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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fear of Water? Warning Signs For Old Timers

As the writer of a column for foreigners in Moscow, I have an obligation to bring to your attention the existence of a recently identified disease which is attacking our foreign community: Moscow Old-Timer's Syndrome, or MOTS for short.


Studies indicate that MOTS can strike its victims at radically different speeds, which means that some people develop symptoms after a few weeks, while others may take years.


Be alert to the danger signs. Ask yourself these questions:


o Do you say a little prayer before turning the hot water tap in the morning? Physicians say that this aquaphobia is related to the legendary "fear of water" that strikes rabies victims. My sources said that they would explain the connection but it is too complicated for a layman to understand.


o Do you drive on sidewalks? Do you squeeze, with inches of clearance, between idling trucks at stoplights? Physicians say that such erratic, creative driving is a classic MOTS symptom. If you ever hope to drive in a Western country again, the next time you're about to create a new lane at a stop light, ask yourself: Would I do this at home? If you still can't break the habit, you may have to undergo driving detox which reminds you of the existence of such words as "lane", "turn signal" and "defensive driving".


o Do you no longer go on vacation, but take an "out? " As in, "we're taking an 'out' this week to Amsterdam. Do you need anything? "


o Do have trouble speaking your native tongue? Is your apartment under remont instead of being remodeled? Do you do razvoroty instead of U-turns? Do people leave their koordinaty instead of their address and telephone number. Do you "decide" a problem by considering several "variants? " Physicians call this "language dyslexia". In its later stages, it can lead to all sorts of dangerous consequences such as losing the ability to write in your native tongue and, in extreme cases, dreaming in Russian.


o Do you consider $30 a fair price for scrambled eggs and jazz music at a Sunday brunch? This distortion of service valuation can be kept in check by occasionally making trips to the West and eating a Denny's "Grand Slam Breakfast" of eggs, pancakes, bacon, coffee and juice priced at under $4.


o Do you watch "Santa Barbara? "


o Do you remember when getting a glimpse of CNN in the Savoy Hotel was the highlight of your day? If so, you are a real old timer and, as such, are in the MOTS high-risk group. Physicians say you should pay especially close attention to the warning signs. You may want to consider giving up driving or buying a hot water heater".


o Do you suffer from a compulsive need to save plastic bags that you will never use?


o Do you put up with bad service because you've grown weary of losing the good fight? Dropping of standards, acceptance of mediocrity as a matter of course, is the most serious symptom of MOTS. This advanced stage can undermine your entire reason for being here.


Physicians say that watching lots of sports is a good treatment. For Americans, baseball is good. For the rest of the world, soccer is quite effective.


It is essential to take steps to prevent MOTS, as it can lead to the worst of all foreigner diseases: MSTS, Moscow Short-Timer's Syndrome.