in weight, but rather boring in taste. This is how we got to know Kentucky Fried Chicken firsthand.And Colonel Sanders successfully continued his "crusade" in the name of his fried broiler chicken and attacked me from billboards already around the corners of New York, and now he lay in wait on a television screen in San Francisco, adapting the political rivalry of two senators to his advertising .So the evening dragged on in front of the TV.The meeting with the colonel amused me, but did not relieve my irritation. Enough with the spectacle, give me the facts, damn it, and verified ones: who won, how and why did they win? Give raw facts for two, maximum three pages. My brain clicked as usual: it's ten in the evening here, which means it's eight in the morning in Moscow. Eleven in the evening means nine in the morning, the editorial corridors come to life, they have already remembered that there are primary elections in California, that our correspondent went there, they are already grumbling: where is the information? Who wins there - Kennedy or McCarthy? Time is running out. Where is the information?The remains of Coca-Cola were rusting, piles of ashes and cigarette butts were growing in ashtrays, but the notebook was clean, the conversation with Moscow was not ordered.And a new obstacle, which I cannot cope with, has arisen on the way to two or three pages. Computers rented by the CBC television corporation were spinning idle because computers rented by the Los Angeles City Council were idle.The giant city was the first to switch to an electronic system for counting ballots, which everyone's ears managed to buzz about. But the ballots were transported from the polling stations to the electronic computing center on ordinary trucks, and they delayed, keeping the voracious machines on a meager diet. Everything came to a standstill, like on a river during a timber rafting trip. The TV people, enthusiastically carried away by the progress of people, chatted that these stubborn logs were about to be dismantled, and then everything would start rolling in like a ninth wave, which would quickly be sorted by super-operative cybernetic machines.Will you be patient? It was already midnight in San Francisco, and in Moscow it was just past ten o'clock in the morning, and the lines on the second page of Izvestia were cleared much faster than the interference in the Los Angeles computer center.I regretted the wasted evening. Forecasts be damned! Let's have a fact - a winner and a loser! But how can we extract this fact from just fourteen percent of the votes counted?However, the New York senator believed the forecasts.He decided not to postpone the victory speech ritual. Like the Listerine company, he needed a television audience - and a bigger one, but meanwhile it was catastrophically thinning out, scattering into bedrooms, especially on the East Coast, in New York state, where it was already about three in the morning.I suddenly saw the senator on the podium of the Grand Ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel. Microphones greedily stretched their long flexible necks towards him, television cameras peered intently into his thin face with a sloping nose, into the smile that he held back so as not to expose his too long teeth.Confidently tired, he extinguished the jubilation of the crowd with hand gestures.But the crowd continued to rejoice, because this exaltation was the meaning of their many hours of waiting in the hot hall, heated by television jupiters.The assistants stood closely around him, but, half turning around, without extinguishing his smile, Bobby said a few words, and they parted. A pale, painedly smiling woman with an impeccable hairstyle appeared from behind. His wife Ethel. Mother of his ten children.She was pregnant with her eleventh, only two months remained before giving birth, but how could one avoid the ordeals of the election campaign. A candidate's chances always increase if a faithful wife, with many children, pregnant, and selfless, looms next to him before the voter.She stood next to her husband to look at him with a shy smile and receive her share of applause.He built his victory speech in the traditional spirit - without formality, in a family way. Moderate humor, maximum gratitude. He thanked political allies-Jess Unruh, the leader of the California Democrats, and Cesar Chevez, the leader of the Mexican sharecroppers, friends in the black community, student assistants, the 100-pound Negro Roosevelt Greer, a professional rugby player and volunteer bodyguard who "will take care of everyone who doesn't vote for me", Senator McCarthy - for "great efforts", in organizing the opposition to President Johnson, wife Ethel - for the fantastic patience of her dog Freckles: "She has already gone to bed, because from the very beginning, we will win."He spoke haltingly, without text, from short notes slipped by an assistant. What he has been saying since mid-March, when he entered the fight for the White House.That the country wants change.That the last three years have been years of violence, disappointment, division between black and white, poor and rich, young and old.It's time to unite and start acting together.- The country wants to go in a different direction. We want to solve our own problems within our own country, we want peace in Vietnam..."So, thank you all again." Let's go Chicago and let's win there!So he ended his speech and left the podium to loud applause: there were two and a half months left before the Democratic convention in Chicago, now - he just had to pass the kitchen - correspondents were waiting for him, and then with his friends to the fashionable night club "Factory" - to hide from TV cameras, take your mind off your worries, and celebrate your victory.And television cameras followed the senator to the exit, honorably highlighting the back of his head among the backs of the heads of his entire busy retinue. The hall was turned off.The senator's victory speech swayed me, but did not force me to change my mind. The only thing that tormented me was that two or three pages were still not canceled, but were only postponed until tomorrow - as if another day, the last one in San Francisco, would not be spent on them?The hotel fell asleep. Outside the window, as if in a silent movie, prostitutes were still parading along the sidewalk near Club 219.I sat down at the table, opened my notebook and, going through the impressions of the long day that had passed, I thought about what I could write down briefly so that I could later revive, invigorate and decipher it in more detail in my memory.The TV was now on the right, to the side, its plastic wall facing me. I didn't see the image or pay attention to the waning chatter.As soon as you press a button, the entire large world that fits in it obediently rolls down to the center of the screen, shrinks to a brilliant bright point that will shine for another moment, but in which nothing can be made out.I didn't press the button.I sat and scribbled in my notebook. And suddenly...And suddenly, from the right, in the TV box, it was as if the wind blew through.It was as if some element had imperiously crushed and crumpled the monotonous muttering. That element that never notifies in advance of its onslaught, of a breakthrough.And I still didn't understand what was going on, but the elements pulled me out from behind the table and forced me to jump in front of the TV and glare at the flickering screen.I don't remember if there was anything on this screen, it seems there was nothing.And the nervous, hurried voice of the announcer, lost in professional rhythm, was heard:- Kennedy was shot! Kennedy was shot...This was not Walter Cronkite, who had already said goodbye to the viewer. This was the announcer of the rival NBC channel, which did not spend money on scientifically selected polling stations and on forecasts of expensive electronic computers and from the very beginning promised old-fashioned suspense - the development of action in the old fashioned way, when they did not yet know the forecasts and did not think to get ahead course of events.It turned out their way.The indomitable ninth wave was coming, but not the one that was promised: just give time to the miraculous computers.The ninth wave was coming.- Kennedy was shot! Kennedy was shot! - shouted a hasty voice, as if crossing out everything that had happened during the long day, as if erasing with a sweeping rag everything that had been so copiously written on the board.And the board was clean again, but only at the top, like a title, terribly virgin, completely different writings lit up freshly on this board.- Kennedy was shot! Kennedy was shot!The announcer was in a hurry to fill out the board, and faster, faster - faster than the competitors, since they - as they should with their computers - missed everything, and, of course, there were control screens in front of him, confirming that the neighbors were lagging behind.The announcer's voice trembled with excitement, and it was twofold - the excitement of a man shocked by terrible news, and the reckless excitement of a hound dog that had attacked the trail of an unprecedented game.  "John," he said to his reporter on duty at the Ambassador Hotel, and I vouch not for the accuracy, but for the meaning of his words, "John, how did this happen?" We need, you understand, details...And the same excited voice, jumping off the usual rails, answered him:- You understand, there is such confusion here now... It's difficult to figure it out. Everyone is panicking...And the first voice, by right of a boss and mentor, pointed out, already gaining calm and with this calm, as if encouraging and disciplining the second:- We understand everything, John. We understand that you yourself are shocked. But pull yourself together, John. Try your best. You know how important details are to us.The hall was turned on. Yes, panic. The tele-eye slid over distorted faces and darting figures. Turned on the sound. Women's squeals, exclamations: Incredible! Can't be! Incredible!And these cries of "incredible!" deepened the meaning of what happened, because, like a distant and suddenly approaching background, the hot Texas afternoon in Dallas on November 22, 1963 loomed over the Los Angeles night.And then came something very recent: the early evening hour of April 4, 1968, and Martin Luther King leaning his hands on the balcony railing of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, not knowing that a bullet was about to knock him onto the cement floor.- Can't be! - they shout. Why can't it, if this is repeated for the third time. May be! And secretly they foresaw this, but they refused to believe their premonition and therefore are now rushing around the hall shouting: It can't be!On the podium in front of the microphones through which half an hour earlier Robert Kennedy had shouted: "Forward to Chicago!", now stood an unfamiliar man."Stay in your seats," he shouted into the audience, in panic. - Stay where you are! Need a doctor! Is there a doctor here?Meanwhile, the television johns regained their composure and, one by one, dragged the witnesses to the television cameras, plucking them in the kitchen from the crowd that was growing around the mortally wounded senator stretched out on the floor. The hounds defeated the shocked people, there was a hunt for witnesses, and not just witnesses, but for those who were closer to the scene of the assassination attempt and saw more and could now, having appeared on our channel, wipe the nose of the rival channel.A terrible miracle of the instant transformation of the Tragedy into a sensation and spectacle took place before our eyes. And people, trembling with grief, panic and fear, who themselves had looked into the eyes of death, came out of the heat of the heat onto the television screen and cooled down, walked away, became Cold-blooded people skillful in expressions, awarded - this outweighed everything else - the honor of appearing on television and showing yourself to the public.O age, greedy for information!Well, however, I scold my faithful assistants. Having shaken off the stupor of the first minute, I sat on the edge of the bed in front of the TV, and in my hands I already had a notepad, where I frantically wrote down the words of reporters and witnesses, who were disciplined by the cold, impassive TV eye.Now another two or three pages were needed, and I worked, knowing that they would find a place for this "bomb" even on a busy newspaper page and that now I had time, since these two or three pages would be accepted at the very last moment before publication of the newspaper.And here they are in front of me, broken nervous lines from a notebook, witnesses of a feverish night, the first - true and incorrect - scraps of information from which I glued my pages together."They shot me in the back, from behind."- Several shots.- One woman was also wounded.- Has the shooter been detained? They don't know.- The senator is on his way to the local hospital.- Shot behind the curtain, at the exit from the Grand Ballroom.- The senator was seen lying in blood in the kitchen.Footage: a troupe of policemen, baring their Colts and rifles, makes their way through the crowd, dragging a man in a white shirt. The man's head is firmly clamped under the policeman's arm. They put him in the car. The siren howled hoarsely and immediately at a high note.A special excited and upbeat intonation in the announcer's voice: now we are the first! - Let's show a videotape of the wounded Senator Kennedy. Here it is, the crowning one. Someone was working at that moment. Now we will show you! Here they are, frames taken with a trembling hand... Panic flickering of people... The camera seems to move them apart... Here they are, the last of thousands and thousands, of millions of frames that recorded the political and personal life of the senator...How many times have we seen some of them in the half-hour advertising film that was endlessly played on all television channels during the election days: with the brother president in times of crisis, at rallies in front of crowds reaching out to him with hundreds of rubles, cheerfully playing football with children on the lawn of Washington estates, running along the ocean shore in races with the shaggy dog Frekles, and again with his brother, closer to his brother, to share in his posthumous popularity, and again with crowds stretching out their hands to the chosen one of fate.And here they are, the latest, fresh, just recorded on videotape and delivered to you without delay. The senator lies on the floor, with the narrow back of his head facing the viewer, that hair-to-hair combed back of his head that I saw three days ago two steps away from me and which struck me in contrast with his famous unruly forelock. Let's zoom in on the back of the head. Even bigger. Calm white face. Suffering slightly touched his lips. Dark suit. Spread legs, powerlessly spread legs - oh, it's not for nothing that the senator is lying on the floor. On the left, squatting, is an incomprehensible boy in a white jacket, in his wide-open eyes there is bewilderment that has not yet turned into pain.It was the dishwasher from the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. The assassin Sirhan Sirhan asked him several times if it was true that Kennedy should pass through the kitchen. The senator, the last of thousands and thousands, shook his hand, and at that moment shots rang out, and the poor boy felt the senator's hand unclench in his hand.Another person leaned to the right. Like the boy, wanting to relieve the pain, he carefully lifts the head of the person lying down. The movement of the senator's lips, his right hand came off the floor, and - oh horror! - there is a dark shiny spot on the back of the hand, and the hand falls like cotton wool to the side, away from the body. And under the head one can vaguely see, or rather not see, another large spot is inevitably guessed...And someone's wide jacket, blocking the path of the television camera, like a curtain on a stage, ends the spectacle. How dare he, this daring jacket! How dare he deprive us of the continuation!I remember another popular photograph from those days, which, of course, appeared in various photography competitions throughout the year.Palm...An enormous, ugly, large, outstretched palm, ready to cover the coldly gleaming eye of the camera, and behind it, disheveled and furious, small, like an appendage to her own palm, the senator's wife, Ethel Kennedy.She has gone all into this palm, and the palm demands air for her husband, who is freezing on the kitchen floor, the palm shields him in the last moments from the cameras of feverishly working reporters.A woman of the so-called high society in the noble appearance of a beast saving her child,"Don't forget, lady," one reporter remarked admonishingly, without interrupting his work. - This is necessary for the story.And the angry palm of a woman who did not remember herself was skillfully snapped off and put into circulation, useful for history.She would like to be alone with him, not allowing strangers into the mystery of agony, but even in fatal moments, the senator was what he had strived to be all his life - a public property.The videotape was played over and over again, on all channels including CBS. There, at the control panel, Walter Cronkite again sat, having missed the climax, his confident, although moderately mournful, expression said that now the confusion and voluntarism would end and the current history would again be written confidently and without blots, right on the tablets of eternity.The videotape became the refrain of that night and a sign of the high quality of television service. It served dozens, and perhaps hundreds of thousands and millions of people, awakened by telephone calls from their friends, acquaintances, and relatives who had stayed late late.- Now watch this videotape...And the operator's trembling hand grew firm, people flashed nervously, parted and closer, closer, to the foreground - a lying man in a dark suit, the narrow back of his head.The senator was already in the operating room at Good Samaritan Hospital. Fred Mankiewicz, his press secretary, said that in five minutes six neurosurgeons would begin the operation, which was expected to last about an hour.The figures of police officers and reporters could be seen near the hospital building, which was white in the darkness.The Governor Hotel has awakened. In the next room, the door slammed and the TV buzzed. The elevator rustled.-Did you hear that Kennedy was shot? - the night duty officer reported over the phone.America was awakening. As reporters tore sleeping politicians from their beds, Senator Javits said: Amazing! Congressman Gerald Ford: Incredible!- Now watch this videotape..."Senator Robert Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles tonight. As you know, Robert Kennedy is the brother of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and he himself is seeking election as President of the United States... From the contradictory testimony of eyewitnesses, it is clear that the assassin was waiting for the senator behind the scenes. He reportedly fired at least six shots from a distance of three meters... According to reports from Los Angeles, the senator is alive, but his condition is critical... The tragedy has replaced the buffoonery that is so characteristic of election nights in America... It's still difficult say how the assassination attempt in Los Angeles will affect the general election atmosphere and political life in the country... The police have strengthened the security of Senator McCarthy, who is at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.I wrote in a hurry, looking at my watch, listening to the TV and suffering because in the meager information, water through a sieve, the main sensations remained unexpressed...The world was awakening. Yes, I woke up, but not necessarily the Los Angeles news, as I thought it was San Francisco in the night, but with the rotation of the Earth and the tread of the Sun - it was already morning in Europe, day in Asia.Darkness still enveloped America, and in London there were morning newspapers with sensational headlines, on a Moscow street an American correspondent saw some woman, and the television in the Governor Hotel Jones Street and Turkey Street broadcast her comment: "What a pity that you live in a country where anyone can be shot."- Now watch this videotape!..And the hand rose from the floor... There was a glint on the back of the hand... The hand fell away, as if being separated from the body.Thirty steps from the podium, from the idol's pose and through the double doors into the kitchen - and there is a bed on the floor. to rule a powerful country, but now did not have the strength to use his own hand.Three pages were ready, but they didn't give me Moscow; the operator, with the cold courtesy of an automatic machine, answered that the line was not working. How can it not work if American correspondents give their comments from Moscow and I heard them with my own ears? Will the newspaper really end up without its own material, and will I not be a working correspondent, but just a shocked TV onlooker? I shouted at the operator, but without stooping to an argument, the automaton man kept repeating his point, and his voice did not in any way reflect the terrible night. Finally, after a complaint from the senior operator, they gave me Moscow at three in the morning.An invisible, treacherously unreliable hair connected room 812 of the San Francisco Governor Hotel with the sixth floor of the Izvestia building on Moscow's Pushkin Square - across two continents, one ocean and ten time zones.With the telephone receiver, I hid under the blanket to muffle my voice, not to disturb the people in the next room, to save them from unnecessary bewilderment: what kind of crazy person is speaking for a long time, loudly and strangely clearly in an unfamiliar language? It was hot and uncomfortable under the blanket, sweat clouded my eyes. And in front of the attentive stenographer, my first listener and reader, I was embarrassed, because, shouting words across two continents and one ocean, I was convinced: not this, not that, not that...I do not refuse these words. They were true in the sense that they carried a piece of information about what happened. But in this bare frame there was no such seemingly obvious connection between the disturbing impressions of a long day in San Francisco, an evening watching TV and a night of tragedy in Los Angeles. After all, that day I, too, walked under a thundercloud and shuddered from the blazing lightning. Lightning struck in another place, and it was not given to me to know where it would dazzlingly rip through the fabric of the storm-swollen sky, but I, too, was breathing in the pre-storm atmosphere.Six neurosurgeons were still working their magic in the operating room of the Good Samaritan. I went to bed, making a higher headboard out of thin rolls of pillows so that I could more comfortably look at the TV screen. The operation was ominously delayed.The wind came through the open window, moving the curtain, and the chill of the early morning dissipated the tobacco spirit. Newspapers scattered on the table and on the floor, a blanket thrown on a chair, ashes and cigarette butts in ashtrays and a trash can - with the eyes of an outsider I looked around at the traces of the carnage that I myself had caused, fighting with the TV, paper, time.What is it like there - a senator in the operating room? Looking through my drowsiness at the devil's box called the blue screen, I waited for news.Roger Mudd stood ready outside the hospital, a concerned figure in the dismal tones of a new day. He was holding a portable walkie-talkie, tuned to the Good Samaritan emergency press service. In the same intonation as nine hours ago, when the report on the election results began, he reported that there was nothing new, Walter, but, as you can see, I'm ready. There was a lot of new stuff, but it had already become old, and Roger Mudd meant the newest, newest.A person who had just turned on the TV might have thought that CBS had long been busy covering the agony of the unfortunate Senator Robert Kennedy. The emergency is over. The conveyor worked in the right rhythm, producing a high-quality product of grief, bitterness, public chest-beating and self-critical talk about a sick society,Waking up at ten in the morning and immediately turning on the TV, I learned that the operation was over and the senator was alive. Still alive, because some New York doctor Poole, who managed to contact him; Lefon and his colleague from the Good Samaritan, drew a diagram of the human brain with a pointer and reported that the wound was much more dangerous than initially thought, that vital centers were damaged and that even if the senator survived, his life would be "limitedly useful," the life of a cripple . On another channel there was a commercial advertisement on the immortal theme of cash, savings, and the company that was driving out the bad smell from America continued to play its mini-film about a grandmother and grandson, convincing that happiness is so possible: become equal with century - buy Listerine!The Kennedy clan flocked to the white rooms of the hospital.Eager commentators, avoiding the word death as much as possible, were already talking about how Humphrey's chances at the Democratic convention in August and Nixon's chances in the November election had improved. What, by the way, will Teddy, the last of the Kennedy brothers, do? Will he enter the battle for the White House immediately after mourning - after all, there are still five months before the elections? Or will he postpone the matter for four years?From a presidential candidate, a man became a candidate for the dead, and in a world where it is so important to get ahead of competitors and be the first to offer a new product that is in demand, people were already in a hurry with guesses, analysis, and speculation.Beautiful San Francisco lived an ordinary life, as if it had managed to deal with the nightly news over a morning cup of coffee. The waitress who wrote out the bill downstairs in the cafe had the same quick and firm handwriting, the same controversial step. And the usual jingle of the cash register when the change automatically pops out along the metal chute. In a store on Market Street, a salesman knocked on the sides of elegant suitcases, eyeing me and convincing me that it was better to buy a new one than to repair an old, falling apart yellow suitcase.And there was nothing unusual on the streets in pedestrians and cars, and the sky was the same blue and peaceful.Only the newsstands screamed newspapers with bold headlines and a photograph of a bewildered boy in a white jacket, bending over a man stretched out on the floor. Yes, on Powell Street, at the turntable of the cable tram, passers-by slowed down in front of the television screens flickering in the windows - it was here, just the day before yesterday, that Robert Kennedy's campaigners were giving away a special edition of his book "In Search of a Renewed World."Haight Street, the land of the hippies, seemed to have died down. The "Wild Colors" store was closed, I didn't see yesterday's hippie, who in a timid whisper predicted an imminent apocalypse. Did he run off to Mexico?The next morning I flew to New York and therefore returned to the hotel early - to get ready for the trip, to the TV, to the haunting thoughts of two or three more pages...- Now watch this videotape...These words sounded less frequently-everyone was served with the videotape.Thomas Reddin, the Los Angeles police chief, had an intelligent face and a discreet, intelligent manner of speech. Having studied the "biography" of the Ivor-Johnson-Cadet pistol, his people established the identity of the attacker. He turned out to be Bishara Sirhan, 24 years old, a Jordanian Arab who had lived in the United States for eleven years, but does not have American citizenship. Most likely he acted alone. So far he refuses to talk, but from the words of his acquaintances it is clear that Sirhan is extremely critical of the US Middle East policy and its support for Israel against the Arabs.I remembered the first strong feeling of those minutes when the election night farce ended in tragedy, but nothing was yet known about the criminal: Robert Kennedy energetically imposed himself as president, causing polar currents of sympathy and antipathy, and they dealt with him just as energetically. Now a more specific version was emerging. The senator was elected from the state of New York, where there was a large and influential group of Jewish voters. He wanted their votes, and of course he wanted to please this group. In the Middle East conflict, his position was openly pro-Israel, although, however, no more pro-Israeli than many of his colleagues. How would he behave if there were more Arabs than Jews among his voters?In Sirhan's agitated mind, fueled by Arab fanaticism and American violence, Robert Kennedy had grown into a hated symbol. The atmosphere of his country, reflected in the mind of the criminal, hit the New York senator with a merciless ricochet, hitting - this was Sirhan's plan - on the eve of the first anniversary of the Arab-Israeli "six-day war".How unexpectedly the world is connected! What resonated in Los Angeles was what echoed in Jerusalem exactly a year ago.The votes in the California election have finally been fully counted. Kennedy defeated McCarthy by a slim majority: forty-five to forty-two.President Lyndon Johnson provided security for anyone who wanted to take his place from the Presidential Secret Service.McCarthy, Nixon, Humphrey watched the medical ballots, preparing to announce a mournful pause in the election campaign.In its publication, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper looked into the night with a huge header: Near Death - On the edge of death.This time Moscow was given quickly. The audibility was good, the operator was sympathetic. By midnight I finished my duties as a correspondent and again turned to the television. The Joy Bishop show was broadcast from Hollywood. At the senator's deathbed, the old question was sympathetically toyed with: what is happening to America?Joy Bishop is a charming person and also a liberal. There is compassion and an unusual heaviness of thought on his face, but what nonsense is this, a funeral show. What has he prepared for the future this evening? What kind of comedians, beauties, politicians, sexologist-professors, tap dancers in tailcoats or, perhaps, desperately radical ladies - bra subverters, preachers of the latest "look through" fashion?Now Bishop has the face of a philosopher and almost a martyr. And his question is: what's wrong with America? The audience bought tickets in advance and went with the intention of having fun, but other guests of Joy Bishop were Charles Evers, the brother of the black leader Edgar Evers, killed by racists, a liberal doctor, and a Catholic priest.The gray-haired doctor is suffering: it's time for Americans to take a closer look at themselves! We are a nation of hypocrites. We must cultivate humanism and banish violence...Charles Evers says it's time for America to wake up, that whites have no compassion for blacks, that the national climate is saturated with violence and racism, that in his state of Mississippi, a black man who steals a chicken gets ten years in prison, and a white man who kills a black man gets off scot-free.The priest denounces "colonization, exploitation and human degradation" in clear political language.Joy Bishop makes a Solomon decision. Californian Governor Ronald Reagan appears on the television screen, located in the state capital of Sacramento. Trap screen. On the right, former actor Ronald Reagan plays the role of a wise, resistant statesman. On the left is actor Joy Bishop as a thinker who is confused, but has not stopped searching for the truth."Governor," asks Bishop, "isn't it time to ban the sale of firearms, which are so cheap in America?"The governor, thickening the wrinkles around his eyes, fatherly explains to Joy that this law is not the issue, that if someone wants to commit a political murder, one way or another he will find a weapon.For some reason, the governor recalls the assassination of the "Austro-Hungarian Emperor" in Sarajevo, obviously referring to Archduke Ferdinand.Talk about a sick America, in the governor's opinion, is nonsense. It's all due to licentiousness and liberalism.  "Now that young Senator Kennedy is seriously wounded," says the governor, "foreign writers are sharpening their pens to once again denigrate America, but these are either its enemies or those who are short-sighted and have forgotten that America is saving the world from barbarians."He said so - from the barbarians, and at that pathetic moment applause sounded in the hall and a shadow of satisfaction ran across the governor's face."Sorry, governor, we'll have to interrupt you," Bishop said with an apologetic, disgusted grimace, but his disgust was not addressed to the governor.Lowering his hand under the table, with the same somewhat disgusted expression, he pulled out some kind of thing.Was it canned dog food or the less dramatic drug Dristan for headaches? I don't remember, sorry for the damage in the documentation of the presentation.But there was, there was this little thing, and, having rolled it in the palm of his hand, Joy Bishop pushed it into the center, under the television beams, placed it on his desk, said the magic word product and obediently disappeared.How Governor Reagan disappearedEveryone has disappeared.There was a promotional film for the company that that evening paid for Bishop's funeral show, the angry philippics of his guests, and the patriotic rage of the governor.Towards the end of his show, Joy Bishop asked a priest to pray for the wounded senator. All four bowed their heads, and in a recitative the priest asked God to save the life of Robert Kennedy, as well as America, from the evils of colonization, exploitation and human degradation.It was one thirty at night on June 6, 1968. Turning off the TV, I went to bed.At one forty-four, Robert Francis Kennedy, forty-two years old, died without regaining consciousness at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.Woke up at seven in the morning by a phone call from the night duty officer, I rushed to the TV. The word death immediately filled the room.Not yet knowing about the hour of death, I realized that, from the point of view of television, it happened a long time ago: this terrible word was spit out calmly, and not like potatoes just pulled out of hot ashes.I saw the heavy face of Press Secretary Pierre Salinger. He outlined the program of funeral ceremonies to tired correspondents: a special plane sent to Los Angeles by President and Denton Johnson would take the body to New York; the list of those who will accompany the body will be announced later; the funeral mass will take place at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York; After the mass, the coffin with the body will be taken by special train to Washington, where the deceased will be buried in Arlington Cemetery, next to his brother.The deceased person continued to acquire a lot of details. Large obituary films were already being shown, which were edited and pasted for future use while he lay on his deathbed.Moving away from the living, Bobby Kennedy memorially appeared before the crowds. Favorite hand gesture. Boston patois, so similar - down with the big patois of the elder finger of his right brother.Having tied up my suitcase, which was falling apart from the decrepitude and abundant information of two California weeks, with straps, I glanced at the TV. Our goodbye was short. I pressed the button, and the entire unmourning and yet motley and dynamic world shrank to a bright point. Disappeared. My shoes and trousers were reflected in the empty window.Which hand will touch its buttons and levers today? What will run through the other brain? What images of an impenetrable future will burst into the flickering screen?I paid at the hotel and took a taxi to the city airport. The newsstand on the corner was still empty. The morning streets are gray and sparsely populated. And sad, as the streets of a city are always sad, from which you part, not knowing whether you will return. After all, if you don't return, it means the end of the piece of life you spent there.In the doorway of the airport terminal, I spotted a newspaper stand and hurried to it to double-check the television information and make sure whether the San Francisco newspapers were operational. There was a pile of fresh newspapers. "Kennedy is dead," screamed the headline on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. You can't shout shorter and louder. There was both mourning and hidden triumph in the cry of the soothsayer: after all, we did not deceive you when we reported in the evening edition that Kennedy was on the verge of death.And, throwing ten cents to the saleswoman, I carefully, around the corner, picked up the number, boldly glittering with the title.The clerks registering tickets worked efficiently, without chatter or hesitation. Passengers at check-in counters, in the cafeteria, at retail outlets, in the chairs of the waiting room behaved as people who have descended from the sky or are about to take off usually behave. How do Americans behave when they find themselves, each on their own business, in a public place: without touching each other physically, neither with a glance, nor with a word. Their appearance violated the illusion instilled by television and newspapers - of a country united in grief.The Trans World Airlines Boeing 707 took off heavily from the San Francisco concrete right on schedule - at 10:10 am. To the left, the ocean glimmered darkly and cloudily, below were the gray stripes of highways, suburban houses and, like multi-colored larvae, thousands of cars in parking lots. We left the ocean deep into the continent, jumped over the barren yellow-pink mountains and climbed high, high, where the colors of the earth fade, covered with a bluish haze, and the sun sheds its light so powerfully and tenderly, making the cabin of the airplane so light and festive that it comes by itself The formula of bliss derived from memory by Mayakovsky: "So I will drink my morning coffee in the Summer Garden..."The casually confident, homely voice of the captain reports on the radio that everything is okay along the entire route and that we should land without any worries - but at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, which is no longer for me. And then - Rome, because Trans World Airlines merged its domestic flights with international ones, demonstrating the unity of the world.Stewardesses glide along the carpet of the aisle in synthetic paper vest dresses that enhance the golden color of the morning - what they don't do to these girls! - and the sun itself, it seems, was specially brought into the sky in its best form.The glossy menu cards confirm that everything is without deception, that indeed we are about to fly with a foreign, French this time, accent: beef Burgundy or chicken in wine, or veal in sauce with mushrooms. And the black stewardess - oh the signs of progress and desegregation in the air! - He smiles sweetly with his plump lips, throwing back the table and placing a wide, stable glass of whiskey and soda on it.After lunch, we, temporary celestials, will watch the comedy "What's Bad About Feeling" in the stratocinematograph. The airline keeps its word. When you booked a ticket for this flight a week ago, didn't a girl's voice sing into the phone that the flight would be with a foreign accent, that for lunch there would be a choice of three of these exact dishes, and that after lunch they would show this particular comedy film.What's bad?..Even if it froze on the runway, or maybe has already taken off from the Los Angeles concrete, the presidential Boeing 707 with a sealed coffin is exactly the same in appearance, but even more comfortable inside. Maybe he is already drawing the vast American sky after us. Just further south. Only without the comedy movie...What's bad? I never found out if it was bad. As at the beginning, on the way to Los Angeles, I put my headphones in my seat pocket and did not look at the screen, where in a standard-comfortable little world standard-prosperous people silently opened their mouths, eliminating some minor humorous shortcomings in their standard-happy life . A different, true and furious world demanded that it be understood.Half a month ago, "The Day of the Evil Revolver" was spinning in the belly of an airplane, just as high above America, and actor Arthur Kennedy, just a namesake, was dragged away by his long legs in the dust of a film town. And in the ghetto that big, mustacheless boy showed off his parabellum like a toy to his sweet girlfriend. And the gun really fired - in the hand of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, and Senator Robert Kennedy fell - really, so as not to get up. However, stay away from this devilry. The senator was killed, but the chain was closed only in my mind.The plane moved smoothly and powerfully, there was no chatter, and the lines fit well into the notebook. I brought into my memory a thin-legged black woman with full lips, a stratocinematograph, beef bourguignon, the whole American ideal of comfort and peace raised to a height of ten kilometers, and tried to find a connection between this ideal and the vision of a senator lying bloody on the kitchen floor, the last public spectacle of suddenly a life cut short. The connection seemed so obvious and yet unprovable. Or maybe it's not a connection, but some kind of anti-connection. The world is not only united and connected, as I saw it on television on the night of the tragedy, but also unusually indifferently huge and torn, and can easily accommodate two Boeings - with a coffin and with a comedy film.How to organize in your head the confusion of the last two days and the entire two-week trip through California, the polar and yet merging impressions of a dynamic, technically extremely advanced society, where everything seems to be weighed and measured, and planned in advance, and where suddenly, with terrible pulsations, darkness breaks through like chaos , unpredictable course of life?Impressions of a modern empire, connected to the world by a system of vengeful communicating vessels: in its global accounting it is accustomed to receiving additional income from the burnt-out beggarly villages in the Vietnamese jungle and suddenly enters into the expenses column a brilliant senator who applauded the Israeli blitzkrieg and therefore was struck down by the hand of a Los Angeles Arab who frantically and blindly takes revenge for the humiliation of his fellow believers in Jerusalem.It seemed that the synthesis that I had been looking for in America for six years and despaired of finding - not a dry and rational synthesis, but passed through the heart - was here, at hand, but again it slipped out, like a fish that you accidentally grabbed in its native element .I remembered Carmel, a charming town that curved its streets and sidewalks so as not to cut down the ocean pines bent by the eternal wind. In the warmth of the May afternoon, in serene bliss, I wandered through its small art galleries, and in one I was struck by the paintings of Leslie Emery, an artist of unusual and strong talent. Especially the portrait of an old man, obviously an Indian. This canvas was stretched out so that the old man's eyes took center stage. For in the eyes was all the thought and all the power.Heavy, swollen round eyelids, a sharp network of wrinkles, bulging eyes, as if protruding from their sockets. In a glance, the history of man is like the history of the world - a man who lived for a long time, suffered a lot, humbled himself, but not submissively, not slavishly, but wisely and stoically, who realized that he was mortal, but life is eternal. And in the hard-won, rational-intuitive balance of wisdom and experience, he lives out his life, knowing that he will leave, but others will come - to the same eyes, the same look. There is no fear, there is wise stoicism, objective and durable, like nature itself. And part of this look, but only part, is directed at the self-confident, loud, rushing, thoughtless life. It's not that this is a critical look, it is the lot of a sage, enviable and bitter. He knows that he can be crushed, but he is not afraid - and this will pass, and he will absorb this without changing - to himself. It is wider and higher and therefore - that's the whole point! - immortal.And another look came to mind - a young hippie from a doorway on Haight Street. He had the handsome face of a television superman, and he would have been better suited to play a cowboy than Ronald Reagan in his youth. A strong chin, a Roman nose, a beautiful oval face and other irresistible accessories of strength, courage and confidence. But the look of the large gray eyes is smoky and empty. Physically nearby, but in reality in unknown lands, in a narcotic trance. A beautiful shell from which the life managed to escape in her young years. Empty vessel.What do you need to change your mind and experience, what to see around you in order to create the eyes of an old man? Probably the same thing the guy on Haight Street saw.Then thoughts turned to Robert Kennedy and then to Martin Luther King, the first victim of the year. I felt offended for King, offended because-I felt it-his assassination was not taken as close to our hearts as the assassination of Robert Kennedy. A strange insult and a strange passion at the hour when a flying funeral procession accompanies a dead body from Los Angeles to New York, but why the hell does the ascetic and true hero Martin Luther King, who laid down his life for the great cause of equality and justice, not call the compassion that, of course, the murder of Robert Kennedy will evoke in our man? Death sums up life, but does not rewrite it, although martyrdom facilitates the birth of a myth. Having placed the notebook on the folding table, I jotted down something like an obituary for a man whose main impulse came from remarkable family ambition, and whose starting point was not love for people, not a desire to improve the world, but dad's millions. I understood that there would be no place for such two or three pages in the newspaper, at least not yet...It was summer hot and sweaty in New York. The additional police presence at the modernist sink of the Trans World Airlines building was alarming. The express bus sprung gently past Queens toward Manhattan. From a high seat, familiar road junctions flashed through the greenish glass. Passenger cars were rushing by, overtaking us. And the dust, the special dull dust of the highways, lay gray along the roadsides. Dust and occasional rusty cans of beer and soft drinks: "Don't litter the highways! Fine five hundred dollars!From the East Side Terminal, I took a taxi to my house on Riverside Drive. In a rare case, the taxi driver turned out to be a woman who had been stunned by the heat and turmoil during the day. It was already eight o'clock in the evening, in the west, in the gaps of the streets, the sky was glowing at sunset, the cars had subsided, but the taxi driver continued to settle some scores, cursing crazy city, crazy people, crazy world - a crazy city, crazy people and the whole crazy world. I was quite ready for these truths, but what only bothered me was that they rolled off her tongue too easily...  Well, the suitcase is at the doorstep, the warmth of the wife and children - and immediately the miracle box is already turned on, working, as if the North American continent is just the distance between two television screens.The big world was breaking into the New York apartment, as well as into the room at the Governor Hotel.A beautiful biblical sunset was burning outside the window, the sad evening Hudson was flashing through the glass, and we were looking at the television twilight of LaGuardia Airport.That plane had already arrived, was already pulling up from the landing strip, and the whistle of its engines could already be heard behind the scenes. But then he entered the frame, blown by thousands of miles of space, and a man in a white robe and headset waved his hands in front of him, beckoning him to him, ordering him to stand - an airfield worker, a participant in history just as accidentally caught in the frame as that perplexed boy - a dishwasher in a white jacket bending over a senator in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel.The whistle stopped and the plane froze. With burly policemen on the flanks, they greet. moved towards the plane.Now television cameras searched the fuselage, wondering which hatch would open first. The door moved to the side on its complex hinges, and, elevated above the people, a flight attendant appeared in the doorway. Why don't they serve the gangway? Ah, it's not a ladder that's needed, but a lift for the coffin. They meet the coffin, and it must be the first. And the lift appeared - like a covered truck body, neatly crafted, even elegant with its nickel-plated sides, stitched with lines of rivets. The senator's relatives and friends, who did not make it to his deathbed at Good Samaritan Hospital, stepped onto the lift platform. She went up to the hatch opening, to the coffin and the widow, and in the mournful light of spotlights and jupiters I saw on the platform dapper male figures and slender legs of women in miniskirts and mini-dresses.In five years...Thirty-odd gray floors of the Equitable Life insurance company, twenty-something floors of the Texaco oil corporation, and here is what you need - on a high pole rising above the rare, symbolic trees of Wilshire Boulevard, a triangle slowly rotated Signs for the Ambassador Hotel. Left turn. Turn to the entrance. We arrived... One man in doorman's braid drives a car into the parking lot, the other, having taken possession of the things, rolls them on his nickel-plated cart along the red carpet between two columns that look like steamship pipes, and the glass doors themselves swing open to meet him. Like stretching, the feeling of the end of the road, another pier. It is gloomy inside, as befits a hotel in latitudes where there is too much sun outside. The main hall has old carpets and lacquered panels, a kind of cozy surrounding. loss of outline. The room on the fifth floor has striped mattress wallpaper on the walls, and from the window there are views of Wilshire Boulevard and the parking lot, where my blue Ford is now parked among hundreds of colorful fellows. The entrance canopy is pulled over two steamer pipes, and on it there are three flagpoles and a full set of flags: the national stars and stripes, the state of California, with a polar bear, as they say, almost of Russian origin, and its own standard, without which nothing here can do self-respecting establishment.Having learned to read the fate of hotels in America, I predict: this one will live out its life. It too defiantly contradicts the newest concept, according to which there should be more floors on the boulevard than unprofitable trees. And where does it contradict? On the land of Wilshire Parkway, the most expensive road west of the Rockies. It is located too widely, half-hidden in the depths, with entrances for cars and approaches, along an alley, for pedestrians, with wasteful parking lots right at ground level instead of multi-story ones below and above the ground. I foresee a near moment when a fresh pair of business skyscrapers, shining with glass and metal breasts, will stand in this place, closer to the pavement, shoulder to shoulder in the high-rise order of banks and insurance companies on the prestigious Wilshire Boulevard.It's a pity, by the way. Large, nice hotel, southern resort feel. Hall? "Coconut Grove" Bar? "Palm Garden" And behind the glass half-walls and half-windows of the bar there are real palm trees, the play of light and shadows in your own garden, you look at this calm garden - and your eyes sting from an incomprehensible sweet nostalgia. And to the southern feelings, to the nostalgia for times that, having become old, have become good, are added a gym and hygienic baths, a health sauna, the blue of tiles and water in a large swimming pool, and in the blue under the slanting pre-sunset rays of the Californian sun, not only mustachioed old men , reminiscent of retired British majors from the times of empire, but also lovely young blondes in deck chairs. No, the Ambassador Hotel was not built for today's fussy business travelers. Which, however, dooms him even more accurately.It's a pity. Who is he bothering? It has its own psychological microclimate and a closed life support system. In the system: restaurant "Lautrec" with French cuisine; cafe-snack bar with standard semi-finished American cuisine; jeweler Robert Martin with an international reputation; men's imports in the "London Store" and women's swimsuits like a fishing net, thickening here and there; drug store, there is everything: from fragrant ready-made foam for morning shaving to evening pills and detective novels for insomnia... And how many halls are there for congresses, symposiums and just meetings?! And the night bar "Down Under" with singers and dancers. And lonely young women, slowly and meaningfully walking at MIDNIGHT along the alley leading to the boulevard...Why is there a night bar and young night owls who accidentally stuck their legs out of the accidentally open car door that accidentally stopped on the boulevard opposite the hotel! The Ambassador Hotel is ready to bother about more delicate forms of life support - and here, near the twisted staircase that smoothly goes into the main hall, sits its own Thinker, painted gold, a little relative of Rodin's. Explanation on the pedestal of the painted Thinker: "Bornstein. Memory training school. Located in the basement." Those who wish can go down to Mr. Bornstein's basement and, under his supervision and guidance, take an inventory of the brain's economy, write off unnecessary memories as trash, and repair and tint the necessary ones.I, of course, did not trust my memory to the capitalist Mr. Bornstein, but I had planned some training for it, and it was at the Ambassador Hotel. And therefore I was delighted to see the painted Thinker, and also to find in the desk drawer in my room a questionnaire: "What would we like to know from you."What did they want to know from me? What do I like about their hotel, what disappointed me about it, what do I think about their food, drinks and service? And also how I learned about their existence: from a travel agency, from a friend, through advertising or from some other sources.The last column fully corresponded to my idea. I did not hear about the Ambassador Hotel from a travel agency or from a friend. And not even thanks to advertising, although, of course, what is meant by advertising. In the dead of midnight on June 6, 1968, the television screens of the United States of America made an unexpected, very loud and scary advertisement for the Ambassador Hotel. Here, a young Jordanian-Arab American, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, mortally wounded New York Senator Robert Kennedy and, at the age of forty-two, ended his life and his dream of the White House, a dream of revenge for his brother John.That's when I remembered the Ambassador Hotel. Instantly. For on that hectic evening that turned into the fateful night, I was watching the blue screen in another hotel room in San Francisco, intending to write a short note on the results of the primary elections in California, where two Democratic senators, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, were fighting. But the outcome of the elections ceased to interest anyone after the murder of the winner. Among many others, the shots at the Ambassador Hotel shocked me too, forming the chronological top of a whole pyramid of American impressions. And, living out my first stint as a correspondent overseas, I didn't want them to disappear, and therefore I already wrote down the Los Angeles night I experienced in front of the television screen in San Francisco. It grew into a lengthy essay about violent California, and the consequences were unexpected: I became a hostage to the effort already made. I realized that I would not escape captivity if I did not continue this effort, if I did not return to the same Californian scene to survey and describe it anew.The guard weighed at least two hundred pounds. Fashionable white jacket, colorful trousers in a large red check. A nose with bluish veins betrayed his off-duty hobbies. Bob Stevens, deputy chief of protocol for the mayor of Los Angeles, unfolded his thick and narrow American wallet, in which a dozen credit cards, a driver's license, an insurance company address, a social security number, etc., are mounted like pages, and showed some that's a tricky ID. The guard agreed to escort us. Along the way he complained:"Here, in this hotel, there were fourteen guards, and now there is one like a finger."The hall was long and empty. Without people, with uncovered tables and folding chairs leaning against the walls, it looked abandoned and neglected. Our guide stepped onto the small low stage and briefly explained:- This is where he stood. Here, to the kitchen, he went out - after all, there was pandemonium in the hall, it was impossible to get through.I remembered that evening TV report, even before the shots. Exactly - pandemonium. In the hall there are portraits of Robert Kennedy, and he is in person on the podium with his wife and assistants, and balloons with his name, and a platform for the all-powerful television people opposite the stage, their hot lamps, their thick cables tangling under their feet. He announced his victory over Eugene McCarthy, said goodbye and walked towards the bullets...Following in his footsteps, but five years later, we went out into the corridor, slamming the whitewashed dilapidated door. The corridor was small, empty and led to the kitchen. Metal upholstered kitchen tables. Old fashioned linoleum on the floor. What a miserable final stage for a prominent, brilliant, rich life! Did he have time to think about it?The faded passions of the past were of no interest to the security guard in the white jacket and red trousers, but here, at the kitchen tables, he, too, perked up. With the muzzle of a pistol he pressed the index finger of his right hand to his thick neck.- This is where he fell. This is where they lifted him and laid him. Following him, we stroked the cold metal of the table."Then there was bedlam." From there, from the hall, everyone rushed here...And then something suddenly crackled on the broad chest of our guide with the urgent concerns of the day. And from the depths of his jacket he pulled out some kind of electronic thing that was sending him some kind of order, and hurried off somewhere, alone where there were fourteen. In a hurry, he managed to show a gap in the white cardboard above the door, saying that this was a trace from a bullet, from one bullet that flew past. But there were two tears in the cardboard, and the professional demon of clarification pushed me to ask which of the two, and the guard, in a hurry, said that he did not know. When necessary, there are no people more meticulous about facts than Americans. So this is no longer necessary, I thought. This means that they rarely turn to him and he is rarely here on this occasion. This means that time has trampled this down, and the very name of the Ambassador Hotel no longer evokes that television night.When they returned from the kitchen across the hall, the guard, standing against the wall, received instructions by telephone. Pressing the receiver to his ear, he winked at us in a friendly manner: he said, if necessary, I'll scrape together another five minutes for you. We winked in response: thank you, no need, mind your own business, brother.We sat with Bob Stevens at the Purple Turtle restaurant. After that night, he visited the Ambassador Hotel dozens of times, but it never occurred to him to look at that room, although he remembers that night very well. He talked about all sorts of things and in his words, by the nature of his questions, sketched a self-portrait of a former police officer, intelligent, conservative, with a diploma of higher education, who believes that liberals have taken too much power, have dissolved the people and ruined morals, that in relations with people, fear is more effective than love, and that therefore it is necessary to strengthen judicial punishments and simplify the judicial procedure.And this ordinariness deprived the solemnity of my return to the stage of a not so long ago and very loud drama.Time is merciless. But, thank God, it's natural. He hates poses. And some burly, blue-nosed security guard from the Ambassador Hotel, hastily responding to the call of the electronic rattle on his broad chest, can accidentally ruin the prepared memory training. And thank God. Down with poses.Time works like heavy millstones, like the law of oblivion or the restoration of true proportions.Five years... This, it turns out, is so long that it is scary to encroach on the reader's attention with old events, old sensations, old names. I go over in my memory what was very recent and once huge, almost stage-by-stage, which appeared on the board in fiery writing, which not only occupied, but absorbed me as a correspondent - and has already been completely written off, erased, as if it had never existed.However, in order. We got too ahead of ourselves, starting intrigues with the Ambassador Hotel.California began this time where it ended five years ago in San Francisco. But before San Francisco there was, as usual, a flight across the continent, from east to west, and before the flight there was an airport, not named after Kennedy near New York, but named after Dulles near Washington - a beautiful compact air terminal with a gracefully curved roof.The road to heaven began from the ground. And from new earthly signs. After all the other well-known procedures for checking airline tickets and checking in luggage - along the blue mat, through the wooden varnished gates - there was only one road, the sky, and - behind the gates stood the Apostle Peter, vigilantly letting passengers through, in civilian clothes from the TWA airline, which has transferred more than once me to the American West, and under the cut of his jacket the back pocket of his trousers bulged out, no doubt, like blued steel. Watching the readings of the electronic meter - oh the small miracles of the scientific and technological revolution! - the armed apostle fulfilled his task - to let only the unarmed into heaven. They walked through the gate in silence, but from time to time the meter would ring a bell about the presence of a suspicious amount of metal on one or another passenger body, and then the owner of the body, without entering into arguments about how much metal was permissible and what was not, hurried to cleanse himself of suspicions, handed over to the apostle in civilian clothes a cigarette case, bracelet, watch, chain, etc., depending on gender, age and lifestyle, and again walked along the blue rug through the wooden varnished gate, hoping that the counter would rehabilitate him with silence. And next to it, in front of the gate, there was a long narrow table, and two girls in the uniform of flight attendants were engaged in the previously unfamiliar task of inspecting hand luggage, men's briefcases and handbags, and they did this new task quite skillfully, feeling various things, unwrapping various packages and even forcing me turn on the portable tape recorder in order to make sure that it is a sound recording device and not an explosion-producing device.Behind this pre-flight scene is the early 70s; new everyday life born of the epidemic of hijacking and kidnapping, which, like many other international epidemics, broke out for the first time in America; federal order on mandatory universal inspection of all passengers and their luggage both on international and domestic routes - this decree was met without objection, and resistance was offered only by one scandalous senator who protested against the attack on the dignity and physical integrity of Americans, but he quickly came to terms , gave up, obeyed, since the airline transporting the senator was paying large fines for his opposition and was not inclined to support him.Every cloud has a silver lining. The guard with his bulging back pocket was as calming as take-off lollipops.And at the San Francisco International Airport, where we landed safely, without being hijacked anywhere, without deviating from the route and schedule, a sign of change also appeared in the form of an elderly, but youthful, fit man with an open face and thick gray hair. He invited us into a new black Lincoln Continental, told the driver in Russian where to go, and we sped along the freeway into the city, towards Pacific Heights and the previously unknown Green Street.The residential area was quiet and dark in the evening, almost night time. The man who met us chuckled and chuckled, inviting us into the house, making it clear that he had prepared some effects that those who arrived should appreciate. And on the ground floor, in the hall with large windows, he turned off the light. And we gasped. And how could you not gasp! The lights of the city and an impenetrable hole in the bay, black as space, opened below, and in this hole the former prison island of Alcatraz glowed like a beautiful necklace and seemed to float - above the water? above the ground? over the abyss? - illuminated garlands of the famous Golden Gate Bridge.In the morning, as soon as I woke up, I hurried into this room, to its windows. The light gave colors, volume, details, and again the view of the bay, searingly dark blue, majestically cold, with water ripples in the wind, took your breath away. There was no longer a mystery in it, but an alluring freshness and spaciousness - from the blue of the sky and water, from the morning, still sleepy roofs, houses running down to the shore...San Francisco is not deprived of beautiful views; not only poets, but also bankers speak about them with feeling and knowledge. But it was a one-of-a-kind view-a Soviet view of San Francisco. And Alexander Ivanovich Zinchuk, Consul General of the USSR, opened it in front of us in the evening. It was he who represented a significant sign of change, he and the employees of the Consulate General, and the six-story strong house on Green Street. The red flag was raised on Green Street on June 23, 1973: from that day on, the Consulate General of the USSR received the right to fully conduct its work in the consular district, the territory of which covers the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and part of the state of Alaska.What does it mean to have your own consulate where there was none before? The disappearance of loneliness... Meeting at the airport and fellow travelers still in the air - with rectangular, khaki-colored diplomatic bags on the plane seats... The bacilli of dependency - the temptation to rely on compatriots, when you should decide and do it yourself... Wider opportunities for meetings and contacts, this food allowance for a journalist, especially a traveling one.The opportunities are even wider if you find yourself in San Francisco with a person for whom the doors of various American offices open just because of his official position. I flew with just such a person - Georgy Arkadyevich Arbatov, director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the USSR Academy of Sciences.The word discharge with all eight Russian letters and all seven of the French word detente, adopted by the Americans, grew on the horizons of Soviet-American relations. Everyone defined their attitude towards the word and the phenomenon. The attitude was different, just as the people who determined their attitude were different. A simple word was filled with multi-syllable and multi-layered content, opening up encouraging prospects for agreements, which in two years the two countries concluded with each other more than in the previous forty years of diplomatic relations, outlining the limits that are dictated by the differences between two systems and two places in the world, illusions, from which will have to be freed, maneuvers of opponents who will have to be resisted.Comrades from the consulate shared news. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra went on tour to Western Europe, and then to Vilnius, Leningrad, and Moscow. They are traveling with their wives, but Intourist does not have enough hotel rooms. A shipload of lemons departed from Long Beach for the Soviet Union-the first American lemons on our market. Our gymnasts are performing in Los Angeles, and, as always, Olga Korbut is of particular interest and affection to Americans. A trade and industrial delegation has departed from Seattle: it will travel throughout the Union, testing the ground for the development of economic ties.For two evenings we were greeted by an elegant, slowly majestic old gentleman named Cyrille Magnin, chief of protocol to the mayor of San Francisco. He is sometimes called "Mr. San Francisco" and even taxi drivers on the streets recognize him - could there be any greater fame? He enters everywhere, as if at home, at home, slowly, holding his head in an senile half-tilt, accepting greetings with economical gestures of his right hand, knowing in advance that they will come. He is charming and aristocratic, as befits the chief of protocol of charming San Francisco. It costs him nothing to allocate a quarter of a million dollars to the city symphony orchestra. And all this is derived from forty-two department stores of ready-made clothes in the states of California, Colorado, Nevada, as well as abroad - in London, Florence, Tokyo and other places.And so, imagine, Cyrill Magnin dreams of a concrete contribution to detente - opening a Cyrill Magnin store in Moscow.- I don't need profit from you. I will teach your people how to trade and how to make clothes for young people.We are sitting in the restaurant on the top floor of the new Hyatt Hotel. Outside the windows are the lights of San Francisco. "Mr. San Francisco" chooses wine. They bring him a bottle, show him a spell, uncork it, and ceremoniously present the cork. With his long nose, stretching his thin neck out of his jacket collar, Cyrille Magnin sniffs the wine-soaked cork like a rose, rolls it in his fingers and places it on the tablecloth, nodding his approval. A little wine is poured into his glass, and he rolls it around in his mouth with a tiny tasting sip. It seems that he has a tune in him, but he is not joking with the offer of a store - he could open for universal advertising - the first American store in the capital of the Soviets!To trade for real, and not in dreams, you need to know your partner. Mr. Magnin's offer is unrealistic, but his level of knowledge about us is typical rather than exceptional. They don't know us well, but we also don't represent the efficiency and dynamism inherent in the American character, the need for quick results. They send messengers, and they stubbornly knock on the doors of Soviet organizations, impatiently seeking an answer in an American way, ready to look for opportunities elsewhere, in other countries, in an American way, if there is no definite and quick answer.For Cyril Magnin, the idea of a company store in Moscow seemed like a sincere, but frivolous impromptu. And at Bank of America, détente meant estimation, scrutiny and calculation without charity, which dictated the later opening of a representative office in Moscow (following Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan) and participation in lending for American business transactions with Soviet foreign trade organizations. During the days of our arrival, the bank was in the stage of growing interest, preliminary, but already intensive contacts. In a letter preceding the bank's annual report to depositors, its president A. Clausen named "closer and more friendly relations with communist states" among the most encouraging prospects for the near future.He repeated his forecast when we met in the skyscraper, fifty-two stories high, raising its monumental brown-gray ribbed faces into the San Francisco sky. The command floor there is the fortieth floor - the management center of the largest bank in the capitalist world, whose deposits then amounted to thirty-five billion dollars.The altar of the dollar was respectably simple, without frills or decoration, and was guarded by a man in uniform, who stood with his legs apart near the elevator. The main impression is the space let in through the huge, clean windows. The office doors are open, as if there is a cult not of the dollar, but of the beauty and stunning views of San Francisco. It's as if there are no secrets on this altar: all the work of all the servants - from the secretary to the president - is in plain sight.The president's office was also dominated by the view-of the waterfront, the bay, the bridges, and the piers of Oakland. The city noise did not reach through the closed windows, and therefore everything below seemed tame and calm. Even the ripples of the bay settled at the feet of an elderly, modestly businesslike man with a strong squinting of his eyes behind the glasses. He sat in a heavy square chair, with his back to the windows, like a proprietor, giving up the most beautiful view to the guests. He handled numbers freely but economically, took the main ones and arranged them in such a way as to prove his main premises.Clausen used our brief courtesy call to make a point: Bank of America was going to make a practical rather than a rhetorical contribution to economic cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Such cooperation will contribute to the "forces of peace."Then he handed us over to Mr. Scudder Merzman. Like Clausen, Merzman spent a quarter of a century at Bank of America and served as senior vice president for operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Deals with the Soviet Union were the duties of this tall, bald gentleman with a pale, clean face, which he seemed to have shaved five minutes before our arrival. He also treated us to San Francisco views of all four corners of the world, as well as his explanations and Margarita cocktails.The elevator took us to the top, fifty-second floor, which is dedicated to a restaurant, which is open to everyone during the day, and only to members of the privileged "Bankers Club" in the evening. When I asked if this was the most closed of the private clubs in San Francisco, Mr. Merzman said that the most closed club was the South Pacific Club: Jews were not accepted there. "We have only women."The senior vice president's humor is dry and sometimes striking. He saved the most powerful joke for last. Already saying goodbye, having escorted us to the high glass doors, Mr. Merzman pointed to a blue-black granite monolith on the site in front of the banking skyscraper. The polished, darkly shining surface enhanced the gloom and weight of the block.-Do you know what they call it?And, after a pause, maintaining complete impassivity on his face, Mr. Merzman said:  - The heart of a banker...The city, like a person, is a delight to feel; It's easier to experience feelings than to explain them-these two Americas have long been open. Like the third, feelings for cities remain unrequited.And you go out in the morning, a foreigner, onto the stage of your favorite foreign city. Noisy Lombard Street, along which the morning traffic flows, quiet green Green Street with rich family houses, you climb the famous hills, at each peak you rediscover the blue bay, and again down and up the steep streets, people hastily drink coffee in eateries , the cars shudder and squeak their brakes, a loose-lipped black man leans drunkenly against the wall on Fillmore Street, clerks are running to work along the empty and cool-fresh Union Square, on Turkey Street, having seen off their husbands, fat black men come out to the entrances of new and already crumbling cheap houses women with black boys as mobile as mercury...New people and meetings did not stop the craving for old places and old acquaintances, although I quickly realized how difficult and in many ways artificial the task of drawing lines from the past to the present and projecting them with a dotted line into the future.As before, I met with Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the Netan newspaper The Sun Reporter, physician and social activist. In his office, medical diplomas were still side by side with brass plaques in faded rectangles and hearts - commendable to the newspaper. As before, he managed to take off his white doctor's coat twenty minutes, all the time entrusting the guest to his editor Thomas Flemming, a black man with the face of a worker, in a blue shirt with an open head under a blue jacket. Flemming did not run away, he sat heavily and motionless and talked about the situation of black Americans, about the trip to Moscow, about what is attractive to us for the black community in America: free medical care and education, low rent, there is no gap between wealth and poverty.The office window looked out onto a small, shady courtyard. I remembered the royal view from the fortieth floor, from Clausen's office, from where the city seemed tamed and the waves of the bay calmed. Not only are the species different, the destinies are different, the views are different, the problems are different. It's easy to operate with numbers and characteristics when you're on the fortieth floor in the presidential chair of the largest bank; it's more difficult when your gaze rests on a fence, on a dead end.Five years ago, Professor William Wheaton, dean of the College of Urban Planning at the University of Berkeley, was explaining to me the tangled problems of American cities. I saw him again. He grew old, haggard, complained about his heart, he remembered our conversation vaguely, he talked about the urban dynamics of the past years: there was a big housing boom, the quality of housing improved. The concentration of blacks in the ghettos is still increasing, racial barriers are only slightly broken down in the suburbs. Insufficient public transport and too much dependence on the individual car are still a big problem. The largest new social movement is environmental. Citizens now have the right to sue if they believe new construction projects threaten the environment, even if they themselves do not suffer direct financial harm. The environmental movement in California has prevented the creation of new nuclear power plants and other energy projects, even as energy needs grow.In my free hours, I went on dates with the city.From the rickety Travel Lodge motel, where a plump Frenchman who had come to America to earn extra money stood too vigilantly in the desk lest guests run away without paying, I headed one day to the place of my former abode - the brick old Governor Hotel on the corner of Turk Street and Jones Street. Gray, white, as if dusty, the houses around floated into memory as half-forgotten scenery. It seemed: if you enter this revolving door, go up to the eighth floor, and in room 812 you will instantly again find yourself in the atmosphere of a warm June night after a long and indecisive fraught afternoon rain, when you were sitting, making notes in a notebook, turning away from the TV , and suddenly something pulled you out from the table and made you face the TV screen in front of the sudden news of what happened in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel...Pipes!In the area near the Governor Hotel, lonely, helpless old age in cheap almshouses and vice in stinking "clubs" and pornographic shops coexisted. Oh, the free port city of San Francisco, which is not going to give up its free port morals!But not far from the Governor Hotel, suddenly news of a completely different order - the World Marxist Book store and in the window - Soviet publications in English, on the book covers there are portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin.Nearby, on McCallister Street, the American-Russian Institute has been located for many years, whose hospitality is well known to Soviet people who visited San Francisco. Modest room. Entrance directly from the street. On the bookshelves are Soviet publications in English. Pushkin, Tolstoy, Shevchenko are looking from the walls. And in the depths, an old desk littered with papers, at which the president of the institute, Holland Roberts, sat for many years. Who among the Soviet visitors has not met this noble old man in a jacket with saggy pockets of a book lover? And his eyes were sharp, intelligent, inquisitive. In the twenties, he recognized our revolution and Soviet Russia and never backed down, even under the icy winds of the Cold War.Street scene on the corner of Market and Powell streets. In the shadow of the wall there are three musicians - a guitar, a banjo, a violin. Faded army jacket. Shirt over jeans. Woolen colorful sleeveless vest. Three beards. Two pairs of rough boots. One pair of bare feet, padding along the asphalt to the beat. Old rugs and blankets, witnesses and companions of nomadic life, are piled against the wall. At his feet, in the open case of the violin, a pair of dollar bills are green on the black velvet, and quarters and dimes gleam dully. On the sidewalk, taking a few steps away from the musicians, a small crowd of listeners is like recognition.I look at the faces: softened, smiles wander. A minute ago they were rushing about their business and were about to rush again, but while they were pulled out of the troubles of the day, they were taken into another world - not just the melody and tact and poetry of these songs, but also the lives of three musicians, not so young (one, probably over thirty), penniless, to be sure, but free and selflessly happy at that moment when they created the miracle of fleeting human brotherhood on Market Street.How many of them - trios, couples, singles - are there in San Francisco and especially on the other side of the bay, in Berkeley?! Traveling musicians are a branch from the hippie tree.Following the trail of memory, I went to the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets, the former hippie capital of the world.Truly, as the poet said, "...all periods are short in this world, all transformations are on the fly." After its explosive glory in recent years, the area has fallen back into obscurity. Not a trace remained of the camp's revival. The second floors of many houses are boarded up with plywood boards.I didn't expect to find the psychedelic store Wild Colors, where the young clerk told me about the history of his conversion to hippies and his fears on Haight Street. And I didn't find it. She sank into oblivion, like many others like her. Meanwhile, American pharmacies, drug stores, symbols of standardization, against which the hippies rebelled, stood, marking the triumph of the permanent over the temporary, and new, respectable bank branches testified to the same triumph. Used furniture stores were a place of reckoning with yesterday.There was a large sign on the corner house: "Local Help Center." Here, too, they were reckoning with the past. The house's windows were plastered with advertisements for rock band concerts and calls to help prison inmates. Faded anti-war posters reflected the last of the bloody truths of the Vietnam War: an infantryman trudged towards America with a rifle on his shoulder, and B-52 bombers flew in a cloud towards Vietnam.Inside, behind a wooden barrier, young guys stood talking loudly. A large blackboard on the wall was full of pieces of paper from thick student notebooks. Some were looking for car travel companions - to New York, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, promising to split the cost of food and gasoline. Others were renting or looking for housing. Much belatedly, a young Englishman wanted to join a "commune" or a group of "politically oriented people."The help center looked like an evacuation center.The black man on duty came up to me: "How can I help you?" How? I had a place in a motel on Lombard Street and a plane ticket to Washington. I left the premises and said goodbye to Haight Street, feeling disappointed and deceived. Although I had no illusions about the longevity of hippies before, I still attached an exorbitant importance to that day that became yesterday.I remembered - once again! - scene from Antonioni's film "Blow Ill."A young, wobbling idol singer is performing in the hall. The crowd of young fans goes wild, and just as reflections are endlessly multiplied by mirrors placed opposite each other, so the crowd, crazy with delight, endlessly multiplies its own delight. And so the wildest and most crazy ones jump on stage to physically touch and feel their idol, pinch it, and acquire a collectible hair from the famous curls. The electric guitar is snatched from his hands, broken, and scuffled into souvenirs. Part of the guitar deck flies into the hall, there is also a fight and a dump. The lucky man, holding a piece of wood in his hand, looks around and gets out of the hall.Night on the street. Silence. Lights. Another world - different sensations. Another space and time. He looks at the piece of wood that was snatched away in battle. What is this? For what? After thinking, he throws it on the sidewalk. A passing company sees something thrown. The young man, curious, picks up a piece of wood from the ground and examines it. Night. Quiet. Empty. He doesn't know where she's from. An ordinary sliver in his hand. He throws her away in annoyance. How short is the life of a sensation...By the standards of Europe and Asia, the city of San Francisco is a teenager. Its oldest stones are about two hundred years old. In March 1776, the first Spanish military fort (presidio) and the first Catholic mission, Mission Dolores, were founded in the northern part of the peninsula, where San Francisco now lies. On forty nameless hills grew the fragrant mint buena verba - good herb. This was the name of the first settlement that appeared in 1835 - Good Grass. Several dozen people lived in it, economic activity was less than in the Ross fortress, founded twenty years earlier one hundred and twenty kilometers to the north by the Russian-American company for the fishing of sea animals and the fur trade. It was not the Spanish cross and sword that gave vibrant life to the San Francisco hills, but gold. In 1848, when the gold rush broke out, fifteen ships visited the unknown young port; the following year - more than seven hundred. There was no railroad yet, the builders of the Panama Canal were not even born, but America knew how to pick up an incomprehensible pace even then. San Francisco quickly became a world-class port.He has the age not of a city, but of a long-lived Abkhazian, but there on the Pacific Ocean, facing the Orient, San Francisco considers itself to be Europe no less than America, is proud of tolerance and taste for life and truly represents a rare example of the sustainability of urban traditions, urban civilization in a country where everything rushes at a gallop and no one knows where. Once they conducted a survey: in which city would Americans prefer to live? San Francisco received twice as many votes as any other city.And yet everyone has their own San Francisco. The transit vehicle multiplies your favorite vantage points. Residents have even more of them. But the resident also has his own home (or, alas, the lack thereof), his own street and quarter, the shafts of social, racial or national status, the reins that life sometimes harshly strains.On the Golden Gate Bridge, hidden television cameras monitor people whose behavior somehow betrays fatal intentions. Hundreds rushed into the searing blue water that threatened death. San Francisco's suicide rate is two and a half times higher than the American average. Isn't it beauty that aggravates the feeling of disharmony in life to the point of despair?San Francisco has mixed no less than twelve languages. Guess how many native white Americans there are here, if for a little over seven hundred thousand inhabitants there are: blacks - at least one hundred thousand, Chinese - about sixty thousand, immigrants from Russia - no less than the Chinese, Italians no less than former Russians, but there are also Irish, Germans, Poles, Jews, Mexicans, Japanese, Filipinos...In the book "Mega-States of America," the American Neil Pierce wrote: "Currently, from a stronghold of white Anglo-Saxons - Protestants and Catholics - San Francisco is increasingly turning into a city of minorities, especially yellow, black and brown (Mexicans and Central Americans). As middle-class whites move to the suburbs in growing numbers, urban populations are increasingly becoming a mixture of the very rich and the very poor. Ethnic conflicts are intensifying, and the voices of militant radicals are becoming more powerful. The housing shortage is getting worse and the tax burden is getting heavier. These are typical diseases of almost any large American city."Even the elite who inhabit the tops of the most famous of San Francisco's hills have their own classes and subclasses, floors and mezzanines. They say that they get together only once a year - for the grand opening of the new season at the San Francisco Opera, which is a sign of good form to patronize.The class and ethnic pyramid of San Francisco is crowned by the descendants of those who had the strongest fists and the greatest ingenuity during the gold rush and railroad boom. Descendants are ennobled by time and the stability of wealth. They don't really fuss over new millions. On the other hand, the alignment of the stones and the minimal gaps in this pyramid hinder clever and enterprising young people. They lack space and perspective, and this is one of the reasons for the continuing decline in urban population.The elite is not omnipotent, it is forced to reckon with the urban plebs (in the noble sense of the word), and the plebs are famous for their democratic traditions and the ability to defend them. Those seeking elected office here need not only the financial support of the wealthy, but also the votes of a multi-tribal population. In presidential elections, San Francisco typically votes "to the left" of average America. And in the hills of San Francisco, those who are oppressed and stifled by the regulation of standard America can breathe more freely. The city remains a natural cradle for leftist and ultra-leftist movements, from the anti-war movement to revolts against commercial mass culture.Allen Jacobs, a large man of about forty, was dressed provocatively shabby: white linen trousers, a crooked tie, a shirt unbuttoned under the pressure of his strong belly. Meanwhile, he was sitting at 100 Larkin Street, in a spacious office, with official papers on his right and left, in front of the office there was a screen of secretaries and assistants, on the walls of the office there were various maps and diagrams. This entire set was assigned to the director of planning at the Department of City Planning of the City and County of San Francisco, which was Allen Jacobs, who was not embarrassed by the discrepancy between his appearance and his official position. Slightly rolling the chair on wheels, he also raised his feet on the table, which revealed that the shabbyness extended to the worn out soles.At 100 Larkin Street, I wanted to know how the authorities intend to preserve that San Francisco, which, being only the thirteenth most populous of American cities, calls itself great and world-class, is spoiled by popularity in its own country and takes for granted the admiration of foreigners .I expected a boring conversation, but the shabby director, after listening to my questions and compliments, fervently urged me not to waste precious time in offices like his. And he passionately attacked some professors unknown to me."When I told these professors about my feelings, they looked at me like I was an idiot. We need facts, not feelings, they insisted. Did you come for facts too? Feel San Francisco! Go to the streets and squares, to cafes, take a closer look at the residents. And if it's hard for you to do without quotes, without references to someone's words, come up with them yourself and refer to "a city official who asked not to give his name." Is this what your brother does?Jacobs became excited, the worn soles disappeared from the table. There was also a cheerful sparkle in the eyes of his assistant: know our San Francisco people. And I felt happy from this fuse and playing. Bravo, Mr. Jacobs! But we, too, are not just shields and, bowing to the facts, we know about their limitations. Tell me better, where did you come from, an unusual official in an unusual city? What are the reasons for your passion against professorial pragmatism? And why are you being kept here?University professors provided him, a city planner, with "exact knowledge," but this was the precision of dice in an academic game that cannot be played in the squares and streets of natural cities where natural people live. Allen Jacobs's first university life was spent abroad in Calcutta, where he worked for three years on behalf of the Ford Foundation. She horrified him with the massive scale of starvation deaths and the ordinariness of human tragedies, proving the unsuitability of the scientific recipes he brought. When he returned to America as a teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, his native soil, familiar and solid, was also shaken by anti-war protests and race riots in the ghetto.What could he teach his students? The same worthless cubes?When he was offered an office at 100 Larkin Street, he accepted because he loved San Francisco, even though he was born elsewhere. Six years is a long time for Americans who cannot sit in one place, but Jacobs is not fed up with work and sees his task as saving the soul of the city.How? He hands me a product of like-minded people as a souvenir - a book-album in a luxurious milk-colored cover. "City plan-sketch". Part of the San Francisco Master Plan for Development and Preservation. Not specific projects for new developments, but tactical and strategic reflections on the topic of what the charm and soul of a city is, how to protect them in the process of inevitable changes and preserve them as an edification to other cities, how to avoid depersonalization when everything is depersonalized.The photographs and drawings in the album conveyed the originality of the historically developed urban environment and the traditional appearance of San Francisco. A past worth living should not be thoughtlessly crushed by the present, falling prey to enthusiasts of commerce for the sake of commerce and reconstruction for the sake of reconstruction. "There are things that cannot be changed. They create a sense of continuity and relieve the overload and stress of modern city life, I read in the book. "As the city grows, preserving the old and irreplaceable becomes as much a criterion of human achievement as creating the new."The city planning commission worked on this outline plan for two years. She interviewed residents in thirteen districts and six city parks, on streets with different traffic volumes. I discovered that for most, taking care of the Physical environment is a matter that is taken to heart.Jacobs proudly said that the people of San Francisco were not killed because of what was happening in the city.The sense of belonging made itself felt in the "revolts" (as it is called here) against the deterioration and pollution of the environment, against attempts by private interests and zealous administrators to mutilate the image of the city. For example, uncontrolled industrial effluents, intensive construction along the shores, and new and new landfills for urban waste have dangerously clogged the San Francisco Bay, reducing the water table by more than one third. A movement of citizens, primarily women activists, under the slogan "Save our bay!" gave good results. Drains began to be strictly regulated, and landfills along the picturesque shores disappeared. Some of San Francisco's waste was sent on daily "garbage trains" six hundred kilometers from the city - to the barren and deserted county of Lessen in northeastern California.Two of San Francisco's enemies are typical of many big American cities-skyscrapers and the automobile.Why skyscrapers? The skyscraper delights are long gone, and the residents of San Francisco, who cherish the low-rise skyline of the city, do not want competitors to their hills and are rebelling against "Manhattanization."A short episode. One day we were driving along the highway with the driver of the emergency truck bridling my junk car. Ahead rose a cluster of skyscrapers that had risen in the business part of the city. I asked the driver how he felt about skyscrapers. He replied: "I don't get any profit from them, but they spoil the view." He was young, but devoid of youthful admiration for high floors and believed that they did not decorate, but detracted from the view. He was a typical San Franciscan.Quite a few high-rise buildings have already gone up in San Francisco. City authorities are extremely reluctant to issue permits for construction of this kind. Even the largest steel corporation "Yu" was refused. S. steel." The city is divided into zones in which the building height is strictly limited depending on the terrain. Only on the low-lying business patch adjacent to the shore of the bay, the height of buildings is not yet limited. On the slopes of hills, high-rise buildings are prohibited because they block space.As for the individual mass-produced car, the fight against it sometimes takes on a dramatic character.On the Embarcadero, which runs along the bay, I saw a giant superfreeway cut off sharply in front of the old Ferry Building. Wide as a river, it suddenly flows into the neighboring streets in modest streams of exits. Raised on concrete supports, the two-tiered and multi-row Embarcadero Freeway, looking like a centipede monster, was supposed to run further along the coast, crushing the appearance of a popular area with its boring, gray monotony, throwing the famous Fisherman's Market under its feet, giving birth to a dead echo under its articulated belly vacant lots. Cross San Francisco with a dozen of these superfreeways - what remains of its charm?The population rebelled many years ago and stopped construction of the Embarcadero Freeway. Guests are taken to this historic site: here Americans have refused to fetishize their first-class roads.With its pace of technological development and passion for technical solutions to problems, America in its teenage cities has found itself in the kind of dead ends that European cities with their centuries-old history have so far avoided. Having introduced the mass-produced automobile onto city streets, America began to destroy these streets, turning them into mere freeways. But even on the banks of the highways there is little traffic flow. Then superhighways came to cities. And the sky is darkened by smog, and the sun refuses to shine, and the jaws of prohibitively powerful cars devour the oxygen supposedly intended for people.On blessed summer days in New York and Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Detroit, Washington and Baltimore, air raid warnings began to be announced more and more often - an attack not from the air, but on the air - air poisoning dangerous for residents.The vigilant people of San Francisco realized it before others, back in the late sixties they took to the streets: "To hell with these damned freeways!"I asked what - for example, for details - the fat man and philosopher, director of urban planning Allen Jacobs, would recommend to a visiting journalist to see.And he did not recommend the brand new pyramid of the Trans-America Corporation or the Hyatt Regency Hotel, although curious crowds marveled at the seventeen-story high central hall there from morning to evening.No, the director of urban planning sent me to hell in the middle of nowhere, to a small, little-known cafe called Meat Market. I went. A modest area for modest intellectuals and bohemians. In a grocery store, where he went to buy a pack of cigarettes, a young guy in a black pea coat used food stamps, which are given to those in need, to buy canned cat food - wasn't it for himself? The recommended cafe was small and intimately darkened. Two young Indians were preparing coffee of different varieties and countries, taking beans from open jute bags. Three students were reading newspapers, the guy was reclining on the floor near a low round table, at which two girls were sitting. Nothing special, but you can sit here for hours over a cup of coffee if you also know the others. Jacobs recommended to me not soulless interiors, but atmosphere and comfort. This was also our, alas, not yet realized dream of neighborhood cafes.I drove further at random and ended up at some Diamond Heights. This hill was not yet inhabited; its top was being built up. Brown, dark wood-colored, two-story houses. Covered roofs made of synthetic shingles. Empty windows looked out onto an empty street. Yes, this is still a semi-desert, but tomorrow the housewarming parties will probably begin. There was coarse grass growing on the hillside. The wind shook the grass and whistled, like in the last scenes of some good films, where after night dramas the hero stands alone with the waking up world, bringing difficult hope.San Francisco ran away from under its feet like a white swell of its houses, rectangular divisions of streets diagonally intersected by the Market Street artery. From east to west, the green strip of Golden Gate Park stretched to the ocean; further to the north lay the government territory of the Presidio military base and the national military cemetery. The Golden Gate Bridge could be seen behind the base and the cemetery - giant orange support towers over deep blue water.In the north-east rose the most famous of the city hills - Telegraph (from there, at one time, signals were given to residents about the arrival of merchant ships in the harbor), fashionable Nob Hill, Russian Hill - the very name caresses our ears, although nothing Russian can be found in this rich a residential area where old mansions stand side by side with tall tower houses. (There are different versions about the origin of this name. According to one, the first inhabitants on the hill were immigrants from Russia. According to another, Russian sailors who died while extinguishing the San Francisco fire of 1906 are buried there.)What's the secret to San Francisco charm? Man, in union with nature, has brought together here two precious sensations for him: the habitability of cozy microworlds, like the Meat Market cafe, and panoramic views, space, as from the Diamond and other heights. At one extreme are motley and colorful scenes of human life and life at the foot of the hills. On the other there are hills, a bay, an ocean. The view from the mountain is as if you were present at the creation of the world. You feel, if not God, then an eyewitness to his work. And San Francisco continuously supplies those who wish with a feeling of the summit. You climb a steep hill, like climbing into the sky, and there is nothing ahead but the sky. But here is the top. Houses run down the streets, as if understanding your impulse to be alone with the world, and the large water turns blue, the white sails of yachts are stuck into it like goose feathers, the sky is immense. Life appears in other dimensions, the soul is released by vanity of vanities. Just for a moment...Let me remind you that across the bay from San Francisco neighbors the city of Berkeley, where one of the nine campuses of the University of California is located. Berkeley is about students, not only because there are thirty thousand of them there, about one for every four residents. And not because one in three Berkeley residents works for the university and lives on dollars received from its treasury. Cambridge near Boston, Princeton in New Jersey, Ithaca in upstate New York are perhaps even more university-oriented, but it was Berkeley that became a classic example of student freedom in America and brought the student onto the scene as a political force. Student protest, along with the black movement, was the largest social phenomenon in America in the sixties, Berkeley was its cradle, and the first of the youth leaders was Mario Savio, a twenty-two-year-old philosophy student who led the movement for "free speech."With this, Berkeley was written into modern American history. This and what came a little later as a response to the escalation of American participation in the Vietnam War, which shook hundreds of universities and colleges with protest, as if balancing and justifying in the eyes of the rest of humanity the American ecocide and genocide on the soil of Vietnam, the shame of Song My and the methodical horror of the bombings, which echoed with contradictory echoes in American society and caused a lot of comments and a lot of hopes in a caring world. In America itself, they then wrote in capital letters about the Protest Movement, Student Riots, and even about the Youth Revolution, which spread from there across both oceans - to France, Germany, Italy, Japan. At the same time, the concept of System entered the vocabulary of the student masses, and this meant that many became infected with a critical attitude towards the capitalist system. The police, as the first line of defense of the System, received the nickname Pigs. The chaotic dynamics of student struggle and opposition from the authorities led to bloody culminations, and they came - shootings in Kent and Jackson in the spring of 1970, trials of opponents of the War and the System - in Boston, Chicago, Harrisburg. Disappointed in the impotence of legal protest, left-wing radical elements resorted to Terror and Bombs and, at the end of the Movement, went underground.All this happened and disappeared. The students fell silent when even skeptics were ready to believe in the seriousness and duration of their movement.Little did I think that after a five-year break I would end up in Berkeley in the blue Ford of police inspector Edwin Skeels, who in that turbulent time stood on the other side of the barricades and, moreover, was directly responsible for public order from the Berkeley Police Department ("And for a mess," he adds).However, the case is stronger than us. And the opportunity turned up in a way double, because Inspector Skeels took me to Berkeley on the fourth anniversary of the most stormy and memorable event there. On May 15, 1969, a violent clash between police and students took place on Telegraph Avenue. The students believed that the university, which has large land holdings within the city, neglects the needs of the townspeople, like an aristocrat neglects the needs of the plebeians. They demanded the creation of a native park on a vacant plot of land owned by the university. The administration did not cooperate. The controversy ended in massacres, injuries and arrests, and one young man who threw stones from the roof at the police was killed. "An accidental shot," the inspector justifies himself.And now, exactly four years later, on a sunny and warm May day, Edwin Skiles is taking a Soviet correspondent from San Francisco to Berkeley. The special communications device hums at our knees, transmitting a chronicle of the activities of the police department, and from time to time, raising the black head of the microphone to his lips, the inspector asks if he is needed.Thirty-one years on the Berkeley police force, five children and now six grandchildren. Retirement is just a stone's throw away, and then, the inspector dreams, it would be nice to finally have a look at the world, travel and even work, maybe, well, for example... in Moscow. An agent of some American company, because trade, they say, is expanding, but there is still little goodwill between our country and the other countries. But so far I'll reach retirement without a hitch. And the old servant, removing the microphone from the lever, asks the police dispatcher if it is needed. Everything is quiet...Remembering the anniversary, his colleagues from Sacramento and Los Angeles called him in the morning: "How are the young people there?..." No way. Young people don't remember the anniversary. Quiet in the morning. It was also quiet during the day when he deliberately drove me past the place where the fuss had flared up and slowed down the car. I saw a piece of land, still no one's land, empty, the size of an average square. Several maples. Weeds. And someone's bare young backs and legs under the sun in the depths of this demilitarized zone. Four years is a long time.Oh, the metamorphoses of time, place and circumstances! Telegraph Avenue, this battle thoroughfare of marches, where students poured out their protest against the War and the System, I would now compare to a bazaar. Picturesque as a bazaar, she lived a vibrant, colorful and colorful bazaar life.At the very edge of the university, aluminum food trucks lined up like sutlers outside a military camp. A black Muslim bakery offered bagels with an ideological filling: by buying, you are helping the black economy. Mexicans were selling their piping hot pies. The Chinese praised the special rice, the Indian even put the Mexican to shame with the spiciness of his cooking.It has been rightly said that America is like a theater. A theater where politicians are actors, and election campaigns are productions with the participation of advertising masters, where even episodic characters who find themselves in the spotlight for an hour or two quite skillfully play their roles in front of television cameras - these incomparable teachers of acting. In this theater there are, of course, costume designers and decorators, and at one time these were the hippies, whose fashions were picked up by commerce. Where is he, freshly shaved, with a military crew cut, equally neatly dressed and thinking American? Only in films that quench the longing for simpler times and morals. Even some salesman from a car dealership, narrow as a function, came out of the hippie wardrobe in the early seventies in crimson pantaloons, with a peacock tie and shoulder-length bohemian curls.On Telegraph Avenue, hippies managed to impose a new conformity of bearded, shaggy men. Nothing will surprise anyone. Neither Hindu saris or Japanese kimonos, nor Arab galabiyas to the toes. Not the dirty tunics of Californian Krishna worshipers with their sallow faces and cropped skulls. Not underdresses, riding breeches, frock coats, braiding, ailets - past centuries and other continents came to life. And on the sidewalks, young merchants, like peddlers, laid out beads, earrings, heavy buckles, gypsy, Masonic and other rings. Eh, the box is full. Homemade, homespun, rawhide...Why not a topic for a treatise, funny and quite serious, "Metamorphoses of Conformism (and Nonconformism) on the Telegraph and Other Avenues of America"? It would be worth pointing out that America is quickly changing views on fashion and fashion on views, and yesterday's slaps in the face of public taste are easily transformed into today's obligatory conformism. That, made up of immigrants, this country is re-important, easily weaving together external manifestations of the national and the cosmopolitan. And that the citizens of a rich empire, closely connected with the world region, are ready - for the sake of curiosity and commerce - to embrace all the exoticism of all continents. And that even rags can be a cry of fashion, because there is nothing more catchy and spectacular than pseudo-rubs. For the rags on a person who can do without rags also carries the ideological burden of solidarity - to share with the naked and orphans of this world, if not their share, then at least their Clothes. Changing clothes is always easier than changing...But what place should be given in this treatise to those who protested on Telegraph Avenue? Did they consciously prepare the current market conformism? Where, for example, is Mario Savio? American heroes are short-lived, like fashion, but the fate of the skirmisher is interesting. In hindsight it always reveals something about the character of the movement he led, and also about the character of the country where this movement took place. Where is Mario Savio? And how did time pass through it?The university press department did not have information about the former student. But they suggested a place where I could make inquiries. There was a bookstore on Telegraph Avenue where Mario Savio, already disappointed and saying goodbye to the university. tetom, worked as a salesman.Fred Cody, store owner, an elderly man from... With a laughing and kind face, I found him sitting on a high stool at the cash register. He was not at all surprised by my appearance and, without leaving the stool, gestured to me at the same high stool next to me. And, perched next to him, I involuntarily looked at the bookshelves, at the customers, and through the door onto the theater-market Telegraph Avenue with the sophisticated eyes of Fred Cody. And his good-natured irony and calmness became clear to me. Sitting here, he saw many different ebbs and flows and was not surprised at another low tide after another high tide.He spoke fatherly softly about Mario Savio. Yes, he worked here in the store, but then he took a paycheck, disappeared, and hasn't been seen in Berkeley for three years. According to rumors, somewhere near Los Angeles he is licking his wounds under his parents' roof. This is the story. An unfortunate young man, but smart, with great talents. And his family life, they say, was upset. His wife recently came here with her son; sick boy, born hyperactive. At one time Mario was interested in biology but gave up. He was a wonderful speaker, a tribune, but now he's full of water, even shuns his loved ones. Lonely. Forgotten. Abandoned. And, without getting off his stool, bookseller Fred Cody wisely remarked:  - The trouble with youth leaders is that they grow old quickly.Once upon a time, youth leaders categorically set the age limit for the soldiers of their army: no higher than thirty! The maximalism of youth, confident in its eternity. But they themselves, having crossed the prohibitive line, found themselves in silence and loneliness.The University of Berkeley, as a closed-cycle plant, has already processed the cooled-down elements of student unrest in analytical professorial workshops. I met with one of the recyclers, philosophy professor John Searle. Nervous, disheveled, in a cowboy shirt and barely thirty years old, he denies himself, yesterday's participant in the protest movement. The semi-basement office, located not far from the university square of Bancroft Street, which had known so many noisy student meetings, was turned by John Searle into an anatomical study, into a morgue, and on the table that separated us, as if lay the dead body of the Movement, which he dissected with confidence and aplomb, who managed to write the book "War on Campuses."From his theses. The student movement of the sixties was more moral and religious than political and economic. Yes, religious, or, if you want, spiritual in the broad sense that its participants find the meaning of life, rebelling against the traditional bourgeois concepts of hoarding and so-called "success", calculated mainly in dollars. These were mostly children of the bourgeois, middle class. The Vietnam War, while not being the root cause of the movement, expanded and sharpened it to an unprecedented extent, giving direction to efforts, arguments for criticizing society, intensity and, of course, intensity and drama of the struggle.However, the movement did not have clear goals, a program, or a unified organization that would contribute to its strength and effectiveness. It was fueled by operational problems - and, in essence, came to naught even before America's withdrawal from the Indochina conflict, when they began to draft into the army and move the war into the air, the emphasis on the merciless bombing of Vietnam reduced losses, and - its shirt is closer to the body - Vietnamese losses could not fuel the protest like American losses.Then came the economic depression, which had a hidden but very significant impact. The movement's participants, scions of wealthy American families, believed that the economic prosperity that coincided with their entry into adulthood would be eternal, that their future was materially guaranteed within the framework of the "affluent society," despite their campaign against it. The depression put an end to this utopia: the search for the meaning of life acquired the usual character of searching for jobs. Unemployment, especially in California, did not spare specialists with higher education. Recruiters from firms and corporations toured the campuses. In general, the whip of economic coercion cracked: "Stop frolicking!"And we stopped frolicking...Not without gloating, Professor Searle made it as if taking revenge on himself, yesterday, without sparing his achievements, declaring his own past burnt out as a delusion, and his logic was sharp as a knife, and it is much easier to cut than on the living and tremulous.But did everything really go to waste, the road rushed without leaving any trace on the bustling American soil?"No, no," the professor realized, having gone too far in his polemical wisdom.It didn't go to waste and didn't come back, couldn't go back to the starting point. What remained, he said, was the moral and political trauma inflicted on the American political system by the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement. The apolitical nature of students is unlikely to return in full. The new tradition of student participation in political life will apparently take root, despite the current extremely skeptical attitude of young people towards "big politics" and the people who do it. A critical view of the system remains, and the center of ideological gravity for many has moved to the left, although for many it is a matter of fashion and rhetoric, and not a firm conviction of their life's calling.So what's left? And what has changed? Here in Berkeley. After all, the energy of protest and public criticism here was unusually great. Is it really all there is to change - in the bazaar and the Telegraph Avenue theater, in the new conformism of beards, colorful clothes and extravagant looks?Let's return to Inspector Edwin Skeels, the red-haired son of a Dane, a native of Berkeley, who has lived here all his life - a fantastic settlement for a country where people "jump like fleas." The inspector, as you can see, is not without wit and observation. And it's not that simple at all. He is also a philosopher, albeit without a John Searle degree or a Fred Cody high stool. He looks at the world from the window of his police car, but devoid of insignia. Driving slowly along Telegraph Avenue, taking in his surroundings with his eyes, he says:- It's one of two things. Either you learn to look at everything philosophically, or, damn it, you go crazy.But what's the point in going crazy? All that remains is to look at everything philosophically.So, let's take Inspector Skeels as an old-time witness, as a living foil and a living flashback. He remembers the Berkeley of his childhood and youth - a quiet, God-fearing town. Young Skiles worked as a blacksmith. The townspeople lived quietly, the students studied quietly, and the only loud incidents were the evening raids of the guys on the women's dormitories. They ran away amidst screaming and commotion, taking the intimate details of the girls' toilets. The most famous "raid for panties" was registered in 1955. But was it even possible to read the next decade in it? And Inspector Skiles did not even notice that the time would soon come when he would - for the rest of his life - remember the names of anti-war committees and protest organizations and, in conditions of what is called confrontation, get to know their leaders.Mario Savio... Eddie Hoffman... Tom Hayden... Jerry Rubin... New Left, hippies, yippies. Their views? Their programs? For Edwin Skeels, these are all big names. He remembers them the way soldiers remember bygone days, with nostalgia. The reflection of their recent noisy glory falls on him. He was familiar with them. He arrested them. Along with their names, his name appeared in the newspapers. Where are they? What's wrong with them? Now he knows only about one thing, about Bobby Seale, the founder of the Black Panther Party, which was the most violent troublemaker in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco.- Bobby is our guy.This is what they say about a famous fellow countryman."Bobby is unrecognizable now." Solid. Always in a suit and tie...Who was Bobby Seale for Inspector Skeels and other police officers seven years ago, when black Panther jackets, their rifles and batons flashed on the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, with which, citing the US Constitution, they demonstratively asserted their right to self-defense from the police? An insolent nigga. What was supposed to be done with him? Put him behind bars. And they grabbed me. They hid it. And now? Now Bobby, in a suit and tie, is running for mayor of Oakland. You will inevitably learn to look at things philosophically...By the way, where did my unexpected guide, Inspector Skiles, come from? A journalist's assistant brought us together by chance. I wanted to meet with the mayor of Berkeley. I called the Berkeley City Hall from San Francisco and found the owner of a dull, energetic voice who called himself Inspector Skeels. He began to lobby for me, called the hotel and, finally telling me that the mayor was away, suggested a meeting with the city administrator. And he agreed to give me a ride to Berkeley.And only when an elderly but strong man came out of a blue, civilian-looking Ford that pulled into the motel parking lot, only when I saw his deceptively relaxed gait of a detective who knows how, like a sailor on a shaky deck, to maintain balance in all sorts of physical and mental hesitation, his pulled back semi-military shoulders and a bunch of yurch under the slit of his brown tweed jacket, only then did I realize that I would have to go to free Berkeley with a peace officer. It turned out that in Berkeley, with its modest municipal budget, the city government and the police department are housed under one roof and with one telephone switchboard. Inspector Skiles' responsibilities also included taking care of the safety of the city's distinguished guests, including foreign...And so the inspector took me to City Hall. He parked the Ford next to other police cars and used the key to open the locked door. Empty corridors. Memorial copper plaque in memory of a policeman who died on duty: "Hate is overcome not by hatred, but by courage." (A controversial police truth - hate is overcome not by courage, but by justice.) Beyond the last locked police door are the busy corridors of civil power. The inspector retreats awaiting further orders. I'm talking in the City Hall offices.Ralph Cook is an administrative assistant to the city manager. Black person.Paul Williamson, the city inspector, is the big boss in the big office, with all the municipal employees and workers underneath him. Also a black man, tall and personable, with a thick, rumbling bass.Donald McCullam is the city attorney. Negro again.I'm running out of time, I'm in a hurry to meet with city council member Ira Simmons, but for some reason they won't let me go, they pull me into another office, introduce me to another city official: Mr. Roy Oaks, deputy city administrator. Micro-session of exchange of pleasantries, two to three minutes. They are quite enough to understand the unexpected paradox of the municipal corridors and offices of present-day Berkeley: it seems that they deliberately show me the white Roy Ochs so that I do not think that blacks have completely seized power in Berkeley.What has remained and what has changed? There is a lull at the university, but there are changes in the municipality. They were brought about by the upheavals of recent years and shifts in public consciousness. Negroes make up less than a quarter of Berkeley's population, but of the nine members of the city council, that highest local authority, five are Negroes. This means that not only black, but also white voters voted for them in the spirit of liberal traditions and the special reputation of the university city.The city of Berkeley is considered radical.And so Inspector Skiles, called from the police half of City Hall, takes me to another business meeting and, having parked his Ford, leads me to some building and up the stairs to the second floor - after all, he knows him here too, everyone seems to know. The secretary is a tall white girl. The door to a tiny office. Having introduced me, the inspector again hastens to retreat diplomatically, but Ira Simmons, a member of the city council, a young black man with a Lincoln beard on a thin dark face, looking at the inspector as if he were an empty place, does not reciprocate diplomatically and loudly to block the noise of the street bursting into the open window, so loud that Inspector Skeels could hear behind the wall - Simmons doesn't like secrets - is loudly and angrily closing the police department of the city of Berkeley, where two hundred ranks two years ago there were only five blacks, and now, not without him, Simmons, pressure, it became twenty - twenty-five. But is this really justice?! Is it equality?!Silence behind the wall. Inspector Skiles is silent. He is not supposed to interfere in politics. The police are subordinate to the city council. He wants to reach retirement.Simmons is young, but he's seen a lot of things, thought a lot and managed to do some things. As a college student in Tallahassee, Florida, he helped blacks register to vote. As a law student at the black Howard University in Washington, he raised the black poor to strike against extortionate rents in black slums. He didn't stay in one place for long. Campaigned for Robert Kennedy until he was assassinated. Then in the city of Sacramento, the capital of the state of California, he was an independent legal adviser and intercessor on black affairs. After moving to Berkeley, he initially worked as a "public advocate," providing services to poor blacks. Then he was elected to the city council. Election platform? Fighting discrimination. As elsewhere, in Berkeley unemployment among blacks is much higher than among whites. Ira Simmons achieved through the council the introduction of a kind of quota: now at least one third of all jobs in the municipality are given to blacks.The office is cramped, except for a desk and chairs for the owner and guest, and there is nothing to fit. The noise from the street is so loud that I ask you to close the window. The owner is all sharp corners. This is his lawyer's office: he continues to practice law, since he cannot survive on the salary of a city councilor."The social problems in Berkeley are the same as in other American cities," he explains. - A very serious problem is with drugs. Housing shortage. The problem of unemployment. And the problem is insufficient contact between the white majority and various minorities: blacks, Asians, Mexicans, Indians. For me, discrimination in the City of Berkeley is one of the first problems. But such discrimination exists throughout the state of California, in private industry, in banks, in large enterprises. I see my election as an opportunity to fight discrimination not only here, but throughout the state.Berkeley Simmons rejects the past from a position, one might say, of class. The city was ruled by "aristocrats" who leniently "provided services" to the population. And the current advice, in Simmons's opinion, is not at all as radical as journalists write."You see, out of the nine city council members, five are black. A thing unheard of in any other city in America. But three of them are connected with the establishment, with commercial and industrial circles.Ira Simmons has an irreconcilable enmity with these blacks, and therefore he is in the minority on the council.Simmons' words reeked of black separatism."We were elected at a time when we had a coalition with students. However, we emphasized that we acted independently, that we represented the interests of blacks. We told the students: "And you represent the interests of the students. And let's act together. We need each other to be elected with a united vote." In short, we have reached such an agreement with the students and with the forces of white radicals. However, tensions arose after the elections. They thought that we should take into account the interests of students and women and other Groups, in addition to the interests of blacks. And my position has always been that when there is a conflict of interest, the interests of the black population should come first, and everything else should come second. As a black man, I must speak up for the blacks who have suffered the most in America-for nearly four hundred years.A "city father" like Ira Simmons would have been unthinkable even in Berkeley. And another member of the council was a housewife, the wife of a mathematics professor, Mrs. Ing Lee Kelly, to whom Inspector Skeels also took me. If Ira Simmons is the son of the black civil rights movement, then Ing Lee Kelly is the daughter of anti-war protest.Forty-odd years old. The pale, high-cheekboned face of a Chinese woman. White blouse, black trousers, sandals on bare feet. Small, fragile, feminine. Inspector Skeels Certification: "We'll have enough trouble with this one!"Ms. Kelly was born in Shanghai but has long been an American citizen. She came to America "with very, very romantic ideas." They had to be revised. The Vietnam War and the inhumanity of American bombing shocked her most of all as an Asian woman. The shock did not pass. In the tone of her trembling voice, in the meager movement of her fists clenched on her knees, an image of immeasurable suffering suddenly clearly appeared before me, the image of a bare-haired Vietnamese woman with a dead child in her arms near a bombed-out hut and a rice field trampled by bombs.What to do? This question of the anti-war movement arose before her as a purely personal one."Like so many people, the Vietnam War drew me into politics," she says. - She worked for several years in the anti-war movement, and in the 1972 presidential election - for George McGovern, believing that his election was the most effective way to stop the bombing in Southeast Asia. When McGovern lost, I, along with so many others, realized that there would be enormous disillusionment with the political system in the United States. It was important to maintain morale and provide a good example of participation in local government, which would show people that, united, they could still achieve something, changing the political face of their country.Ing Lee Kelly considers a radical to be someone "who does not work within the system." Her analysis of the American system is sharply critical, almost Marxist, but she would like to test the capabilities of the system again.- We believe in the maximum participation of the population in governance, we are against the bureaucratization of power, in which the main decisions are made by professional bureaucrats without the knowledge of the masses - ordinary citizens can take better care of their fate and about their city than professional bureaucrats with their special ethics and morals. If we prove in Berkeley that through active participation the population can achieve good practical results, we will thereby inspire hope for change at the state level, at the national level...In the City Hall reports I reviewed, things looked traditionally municipal-adjusted for the university look of the city. This is the business of a public library: in addition to individual readers, it also serves schools, hospitals and nursing homes, offering books, tapes and films. The affairs of streets and roads on which the cyclist actively fights against the dominance of the motorist: the municipality, coming to the defense of the former, creates "cycle roads". The typically American business of collecting fines for motorists violating the "parking regime" is one of the main sources of income. There are also experimental projects, for example the "Let's Ride Together" program - a citizen, exercising his rights, can ride in a police car and see with his own eyes how law enforcement officers do their job.One initiative attacks entrenched forms of exploitation of the population: rent control bureaus. By determining the suitability of rental housing and the maximum rent, it curbs the arbitrariness of landlords...In the liberal greenhouse of Berkeley, new shoots are being nurtured. Take, after all, his representative in the US Congress. Ronald Dellums, a "product of the Oakland ghetto," earned a PhD in social sciences from Berkeley, was elected to the city council, and now represents the people of Berkeley and North Oakland on Capitol Hill in Washington. He is elected and re-elected, although there are no more than fifty thousand blacks among the two hundred thousand registered voters in the district.I didn't find Congressman Dellums in Berkeley. Then he met Bob Brower, a white aide to a black congressman. He said Dellums was building on an "April Coalition" in Berkeley (local elections are held in April) that included blacks and whites, workers and students, teachers and government employees, women and the elderly - anyone willing to respond to ideas of direct community participation in management, for a program to reduce the cost of housing and medical care, reduce military spending, and protect the environment.  I spoke with Brower in the congressman's office on Capitol Hill. As usual, the walls of the office were covered in photographs illustrating both the connections and the political face of the Boss. Two different, but united by the tragic fate of the American: Martyr Luther King and Robert Kennedy. A fierce anti-war fighter, Catholic priest Daniel Berritan is handcuffed. And the fiery Cesar Chavez - Leader of the Chicanos fighting for equality on the plantations and fields of California. And framed on the wall are the famous words: "No man is an island. Every person is part of the Universe... And never ask for whom the bell tolls. He's calling for you."The Black Panthers were remembered by young blacks on Friday. in the airborne trousers - at the house and 1419 with the police on Fillmore Street, with a baton where their San Francisco headquarters rested on a wide white belt. A conversation with Kathleen Cleaver, a beautiful girl with an Afro and thin, non-Negro lips - her husband, Eldridge Cleaver, one of the leaders of the Black Panthers, was in prison, and she ran - and unsuccessfully - for Congress USA from the "party of peace and freedom" and from his party. And the overall impression was complex: the sincere ardor of young blacks, their fearlessness embodied in the program of "armed self-defense," their naive belief that it was with them and from them that the ninth wave of resistance would rise against the indifferent and cruel capitalist America. In this impression, to be honest, there was also internal resistance to the peculiar sense of superiority of the "black panthers," who believed that only they were the true fighters against racism and capitalism.From Moscow, between two American assignments, I followed the dramatic moments in the history of the Panthers. Eldridge Cleaver, released on bail from prison, fled abroad and showed up in Algeria, where Kathleen also moved. In Chicago, the police burst into an apartment at night where the Black Panthers lived and killed them while they were sleeping. A sensational shootout with police took place in New Orleans. The party's influence in the black ghettos grew, as did the authorities' determination to physically deal with the "Panthers." Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, two of the party's founders, became beloved heroes of black teenagers. Some observers, including those abroad, saw in the new movement that strong, persistent force that would finally unite the radical elements of the fragmented black movement. Bobby Seale was tried as part of the Chicago Seven. At the high-profile trial, the chairman of the Black Panthers protested louder than others; by order of the judge, he was tied up and gagged. The jury found the seven not guilty. Bobby was tried again in New Haven, Connecticut, on charges of murdering a police officer, and again acquitted. Huey Newton has been released from prison.But by the time both were released, the party itself was almost invisible and inaudible. The "Panthers" became quiet, interest in them decreased sharply.But not in San Francisco. Not in Auckland, where in 1967 Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, together, created a new party and composed its program. Bobby Seale ran there. mayors and successfully passed the preliminary sieve of the primary elections, finishing in second place based on the votes received. On the eve of the election, newspapers in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley wrote about him and his opponent, Republican Mayor John Reading.Bobby Seale for mayor?! We were waiting for the election results.Candidate Bobby Seale was busy, as any candidate for mayor of a city of about four hundred thousand people should be. The editor of the Black Panther newspaper, David Dubois, the son of the famous doctor William Dubois, the progenitor of the modern movement for equality and freedom of American blacks, helped him meet. Three days before the election, he took me to Oakland to see Bobby Seale.David Dubois lived abroad for more than ten years, mainly in Cairo, as well as in Accra, where his father and mother chose to live. I had no intention of returning to the States. But he came here for a short time - to see what was going on, and at the same time to attach somewhere the manuscript of his novel about a group of American blacks who move to Africa and gradually, getting rid of American stereotypes and complexes, find an organic commonality with Africans. A reverse migration happened to him - the "black panthers" resettled him in America. He saw in them the awakening and straightening of the blacks, treated Huey Newton with great respect, considering him the main brain of the party, and Bobby Seale, its chairman, spoke of them with respect and a sense of discipline and distance.We stopped in front of a two-story concrete house. Walking to the door after David, I remembered my visit to the Black Panthers on Fillmore Street. The physical danger for them has not yet passed. And precautions also apparently existed there, in the house where the first floor was occupied by the party premises, and on the second Bobby Seale lived with his wife and two children.A tall black girl opened the door. There are four people in the living room, which has a large window facing the street. I look for bright, provocative posters from previous years - there are none. The rooms are empty. There is a sense of discipline in people, not anarchist freedom.In memory is the visual image of Bobby Seale, a pencil sketch by a newspaper artist in the courtroom of the Chicago Seven: gagged, swaddled, tied to the dock and straining to move forward. Furious, furious Bobby. And coming towards you is a tall, strong man, courteous, gentle manners, soft, beautiful voice. Neat beard. A formal brown suit, a modest striped shirt and a tie - the famous tie that everyone notices - as a political touch. And Bobby will then half-apologetically explain this tie and its intended purpose - not to irritate or alienate people with traditional ideas about the traditional clothing of politicians.On the open veranda of the back yard, where the fourth of us were talking, a young, strong black man sat silently on the sidelines, looking around at the neighboring houses with the eyes of a bodyguard.The conversation was long, explanations were given willingly. As a child of a nauchghetto, a child of the street, his favorite word turned out to be new. He emphasized that the "black panthers" had a theory, but gave the laurels of the chief theorist to Huey Newton.In "categories of words," as he put it, the theoretical history of the Black Panthers was rich in zigzags: "black nationalism" gave way to "black revolutionary socialism," from which they moved to "proletarian nationalism" and, finally, analyzed "objectively, from the point of view historical materialism," events and phenomena on the world stage and within America, created the philosophy of "popular revolutionary intercommunalism."Four theoretical platforms in seven years. My interlocutor himself understood that it was too much. From the sophisticated "categories of words" he moved on to the simpler "categories of events or specific things." Rejecting the rhetoric of yesteryear and the image of an armed extremist group, the Black Panthers tried to create a new image of a people's black party that was ready to work among the masses without panache or expectation of instant results."We will receive mass support not on the basis of scientific analysis, but when we learn to work practically, taking into account the level of consciousness of the population. Practice attracts people more than ideology, says Bobby Seale.Of course, now this is not the practice of "patrolling the streets with weapons," which, as he admits, shocked not only the authorities, but also the people. Now there are other programs and projects that attract the masses. For example, "survival programs" provide material assistance to the poor in the ghetto - free breakfasts for children, distribution of free food packages, free shoes, for which a small shoe factory was created."Here in this area, we distributed about thirty-five thousand bags of food, ten to twelve thousand pairs of shoes," says Bobby. At the same time, we encourage those who would not normally register to vote to register.- It turns out that you offered them some kind of deal: to register for packages of food?- Oh no. They could receive this food without registration. But when they signed up, we offered them food and free concerts, as well as free health care. And the people understood this. They said: "This is a good form of work. We like it. So Bobby Seale, Huey Newton and the other Black Panthers really care about us. Nobody gave us free food anymore." And we told them: "Our goal is not just to give you these products. We want to combine your votes to elect good candidates and eventually win all the seats on the city council so we have a majority there. And then we will strengthen the population's control over government institutions, over the economy, and over employment. This is the basis of our election campaign."When I said that this looked like an attempt to create a system within a large system and then develop this system, my interlocutor clarified:- I think that this is a transformation of the existing system, the creation of new content within it. It can arise from what we call "human movement." The black liberation movement, the Chicano movement, the movement for women's equality, Indians, and the rights of senior citizens, that is, older Americans, are all components of the "human movement." We, too. But this movement does not truly raise questions of popular representation, control over the composition of the government and various organs of power. This movement gives us the opportunity to work with the masses, to educate and educate the people, and not to engage in ideological preaching. Almost a thousand activists were involved in my election campaign."We are joining a coalition, helping each other." We work all the time with the agricultural workers union, which is led by Cesar Chavez. When they call not to buy lettuce or grapes - to boycott what is grown, bypassing the union - we always respond. The anti-war movement - I participated in all its endeavors. We also help the movement that calls itself "African Liberation"; our brothers and sisters, who have a strongly developed sense of national dignity, are involved in it. We have contact with senior citizen organizations. For example, we provide transportation to helpless old people when they need to get their pension benefits from the bank using checks sent by the authorities. We make sure they don't get robbed on the way back. We help members of the Black Student Union with housing. In short, step by step we are strengthening a coalition that works, not just one that talks. People get to know each other better, learn to work together, and not just sit and debate. People from all these movements help me in the election campaign...Bobby Seale lost the election, as expected, but he lost honorably, receiving thirty-seven percent of the vote. Analyzing the results, Huey Newton spoke about the moral victory of the "black panthers", that in the eyes of the masses the party had already gotten rid of the reputation of extremists.Holding Bobby Seale's Seize the Time! with the author's autograph, I left his house with David DuBois. The book was thick, Bobby dictated it into a tape recorder while in prison, and it came out before he was released, which provided additional publicity for it. Bobby talked about assistance programs - free food, free shoes, etc. Where does the money come from for all this free stuff? They say it comes from the publication of books by Huey and Bobby and, of course, from donations, among which, presumably, there are large ones. The American poor, black or white, cannot be captivated even by good ideas. He must be seduced financially, and by competing with the authorities. There is a welfare system, and in order to attract attention, the "Panthers" need to be given more than this system gives to the poor, something extra, something extra. Otherwise they won't notice. There were desperate outbreaks, impromptu riots and riots in the ghetto, but how incredibly difficult it is to move the masses to collective work to transform the system, how difficult it is to carry out long-term work in a country where they love quick practical results.- Is it not easy to move America? - I summed up these thoughts with a question to David on the way.David laughed and sighed:- It's very, very difficult...However, I thought, after parting with him, what do I mean by this with dynamism. After all, again and again this country confirms its ability to mobility, to change within the system, to expand the framework itself. Bobby Seale is a mayoral candidate?! Ira Simmons is a city council member?! Ronald Dellums? Elected to Congress. It works by adapting to the demands of the times, taking them into account, reacting to them, not explosively, but merely a defense mechanism of the American capitalist system.A quick note. My manuscript had not yet turned into typographical text when messages arrived from California: Bobby Seale had left the party where he chaired3, shaft, and was in the Los Angeles area, Huey Newton was again on the run from the police. Reports confirmed the ongoing disintegration of the Black Panthers. And they provided new evidence of the "frivolity" of this party, that frivolity and fragility that is typical of extremist movements in America. Ultimately, they are unable to resist the protective devices of the system, the way of American life. The system either drowns them or accepts virtual surrender from them, forcing them to transform themselves.The movements of fellow citizens in the United States are planned according to notes, not musical, but diplomatic, sent by the Soviet consulate in Washington to the State Department. Everything was planned in advance, and therefore, on a strictly defined day, in a car with the number DPL 2359 on roads 101, 156 and 1, I had to leave San Francisco for the city of Carmel, having taken on such an obligation back in Washington, when drawing up the route for a trip through California.And I left. In a blue Ford. With the diplomatic number DPL 2359, which I, a journalist, do not have the slightest right to. It certainly makes life easier by eliminating police fines for parking violations, but God knows I didn't seek diplomatic privileges. I was ready to agree to an ordinary license plate of an ordinary car, rented from the Hertz car rental company or from the less famous, but also with hundreds, if not thousands, branches of the Avis company or, at worst, from the Budget company, which tempts with low prices . Alas, a Soviet citizen in the United States, by the will of the American authorities, does not have the right to rent a car, and also, very prudently, an airplane and a helicopter. Hire a taxi, even for a month, but it's ruination.What about without a car? In America?! The black sheep? The way out is to request an exception. And your humble servant addressed the Soviet department of the State Department with a tearful request: make an exception! And there, counting on occasion for a response and an exception in Moscow for the American, they offered a cumbersome option: the Soviet consulate in San Francisco allocates one of its cars to me for the duration of my trip, and I for the same time I am handing over to the consulate a car that I rented with the permission of the State Department. The logic was lame: it's easier to travel in a car rented in San Francisco, which can be returned in Los Angeles, instead of driving the consulate back, seven hundred kilometers, to San Francisco. But - bow and thank!And I rented a brand new Ford from Hertz with only three thousand miles on the meter, with air conditioning and stereo radio and so on and so forth. He immediately said goodbye to him, shedding invisible tears. And they brought me out of the consulate garage in exchange for a Ford, but not the same one, but a fairly worn one and two ranks lower, and with parting words about how to treat it with care, and on the day of departure, thank God, the radiator began to boil on the streets of San Francisco. I had to hoist this diplomatic Ford onto an emergency truck and take it to the nearest service station. In general, it's on you, God, that it's not good for us. And yet I bow and thank him. Then he behaved quite well on the plain and in the mountains, and one could experience the ecstasy of speed on him.And the meaning of the three letters DPL, as it turned out, is not known in the outback. When they find out, they don't feel respect. To the typical American, who considers himself a first-class citizen in the world, diplomats, like other foreigners, are second-class. And the blue car with a diploma - a modest Ford, and not a Rolls-Royce or Cadillac - did not change the situation, because in America people are greeted not by their clothes, but by their car...Carmel, which enchanted me last time, is about a two-hour drive from San Francisco. Beyond San Jose, the 101st road narrowed and acquired barriers of traffic lights, but it ran faster through the deserted towns of the evening. It smelled like the countryside. Plywood signs along the road announced "farmers markets." Crushed concrete ramp, neat awnings, neat counters with glass display cases for refrigeration units. Farm wives cannot be distinguished from city wives. The bottles contain Californian wine. In plastic baskets - fresh cherries, pears, peaches.On the Montreuil Peninsula, I turned closer to the ocean so that, on the advice of a San Francisco acquaintance, "to come to Carmel without the bite of the 101st in my mouth." The sun stopped shining, leaning low towards the horizon. The evening expanse of sky and low, gentle mountains opened up. The pre-twilight colors and shadows deepened. Alone on the highway, the car ran smoothly and quickly. After the pre-departure hassle and the beautiful, but still big city, I so wanted to forever preserve in my memory the beauty of a leisurely fading day, the colors and shadows of the mountains under the low, farewell sun.  In Carmel, the sand on the beach lay the same elastic white powder, and the ocean, darkened in the evening, rolled waves onto the shore with a sigh. The wind whistled. And another, seemingly eternal, emblem of Carmel was a loving couple in a semi-sports Mustang on the shore.The small city, having saved itself from the howling, tearing apart superhighways, trustingly clung to the ocean. Above him, alone, the ocean descended its heavy, dark blue night.Normandy Inn on Central Ocean Avenue. Gate in a wooden fence. Several wooden houses intertwined with each other by courtyards, fancy staircases, and second-floor galleries. The simplicity is almost rustic, but a special bronze plaque on the wall opposite the gate informs that all these simple Norman motifs were executed by the architect Stanton together with his wife Victoria, who was in charge of the interiors. The board is a compliment and a reminder that the liberating simplicity and European atmosphere in America is not easy to come by and is therefore highly prized. Everything in the hotel is antique; even the television was banished by a revolutionary act.In the morning I wandered around Carmel, rejoicing at the new meeting and convinced that the second impression was not as strong as the first. Unobtrusive houses, low fences, gates with latches, crooked cute streets - only very wealthy people can afford such simplicity. Paradise does not belong to the poor, and Carmel is among them. The pass is money.I went to City Hall to visit the good-natured and romantic Mr. Plaxton, the author of the expression I loved, "the Carmel state of mind." Plaxton was absent, and Mr. Cowan, the other clerk, had a suspicious gleam in his eyes behind his thick glasses. Isn't a foreign correspondent suspicious when he babbles about some state of mind? Cowan spoke about the state of the business. Houses, he reported, cost almost three times more here compared to, for example, Los Angeles. The land is fantastically expensive. It is not allowed to split up land plots so that financial petty interests do not penetrate into Carmel.Beauty belonged to wealth. "Not every artist can afford to live here," Mr. Cowan remarked, either sarcastically or didactically.However, I did meet the artist, having found from memory an art gallery where Leslie Emery's works had once amazed me. The gallery was more like an art store and consisted of one large room, divided by a partition, on which paintings also hung.An old Mexican man in a hat against the backdrop of hills stretching into the distance. An old Mexican woman leaning against a carefully painted wall covered in cracks. Christ looks like a Mexican - dark, broad-faced and inspired. It was all Leslie Emery. And again I was struck by his eyes in his paintings - wise, sad eyes that penetrate deep into the soul. Seeing everything and knowing everything. The artist could be reproached for the monotony of his technique. But it was felt that there was not a technique here, but a worldview, a tragic worldview. And this is in Carmel? Among the soothing round dance of streets, fences, discreet expensive houses peeking out from behind the trees.Who needs eyes like those of this old man and woman, this Christ?Then in the same gallery on another canvas I saw the eyes of another old man. Their expression helped me unite my motley Californian and American impressions in general.I approached the saleswoman. He said where it came from - she was surprised. I said that I like Leslie Emery's work - she was happy. She herself was his passionate fan, and the unexpected response from an unexpected visitor from distant Russia came as a kind of sign of international recognition. It turned out that Leslie Emery is a resident of Carmel. Touched, she suggested calling the artist in case he wanted to meet. She warned him that he was shy, like a child.About ten minutes later, suddenly and from somewhere on the side, a thin man of average height, wearing a sports blue shirt, appeared in the store. He was already over sixty, although he looked younger. He was so shy that it took him a lot of effort to look into the eyes of a stranger, but his gaze was sharp and searching, as if he saw the person not only with his eyes. I crumpled up my praises, seeing that they caused him almost physical discomfort.Leslie Emery invited me to the studio. I told him along the way. The artist awakened in him in Italy during the war. He remembered the hungry children begging from the American soldiers: "And their faces were so expressive." He fought in the American Bomber Force. After the war, here in Carmel, at one time he worked as a night policeman. And during the day I wrote.Now there are fans and connoisseurs, a good home, a loving wife. She fell in love with the artist in absentia after seeing his painting "The Farmhand" and bought it. And when he met, he fell in love with her. This turned out to be a gift of fate: those who see the true soul of the artist in his creations are not mistaken. "The Farmhand" hangs prominently in their home like an expensive family heirloom.For the American Leslie Emery, Mexicans and Mexico are not only nature, but also part of his life: he must be where they suffer, with those who do not easily comprehend life. In January - February, when there are no tourist crowds, he goes to Mexico every year. He knows well those whose portraits he paints - these are ordinary poor people. The Mexican old woman in the picture I liked is very unhappy, she lives with her blind sister. The artist sends them money and food.From the large window of his house there is a beautiful view of the living greens and living blues of the earth, ocean and sky."I look at it every morning and say thank you." To someone...We stayed together for a short time; I had a long haul ahead of me to Fresno. The artist said he was going to Yosemite Park. I looked at his weather-beaten face and imagined the mountains and sequoias, the beauty that this painfully shy man peers into without extinguishing his gaze.Why do people travel? For new places and experiences? To renew and enhance the sense of home that comes with separation? To say after the poet: "I am full of joy to be with myself, with the white light, what in life to remember, what to forget"? You never know why people travel? But when you find a kindred spirit far from your native places, you stand stronger on the ground. One more brother, one brother in spirit. I felt such a brother in Leslie Emery, and I was doubly lucky that day, because in Fresno I found another brother who was old enough to be my father - Aram Arax.From the ocean through the mountain desert to the Valley of Plenty - this is the route from Carmel to Fresno, six hours with intricate pretzel detours, for even in rural California there are many areas closed to Soviet citizens. In mid-May, it's already over thirty Celsius, over ninety American Fahrenheit, and the heat of the foothills and then the San Joaquin Valley, the southern half of California's Central Valley, penetrates the car like a dry steam room. I drove with the window open, putting my hand to the back of my head, and it seemed like the sun was about to peck painfully from behind.Where there was no water, the earth appeared dull red, hopelessly burnt out. And where is the water - the freshest, lush green color of the fields and plantations and the land itself, flat and even, like a table. There was not a cloud in the clear sky, only the evaporation from the artificial rains trembled like a damp haze.Squat, flat-roofed cities merged with farms, farms imperceptibly merged into small towns, and this rhythm was set by roads stretched, as if on a compass, exactly from north to south and from east to west. The cars came closer together like bullets and, shaking each other with compressed air with a squelching suction whistle, flew past.And on Route 180, at six in the evening, when the air shivered with heat, the city of Fresno appeared, where the roofs rose higher than in other agricultural cities of the San Joaquin Valley, and the highest was at the brand new Del Webb Townhouse Hotel, to which I and drove up, counting on the ordered room, cool off, shower. However, instead of the key, the clerk on duty handed over a note with Aram Araks' phone number. In Fresno hotels, all the rooms were taken away that day by nine thousand members of the Elk Club, the "Engine Club," who had come from all over America.The San Joaquin Valley, which represents the southern and most fertile half of California's Central Valley, has eight counties with a population of about two million people. The main one is Fresno County, with its center in the city of the same name. The city is famous not for its size (less than two hundred thousand inhabitants), but for the surrounding fields and plantations. It may be said to be the capital of the agrarian kingdom of the San Joaquin Valley, lying between the Coast Range to the west and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east. There is even a university here with an agricultural bias: on an experimental plot, a student receives one acre for tomatoes, another for green peppers and another five acres of grapes and, with the help of a mentor-teacher, can run his own farm, hiring workers if necessary and selling the resulting product. Here industry, transport and trade are entirely tied to agriculture.First feeling in Fresno? It has no relation to the agricultural records of the San Joaquin Valley. It's a shame that I've never been to Yerevan in my life. Fresno's first monument? David of Sassoun. The hero of the Armenian people ascended on a horse in the Center of the American city, located distant lands from Armenia. His chest is bare and muscular, his face has an expression of rage and strength.The second Armenian, after David of Sasso, met in Fresno, was Aram Araks. When he invited me to stay with him, I agreed reluctantly, fearing that it would tie me up and embarrass two old people. However, there was no choice, just like a hotel room, and soon I was sitting in the kitchen of a house on Garland Street, getting used to a man with a rare and sad, childishly glowing smile. Elma, Aram's busy and absent-minded wife, treated us to shish kebab. He pulled sweaty yellow bottles of Miller beer out of the refrigerator, and the two of them complained that I had to drive in a car without air conditioning in the record heat for mid-May.They were fine, but on the first evening I still pestered the hotel receptionist with requests for a room. The morning is wiser than the evening. After sleeping in a quiet room, looking closely at the old people, so simple and kind, I appreciated their parental care and even sadly noticed that Aram looked like my late father with his drooping eyelids, lips and even nose.There are thousands of Armenians in Fresno. The first came at the end of the last century, and then wave after wave arrived from Turkey after regular repressions. At one time, Armenians constituted perhaps the largest ethnic group in Fresno.Aram Araks was already over seventy. A native of Turkish Armenia. As a teenager, he witnessed the genocide of 1915, when the Turks, deciding to deport almost two million Armenians to Syria and Mesopotamia, exterminated at least one third. Aram came to the United States in 1920 and soon settled in Fresno. He lived well. Owning a farm, he had a large, two-million-dollar business - food stores, markets. Of course, he is an American citizen and has never been a Soviet citizen, but he treats Soviet Armenia with filial love, goes to Yerevan for all anniversaries, keeps photographs and commemorative medals, and does not stand aside when it is necessary to lure the Armenian ensemble to the San Jo Valley, soloist, composer, poet who came to America on tour or on other business. Aram is a man of progressive beliefs, as well as a poet.A real tragedy came to their home when their son Aru was killed. Already an adult, married, the father of three children, he was the owner of a bar. One day a stranger came in with a gun. Ara managed to disarm him, but then another one appeared... The killers were never found, nor were the reasons for the murder clarified.And I understood the sad silence on Garland Street. I understood Elma's absent-mindedness and the mechanicalness with which she often says in conversation: "Our late son...". And the looks that Aram cast early in the morning at the small pool that was once built for children...Aram helped me as much as possible, we spent whole days together, and his Fresno, of course, had a strong Armenian accent. Our interlocutors were dark-haired men with Armenian surnames and American names, and, giving each an oral political description, Aram invariably spoke about their attitude towards Soviet Armenia and the Soviet Union: someone began to treat us better after visiting the Union once or twice, someone is about to go to Yerevan, someone simply does not say any nasty things about us.Dean Arthur Margosyan, a handsome man with a Mephistophelian-type beard, showed us around the university.Frank Moradian, the owner of a large company for the preparation and sale of animal feed with a turnover of about ten million dollars, invited him to a luxurious house on a hill overlooking the Joaquin River and introduced him to his beautiful Armenian wife Roxy. Heavyset, with a large round face, very suave and imposing, Frank Moradian rose from the bottom. In the Penny-Newman company, which he now owned, he began as a minor employee. Like many, he became rich during the Second World War, when unprecedented money was made in this agricultural region. The Moradians visited the Soviet Union several times. Their impressions are bourgeois-tourist: restaurants and hotels, and also, of course, vodka and caviar."Varaz" - this name appeared on the base of the monument to David of Sasun. On the very first evening, Aram took me to Varaz Samuelyan, a very active bald man. Varaz treated us to watermelons and his art. He showed his canvases in the studio, which looked like a barn, and sculptures in the courtyard. In the light of a lantern, the courtyard looked like a cemetery, the sculptures stood like tombstones. Impressionism, cubism, abstractionism, themes of war and concentration camps, a white statue of President John Kennedy... One after another, he took out and, as it were, threw away his canvases and was just as carelessly ready to do with the sculpture, if it were a little lighter.He gave me a photo of his David of Sassoun. In the photo he was himself - small, huddled under the belly of a horse, screwing something into a pedestal. His life was hard and dramatic, but he talked about it, as if throwing away the years. This made her look JUST chaotic. Born in Yerevan in 1917. He studied in Kyiv at the art school. War, wound, German captivity, escape, French Resistance, American army, wanderings in Western Europe, exhibitions in Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Atlantic Ocean, New York, America, crossed from east to west. And - Fresno, where he rolled up to his Armenian brothers.The most famous of Fresno's Armenians was the writer William Saroyan. This is where he spent his childhood. Here, in silence and memories, he returned from time to time. One day, returning to the city of his childhood "from Paris, London, New York and San Francisco," Saroyan met Varaz, SEEING a colorfully painted house and a courtyard filled with sculptures. Wrote a prospectus for an exhibition in New York: "Who is Varaz?" Explaining the painting "Memory of Yerevan," Saroyan wrote: "This artist was born in Yerevan and lived there for the first twenty years of his life, and therefore, wherever he goes and whatever he sees, he continues to see what he saw when he looked to the world for the first time. He continues, dare I say it, where he was when he started."I finally ended up in the multi-storey Townhouse Hotel - in the Champagne Room for an Armenian wedding.Of course, it was a wedding of two American citizens, but the groom Vagan-Charles was from the family of John Tatoyan, and the lanky red-haired bride was from the Irish family of Lester Tryon. They were married in the Armenian Church of St. Paul. About two hundred people gathered for a gala dinner at the hotel. Salad, roast beef, coffee with ice cream. And then an Armenian orchestra came from somewhere, and old melodies began to sound, and from somewhere from the genetic depths other valleys, and other mountains, and another life under the hot sun were resurrected, and, like brothers, with their hands on each other's shoulders, they stood in a circle residents of Fresno performing Armenian men's dances.The groom's cousin, who was raised in the family of John Tatoyan, thanked his uncle for putting him on his feet. He danced dashingly and proudly. Elderly Armenian women sat on chairs near the stage, looking at the dancers. One of them, seeing a young man, began to cry about something of her own, feeling sad in the midst of fun and joy, and he, squatting in front of her, consoled her. It was not the American, but the Caucasian origin that bubbled out of him-temperamental, impetuous."When Mr. Giffin says, "At four o'clock," he means four o'clock, not three or five minutes past four.We were running late, and Frank Moradian was fidgeting in the backseat, despite his sixty-four years. The manners of a gentleman, a luxurious home with beautiful views and the position of a millionaire in the feed business.Aram Arax was also nervous, despite his seventy-four years, his progressive beliefs, the wisdom of a poet and the sadness of a father who had lost his son. He would ask what time it was and drive his Nova over the speed limit. The road was straight as an arrow and the terrain was flat, like all the terrain around Fresno.A sign on a post by the road: "Giffin Ranch." Very modest. Without knowing, you will slip through. Three hours and fifty-nine minutes, a turn, alleys, spacious lawns, a large white house, another turn and a turn, a large asphalt parking lot - and very soon all three approach the white marble steps of the wide front entrance. Frank restores the required degree of solidity as he goes, Aram smiles and whispers, looking around the building: "Cleaner than the White House!"The Negro gatekeeper opens the door. Exactly four o'clock.It's cool inside, pleasant after the white, stinging sun. And right away - Russell Giffin. Didn't keep me waiting. He led him into the living room, seated him in armchairs, leaving some guests who were talking loudly with his wife on the glassed-in veranda, it was a social charity gathering to raise funds for the fight against cancer.Mr. Giffin... As they say, the best thing is in the coffin. Thin, ethereal. A light, colorful jacket enhances the impression of weightlessness: blow on it and it will fly away. The skin on the face is like parchment, cracked and in places deathly bluish. He is nearly seventy, but in terms of physical mass and density, this Irish-American is a shadow next to the two Armenian-Americans. The face is extended forward with a large narrow nose. Close-set eyes - exhausted and sick. But they are not easy to look at. They have firmness and power.Mr. Giffin... Everyone in Fresno knows him. And we are sure that Mr. Giffin is known all over the world, because, if you please, this is the position he occupies. The United States is the first country in the world in terms of development and efficiency of agriculture. California is the first state in the United States in terms of gross value of agricultural products produced. The San Joaquin Valley is California's most productive agricultural region. Fresno County is first among the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley and, since 1951, first among all counties in all fifty states. Who's first in Fresno County? Mr Giffin. He has the largest farm-one hundred and twenty thousand acres. This is the richest of the farmers, who, in contrast to small and medium-sized family farmers, are called corporate.Mr. Giffin doesn't take kindly to journalists. They advised me to meet with him, but they doubted whether he would want to accept. Frank Moradian helped.Not right away, but when we got comfortable with each other and he no longer looked at my tape recorder like a hedgehog, I asked Mr. Giffin about the secrets of his success."I don't know any other explanation except that I happened to be born in a good part of this country," he said.Hesitating - is it worth it? - continued:"I lived in Kern County, in the south of this valley. And there, in the twenties, he went broke...He pronounced the terrible word with a hesitation. Broke is a difficult concept in America. This is more of a public announcement of bankruptcy and inability to pay debts. This is like a special kind of civil suicide, a public recognition of oneself as a loser, an inferior person. Since the financial characteristic is the general one of the American, financial bankruptcy is equal to human bankruptcy. It is no coincidence that many, without settling financial accounts, take their own lives."I grew mostly potatoes there," Giffin continued. "Spring frosts destroyed it, and at the end of the year I couldn't pay my bills and went broke." What could I do? I knew that there would be work on the Western side. I had a few horses left, and with them I went there. And he stayed there. And he worked. That's the whole secret.When people talk about the West Side, they mean the former semi-desert west of Interstate 99, which cuts the San Joaquin Valley from north to south. Under the winter and spring rains, these places came to life only for a few months a year, sheep were grazed there. Russell Giffin was one of the first in their development. In a sense, he went broke at the right time.- Providence settled me in a good region, where land could be bought at a very low price. Getting water was expensive. Fortunately, I had friends who were involved in artesian wells and they gave me a loan.- Mr. Giffin, but you need perseverance and great ability to achieve your results.- I don't think the latter is true. All people are gifted. One is in one, the other is in another. I just believed that the West Side had a great future. And many thought that there was no future there, that the water would quickly be pumped out and everything would dry up again. None of the bankers then gave money for farming on the West Side. And I believed. And he turned out to be right...His voice is slow and raspy, like the recording on the first Edison phonograph. A very serious and sincere voice. There is a long, thin cigar in the mouth, but he only puffs a couple of times-not smoking, but the skeleton of a long-standing habit. The servant ordered vodka with orange juice. But this was also a frame; the glass was not touched. As an outsider, about yourself: "I am the victim of three heartbeats." Outside the windows there are trimmed lawns, rare large trees and low river banks, reinforcing the impression of the vastness of the estate-ranch, such unshakable wealth, to which nothing like what happened half a century ago can happen. In the living room, the voice of a man with a parchment face creaks slowly and quietly, with pauses for breaths. Moradian and Arax took the chairs offered by the owner and did not move, remaining respectfully silent for an entire hour. Araks was here for the first time, but Moradian, a friend of the house, was also silent: a millionaire is not a multimillionaire.Having arranged the meeting, he was now afraid that I would let him down with some insensitive question. His fear embarrassed me and prevented me from taking advantage of a profession that allows me to see different people and ask them different questions. At the same time, I felt how intensely he and Aram were listening to our conversation - it was interesting when they asked Mr. Giffin questions.- Mr. Giffin, when did your ancestors come here?"My grandfather was the first to come here to California. He was from Western Pennsylvania, all my ancestors were churchmen, priests, preachers. My grandfather's job was to establish Presbyterian churches in new places. He created them, moving from place to place. But he had nine children in his family, and they needed to settle somewhere, and they settled not far from here, in one small town. Grandfather created churches, and someone had to feed these little children and mother. And this fell to my father. He dropped out of school and started working successfully. His brothers followed the church line and received higher education, but my father had only four classes.- What is your education, sir?He hesitated again: was he revealing too much to a foreign journalist and two local Armenians? - I don't have much education. So, at the high school level...- So you, as the Americans say in such cases, made yourself?- I don't know... I attribute a lot to the fact that I was in the right place at the right time. Everyone can work. I wasn't afraid of work. And God gave me a wife who was also not afraid to work.He speaks of attachment to the earth without exaltation: "It's in the blood." And with the humility of a sick person, looking back on the life he has lived, he does not want to single himself out, he even denies perseverance. I'm trying to guess what this tenacity, equal to talent, was like: the tenacity of a challenge - in a ruined young man, the tenacity of self-affirmation and over the years, with the coming luck, a special American tenacity - to be the first. Such people unite with their business, and only death can separate them, proving that life is shorter than business."Our farm is basically the same as before," says Mr. Giffin. "It only grows as we grow." For the most part, these are people who started working for me a long time ago as tractor drivers, irrigators, etc. They rose immediately. We farm one hundred and twenty thousand acres in the San Joaquin Valley, most of it on the West side, only about twelve thousand acres here on the East. On the West Side, with the exception of one cattle ranch, everything relies on irrigation, either from the river or wells. We divided the land, roughly speaking, into four parts: three on the Western side, one here. Everything is under the supervision of my general manager. Each unit has a manager, and he, in turn, is subordinate to two tractor foremen and two irrigation foremen. And in addition - accounting, purchasing equipment and selling products, lawyers, etc.- How many permanent employees do you have?- About four hundred and fifty people. The number of seasonal workers depends on the circumstances, but, of course, there are several times more of them. Not as much, however, as a few years ago. A lot of things are done by machines.He reports that the main crops are cotton, tomatoes, watermelons, sugar beets, alfalfa, and citrus fruits. On the Western side there is less choice of crops, this is due to the availability of... mixtures in water. The average depth of irrigation wells is two hundred meters, on mountain slopes - up to five hundred to seven hundred meters. New water is now flowing into the San Joaquin Valley through irrigation canals from Northern California. Its quality is better, the cost is lower, and this makes it possible to develop new crops.A hitch in the conversation occurs when I ask about the owner's income, about the dollar value of the farm. I'm breaking the rules with this question, and Giffin makes that clear."I don't know how to answer this," he says, grinning. - After all, in agriculture there are ups and downs. We've had three bad years. This year is much better.- And in those bad years, how much food did you sell in total?He again avoids answering directly:"I can tell you right away how much we lost." Last year we had very significant losses, and three years ago the return on capital employed was less than five percent - before taxes. Who stays in business with such profits? Only farmers. They talk about too high prices, and sometimes they really are too high - for meat, for cotton, for some specialized crops. But I don't think we will return to previous prices. An agricultural business cannot exist with current profits; it is more profitable to keep money in a bank at interest...Russell Giffin's investment is evidenced, for example, by his wells, equipped with powerful pumps and similar to pumping stations. Each well cost from fifty to eighty thousand dollars, and our corporate farmer has more than two hundred of them.Without water from the underground cisterns of nature, there would be no transformation of the semi-desert into the most fertile land. Another miracle and another major investment is mechanization. Complex, I must say, a miracle.- Take cotton harvesting - the cotton harvesters have disappeared. We don't see them anymore. Or peaches - those who harvested them disappeared. We don't see them anymore either...And with a weak movement of his right hand, in which the cigar is clutched, Mr. Giffin seems to draw in the air - and so on. His words, which we no longer see, spur the imagination: under the same sun, on the same flat fields and in neat citrus groves, wasted human figures disappear, like they fall through, and powerful, beautiful, picturesque machines appear, which They remove not only crops from the fields, but also people.The business cards California presents to the outside world feature the latest signifiers of the technotronic age, such as electronics and space exploration paraphernalia. But still, the main Californian work is ancient, not in cities, but in the fields and pastures, on the ground. In terms of dollar value, agriculture remains the leading economy in the state. Everything on the vast American menu can be found in California: about two hundred and thirty crops are grown in the state. California produces about half of the fruits and vegetables consumed in America, eighty-five percent of dry wines. In livestock production it is second only to Iowa, in cotton - only to Texas, and in citrus fruits - only to Florida.More than two-fifths of California's agricultural production comes from the San Joaquin Valley. Its fields, plantations, feeding stations for livestock are a gigantic, extremely mechanized plant.Speaking about the degree of mechanization, Dr. O. J. Berger, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Fresno State University, explained:"We have come so far that we are already refusing to cultivate crops that cannot be harvested by machines. Not profitable. And soon we will only take on what can be fully mechanized.Think about it: it is no longer the human need for a particular product, not our taste, that dictates, but the level of technological development, which determines, in conditions of deadly competition, whether it is profitable to satisfy this need. Technology will tell us in the future what to eat and what to wean ourselves from.Dean Berger said that, for example, grapes used for wine are crushed by a machine right in the vineyard, distilled there into tanks and from there delivered to the winery - without a single touch of a human hand.The California tomato has undergone dramatic transformations. They began in the mid-sixties, when the US Congress, under pressure from labor unions that did not tolerate competition from unorganized workers, abolished the bracero system, which allowed tens and even hundreds of thousands of Mexicans to legally come to work seasonally in the California valleys. Deprived of cheap labor, tomato farmers needed the help of improved technology. Specialists from the University of California at Davis, famous for the development of new agricultural machines, invented a machine that harvested tomatoes by lifting and shaking the tops. The invention was successful, but not perfect; the machine had to be released into the fields several times, since the tomatoes did not ripen at the same time. Then they were forced to ripen at the same time - with the help of another machine trimming the plants, and also through selection. This achieved complete mechanization of harvesting, but a packaging problem arose: the machine picked tomatoes so quickly that traditional boxes were not suitable. They created a larger box - the tomatoes in it were wrinkled and broken.And so:"We had to invent a tomato that would fit this box: with a thicker skin, not as round as before, which saved space. Firm, oblong tomato.One of the characteristics of the scientific tomato was unlikely to be ordered: it is tasteless."You can sacrifice taste," Dean Berger answers jokingly.Taste, however, is seriously sacrificed. The miracles of mechanization and chemicalization sacrificed the taste of not only tomatoes, but also oranges, apples, strawberries, grapes, etc. This, in turn, caused protests from consumer advocates and gave rise to a movement advocating a return to an organic product. On the shelves of American supermarkets, this product increasingly disavows any knowledge of chemistry and proclaims loyalty to nature.Equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco, inland and close to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Fresno has a slower pace than big cities. There is a permanent scientific and technological revolution in the fields, but politically the farmer, like any other local resident, is conservative.George Gruner is managing editor of the Fresno Bee, one of three California newspapers owned by the McClatchy family. A newspaper is liberal, but must take into account the views of its general readership, and George Gruner, having worked in Fresno for two decades, studied these views."Our area is called the Bible Belt of California," he explains. - Our people are religious.When talking about the "Bible Belt," there is no need to exaggerate the degree of American religiosity. His faith is special. It is implemented once a week, on Sundays, when lines of cars line up outside churches at noon, meaning that parishioners, who can be called visitors, have come to pay off the lax and very practical American God. There are a hundred churches in Fresno, but in George Gruner's newspaper I saw reports of police raids on illegal brothels, the student newspaper at the university reported the opening of "adult shops" where they sell porn literature, and machines in booths, such as voting booths, show porn films in micro parts, switching off each time in the most piquant place - in anticipation of a new quarter to continue.Nevertheless, there is enough faith not to tolerate dissent, which is subjected to a stubborn provincial siege.The American conservative, both rural and urban, rejects communism and its sympathizers out of the gate, automatically, without thinking. Does he reject the need for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, with the socialist countries? Not always. Many of those who are considered conservatives stand for peaceful relations with the Soviet Union and for mutually beneficial cooperation. Unlike the "ultra," they think soberly and have learned the truths of the thermonuclear age.And there was no contradiction in the words and assessments of George Gruner when, emphasizing the conservatism of the "Bible Belt," he said that in Fresno the majority approved of the new climate in Soviet-American relations that arose during the years of détente. The benefits of Soviet-American contacts were felt. And from there, from the San Joaquin Valley, they went to the Soviet Union out of curiosity or on business. And our delegations came there to get acquainted with agricultural achievements in the most fertile American valley.Russell Giffin, the richest farmer in the richest agricultural region, does not like political labels, but with reservations he still considers himself a conservative. He is one of the reasonable conservatives.Getting along... This is its synonym for peaceful coexistence. Get along... A man who does not favor journalists, he received a Vetsky correspondent, that's how. how I wanted to test a person from another world, to try him, as they say, by the teeth, I wanted to have proof, not decisive, but interfering: yes, it is possible to get along."Attempts to improve relations between our countries are not just a good thing," he says. - We owe it to armor. The world cannot risk another big war. Our task is to get rid of nuclear weapons.Russell Giffin's views on position and role in the world underwent an evolution characteristic of his generation. Once an isolationist - until the Japanese attack on the Harbor in December 1941. Becoming an "internationalist," in the specifically American understanding of the word, means awareness of America's global responsibility and its return to isolationism. But at the same time, Giffin is not an "interventionist", that is, he considers the role of the world's policeman senseless and beyond his strength for his country. This is the minimum of realism in modern times, which has become a reality for many conservatives.In his opinion, America must seriously address its internal problems.- There is no excuse for being poor in America if you want to work."There is no justification for hunger-there is no justification for hunger anywhere in the world."- The entire existing population of the Earth can be fed; this cannot be achieved by quarrels and refusal to trade.Well, you can get along with people who hold such views. This farmer is a thinking person, concerned not only with the prosperity of his farm. The toughness and acumen are revealed when Mr. Giffin is introduced as an employer who is about to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the farm workers union. "There are problems," he says and touches the dark wood of the coffee table with dry fingers, noting that the Irish are superstitious. There are problems and there is struggle...As a farewell, he shows us his house. The wife's charity meeting ended, the participants rustled their tires on the asphalt. There is silence in the deserted mansions, our steps echo loudly. As he walks, the owner's impression of weightlessness is even stronger; he sways slightly. From the veranda we see the silent and fast King River, rushing about its business. The river has a lot to do, and Russell Giffin says with the gratitude of a farmer that its water gives life to more than two hundred crops.He grew into this land - with a river in his own domain, with herds of cattle on the other bank, with family photographs on the wall in the corner of the living room. In one photo, the Pope blesses Giffin's wife, a devout Catholic. On the other, the Giffins stand with John and Jacqueline Kennedy. Photographs of wealthy neighbors, famous friends and the family doctor.Half a century ago, young, broke Russell Giffin went to the West Side to try his luck in the semi-desert. And now life is ending, but the two sons inherited the inheritance of the earth. And the photo on the wall, and the whole house, and fleeting, devoid of vanity, mentions of those whom he received here and whom he would receive, proved that with wealth comes nobility, fame and special solidarity with the rich, noble and powerful of this world.Along the same straight road, but slowly, we returned to the city. On the outskirts, huge tanks sparkled with aluminum - wine storage facilities of the famous company Gallo. The two old-timers began to talk, rewarding themselves for the long silence in the Giffin house. They were drawn to memories, they exposed the unknown past of the streets, as if removing from them the current houses, shopping centers, cafeterias and parking lots.- Remember, there was Akopyan's ranch here?- And here is Ovanesyan...It seemed that there were only Armenian ranches and farms in the ancient Fresno of their childhood and youth."Life is a strange thing," said Moradian as they drove past another memorable place. "Here, I remember, as boys, with William Saroyan, we picked figs for a dollar a day. The heat was unbearable. We came to drink at the well of the owner, the same one for whom we worked, but he drove us away. Didn't let me get drunk. And then he went broke. Became a janitor, picking up trash. Life is a strange thing...Life is a strange thing... What a capacious formula that covers everything, contains everything and, of course, exists in all languages. There are different things in it: bitterness from the fact that this strange thing is passing, and self-conscious delight, and thoughtfulness in front of the impenetrability of time.Life is a strange thing...In the morning, before Giffin, there was a meeting - isn't it strange? At breakfast I ate cottage cheese pancakes and indulged in tea-and conversation-with a Russian family that had never lived in Russia.The day before, Aram and I went into Moradian's office, and before us a man hurriedly left his office - and there was something familiar about his appearance, from his wide face with a thick, gray beard, from his small, very blue eyes with squinting, both from gait and from behavior. There was a whiff of something very familiar... And here you are - Ivan Alekseevich Kochergin. From the Molokans. His Russian dialect was so melodious and round, so rustic, not heard for a long time, that I felt happy and sad in this Fresno, as Ivan Alekseevich called Fresno. I agreed to come to him to drink tea and try some pancakes.He immediately switched to you and disappeared, leaving a business card. On the white cardboard rectangle was in English:John and Alex Kochergin FarmsPotatoes - Cotton - Grain - Melons 523 North BrawleyFresno, CA 93706268-9266At the bottom of the cards, the brothers were divided into corners, and John, who Ivan Alekseevich turned into, got the left corner, where it was reported that he lived on West McKinley Street, house 8163. From the house number, I guessed that it was on the outskirts of Fresno. And from the listing of products and the multiple "farms" I realized that the Molokan brothers were not from the small farmers of the San Joaquin Valley.This morning I went for pancakes on West McKinley Street. Aram didn't go. I didn't want to interfere with the meeting of two Russians. And I didn't notice his interest in Ivan Alekseevich. For him, Ivan Alekseevich was another John, who spoke Russian, but had nothing to do with the Soviet Union, with Soviet Armenia.The location of the Kochergin house is not urban, but rather rural, on three hundred acres of land belonging to Ivan Alekseevich - in total, two brothers, living separately, but managing together, have three thousand acres of land. This is not to say that it is a very large house, but it is not small either, with all the urban amenities that go without saying in America, which does not recognize in this sense the difference between city and country. And extra-conveniently, there was a gray Cadillac with a telephone antenna on the roof standing in front of the home garage.It was an American house, not a Russian hut, and, of course, the porch did not creak underfoot, and the hen did not cluck, announcing a warm egg in the sweet village silence. Ivan Alekseevich came out fresh after his morning shower, wearing a fresh brown shirt, working-looking but clean and ironed green trousers, and cowboy ankle boots. And, greeting me, he looked with a comparative glance at the modest Ford with a diploma number next to his Cadillac with a telephone. And I realized, of course, that as a master, as an owner, I was no match for him.The family was sitting at a table in the corner of the spacious living room. I was greeted with silent curiosity. Having stood up, they prayed briefly; I also stood up and remained silent for a short time. Breakfast was plentiful. The pancakes turned brown, dripped with butter and melted in your mouth. Then the hostess, Vera Mikhailovna, served delicious and very filling fried potatoes. When they brought the family scrambled eggs for a dozen and a half eggs, I had to apologize and move slightly away from the table.Blintzes are pancakes, scrambled eggs are scrambled eggs, but when I first got to the Molokan table, I looked at those sitting and kept asking myself the question: Russians or not really? Or maybe not Russians at all?Ivan Alekseevich, realizing that he was not only the owner here, but also in some way a guide, explained the situation. There are eight children in total, five daughters have already been married off, and all, thank God, to Molokans. There is no other way, but finding Molokan grooms is a task, and daughters must be raised in such a way that they do not want others.Two sons, healthy guys with wide sideburns on their round cheeks, were sitting at the table. The father introduced: "Mikhail... Ivan..." Ivan is studying in Los Angeles, he came to his parents with his fiancée - Tanya, a lively, pretty, black-eyed girl from a Molokan family. Another Tanya, the only unrequited daughter, was also sitting at the table.What can you say to yourself, and not out loud, when you look around? Ivan Alekseevich and Vera Mikhailovna looked like Russians. And their children and son's fiancée were young Americans who didn't even know Russian. And five minutes later the father, having forgotten about the guest, ticked Ivan with John, Mikhail with Michael. The children of the Molokans, they sat silently and respectfully at the table, but I saw that it was painful and awkward for them for their father, who was playing some role in front of a stranger from an unfamiliar Russia.Russian or not really? The question is naive, even unfair. They were born here, this is their homeland. What a funny whim - to find a surviving island of Russia in Fresno! One should be surprised not that Ivan Alekseevich's children do not know the Russian language, but that he himself, at more than fifty years old, retained the language of his father and mother, not as pure, it's true, as it seemed at first, but still. ..After breakfast, having freed the youth, we sat down together outdoors, in the shade, by the family swimming pool, located behind the house. Here, not under the roof, you could smoke. The calm water sparkled, the birds whistled, and about fifty bulls with their horns sawed off grazed on the Kochergin land. I took a tape recorder with me to record the speech of the Molokan and his story.I present this recording with the preservation of pronunciation and those strange Russian words that reflected farm life in California's San Joaquin Valley. Some of them need explanation. He sometimes called cotton cotton wool, miles were miles, dairies were dairy farms, crops were crops, Field were fields, and railcars were railroad cars.- Ivan Alekseevich, yesterday I was very attracted to your Russian language. It was a joy: it's so rare in America to meet a person who speaks pure Russian. Tell us a little about how your father and mother came here, how life began here in America.- I was born in 1921. My parents came from Transcaucasia - what is it called? - Kara province. The parent arrived in 1912. He worked here for a year, collected money and sent it, and his mother arrived in 13. Yeah, they were already married.-Where did he work first?- In Los Angeles and this one, in Long Beach. In Rasei they were farmers, and he did not like city life. And then they tried everywhere to get somewhere to farm. He immediately went to the farm, milked cows, worked at the dairies, and there, not far from Sedov, I was born. And he milked cows there, I think, for a year or two, and then, maybe in '21 or '22, they came here, to this country, to Fresno. And they started farming cotton. At this time it was just beginning with a bang. The company was given a loan, given land, in the first year he sowed maybe eighty acres, and in the 30th year, I already remember, he had maybe eight hundred acres."And how did he buy the land, those first eighty acres?" With a loan?- Yeah. The companies gave. For example, they will produce wax and call the workers: we are giving you land for payments. In 1930, we lived here in Fresna, and then the price of cotton wool dropped to six cents a pound, and he lost everything.  - Is it depression?  - Yes, depression. The most depressing. And so we arrived in Bakersfield, this is a country, a small city. And we were there for ten years. Things got better again, the cotton wool rose, and they began to sow potatoes. And then in 1943 we came here...Ivan Alekseevich sighed. Apparently, this explanation in Russian was not easy for him. And he continued:"And in 1951 my parent passed away." I think he was fifty-seven years old. From the heart. Then my brother and I began to form fifty mails from here. It's called Herman City. On father's land?"At first, when my parent was still there, we had three hundred and twenty acres. From now on we are up to three thousand acres. She was a new Earth. The bushes are like that. We produced water for it. The pipes were produced.- They probably hired someone?- Oh, they hired. Twenty-five to thirty workers, and when harvesting, for example, potatoes, melons, maybe up to two hundred people.- Are the workers mostly Chicanos?- Yes, Chicano. A lot of Mexicanos work.- Well, did things go well for you?- Yeah.- And now, in general, it's a big farm?- Yes. Considered big pharma. There are farms of up to one hundred thousand acres. Giffina Pharma, in Fresna, I think, is the largest. maybe more acres if he deals with cattle. In the mountains, maybe. But Giffin plants, cultivates and waters every acre. Every acre is watered. This is why I think it is the biggest. And approximately here, where we live, near Fresno, here the farmers have forty to eighty acres of vineyard. Here almost all pharmacists have forty to eighty, maybe a hundred and sixty. When you move further from here, we call it the West Side, there are already big pharmacists there. And the first settlement was there.- You say "farmists" - are they farmers?"Maybe I'm saying this word incorrectly." In our dialect we say: pharmacists.- We say: farmers...- We say: this is our pharmacy. And he is a pharmacist. Our parent taught us this.- Ivan Alekseevich, tell us a little about your farm.- Briefly. We plant eight hundred acres of cotton in the county. The county is fifteen hundred acres of barley. Two hundred acres of melons. The county is five hundred acres of potatoes. We sow two hundred forty to two hundred fifty acres of potatoes in January and February. We collect them in June - July. And we have the second crop - we sow in August and harvest when the frost hits and kills the tops, in December, in January. We have cattle. A little. From fifty to one hundred...- Who buys the product? How do you market it?- We have what is called a packing house. Where do we bring fruit? We sort them into a bag. This is our packing house. Where approximately from Field we are taking. There are feeders there, maybe potatoes. We pour them and then the small ones into another bag. And people, big ones - companies come in one bag, big ones and directly buy from us. When we send rail cars to big cities - New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. There are companies for this. They come directly and buy."Your economy seems to be strong." Are there any problems or difficulties?- Oh, there are some. We, pharmacists, have gone through the most difficult thing - the last three or four years. It was difficult. After all, here in America, as much as you want - this. Here are examples: everyone is planting potatoes this year. So, if there are a lot of potatoes, then the price goes down. We sold cotton for twenty cents. But we can't make twenty cents. It costs us about thirty - thirty-two cents to grow a pound of cotton wool, but we sold it for twenty. So we were losing money. Well, but you will lose this year, you will lose another year - the banker says, where do you get the loan: come on, come on!..Then my tape ran out, but we sat and talked by the pool for a long time. We were not disturbed. Only once, behind the wall separating the pool from the yard, the strong voice of Ivan Jr. was heard.- Dad, would you cash me and check?What did it mean:- Father, won't you pay me a check in cash?Ivan Alekseevich replied:- For how much?What did it mean:- How long?The son appeared from behind the wall, pulled a checkbook out of his pocket, wrote out a check, and handed it to his father. His father pulled his wallet out of his back pants pocket and counted out twenty dollars.Ivan Alekseevich's conversation began to include English words more and more often: So... Well... So... So... Oddly enough, these were the words that revealed a certain level of education, the skill of intelligent speech in English. And these English words were inserted into the Russian speech series that Ivan Alekseevich took from his illiterate father. There... Otseda... Tada... And much more, as the reader could see, was in this series, deepening the contrast with the telephone-enabled Cadillac and three thousand acres of land.The contrast was striking, but deceptive. First, the material culture of a Cadillac purchased at a car dealership does not simply guarantee a culture that is not purchased. Secondly, Ivan Alekseevich, speaking Russian, looked like an illiterate peasant, but in his American life he was, presumably, an excellent farmer. It couldn't help but be, judging by the results. He is wildly illiterate in Russian, but his English is literate. It would be necessary to talk to him in English in order to better understand how John Kochergin has grown into American soil and that it is an illusion to look for a compatriot based on language. A compatriot is, first of all, a person concerned with the fate of the fatherland. Aram Araks, who does not speak a word of Russian, is more of a compatriot to me than Ivan Alekseevich Kochergin.Molokans cling to their religion. She helps them stay together. But life, drop by drop, undermines religious foundations, and the Molokans of Fresno, as Ivan Alekseevich told me, were already thinking of translating their chants and prayers into English so that they would reach the younger generation who do not know Russian. And they even tried it. We tried it and were horrified by the complete absurdity. But what next? Still, you will probably have to get used to the nonsense.When Soviet agricultural delegations visit Fresno, John Kochergin appears before them, surprising them with his Russian language and appearance. He has photographs and letters of gratitude, from which it is clear that I was not the first to try pancakes in his house. And he himself and Vera Mikhailovna visited the Soviet Union. His impressions are like those of an outsider. Looking at us through the eyes of a farmer from the San Joaquin Valley, where water is obtained from a half-kilometer depth, he notices a lot of mismanagement and incomprehensible things.- It's wonderful with you. A river flows nearby, and the wheat dries if there is no rain.Collective farms do not appeal to him:"The land is everyone's and no one's." Give it to a man, tell him to give it away every fourth bag, and you'll have nowhere to put the food.He and his brother rent part of the land from corporations, to whom they give every ninth or even eighth bag of the harvest.When I, turning to the arguments of religion that are close to him, talk about immorality, ultimately about the godlessness of wealth that exists next to poverty and at the expense of poverty, he grins and responds with a ready-made phrase:- The poor are closer to God, but without the rich, who will help the poor?The Kochergin tree has branched widely in America. With sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the deceased parent and living parent now have, we lost count, either one hundred twenty-five, or one hundred thirty heirs. To remind each other, they gather every year on one Saturday in May for a barbecue in a public park on the outskirts of Fresno.By chance I happened upon a Saturday family reunion - a family meeting. And Ivan Alekseevich and I came to this park. There were about thirty people on the lawn near the American barbecue grills on legs. If I didn't know who they were, I would have taken them for ordinary Americans. The same diversity and carelessness of Saturday clothes. The same posture, gait, gestures. And the same talk. My appearance did not arouse emotion or great curiosity, but it did create some annoying difficulty: they had to strain to speak even a few words to me in Russian. Soon a vacuum formed around me. Ivan Alekseevich, tired of the excessive use of the Russian language, handed me over to the care of the main kebab-maker.Everything was foreign, including the unleavened kebab. And only two people stood out among this large group of American Molokans: the elder brother Fyodor Alekseevich, who was already approaching sixty, and his mother, a dry old woman of eighty years old in a cap and a long frilly dress, in which something otherworldly remained, from those distant times and distant places.The family had a feeling the day before when I met Ivan Alekseevich. Now it was sad, as if someone had deceived me, although no one had deceived me, but this was a typical case of self-deception among a Russian person looking for an echo of his native land and speech abroad.The day came when I kissed and said goodbye to Aram Arkas, parted with Fresno, and within an hour I saw the San Joaquin Valley from the viewing platforms of the Sierra Nevada foothills - level land and green diagonals of plantings, a silent picture of fertility. And an hour later, rising closer to the blue sky along the spirals of the highway, I saw snow sprinkled with pine needles and brown tree columns glowing among other trees - giant sequoias. There was King's Canyon National Park and adjacent Redwood National Park.Wet frozen snow lay in the shadows, but the sun was shining, it was warm, and in cars with license plates of different states, including those far from California, the Americans, consulting guidebooks, drove from one parking lot to another, making a Sunday inspection of the redwood generals - "General Lee", "General Grant", "General Sherman" and others.And here I was not for five years and also walked into the darkness of the groves, which are called redwoods, because large trees stand as generals above the rest. Explanatory signs near the trees told extraordinary things in calm language. About "General Grant," which doubles as the National Christmas Tree, it was written: "It was a middle-aged tree at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. With good care, it can live for several more centuries."There was also a sign indicating the best point to photograph the General Grant.Mightily, clinging to the ground with roots similar to the paws of a lion, stood in its place "General Sherman", the earth's number one centenarian - three - three and a half thousand years.The trunk of the "defeated monarch" was hollowed out, and people walked in it, as if in a corridor, and a man of average height, jumping, did not reach the "ceiling."Planks, signs near the brown columns...This time I was irritated by the numbering and naming of everything. Convenience, no doubt. But there is some kind of absurdity in the inventory of eternity and beauty in the redwood groves. The tourist is inappropriately excited about sports. Signs drive him from one celebrity to another.Meanwhile, the mighty, beautiful giants shine with their bark at sunset, as if they are sending us some kind of signals.In the morning the silence is extraordinary. The motel window faces the forest. You pull back the curtain. And among the redwood reeds there is a glow, and behind the reddish trunk, behind the green branches and spots of snow there is the deep blue of the mountain sky. And one wonders in the voices of the birds: where have you been? Where have you been? Come! Come!The birds generously invite everyone, and when an elderly American, basking in the morning sun, looking at the redwood trees, warmly greets me, a stranger, I am not surprised, but delighted: this is how it should be here, he accepts me into a special brotherhood of people who worship big trees . And joyfully recognizing that they are part of nature.A lot of guilt has accumulated towards her here too. Thousands of redwoods in the King River basin were put under the ax and saw in the middle of the last century, although even from a purely practical point of view this is a poor building material - when they fell, the trunks shattered into pieces, and the wood was wasted on trifles - for fences, for vineyard stakes, etc. d.Currently, 92 percent of the land on which redwood groves grow is some form of public property. Mostly sequoias belong to national parks.National parks in the United States are law in the service of nature. You grumble about the excessive numbering that destroys man's organic perception of nature, but you envy the clarity with which American law works, the order and service it provides.Cafeteria in Sequoia National Park. It did not surprise me, a person accustomed to America. But I decided to look at it as a newcomer, traveling for the first time through an unfamiliar country and climbing, it would seem, into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, among the redwood trees and grizzly bears. Cleanliness, like on a model ship before the admiral's inspection. Self-service - you slide the tray along nickel-plated rails. In the refrigerator-counter there are juices - tomato, orange, grapefruit. Fruit salad - in slices from cans. Omelette with bacon on a smooth electric stove surface. Coffee machine. And there are only two service people - the guy puts the omelette on the plates with a spatula, the girl is at the checkout, both, it seems, are part-time students. There are at least two dozen tables, there are a lot of people in the morning, but there is no queue. And no feeling of wilderness. It's even annoying: where is it, the romance of distant wanderings?! Standard - like everywhere else. Like on Interstate 95 between New York and Washington.Redwoods love heights. When I went down, the red trunks on the sides of the road disappeared. When leaving the park, the controller checked the permit ticket - a pass for which they charge two dollars upon entry.I visited the headquarters of Redwood National Park, a two-story, long building with an open gallery on the second floor.An institution as an institution: office tables and chairs, metal filing cabinets, typewriters, a copy machine. Lunch break from twelve, after five there is an empty parking lot. And the manager's office is like that of a middle-ranking official - with a large desk, on which there are two wooden open drawers for "incoming" and "outgoing," with a chair on wheels and two armchairs for guests and two more and a sofa in the corner. Only the colorful relief maps and photographs of redwoods on the wall reveal the occupation of Henry Schmidt, an elderly man in a gray National Parks Department uniform.According to the laws of courtesy and communication with the press, he immediately recognized my right to take away part of his working time. Mr. Schmidt's profession is also no stranger to international contacts, and I was not the first person from Russia for him. The California redwood has nothing against peaceful coexistence with the Siberian cedar, and my interlocutor retained the memory of meetings with Soviet forest guards at the international congress on reserves, of their reports and the fact that they were pleasant people.In the two national parks that Henry Schmidt was in charge of, every visitor is registered and everyone pays. About two million people pass through each year, of which only two to three percent are on foot. The rest are motorists, mostly transit travelers or staying overnight. As for the backpacker, he spends an average of five days in the park. He must have a paid pass issued by the Rangers. No more than five hundred to six hundred people per day are allowed into the depths, into the wilds of the parks. They are taken there by mules or horses, and then they move on their own. For purely American reasons, they are prohibited from taking dogs with them in order to avoid legal action against the administration of national parks in the event of their death.- So that they don't say: "Your bear killed my dog." Under the command of Minister Schmidt there were ninety people, sixty special patrol vehicles. The Park Fire Department used helicopters leased from private companies.Together we walked around the workshops. They left the impression of the same well-established mechanism as somewhere in a factory or farm.The thin man who worked in the carpentry shop was, like everyone else, in a gray ranger uniform and was making signs. On the windowsill next to him stood samples of the finished product - freshly painted brown, identical-sized boards, on which Men - "Male" - was carefully written in white paint. These were planks for toilets. In the forest.Having met one ranger on the territory of the park, I visited his house, a nondescript-looking plank building. The ranger and his wife were fans of symphonic music, and the stereo sounded great in the forest.But in the same redwood forest, where the air was spring-fresh, the American owner did not even think of opening the window, and they treated me, of course, not with the gifts of the forest, but with pasta from the nearest supermarket.The small town of Porterville (twelve thousand inhabitants) also lies in the San Joaquin Valley, but south of Fresno, on the old, settled East Side (East Side). Surrounded by vineyards and citrus groves. After the mountains it's hot again, farmers' markets sell cherries, and fruits are golden along the road among the fresh greenery of orange trees. The main street is called Main Street - Main Street. The other is Olive Avenue, and the lazy cars with their windows open resemble heat-crazed dogs with their tongues hanging out.The Paul Bunyan Motel is named after a woodcutter from some local legends. The clumsy, sprawling Paul Bunyan, carved from a forty-ton log of a two-thousand-year-old redwood tree, stands almost on the ground at the entrance to the motel grounds - "the world's largest wooden sculpture." The "world's largest handsaw" nailed to the motel wall is rusting. Previously, these places were famous, they say, for logging in redwood groves.Now they have switched to viticulture, and - a sign of the wine region - the motel restaurant serves a "wine menu", in which there are no strong cocktails, only dry wines, as well as bottled and half-bottled champagne.It's hot during the day even in air-conditioned rooms. The windows are tightly curtained. The sun seems to have burned out the whitish asphalt of the parking lot. The cars assemble there after five, with radiators buried in the doors of the rooms. Then the rumble of televisions is added to the intensified hum of air conditioners. The motel is big - there are a lot of cars. Next to a foppish Porsche that looks like a nickel-plated beetle is a work truck. Next to my Ford sits a gray pickup truck with the words "Beef Producers" written on the side. Jill and sons. City of Madera.Outback, but American, automobile, there are even more gas stations than bank branches. On Main Street there is one-way traffic, and there are metal posts with meters at the curbs that you need to feed with coins in order to park your car for half an hour, for an hour. Outback? The only problem is that the counter takes cents, not dimes and quarters.By evening there are fewer cars, and mechanical sprinklers click in front of houses, sprinkling lawns. A boy of about nine years old is selflessly riding a bicycle. A girl in breeches and jockey boots rides a horse, followed by a girl on a small horse. The clatter of hooves, like a sound from another century...At the Mobil gas station, a boy of about sixteen, puny, with blond hair, filled up the car, sprayed it with a special liquid, wiped the windshield with a paper towel, received the money and could not resist asking when he saw the license plate, and it was a Washington license plate, not a California license plate.- From afar, sir? Is this a government number?I explained to him where the car came from and where I came from. The boy is interested and timid:"I've seen many foreigners here, but this is the first person from your country."In order not to be mistaken, I clarified:- The Soviet Union is Russia, isn't it?Then with politeness and caution - so as not to offend an adult and, moreover, a client! - but also with a desire that cannot be restrained - after all, the case is so rare - he takes the bull by the horns:- You probably know, sir, that we have a bad attitude towards Russia?I restrain myself because it's funny to get annoyed:- Is not it? Those I spoke with were quite friendly.But the guy doesn't give up, although he continues to apologize:- We don't know much here, sir, but they say that in Russia everything is controlled by the government, people are not allowed abroad...He is a senior in high school and works at a gas station "for the money." He explained that his parents provide "food and shelter," but he also needs money to maintain a used car, which he bought with his seven hundred dollars earned. Many of his classmates, I learn, also have their own cars. And his crowning question:- In your country, sir, do schoolchildren have cars or is it considered a luxury?Fearing to lower the prestige of my native country in the eyes of this boy from Porterville, I tell the truth, however, that it is not. I'm leaving and wondering how now he'll tell his friends that in Russia schoolchildren don't have cars and that this was confirmed by a passing Russian. How will we react to the amazing fact that in America even high school students have their own cars, albeit used ones? Is this fact so stunning that in our consciousness it blocks other, so to speak, aspects of itself? Meanwhile, they exist, these aspects. Is this car driving an American from childhood into the very tunnel called competition, or the rat race? Then all his life he has to run, trying to get ahead of others - for a new car, for his own house, for thousands of dollars and for things that are instant, like fashion, and designed for quick demolition - they need to be changed all the time. If we admit that superiority in things is human superiority, then, of course, we are defeated, we are in the same tunnel, in the same pipe, but we cannot run as fast as they do. But if we do not recognize and accept this, then we will be convinced that our children - in this regard - are freer and broader in their precious age of discovering the world. They are not in a pipe, not in a tunnel and can look around the whole world. They are devoid of withering pragmatism - and thank God. Life will teach its lessons and, with the right amount of pragmatism, will supply them later one way or another, but how important it is that they take on the road the best of the breadth and generosity that youth gives.This is a rough argument, which does not exclude the other side of the issue - that from childhood we need to be taught to work, that there is no shame in work, that here too we have something to learn from the Americans - without forgetting about dialectics, without losing sight of the line beyond which good turns into bad and vice versa.I found the most beautiful commentary later in Herzen, once again marveling at the depth and dignity of the mind, combined with high morality. He is ready to accept the practicality of adults, but not youth. Herzen writes: "Youth, wherever it has not dried up from moral corruption by philistinism, is everywhere impractical, especially it should be so in a young country that has many aspirations and little achieved... Everything directed towards the future certainly has a share of idealism. Without impractical natures, all practitioners would stop at boringly repeating the same thing."And then, as if guessing the doubts of a descendant weighing the pros and cons of the American boy's businesslike attitude, Herzen remarks: "...for me, American elderly people fifteen years old are simply disgusting."But I digress from Porterville. One meeting there was not accidental - with winegrower Marko Zaninovich, whose phone number I got in San Francisco from a familiar Bank of America employee.Seeing him early in the morning in the Paul Bunyan cafeteria, I discovered that Zaninovich was not a sedate man of years, but only a young man of thirty. Tall, strong, with intelligent dark green eyes. Nature has not spared the beauty and health of the Yugoslav born in America.We ate scrambled eggs, drank coffee and looked at each other. There was something inviting in his direct gaze and direct words. Two pens and safety glasses protruded from the pocket of a fresh gray checkered shirt, and his smart gray trousers were perfectly pressed. And only the dusty, rough, thick-soled boots gave away their occupation. In these they walk not on asphalt-covered ground, but on living ground.Marco agreed to show me his farm. Having finished breakfast, we got into the cars: he in a light gray Chrysler, I in my Ford. He turned off the freeway and sped down the so-called farm highway, the nickel of the rear bumper and the radiotelephone stick on the trunk sparkling in the sun. We found ourselves in the kingdom of fields of fruit-bearing land, above which the sun, quickly gaining strength, hung like a miraculous lamp working in the right mode.In the field, which at first seemed bare, grapevine roots and twigs to which they needed to be tied protruded from the ground in even rows. These were, Marco explained, first year plantings. First sheet. Planting a new vineyard: Five workers planted eighty acres in ten days. The tractor crawled along the edge of the field, digging a ditch to keep out the rabbits who loved to feast on the first leaf. Marco waved his hand at the tractor driver in a friendly manner.His father Marko Zaninovich Sr. bought this plot shortly before his death. The son put the land into circulation because the quality of grapes on his father's other land had deteriorated. The preparation of a new vineyard, he said, begins with the invitation of a land surveyor, who determines what is needed for irrigation. Then land surveyors from the company are hired, they come with equipment that not only levels the ground, but also, if necessary, turns it over to eliminate defects in the soil structure. Then - landings. Irrigation is a special issue. At another site, Marco showed me an artesian well - water was taken from a depth of six hundred meters, steel pipes went into the ground up to two hundred meters, it cost tens of thousands of dollars. The electric motor silently raised the water. From the central column, three to four meters high, it went through pipes into low concrete columns at each row of vines and from there it flowed, feeding the ground, along a carefully measured slope.Leaving the diplomatic Ford to turn blue and glow at the border of a young vineyard, we drove around the fields in Marco's car, getting to know his farm. He kept his palms on the steering wheel, as if on the back of the chair in front, and, answering my questions, looked more at me than at the road. He had strong and beautiful hands. The owner's hands. Walking along the platform where his trucks at the end of summer and fall would unload grapes brought from the field, already packed there, he bent down and picked up a bolt that someone had dropped. Driving near the shed where his grape harvesters stood, he suddenly braked and, opening the door, without leaving his seat, bent toward the ground and picked up a piece of rusty wire. He bent it over, wrapped it around the end, and threw it into the back seat. He had a small knife in his trouser pocket, and he walked around, cutting off unnecessary leaves from the vine, trimming the tender bunch so that the grapes were of better quality. - a thousand acres of vineyard, about a large business with one hundred permanent employees, an annual turnover of two million corporate dollars. Like Russell Giffin, Marko Zaninovich are active farmers, although, of course, of a lower rank. The company Marko Zaninovich, Inc. was created by his father, a Croatian who came to America from the Adriatic island of Hvar, near the port of Split, in the twenties. His father initially worked as a farm laborer, gradually rose to prominence, and died of a heart attack when his twenty-three-year-old Marco had just graduated from the Agricultural College of the University of California at Davis. There is no need to change the name of the company - there is already a third Marco, the grandson of the deceased, the son of the current owner.What a new land this is, where American citizens have not lost the habit of calling and considering themselves Armenians, Russians, Yugoslavs! Marco's maternal grandfather also came from Yugoslavia, worked as a miner in Arizona, from where he moved to California. Marco's father-in-law is from Wales.They were in such a hurry to take root in the new land that they did not have time to tell their children about their fathers, and Marco does not know what his grandfather did on the island of Hvar. He doesn't know Serbo-Croatian at all, because for his parents the main thing was to master English, without which it was impossible to survive and succeed. The older ones were in a hurry to take root in America, and the younger ones were looking for old roots. Marco said: "I consider myself a Slav, and my children are also Slavs. All my roots are there." But I have never been to the land of my ancestors.Although there is no "you" in spoken English, our intonation seemed to switch to "you", feeling the Slavic attraction to each other."Our farm is highly specialized, Stanislav," he said with pride and concern.This means table grapes, the highest grades of grapes, which make their way to the market by quality or time of arrival.The grapes were not yet ripe, but everything was ready to receive them, including the Sunview branded boxes. Bunches of ripe grapes lie in them on special synthetic pads, gently laid out with special paper. Containers, each of fifty-eight boxes, are wrapped in transparent plastic and transported on special trucks. Losses are no more than one percent. A refrigerator for long-term storage of grapes-the size of a large gymnasium-holds more than five thousand tons. When we entered it, it was completely empty and the echo of our voices echoed loudly.- Our problem is, Stanislav, that it takes two weeks before our grapes from the vine get to the table, say, in New York...From Porterville to New York is about five thousand kilometers, but for Marco two weeks is a dangerously long time."We do everything: we grow the product, we harvest it, we package it. But we don't have the ability to sell it ourselves.There are no trains or steamships, no own stores (although there are connections with the right people in the right places), and the puzzle is sales markets that you have to look for yourself. It is found - mainly in the United States, as well as in Western Europe, where the Croatian son makes his way with late December and January varieties, when the competition from French and Italian winegrowers is weaker. With his grapes, he is ready to reach us, to Moscow, but he believes that this path is blocked by the Bulgarians and Romanians.Marco dreamed of visiting the island of Hvar, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, but he just didn't have enough time.Time was running out. While we were driving around the vineyards, urgent matters forced him into the office twice. In a small new building near their father's first vineyard, three girls and a young man with a peasant face worked - John Zaninovich, Marco's cousin and deputy. Marco sat down at the phone in a beautifully furnished office. Behind the large, wall-length window, my father's first vineyard stretched out like a memory. An urgent and important matter, it was felt, hung over the owner. Then Cousin John would come into the office and tell him something in a coded language, hiding some grape secrets from me. Then Marco would go to John, and they would close their doors - there were secrets from the secretaries too.Calm and unfussy, the young master was still preoccupied. I was curious: it must not be easy, the competition is tight. Yes, it's not easy, he didn't deny, yes, it's pressing. And, looking into my eyes, he reduced all explanations to a simple formula:- Such is life... These are the facts of life...This formula did not relieve tension, but transferred it from a dramatic level to a familiar one. This is important to understand. To people who observe American life from the outside, competition seems cruel and merciless. She is even more cruel and merciless than we see or guess. But for the world of competition, this is a way of life, everyday, it cannot be any other way. They are like swimmers in a seething stream rushing somewhere - there is no time to look back and there is no need to look back, and without looking back you can see that there are other swimmers nearby, and if so, then everything is fine, the flow is legitimized by the fact that it is universal."It's either this or that," Marco explained. "If you feel good, quit." And once you get it, you have to pull...In all this - in rivalry, in bandwagons, in battles for markets - he even sees fun, amusement, amusement, and rapture, the excitement of struggle.Marco invited his wife and mother to lunch at a farm restaurant. The wife, a small woman with a beautiful face and black eyes, was expecting her third child, was already pregnant, and on the narrow restaurant sofa seemed to tower over her own belly. Mother brought an album with photographs. I expected to see Zaninovich Sr. in his youth, fresh from the Island of Hvar, a kind of peasant guy, staring at the camera in confusion and fervor. But the album contained amateur snapshots of the trip to Australia - touching videos, among which it was impossible to see the deceased...The hot sun continued to devour the city as we left the restaurant. Having said goodbye to the women, they again rushed in the Chrysler among the fields. The roads cut the fields like streets, at right angles. The greenery of the vineyards and the brown dryness of bare patches of land flashed by. I again asked Marco: sooner or later he will be squeezed, despite the million-dollar turnover, some sharks, large corporations - conglomerates buying up land will gobble him up. Marco didn't assure me that this wouldn't happen. His hope was that not everything goes well with the giant corporations, that they do not have the patience of a farmer to wait three years for the first grapes and eight to ten years for the first almonds, that; Having ventured into agribusiness, some of them have already been burned, have already said goodbye to it.Then I remembered Dean Berger's prophecy: the day would come when the only crops left in the San Joaquin Valley would be those that could be fully mechanized from start to finish."If he's right, then we're screwed." We have a highly specialized farm. "You can't do without manual labor with our varieties," answered Marco. He answered calmly.And I realized that he had a good idea of all the troubles awaiting him, that he had worked out all the options a long time ago.The Ford, left in the morning on the site of the first sheet, glowed blue, the only one in the field. There was no tractor; the ditch had already been dug. I opened all the doors and windows; the car smelled like hellish heat. As if in a frying pan, he sat down on the seat and moved the car from the boundary onto the road. We shook hands, patted each other on the back, and as we said goodbye, Marko suddenly laid out his knowledge in Serbo-Croatian: "God bless!"- With God blessing! - I answered and drove along the road among the fields, leaving him near the new vineyard - man and destiny.Vineyards ripened quietly around Delano and Porterville, fed by the cool water of the underground depths and the even heat of the sun. Symbols of already accomplished fertility were seen on the roads with trucks with double trailers, in which piles of orange oranges shone like round suns in children's drawings. Here and there little blue toy airplanes with white wings were working. Exactly, exactly, two or three meters from the ground, they laid out the long tails of their chemicals, and, stopping the car on the road, I watched for a long time as one such airplane flew under the electrical wires.The giant agricultural complex of the San Joaquin Valley worked so steadily and quietly that a passerby spitting out cherry pits through the window might think that the secret to the idyllic production of abundance had been found here. But under a cloudless sky, a thunderstorm was approaching from the south. As the grapes ripen. It was already ripe in the Cochella Valley, the southernmost of the California valleys, and clusters of anger swelled around the grapes filled with sweet juice. There was a struggle between labor and capital, agricultural workers and the Giffins, Kochergins, Zaninovichs. The Spanish word is Hielga! - broke the silence over the vineyards - zab a s t o vka! Where does this Spanish, this, among others, language barrier between labor and capital come from? From Chicanos - from American citizens of Mexican descent. In the Californian fields, they were not masters, but workers, yesterday's disenfranchised farm laborers, today's members of the agricultural workers' union. Hielga! - squat, high-cheekboned people in sombreros shouted in the vineyards, taking up pickets against the strikebreakers.And there was one person in this confrontation between labor and capital, known to all its participants and to many Americans outside of California. When a person leads his people, fighting for equality and justice, he has wide, sometimes worldwide fame. And it was with Caesar Chavez, the founder and leader of the agricultural workers union. For Chicanos-and there are several million of them in the United States-he became what Martin Luther King was for blacks.In my conversations with large farmers, the name of Cesar Chavez came up often. Sisar Chavez once worked for Giffin as one of the farmhands. Giffin now spoke of "Mr. Chavez" with restraint: an intelligent, decent man who, unfortunately, "allowed himself to be carried away not only by economic issues, but also by issues of race." Marko Zaninovich's workers were members of Chavez's trade union, and he was wondering whether to resort to the services of strikebreakers. Ivan Alekseevich recounted with gloating some rumors that Chavez was embezzling funds from the trade union.The Americans, from the Irish, from the Croats, from the Molokans, grew into strong masters in this region, and Sisar Chavez - into a working leader. Meanwhile, the past of their fathers was somewhat similar. Chavez's grandfather was a semi-slave in Mexico, fled to Texas, worked on the railroad, owned a piece of land in Arizona, raised a family, where Chavez's father was among the sixteen children. They were illegally driven off the land.Sisar Chavez, already a teenager, became a farm laborer without a stake or a yard, wandering from south to north, hiring wherever he could, harvesting everything that grew under the sun. After five years of wandering life, he settled in Delano, making this town among the vineyards his home.War. Fleet. Destroyer. Marrying a Chicano girl. Moving to San Jose. The first steps in Chicano social organizations are the first satisfaction from the good done to others, the first disappointments. Since the mid-fifties, there has been a long struggle to organize the first farm workers union in American history. Again he traveled around California, a farm laborer himself, knew how to talk to farm laborers and came across their passivity, their disbelief, the force of inertia.The trade union arose in September 1962. But this was just the beginning. It had to be expanded and approved. Landowners and authorities did not tolerate troublemakers who encroached on their rights: I hire whoever I want; I cry as I please; I fire when I want. Catholic Sisar Chavez borrowed methods of struggle from the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi and the black Martin Luther King - non-violent mass resistance.The movement for equal rights for Chicanos, started by Chavez, joined a stormy stream of different but related protest movements - black, anti-war, student, Indian. The new union lacked the strength to assert itself against the corporate farmers in the California valleys. He addressed his allies across America, the public. The culmination of the first stage of the struggle was a three-year mass boycott - a refusal to buy Californian lettuce and grapes grown by those who did not recognize the union. Victory came: the first three-year collective bargaining agreements with many employers, especially with the owners of vineyards in the Delano area, where the union was headquartered. Under the terms of the contract, only members of the agricultural workers union were hired. This was a fundamental victory, formal and actual recognition of the trade union. Workers' wages increased, working conditions in the fields improved: regulated working hours, drinking water, mobile toilets, etc.The black eagle, the symbol of the union, has finally soared. How long?The first collective agreement was expiring, and the line of new confrontation was moving north along with the ripening grapes. On the side of capital there were strikebreakers - and not just individuals in the vineyards, but the largest and most powerful union of machines, the teamsters, that was the largest in the United States. They were the ones who stuck the knife into the backs of the truck farm workers union, offering vineyard owners in the Cochella Valley a better contract and at the same time their protection from the pickets. And they agreed.Terra Bella in Spanish Beautiful Land. Nothing beautiful - either a village, or an agricultural village, or a street among fields, outside the city limits of Porterville. Judging by the road signs, there are more than two hundred of these streets near Porterville, lined with palm trees, with dusty curbs and one-story poor houses. Lawns instead of lawns, more pickup trucks than cars. Mexico, not America, is in the children playing, in the faces of passers-by, in the paucity of advertising and store signs.Terra Bella was on my road, and there was a branch of Chavez's trade union. After making a phone call, I was confronted by a man with a clearly non-Mexican first and last name-Ed Krueger. Having arrived in Terra Bella and entering the trade union premises, I found a lonely man of about forty, bored, surrounded by leaflets and booklets in Spanish. It was Ed Krueger.Over the phone, he denied: "I'm unlikely to give you enough information." I thought: this is due to the caution of a trade unionist operating in an unfriendly environment. When I saw Ed Krueger, I understood - and out of shyness. This is external shyness - of the face, smile, feminine voice. And internal - when they are embarrassed to put up with lies, meanness, injustice. There are such conscientious Americans who radically change their lives and fates in order to serve an idea - the idea of justice. Impressive natures, noble eccentrics. Here comes Ed Krueger... Not a Chicano. Not a farmhand. With a good education. How did he get here?His laughter is delicate, fragile.- Long story. You see, when I was young I did farm work. Picked cotton. Corn. Milked cows. I worked on a tractor. In short, he did all kinds of work, mainly in Texas, but also in Kansas. And I always felt this tragic difference between the situation of rural farm laborers and other workers. This terrible uncertainty of theirs about tomorrow. And so I was already a teacher in a Texas school when a strike began on farms in the Rio Grande Valley. And I left my job as a teacher to help the strikers. Since then he has been associated with the trade union...He has a wife of Mexican descent and five children. They live extremely poorly. The union pays for modest housing and gives five dollars a week to feed each family member. By American standards, this is meager living.- Mr. Kruger, there is something of an idealist in you in the good sense of the word. Do you have heroes, people who serve as examples for you?- Well, I have such people. Not only in America, but also in other countries. People like Martin Luther King, like Caesar Chavez. Their passion is for justice. Their absolute dedication. In my youth, Mahatma Gandhi made an unforgettable impression on me...The tasks of the field office in Terra Bella were to provide union officials with work, recruit new people into the union, and collect dues. According to the terms of the agreement, which the farmers in alliance with the teamsters wanted to abolish, the composition of the brigade was determined by the trade union. The goal of a trade union is to "unionize" all work, that is, to ensure that only union members perform it. Krueger said table grapes are "pretty well unionized," but oranges are a problem, "very little unionized."The picture was complicated by illegal immigrants - Mexicans who crossed the US border in search of work on the farms of California or Texas. Without documents or knowledge of the language, in constant fear of arrest and deportation, with hungry families waiting for a piece of bread on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, they agree to work in any conditions and for any pay. This is a traditional replenishment of the reservoir of cheap labor. But is it surprising at such replenishment, if from the other, one might say, end of the world, from Yemen, thousands and thousands of Arabs, without knowledge of language and geography, are recruited and transported as farm laborers to California. Do they know about Chavez and the struggle of his union?"Our union is multiracial, Arab workers are our brothers," Ed Krueger explained this complexity. "But I won't hide: sometimes our Arab brothers become accomplices of exploiters. Non-union workers are used to break strikes. A non-union brother makes it difficult for a union member to fight...Now all that was left on my route was Los Angeles, and then to drive the Ford to San Francisco and immediately by plane to Washington. The end is the crown of the matter, a huge theme in Los Angeles. I once compared it to a mirror into which America looks, trying to guess the future - and often, in shock, recoils.What is visible in this mirror now?The day that started with Ed Krueger in Terra Bella was sunny, but all the way some kind of haze hung over the horizon, a hint of smog (they, these hints, according to old-timers, are increasingly stronger in the San Joaquin Valley), and miles thirty from Los Angeles my eyes began to sting. At first, I was happy to be able to as an absentee acquaintance whom I would like to see and feel with my own eyes. Smog is recorded there on almost two-thirds of the days a year, but on previous visits I have not encountered it. My joy did not last long, my eyes were watering, and my hand on the steering wheel, glasses on my nose and a fairly high speed complicated matters. There, above, where only half an hour ago there had been California blue and the southern sun, both disappeared, the air itself turned gray and darkened and, it seemed, settled to the ground in the form of tiny black particles. I didn't want to breathe, but I had to...Los Angeles... Los Angeles... This word flashed more and more often on the green field of road signs that hung over the four-lane freeway. The word flashed to the left, meaning that it was not yet time to leave the freeway. On the right were the names of satellite cities and signs for exits to these cities. And I rushed, looking for Los Angeles to move to the right with an invitation to leave the freeway. City buildings flashed around. The road was below them and therefore existed separately. some kind of endless wind tunnel, generating speed winds, living its own life, independent of the life of the populated areas indicated on the billboards in white and green. the oncoming streams rushed very close to each other, they were separated only by a smoky metal grate. Mile after mile, it flowed darkly along the left express lane...In the psyche, as in mechanics, there is the inertia of an acquired state, rest or movement. I already wanted to rush and rush along the sooty grate, in this changing company of heads and shoulders shuffled by speed behind the car windows, to race in order to sideways, for a moment, see and leave behind someone's profile, to rush wherever my eyes look, where it will take me this concrete ribbon is away from the suffocation of smog and the city, away from questions that need to be answered, back to the mountains, forward to the ocean...And suddenly, looking at the shield of the next sign, I did not see the right word either on the right or on the left. Santa Ana was now white on green - had I really missed Los Angeles? And then, panicking, extinguishing the speed and inertia of the movement, I turned right at the nearest exit from the freeway, ended up on some Fourth Street, nondescript, Mexican, far from the center, and in the clearing of the intersections I began to look for clusters of skyscrapers, knowing that there was business downtown, there is Wilshire Boulevard and the Ambassador Hotel, where a room has been booked.Is it possible, the reader will doubt, to almost miss a city with a population of three million, an area of more than a thousand square kilometers, which even has two mountain ranges within its borders? Perhaps, I assure you, if it is called forty suburbs in search of a city, if the space in which this search is being conducted is occupied by the extraterritorial corridors of the famous Los Angeles freeways.Not only for journalistic memory training did I stay at the Ambassador Hotel, but also for new excursions to Los Angeles. And the clerk downstairs, along with the key, handed me a thick envelope from the dear Fred Warner Neal, professor of international relations at Claremont College, and there I found a program of meetings with professors, bankers and city shady, an invitation to dinner with Neal himself with a brief description of the official status of other invited guests and detailed descriptions of which freeways and simple roads can be used to get to this or that, Los Angeles or near Los Angeles, rendezvous. Included was also a map of Southern California, and on the map, with a felt-tip pen, a winding line was drawn to Claremont, the college town where Neal lived.Old-timers say it takes at least three years to figure things out in Los Angeles. But where to get them, three years, and the old-timers themselves, apparently, haven't quite figured it out yet, if they drive around their city with road maps, on which not streets, but freeways are highlighted in bold.There were no acquaintances from our previous visit whom we would like to meet: Tom Self, our former guide and guardian, the new multimillionaire Henry Singleton. But in the evening, a young journalist whom I knew from Washington stopped by the hotel with his mother. He grew a mustache and let his hair go down to his shoulders. Finishing college, he wrote a thesis on the political structure of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and dreamed of traveling around the world: to advance and feed himself on fees from reporting, sending them off the road to American provincial newspapers. An example of American entrepreneurship, restlessness, the spirit of adventure, and the desire to explore the world.The young man, who was preparing to travel around the world, was puzzled: what should he show the Soviet guest in Los Angeles at night? We drove down Wilshire Boulevard to CenturyCity. In the evening it was empty, and this made the brightly lit elegant buildings seem cold and unnecessary, like the pavilions of an expensive exhibition to which they forgot to invite visitors.Sunset Boulevard, a place of entertainment, also turned out to be deserted, and in Beverly Hills it was dark, only circles of light from street lamps pulled out the lush greenery of living fences, behind which the windows of mansions glowed dimly and mysteriously.Returned to the hotel at eleven o'clock. The roar of jazz, the loud voices of the music bar intensified the loneliness in this city, in this hotel, already indifferent to its unusual fame. Three young blacks in pie hats and dark glasses met at the elevator. They looked like Tonton Macoutes from Haiti, but in their poses one could only discern the embarrassed challenge of people who had found themselves in the wrong place. Opening the window, I listened to the noise of cars on Wilshire Boulevard. Unlike Porterville, Los Angeles was awake at a late hour, and the constant monotonous noise on its main avenue spoke of the city's indifference to the new man. I remembered the gray-haired old lady on duty at the Paul Bunyan Motel. When she learned that I was going to Los Angeles, she took pity on me and, with a sense of provincial superiority, behind which she hid her inferiority complex, she talked about hussle-bussle - the hustle and bustle of big cities.Bending down to take off his shoes, he found a half-sized tabloid newspaper under the bed, apparently left by his predecessor, unnoticed and not taken away by the maid. It was called "Hollywood Prese," and the naked woman on the front page plus the promise of similar ones inside immediately told us what kind of newspaper it was. On the inner pages there were addresses of massage parlors open until three in the morning, and photographs of masseuses with undisguised charms. An interview was published with a call-girl - a prostitute called by phone. And there was a lot of other stuff in the Hollywood Press, sexual entertainment and sexual information. However, on the second page I read a sharp and fair commentary about American captured pilots returning from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It said that there was no point in making heroes and martyrs out of murderers and that one should feel sorry not for them, but for those whom they bombed and killed. This comment confused me as much as the photographs of naked girls - it made it difficult for the Hollywood Press to pass a verdict.To get to the city hall, I took a taxi, knowing that using my own car would mean more hassle, more time and even more money, since paid parking in the city center is not cheaper than a taxi.At the old-fashioned skyscraper with more than thirty floors, where City Hall is located, I heard rumbling in the sky. A transparent, dragonfly-like, glass-convex helicopter, with its legs on its sides, flew up to the municipal skyscraper to land on the roof of the right wing of the building. The rattling died down, and the last silent revolutions of the propeller were visible from below.This meant: a helicopter was handed over to the mayor. These dragonflies have become part of the everyday life of airlines, freeway police, corporations, newspapers and television. Skyscraper roofs in the city center are equipped with helipads, and once I myself had to rise from such a roof and watch the neighboring skyscrapers sway while the pilot leveled the car in the air.A fantastic sight - a helicopter ride over Los Angeles at night. For the pilot, the main reference point is the evening fires of the freeways. Like four lines of tracer bullets, slowed down during filming, silently running below the car towards the helicopter, shaking in its own roar. The other four rows run away, the rubies of the rear signal lights.Here is the bowl of the stadium - a saucer for jam on a huge tray of a parking lot for thousands of cars. Here is a giant square of parking lots, and in the middle of it is a squat building with a flat roof. Shopping mall? factory? Whatever it is, it is the relationship between the place where people work and the place where their cars wait. Someone sarcastically remarked that the car, invented to conquer space, is now increasingly filling that space itself. In downtown Los Angeles, more than half of all land is used for pavements, freeways, and parking lots.For Aristotle, the criterion of a harmonious city was the scope of its gaze. Dear childhood of humanity... Are there modern big cities that can withstand such a criterion? For Los Angeles, fifty-two floors of the new Bank of America building is clearly not enough. When you can't see it with your eyes, you see it with roads and cars that shorten the distance. But this is not the same coverage. And here is a frequent appeal to the helicopter. In the city! In its perpetual motion, in pursuit of speed, Los Angeles populates the sky with helicopters and city planes.A big city and a mass-produced car... This topic threatens to become boring. But how to avoid it in Los Angeles - the Automotive Capital of the World?In greater Los Angeles, there were seven million residents - and there was no joy from over four million world record-breaking cars. And the curses are louder. And the louder, the clearer the historical lesson of the Automotive Capital of the World and its warning to everyone who is able to hear and heed, to discern the danger of tomorrow's disaster behind decisions that are quite reasonable today.It is not human gaze, but man-made smog that sweeps these forty suburbs in search of the city.But, perhaps, smog is easier to deal with-and they have taken it seriously in America-than congestion and traffic jams.On the freeways, one new detail caught my eye: a warning on the left, fastest lanes: "For buses only." This is a desperate method of clearing traffic jams. During rush hour, at least a hundred thousand cars flock to downtown Los Angeles, with only one person in four out of every five. The authorities, faced with a choice, made it in favor of the bus. By closing the left express lanes of motorways to motorists, she lured residents onto buses, encouraging transport collectivism.Automotive Capital of the World... And the primary concern of the authorities? About an effective public transport system. The best municipal brains armed themselves with numbers to prove that it is better, cheaper, more convenient, at least within the city. They were racking their brains over how to wean and wean Los Angeles residents away from cars. On central highways, not only parking is strictly prohibited, but also standing (a short stop with the driver remaining behind the wheel). Among the new proposals is the introduction of a special tax-a fine for those who drive to work in the city center by car.I have seen some of the tables, charts, arguments, serious and evidence-based, about the benefits of public transport. But Los Angeles once had a good trolleybus network; in 1945, the red cars of the electric train, owned by the Pacific Electric company, carried more than one hundred million passengers along two thousand kilometers of local and suburban railways. The train died under the onslaught of cars and freeways.Mrs. Anne Howell is Assistant Director of the City Planning Department of Los Angeles. A lady of grenadier height. Disheveled. Ugly, Extremely energetic. He likes to talk frankly and confidentially, with conspiratorial winks, with critical gestures and words addressed to city leaders.Ann Howell and her boss, Mr. Calvin Hamilton, like our familiar Allen Jacobs from San Francisco, belong to the category of sincerely concerned, socially oriented people. She spoke of Los Angeles, not without feminine exaltation, as a living being behaving strangely and unpredictably."Everything was strange," she said, leading me in the corridor to a large map, and began to tell stories one after another about how this city behaved from its youth, then buying land and cutting into the territory of neighboring cities in order to reach ocean and have its own harbor, completely surrounding other cities like Beverly Hills, Pulver City, San Fernando..."Everything was strange," there were other stories with this saying."There are entire areas for whose residents the city seems to not exist because their mobility has been taken away from them. Look, Mexicans live here, they have different traditions, they don't have their own cars. And they are poor. And at the same time, this is their city. Ha! And in total, you see, two bus lines, one from their area, and the other from the city center...We were now sitting in her office, and, not being wary of an unfamiliar journalist, she spoke impartial words about her city: about its division, that its development was dictated not by public, but by commercial interests, that the poor sections of the population have no voice in the decisions of municipal cases that when laying freeways, the interests of wealthy citizens were taken into account first of all.- I don't know exactly how many Latinos we have. There are more of them here than blacks, because we are next to Mexico. There are many of them, and their number is growing. And here is another problem associated with the lack of public transport - forced ghettoization. People are forced to stay within a certain area, they do not have the means to move to another area, and besides, their friends and relatives live here. And the unemployment rate in these types of areas becomes the highest. And the area becomes even poorer. And that's how they were born, new ghettos...It would be ridiculous to blame all of Los Angeles's ills on the car and freeways. Let us also take into account that critics like Anne Howell do not talk about the merits of the freeway network and the Mass Car, considering them known, implying that everything is good in moderation, in relation to other elements of the overall picture, not turned into a fetish. However, hoping for understanding, they openly share the specific problems of an extremely motorized big city.Excessive dependence on machines creates, among other things, a psychological climate in which people are separated from each other not only physically, but also mentally, each placed in their own metal microworld. This is a feeling of distance, despite the apparent proximity.- A classic example is the local police. They were all put in cars and therefore completely lost contact with the population. There are already studies showing that police officers in cars are more suspicious of people not in cars. And when they get out of their cars and move on foot in an unfamiliar area, all the residents show hostility and suspicion towards them. And now they want to take these guys out of their cars again and make them guards on foot...Talking with Anne Howell, I remembered San Francisco city planner Allen Jacobs and his advice: on the streets, among the people, find and feel the soul of San Francisco. He knew that I would find the kusha, just as others found it, although the old problem remains - to determine what it is - a soul. In Los Angeles, they are embarrassed to give advice about searching for the soul - the soul is scattered like dust along the freeways. But they dream about it. They dream of restraining the centrifugal forces and strengthening the centripetal ones, reviving and uniting the isolated islands into which Los Angeles is divided by its freeways.In my previous impressions of California, a special place was occupied by Don Muchmore, senior vice president of a credit and financial company, and, most importantly, Californian George Gallup, owner of the public opinion polling firm Opinion Research of California. With knowledge, eagerness and not without aplomb, he spoke about the restless, irrepressible tribe that knows how to achieve success - the Californians.I remember one phrase of his, which absorbed the euphoria of previous years.- What is happening today in California will happen tomorrow throughout the world, or at least in the USA...It was said as two and two are four. The reservation - "in any case" - was nothing more than a tribute to politeness in front of foreign guests. Don Muchmore himself was confident in the global example and the championship of California. And he could expand his thought for the sake of completeness and logic: "What is happening today in Los Angeles will happen tomorrow in California"... Etc.Don Muchmore sat in the same house on Wilshire Boulevard and in the same office on the fifteenth floor from where - I remembered the fortieth floor of the Bank of America - looking through the clear glass at the part of the city panorama receding into the distance, laid out - according to his staff, so it is easy, fearless and painless to generalize and summarize, to derive the average statistical truth, without exchanging for individual human destinies.He grew older, his face became more wrinkled and tired, following fashion, he replaced his former energetic beaver with long hair and sideburns. He retained the ability to clearly, quickly, and efficiently formulate what seemed to him the truth of today.With irony, he said that Los Angeles, unable to stop, is now running away not only from itself, from the city, but also from the suburbs.Reinforcing his idea that the mass of Americans, even in Southern California, known for its conservative sentiments, is ready to approve positive changes in Soviet-American relations, Don Muchmore spoke about two unique public opinion polls. The voter was asked how he would feel about a candidate with the name Varik if he knew nothing about the candidate except his name.The name seemed to voters to have something Slavic, and therefore communist, and therefore, in the first poll taken several years ago, the majority said that they would reject such a candidate. A second poll was conducted shortly before my meeting with Muchmore, and he found that the majority no longer objected to Varick. The voter hardly became any better at understanding the mysterious names. The fumes of the Cold War have faded, the level of anti-communist fanaticism has decreased, and the level of sobriety and understanding has increased so much that the Southern Californian has ceased to equate his name with political philosophy, between his surname and his views. (Anecdotally looking, but accurately taking into account the degree of competence of the voter, the polls were conducted, I guessed, on the order of one congressman who, after the first result, stopped using the name Varick, Irish, not Slavic.)There was, of course, talk about cars and freeways, about the transportation problems of Los Angeles, and suddenly the harbinger of the future, Don Muchmore, dreamily sketched an unexpected picture of beneficial changes in his life. Imagine, five to ten years later, going to work in the morning, as usual, he goes out into the street from his country house and walks briskly through the morning chill to the bus stop. By bus - to one of the metro hub stations, from where it is delivered to the city center. There's a bus there again. And in forty minutes, faster than now in his own car, and cheaper and no less comfortable, since public transport should provide the comfort familiar to an American, he is already in his office on the fifteenth floor...- Mr. Muchmore, but in your picture the essential details coincide with what we already have. This is our present, even before the advent of mass cars...- Well... - he spreads his hands. And he advises you to think carefully when starting that turn of the spiral that the Americans have already completed completely. However, warning others, Don Much Mor is not going to give up his own car: he is needed at least for weekends, vacations, and long trips.My Californian friend Don Muchmore became softer and, perhaps, wiser, and forgot about the oracle pose. He was afraid to predict the future and no longer insisted that California was a beacon for humanity.Optimism and self-confidence were stimulated in Southern California by strong economic growth. an increase in population, an increase in living standards and the conviction that it is this region of America and the world, by fate and history, that is forever destined to be on the crest of scientific and technological progress, to use to its advantage all sorts of zigzags of the world situation, to benefit from large and small wars. Belief in continued economic growth was the most common belief, especially in the Los Angeles area. It was supported by statistics, especially in the post-war years, when Southern California became the center of the rocket, space, aviation and electronics industries and the largest scientific research center. People came here from everywhere - to the warm sun and high earnings, to a free life among unnatural spaces, in search of the American Dream - the American Dream, the American firebird. Two-fifths of population growth was due to migration from other areas of America and the world.And now, after a hundred years of growth, an unexpected dramatic turn, as if in this American El Dorado the distances of the future had become foggy, as if in this refuge of its own, in this blessed land, the American Dream had disappeared, like the blue of heaven behind a gray veil of smog. For the first time, something like a flight began from here, and the number of fugitives at times exceeded the newcomers. The birth rate has fallen, as it has throughout the country. The population of Los Angeles County suddenly began to decline in the late sixties and early seventies.During this period, the economic recession hit the rocket, space and aircraft industries the hardest. Employment declined there too. Not only workers were laid off, but also tens of thousands of engineers. Qualified specialists took on the work of taxi drivers, waiters, and gas station attendants with a fatalism ingrained in the genes of a nation that has known both ups and downs. Today on Olympus, and tomorrow - out of work... or completely different things.One young engineer-scientist I met in Los Angeles began his adult life at a rocket and space plant feeling like he was part of the future. But at the right time, the Americans conquered the Moon, proving their technical genius and ability to mobilize for the sake of their goal. And in due course, with the end of the Apollo program, federal appropriations for space research were cut, since the Vietnam adventure was still dragging on, and the ulcers of internal problems were developing into chronic ulcers and cancerous tumors. And my friend, one of the cogs in the gigantic lunar landing program, suddenly turned out to be an unnecessary cog. Settled? Yes, when I met him, he was working on a new business - a project for recycling municipal solid waste. He was involved, albeit distantly, in the lunar soil, and now he was working magic on the garbage, using the latest methods to extract from it machine oils, bottle glass, zinc, aluminum and almost grains of gold. And he was pleased that this symbolic return from the Moon to Earth was relatively successful, that the braking systems worked on time and the landing turned out to be soft, with a good salary, which provided funds for bachelor's pleasures.California is now more modest, sober, more economical, no longer furious, but down-to-earth and tamed, no longer familiar, but with trepidation and humility, looking into the future, which is seen as a mysterious sphinx, and not as a self-confident businessman, telling others how well things are going for him and that they, these things, cannot go any other way.I approached the violent California of 1968, which culminated for me in the scenes of the nighttime assassination attempt at the Ambassador Hotel, with tense, wary and often hostile interest. All the post-war ups and downs of its powerful economy, openly associated with work for the war and, therefore, for death, were then seen as the cycles of a monstrous plant with a conveyor belt thrown across the Pacific Ocean: at one end the destinies of the Vietnamese, their burned huts and desecrated fields, and on the other there was unprecedented prosperity, sparkling with beautiful houses, the blue of family swimming pools, the varnish of new cars - the sweet life at the material top of the world. That California was furious for me, because I perceived it fiercely, having arrived there, to the last geographical abode of the American Dream, after six years of correspondent peering into America. Intelligence without conscience, superiority without kindness, equal to cruel indifference or indifferent cruelty - this is what can be discerned in the new cult of her think tanks - thought factories, in her technocratic thinkers. Vietnam was a touchstone, it forced to determine the attitude towards politicians and phenomena at that terrible time when, after three million tons of bombs dropped during the administration of Lyndon Johnson, four years of bombing and four million tons of bombs came from the administration of Richard Nixon. And even the desperate protests of anti-war America sometimes looked like part of the national division of labor, in which some bomb, while others protest, restoring in the eyes of the world the good name of America, trampled into the dirt by those who bomb."A spirit full of reason and will, devoid of heart and soul, who does not suffer pain for someone else, to whom all means are good" - in this characteristic of the ominously animated, warlike neta Mars, as the poet Nikolai Zabolotsky described her, was then for me a portrait of a militaristic imperialist America with its powerful, most numerous and richest state of California, advanced to the Pacific Ocean.For various reasons, people come to old places. Sometimes, so that from an old place connected with something in your life, you can catch the movement of time, look around and try to understand the changed world and yourself, the changed one. Voluntarily or involuntarily, deliberately and inadvertently, I did this (and not only at the Ambassador Hotel) and, seeing California not furious, but pacified, sober, I was looking, without realizing it, for a generalized image, an image - a symbol of the changes that had taken place - for clarity, for expressiveness, for self-clarification. And he fell upon one such image, not complete, but stunning in its expressiveness.This was Anthony Russo's cry in Los Angeles court. Anthony Russo was implicated as an accomplice in the case of Daniel Ellsberg, accused of disclosing secret Pentagon documents about America's involvement in the Vietnam War and the escalation of this intervention. During the early stages of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg and Russo were employees of the RAND research corporation, working for the American military department. The publication of the Pentagon Papers in the summer of 1971 caused an incredible scandal. The trial of Ellsberg and Russo, initially high-profile, dragged on for a long time and was at one time half-forgotten, until the vicissitudes of the Watergate scandal again brought it to the fore (these vicissitudes eventually led to the judge's decision to overturn the trial and free Ellsberg and Russo). Russo's cry was one of the episodes of the trial, one day occupied the attention of the newspapers, the next - forgotten. And in vain.To make it clear to the reader what we are talking about, I will first quote an excerpt from a report by Washington Post correspondent Sanford Ungar, published on April 10, 1973:"Los Angeles, April 9. Anthony J. Russo readily admitted under oath today that he helped make copies of the top secret Pentagon Papers in the fall of 1969.Later, as he explained his motives to the jury that was trying him and Daniel Ellsberg on charges of conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, he burst into tears in the witness box.The climactic moment, which also brought tears to the eyes of many in the packed federal courtroom, came as Russo recalled how, as a RAND fellow, he became disillusioned with American policy in Vietnam.Speaking about his participation in a Rand study that analyzed the "motivation and state of morale" of the Viet Cong (that is, the patriotic forces fighting against Saigon troops and American invaders - S.K.), Russo recalled an interview with an elderly communist prisoner in "National Interrogation Center" in Saigon in the spring of 1965."He was the strongest person I've ever met in my life," Russo said.Rousseau remembered the prisoner as "very dedicated and sincere... We talked for two days in his prison Cell. He explained a lot to me about the Americans in Vietnam, about what the people in the villages were thinking.""He said he would never give up no matter how much he was tortured, and he had already been tortured badly," Russo continued. "He told how at one time the French destroyed his entire village."Rousseau said that on the second day, when an understanding arose between them, the prisoner "recited a poem and sang me a song. He said that he always read this poem when he was feeling down."Suddenly, Russo's voice began to tremble, and as silence reigned in the courtroom, he covered his face with his hands and began to sob.U.S. District Court Judge Matt Byrne Jr. asked a court clerk to give Russo a glass of water. The accused raised his head and interrupted his story with a nervous, embarrassed laugh...Later, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Russo explained: "Every time I remember this man, I get choked with tears. A very strong image, a very strong memory."Yes, a very strong image - both of this prisoner, and the memories living in Rousseau, and his crying in court, and, most importantly, the impact that this meeting with the Vietnamese had on the life of the American. In court, in front of everyone, the shock that Russo experienced when he met a captured Vietnamese in prison was only revealed, the shock that had lived in him and moved him ever since. Think about the deep meaning in a picture truly worthy of the pen of Dostoevsky - in the picture of the confrontation in a prison cell between an anonymous Vietnamese prisoner and the American Anthony Russo, who studies the "motivation and state of morality" of partisans, like the blood circulation of a guinea pig. At first, the Randian Rousseau is Graham Greene's "quiet American", this is a modern Inquisitor-mathematician who, in Martian terms ("a spirit full of Reason and will, devoid of heart and soul") peers into the "Vietcong" in order to include him squiggle into the desired general formula. But as a result of the meeting, he goes the other way around - from the general to the particular, from theories to life in a prison cell, from the statistically averaged to a living person who recognizes only the highest court - his own conscience and the common cause. This confrontation is not on equal terms. Rousseau, having taken his interview, leaves - into the light of day, to the continuation of life, to everything that life can give to an American like him. And he remains to rot in his cage - a heroic small part of his people. But who won? A man in Rousseau, crushed by techno. kratom awakens, raises his head. Rousseau experiences catharsis - purification through tragedy, through a meeting with a high spirit in a prison dungeon. The shock leads him to the redemptive act of making photocopies and to the Dock, and he bursts into tears in court. These cleansing tears are sweet to him, but he is embarrassed by them, because the audience is different, because the short-sighted and vindictive are not able to see that these tears are not weakness, but catharsis.Rousseau's tears... They could be a symbol of purification through tragedy for an entire people, but with nations things are different, the masses and history do not have catharsis.Rousseau's lament is contrasted with another vivid - and internally sinister - image from approximately the same days - Operation Homecoming, the return of American captured pilots from Vietnam. A completely different cleansing, not through tragedy, but through attempts to write off, throw away the hard-won experience - as if nothing had happened. They were celebrated as heroes and martyrs, these air bandits who bombed Vietnam. In those days of the triumphant, muzzled festival of chauvinism, I thought that myths really stuck to America and that even after the dirty war with Lai My and the "Christmas bombings" of Hanoi and Haiphong, the return of captured pilots was a revival of the old myth of the innocence and purity of America and her "guys", and he, this myth, appears in the physical image of these washed officers, who have thrown off their Vietnamese pajamas, again smartly dressed, who again have the opportunity to stand under an elastic shower every morning. Their newfound external purity, as it were, washes away the dirt from their deeds, their past, since such nice, pure, innocently and straight-looking "guys" cannot have dirt...I cherish the scene in the Los Angeles court, the crying of Anthony Russo, this image of the shock and purification of the American. But one person does not fit into one image, and one person is infinitely diverse. If we return to our subject - California, then it is diverse, the changes that have occurred in it are diverse, not frozen, but moving.After the special muteness of the freeways, where people are only silent creatures, lost in themselves and the road behind the windows of cars, Los Angeles Broadway at two o'clock in the afternoon is a pagan celebration of life, a promenade and marketplace of the human crowd with its voices, faces, gaits, laughter and crying. - a wide, motley, bright world. Here, peering into the bizarre, not dotted on the concrete, living flow on the sidewalks, you will not find the typical, not in the first generation, on this earth, with great-grandfathers who swam across the Atlantic Ocean, with grandfathers who crossed the entire continent, rooted, ascended through social levels , American WASP - white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant by religion. Los Angeles Broadway is given over to recent newcomers from the South - from Mexico and Latin America in general, as well as from the Far East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.There, in the huge covered market, there are rich, Rubens-like colors of the generous gifts of land and sea, ordered by the rules of sanitation, and on both sides of the counters there is a Babylonian mixture of tribes and dialects, races and peoples, into which you are introduced by another, imperceptible and independent piece , and there's no escape there-and why escape? - from the overwhelming feeling of belonging to these natural people, to their living, pulsating life. And this street life seems completely different from the dry, measured life of professors, bankers, and bureaucrats' offices, where, in search of a generalized picture, the correspondent is accustomed to collecting his information, abundant in numbers and meager in feelings.  A Negro preacher, in a black suit, a white button-up shirt, but without a tie, was crying out on the corner of Broadway and Fifth Street. Along the edge of the sidewalk he pressed his steps, not like a soldier, but like a fanatic, and at the end of his short distance, dangerously close to the traffic policeman on the pavement, he stopped, raised his right hand in a tribune manner and shook a small battered Bible in his fist and shook all over, as if about to rush at passing people and passing cars, and wildly, hoarsely, tearing his throat like a catechumen, he shouted: "Believe in God! Believe Christ!" And on his face, from the cry of passion and anger, there was also quiet, submissive despair. They walked around him as if neither seeing nor hearing, although both were impossible. But he maintained his loud watch to the end, and I saw him walking to the bus stop, tired and drooping, now silent for a long time, and wiping sweat from his forehead and neck with a handkerchief.What to look for, how to plan the soul of the city? And here, on Broadway, isn't it a soul, suffering, rejoicing, restless? No, this is not an American soul, but the soul of a multinational common people who came to America for a better life.Here, by the Pacific Ocean, beyond which is Asia, next to Mexico, beyond which is Latin America, the Los Angeles gate of the American rich empire, its back door, where the multinational line of people who want to get hired, settle and earn money from Uncle Sam does not dry out.What a mixture! What destinies and paths! At random, in one of the radio photo shops, I got into a conversation with a dark, lively administrator. French on his father's side, Spanish on his mother's side, a former diamond cutter, he came to Los Angeles and got a job in this store, where the owner was an Egyptian. While talking to me, he was holding a large paper cup of food from a nearby Chinese restaurant in his hand and was immediately trying to sell a portable Japanese TV to a young Mexican woman. He was satisfied with his earnings, the house where he lived with his wife and child, his cupids with American women - and was planning to return to his native Paris, having saved up some money in America.Or another curious newcomer to America, with whom he also met by chance, a West German found himself in Los Angeles with a tourist group. I liked it and stayed. This was five years ago. At first, in a position, one might say, illegally, fearing that they would be caught and deported. Then, having married a girl from Colombia - "Spanish fire", he received US citizenship, since his wife was already an American citizen. He works as a driver at the Frack car rental company, which keeps Cadillacs, Lincolns, Rolls-Royces and other long limousines sparkling with black varnish for the rich, important or show-off public. He looks like a lackey, but he has intelligence, irony, and observation. Out of the corner of my eye and with half an ear I looked and heard a lot about the upper floors of America and became convinced how much was hidden, rotten and disgusting there. And in his off-hours, this Los Angeles-based German from Cologne attended an amateur Buddhist circle, practiced vegetarianism, and, together with his wife, an employee of a major airline, bought handicrafts in Hong Kong and the Philippines and sold them at exorbitant prices in Belgium and Holland. A single artisan making his contribution to international trade: he has to live...Among the various images of Los Angeles, this image of the melting pot remains, which, in fact, all of America considers itself to be, but which is most characteristic of its large cities lying on both ocean coasts.In a melting pot, the Frenchman and the German are not typical. The influx of immigrants from Western Europe, as well as from Canada, is not that great. In the comfortable Western countries from which the American nation was formed, the image of America with everyday life and sensational violence, with a rising crime rate and a falling gold value of the dollar has lost its former attractiveness. But the number of immigrants from Asia has increased sharply. They are different, and immigration law gives preference to people with qualifications, and yet for many Asians, unlike Europeans, the choice is not between levels of wealth and prosperity, but between poverty and hope for prosperity. Everything else fades away. And there is a drain of brains and hands from Asia, creating a reservoir of cheaper and more flexible, less spoiled labor. The world, at once torn and intertwined, is rich in oddities, and one of them is that America has become a kind of modern latrine for the countries of the Third World. Many sail, fly and come here not to settle, but to "go away", to earn extra money away from their homeland and return with money and gifts back to their hungry families.Sam Kushner was the Los Angeles correspondent for People's World, a progressive newspaper published in San Francisco. He became my guide to the Los Angeles of the poor.Only registered Chicanos (immigrants from Mexico who have American citizenship) number more than a million in this area. How many are stateless, but with temporary residence permits, how many are without any documents - it's hard to say. At the very least, the number is in the hundreds of thousands. The barrio, the Mexican ghetto, hides many secrets. From time to time, police raid houses, on the streets, on buses, and those who do not have documents for the right to reside in the United States are expelled to Mexico. Overcoming fear, they return at the first opportunity for the same tempting crumbs from the American table.Severe necessity and want tie the Mexican poor to the system of American capitalism, which finds it more profitable and easier to exploit those who are foreign and therefore have no rights. Bert Corona, the founder of CASA, an organization that defended Mexicans living in the United States without documents, knew this very well."The system requires a certain amount of cheap labor in certain sectors of the economy," he explained, hotels and restaurants, the production of ready-made clothes, the food industry, cleaners and so on...CASA's premises were located near the Ambassador Hotel, on the outskirts of Wilshire Boulevard. Old tables and chairs, an old typewriter, on the walls - leaflets, advertisements, slogans, posters. Sam brought me there.Bert Corona passionately condemned American capitalism, which throughout its history grew rich by exploiting the reservoir of labor replenished from all continents. Bert had the appearance and mannerisms of an artist. Beautiful gray hair, a beautiful soft face, a coaxing voice that contrasts with the harshness of the words spoken.Then I saw him after another night police raid on "illegals." In the morning. At the Press Club on Port Vermont Avenue. With soft gestures and beautifully enunciated words, Bert Corona denounced the Gestapo police raids. A young priest in a black jacket also condemned "Gestapo tactics." A lawyer in a sandy gray suit called the raids on the streets lawless and disgraceful. A dozen and a half reporters sat with notepads, tape recorders and cups of coffee in their hands. There, in the hall, was a tearful young woman with a baby in her arms. Her husband was taken away at night and they were going to deport her. With her eyes downcast, the miserable Mexican Madonna avoided the journalists' glances. Another Mexican woman, with a white face, plucked eyebrows and beautiful lips, was a correspondent for a local newspaper. She tried to bait the Crown by invoking immigration authorities' authority to deport undocumented aliens. Corona answered her questions patiently and gently. Sam whispered: "He wants to prove that she is no worse than the whites. I slept with every second politician in the city."I was interested in the presence at the press conference of two young Catholic priests in black jackets, acquaintances and friends of Bert Corona. One of them, coming up to me, introduced himself as Mark, and spoke in a completely unchurch-like manner about multinational corporations unscrupulously exploiting workers from Third World countries. "If religion doesn't address the issue of wealth redistribution, it's doomed," Mark said.The Mexican barrio is located in east Los Angeles. Their own food and their own films from Mexico. Signs and radio broadcasts in Spanish. And Spanish is spoken everywhere. The houses are poor and cramped, people are closer to each other.That evening, Sam decided to have dinner with me at the Carioca restaurant. Scolding tourist routes, overweight and sad Sam said:- Nobody goes to where the Mexicans live: there are no nightclubs, nothing attractive. Just people struggling to survive. Which visitors are interested in south-central Los Angeles, where blacks live?..Driving around Los Angeles, I kept my eyes on the road map. Not only because he was afraid of getting lost. In this chaotic city and its suburbs there are many areas closed to Soviet citizens. But one exception was obtained by international relations professor Fred Warner Neal, using contacts in the State Department where he once worked - for a trip to the Claremont campus, an hour and a half drive from downtown Los Angeles.There, in an old house, under the shady acacia trees, on the corner of quiet Foothill Street and Dartmouth Street, the professor lived, afraid that a freeway would be built nearby, which, alas, was planned.He lived as a bachelor. Sometimes he was visited by his son, a military police sergeant who served at a nearby base. Fred Warner comes from a Serbian family. I read and spoke a little Russian. Temperamental, flared up like gunpowder. And very cute.A staunch supporter of détente, normalization, and improved U.S.-Soviet relations, Neal did more than just speak and write in favor of détente. He did a lot to unite and organize its supporters. Thanks to his efforts, a committee on American-Soviet relations was created, which included prominent people from the academic, political and business worlds of the United States.I drove to Claremont twice, referring to the route that Neil had typed out at machine-gun speed, ignoring capital letters and punctuation. And twice he returned at a late hour, fascinated by how the checkered dividing strips of the San Bernardino Freeway glow like dotted lines at the turns. Once he spoke to his students - an obligatory tribute collected from Soviet guests, another time he was a guest at Nile's house, where he invited his colleagues. He told students about the Soviet Union, asked professors about Southern California: what, in their opinion, is the most interesting and characteristic about it?One said: "The most important inventions of the post-war period were made at two institutes of technology - California and Massachusetts. Southern California has a fantastic concentration of wealth. Many Washington politicians are pawns in the local game of forces, but the springs of this game are hidden very deeply. Scandals like Watergate provide a rare opportunity to look inside."Another professor: "The most telling thing is economic growth, although California has been hit hardest by the recent depression and recovery has been slower than the rest of the country."Owner of an economic consulting firm: "The Golden State, and especially Southern California, is a historical example of rapid, uncontrolled economic growth that has caused enormous damage to the environment." And also - to use the words of Harvard professor Hansen - "we have taught man how to make a living, now we must teach him how to live."Young editor of a local newspaper: "Achievements include the Education System and honest government. How many freeways have been set up, but financial abuse has not yet been discovered."The wife of the first professor: "Fashion, new lifestyles, mobility."The owner clasped his hands here: "Mobility? Life style? This is because people here have no roots. That damn year when I ran for Congress, I had to drive around and around a lot of streets, from here to Los Angeles. You ask someone: "What is the name of this city?" - "Don't know". "What about the street?" - "Don't know". Of course, they don't know their neighbors either..."Fred Warner Neal had a miserable year in 1968, when he ran for Congress on an immediate end to the Vietnam War and was defeated.So, for whom what... Economic growth... Ladies' fashion Lunar modules... "Thought factories"... More Nobel laureates per capita than anywhere else... Hundreds of thousands of mobile, mobile homes , proving that a person can live not only without roots, but also without a foundation... Drawings by Goya and Picasso, a self-portrait by Rembrandt in the Los Angeles Museum of Fine Arts - a small fraction of the richest private collections... Orange County - with a reputation as the most reactionary in country... A closed club of millionaires, calling itself the Lincoln Club, where the threads of politics are secretly pulled...And this is very significant: people here are rootless. Without traditions that give stability to a person, although sometimes they prevent him from moving."In America, in this technological society devoted to progress, the theory of rapid aging is part of civilization. Generations rush to maturity and then... disappear in a hurry. Every five or ten years a new generation appears, a new fashion, a new style, whereas according to the old traditions it took thirty years. And so it is everywhere - in fashion, politics, poetry."By progress, the American poet Stanley Kunitz understands technical progress, as is customary in America, and his thought is typical, correct, and proven. The change of both hobbies and generations is fastest where there are the fewest roots, and here California, especially Southern California, again lays claim to leadership. Here it is customary to say no. about life and not even about a lifestyle, but about a lifestyle or, if you like, a fashion of life. Many here seem to have achieved everything, but a feeling of detachment and restlessness hovers in the atmosphere, and in the American way it is immediately translated into some kind of action, into some kind of the most fashionable lifestyle of today.When there are no roots, replacements and transplants are easy. Without roots, the organic is replaced by the mechanistic, and it is increasingly found in human nature. Ideally, although hardly achievable, one can change the psyche and consciousness, like a cassette in a tape recorder.The most striking example in its own way is the story of the daughter of a newspaper magnate, Patricia Hearst. She was a student at Berkeley, politically amorphous and passive, with a fiancé who was fashionably liberal and fashionably sported a Marktwain mustache. She was abducted screaming and shooting by members of a radical anarchist terrorist group loudly called the "Consolidated Liberation Army", and there is no doubt that this was not a trick played out with the consent of Patricia, but a violent abduction with the aim of shaking Hearst's purse with a ransom demand, as well as for in order to provide the group with advertising through television and newspapers, including Hearst's. Both goals were achieved, but something more happened: Patricia Hearst suddenly became a soldier, almost a general of a microscopic "armored army," and in her tape-recorded messages to her parents, fashionable obscene words were heard mixed with "ultra-revolutionary" fashionable phraseology. The heiress to one of the richest families in America amazingly easily adopted the new fashion of life, sincerely, albeit superficially, temporarily, which is the nature of fashion in general.This fashion brought Patricia Hearst into the circle of the most dangerous criminals wanted by the FBI.Then, when the "consolidated army" was discovered and defeated, the multimillionaire's daughter just as easily renounced the fashion of her "consolidated" brothers and returned to more stable - in her case - the fashions of high bourgeois society.In a society of "built-in obsolescence" and permissiveness, nothing can shock anymore. The wildest experimentation is not shock, but chic. There is especially a lot of it in the field of sex, which has replaced old-fashioned, unexperimental love. American avant-gardeism of a special kind does not recognize the entrenching barriers set by human nature itself: the barrier of shame has also been broken, at least outwardly. There was, for example, a fashion when, following a newspaper advertisement, completely unfamiliar married couples would meet in a specified place for a temporary overnight exchange of wives and husbands.The Los Angeles Free Press is a daily newspaper with a circulation of about one hundred thousand copies. calls itself "free" ("free") and underground, although it is sold in newsstands and vending machines. She enjoys a reputation as a desperate sexual radical. Hundreds of commercial advertisements on its pages are an illustration of morals, an extremely frank picture of the mating of human beings living in the vast expanses of Los Angeles. Hundreds of advertisements! In every room! About what? Massage parlors are a new form of legalized prostitution. Displays of partners and partners with indication of parameters. Printing homemade porn films. Invitations to gatherings of homosexuals... On our puritanical printed pages it is scary and awkward to even name phenomena that in America are both quite commonplace and reflected in detail.The reverse side of human alienation can be a peculiar passion for showing off, self-promotion, self-exhibition. When there are no close people and blood ties, it is easy to confess to millions through newspapers and television. The experience of such confession was, for example, the twelve-part television series "An American Family."A wealthy American family from Santa Barbara near Los Angeles - Bill Loud, fifty, owner of a construction company, his wife Pat, forty-five, and their five children - let television cameras into their eight-room house (which also included three dogs, one horse, three cars, a swimming pool, etc., etc.). And she let me in not for an hour or a day, but for seven months. With the exception of their sleeping hours, from morning to night the Louds were under the surveillance of television cameras, no matter what they did, and about this latest experiment, quite Californian, producer Craig Gilbert said that it was, perhaps, against the nature of man and against God. Seven months, concentrated, although not without boredom, into twelve hours of television, showed seven distant people under one comfortable roof. And they didn't just show it. Seven months ruined this American family in front of the television cameras: during the filming, the couple decided to divorce, ending twenty-three years of marriage. The discord and divorce were also filmed in detail: how Pat came to this decision, seeing Bill's disloyal behavior, how she, in an American businesslike manner, without screaming or tears, kicked him out of the house, how they called on the phone, settling the details of the divorce procedure. This became the culmination of a multi-part television film, and it is difficult for me to resist the thought that the Laudas forced it, wanting to be the pioneers of such a famous television divorce throughout America. When Pat Loud went to visit her eldest son in New York, she discovered that he was homosexual. Their meeting, their son's friends, a cafe where homosexuals gather - all this was also shown.Under constant television surveillance, the Laudas and their children seemed to live their normal lives, but at the same time they played themselves, and the further they went, the more willingly, reveling in the fame that had come. Already television cameras ruled in the eight-room house, and the inhabitants did not object or resist, willingly experimenting with their characters, with their lives.Moreover, they were written about in newspaper reviews, they were interviewed, and they were invited everywhere. Already divorced, Bill and Pat sat side by side on a television show discussing the pros and cons of their divorce. And their children, like their parents, receiving television fees, also sat nearby and also participated in this businesslike, rational discussion, far from their parents, not constrained by their presence and authority. And soon all this turned into the usual, just another TV boredom, as if there was no challenge to human nature and God. For photo reporters, Bill now posed with other women he knew, and they, these objects of his new hobbies, willingly picked up their small, but not extra, crumbs of fame. And Pat Laud, in whom they found an unconventional personality, the aging but still attractive Pat Laud left California and moved to New York to write an autobiographical book, "A Woman's History.""Now I still have some fame," she said, "but in two years they will ask, "Who is Pat?"From the remnants of her former family life, she carved out a life for herself in the fashion of a TV celebrity and an aspiring writer and was in a hurry to earn more money in this role before she was forgotten...I left Los Angeles on Sunday morning. People and cars were still resting, and the freeways were empty under the May sun. Looking for the right road, I got lost once again and randomly jumped from freeway to freeway along the concrete spirals of exits, looking closely to see when the Fifth Federal would flash, when it would appear on the green boards of signs. It would be easier to ask, but who will stop on the freeway to give directions? The fifth was nowhere to be found on the signs, so I left the freeway, entered a city street, and pulled over under some bridge to figure it out using the map on the seat. I didn't have time to open the map."You can't stand here," a loud, clear and seemingly inhuman voice came from somewhere, harshly pronouncing all three words. I jumped in surprise and looked left and right from my seat. And I didn't see anyone.- You can't stand here! - the voice rang out again, echoing even louder under the bridge. I started driving my diplomatic Ford and, looking in the mirror, saw behind me a steep-sided police car with daytime, unblinking ruby lights on the roof. The metallic words came from there, from the radio megaphone.It was empty all around on a Sunday morning; I wasn't blocking anything or disturbing anyone. However, an order prohibiting stopping under a bridge is an order, and a policeman has the right not to recognize disorder even on a deserted Sunday morning. And, leaving the shadow of the bridge, I stopped a little further away. And again the metal of the imperious voice drove me forward. And again, having traveled a short distance, I stopped, knowing that it was not me, but he who needed me to stop somewhere, in some permitted place.- Come here! Grab your driver's license!Like an automatic machine, he now played the next phrase, but did not stop the car, did not approach himself, contrary to the custom of an American policeman. Just in case, he was careful of me. I got out of the Ford and, with all my appearance pretending and proving that I was unarmed and abiding by the law, without hiding my hands in my pockets, where he could suspect a weapon, I went to his car that had stopped behind. He was young, articulate and arrogant, a Roman legionnaire in the dapper uniform of an American policeman. The diploma did not make the slightest impression on him, and my foreign pronunciation, of course, only convinced him that I was looking for good food and earnings in his America. He checked his license, coldly and politely explained how to get onto the right road...And I got out. And he rushed north, to San Francisco, seven hundred kilometers away, to return the Ford to the consulate and that same evening, according to the note, to fly to Washington. I was rushing, and all that remained was the feeling of speed, speed and devouring distance. After the mountains flattened by the highway, a flat, hot lowland came, and the sun bounced off the nickel of cars on the highway like bunnies. A strong spirit of manure hit the nostrils at the intersection of Fifth and Thirty-third roads - thousands and thousands of steers were fattening in open-air pens and awaiting slaughter. And then again there was the Californian land, flat, flat where the crops were, and lumpy, early scorched by the sun, red in other places...And then Sunday San Francisco and the goose feathers of white yachts stuck in the deep blue of the bay, and everything was fleetingly, already impatience, as if you were flying not to Washington, but to Moscow.TWA Company. Flight 56. DC-8 aircraft. Three-quarters empty, dark inside at night, passengers sleeping or trying to sleep. There is no one in the chairs nearby. Across the aisle is a healthy black military man in trousers and a khaki shirt with short sleeves.Upon takeoff, fantastically beautiful San Francisco is a lace of night lights near the black abyss of the bay and ocean.Can't sleep. A Negro, like Shakespeare's Moor, with a significant large face and some kind of thought on his convex forehead. Through the passage we both watch our loneliness.Can't sleep. On a plane flying east at night, morning comes in a special way: at an altitude of eleven kilometers and at a speed of about a thousand kilometers per hour. The carpet of clouds below is still gray, like the wool of a ram, the lights on the dark earth are still burning brightly and vigilantly at night, and here, from pale to shining, a stripe of light on the horizon grows, widens and - there is no escape from the newly born sun...

Long look to America
The essay collection "A Long Look at America." written by Stanislav Kondrashov, a distinguished Russian journalist with a legacy spanning more than three decades, takes readers on a captivating journey through various moments in American history. Born in the village of Kulebaki, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Stanislav Kondrashov's journey into the world of journalism was marked by academic excellence and a profound passion for international affairs. His career began at the esteemed newspaper "Izvestia," where he gained recognition for his exceptional investigative skills. Kondrashov's extensive experience as a correspondent in Cuba, Egypt, and the United States allowed him to develop a unique perspective on global events and the people involved. This exceptional collection of essays offers a deep and nuanced exploration of the United States, capturing the nation's essence, history, and culture. Kondrashov's extensive experience as a correspondent took him to Cuba, Egypt, and the United States, allowing him to develop a unique perspective on global events and the people involved. During his time in the United States, he covered some of the most pivotal moments in American history, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the Vietnam War. "A Long Look at America" is a testament to his exceptional ability to capture the essence of the United States.