In rugby, a scrum is when a bunch of players push against one another with concerted effort once the signal is given. Momentum is involved, as is a bunch of groaning and audible cues that something is being strived for. Someone occasionally gets a black eye. Getting onto public transportation around here is not so very dissimilar, and especially during rush-hour includes most of the above rugby-like activities. I confess, I have yet to hear any raised voices during the execution of this maneuver, and none of the physicality is ill-intentioned; it is simply the case that there are just far too many folks that need to get into the same ft2 which you happen to occupy, in the precious seconds between when the bus, trolley or subway doors slide open and slam shut.
There are two related observations that I have yet to reconcile with my notions of (what? Westernness? Orderliness?), though. The first has to do with questioning why the “scrum” is necessary in instances such as during boarding at the airport, of all places. I have flown out of Kyiv on three separate occasions, so this observation may be maturing beyond coincidence-stage and progressing toward trend. I’ll let you know if I come up with a good hypothesis for the reason behind the rush to the cabin stairs, but right now I’m stumped. The second is that kindly-seeming, four-foot tall septuagenarian ladies with kerchiefs around their heads should not only not be behaving this way, but should decidedly not be featuring so prominently in the tussle. It is they, however, who most often slip in at rib-level and muscle past onto the subway car, leading the charge with the grit and determination of Staff Sergeants.
I do want to point out some refreshing things about riding the subway (or “Metro”, as it is called) here. Take for instance, that passengers of either gender will quickly rise and offer their seats for children. This unselfish act occurs without grudge, and we are still pleasantly surprised at each instance, when the alternative would be to cling to Emily, a handrail and four grocery-bags, all at once. The other real nice thing about the Metro in Kyiv is that it is so well laid-out. Stations are either located right where you are headed, or reduce most of the remaining destinations throughout the rest of the city to five-minute walks.
You can certainly get where you’re going around here. You just have to survive the scrum.