The bell rang and when I opened the door I saw a young man who was showing some document with his picture on it. That might be the man’s ID card, I guessed. The man said that he was representing an all-Ukrainian Information Center and that he had something to say to people of our apartment building at the meeting that was to start in some 10-15 minutes. I was invited to join if I had time. I didn’t have much time (I never have) but I agreed to go down to the staircase landing on the second floor – the appointed place for the gathering . I just liked the fervor of the young man’s voice, or maybe I agreed because I had decided to build up the sense of “social responsibility” in myself.

While the young man and two more of his friends kept pushing other door bells summoning more people, those who had already gathered exchanged their surmises about the possible agenda. The  coming year is the year of the parliamentary election, so the conjectures were that some party was going to advertise its platform with promises to “improve the life of the people”. It wouldn’t be bad if the party repaired the roof of the building which was leaking all through, somebody said. Others agreed but added that bringing down the cost of utility bills was no less important. “The quality of sausage should be improved,” insisted other participants. “There’s practically no meat in sausages nowadays. Their party should think about it in the first place.”

A few more elderly people came and, finally, the young man and his friends led up a decrepit old lady who also used her two walking sticks (her two “mercedeses”, as she said) to go up the staircase.

The man said that the Information Center he was representing took care of explaining to people that they should be cautious while taking medication. The greedy pharmaceutical companies were unscrupulous about the validity of the medicines sold. More than 80% of all medicines at pharmacies were adulterants. “Press a pill with your fingers before you pay for it. A fake medicine will immediately crash…”

The man spoke for a long time, citing the figures of those who had died because of bad “chemicals.” His persuading skills were marvelous: he looked into the old people’s eyes, he asked them what their patronymics were (which was a sign of high respect for the elderly) and he addressed them only by their patronymic names.

I liked the gentleman. At last, I thought, there are people in this country who – unselfishly, without lucrative inclinations – try to protect those who need the protection most: senior citizens.

In the end the young man pointed to the lady on the two “mercedeses.” “No medicines in the world can remove the chalkstone from people’s joints”, he said. “But the doctors do not send you to physiotherapeutic rooms because they get an interest from the medication they prescribe. Besides, our  physiotherapeutic rooms have an outdated equipment. The apparatus which really helps is this electric massager…” As if with a wave of a magic wand, a shiny, colorful box appeared in the young man’s hands…

What happened next is not interesting…


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