The strange alchemy of war
Bonds form when you least expect them.
Journalism is too opaque and misunderstood. Chills gives a behind-the-scenes look at how dangerous investigative journalism gets made.
[Please listen to this Siberian band while reading this.]
My phone plinked. It was a text with news I’d hoped I’d never get: My driver in Ukraine — also a pediatric neurosurgeon, and my friend — has been drafted in the war to serve as a medic. He’s being sent to the most ferocious current frontlines of this unnecessary conflict.
Mr. Doctor Driver (whom I was going to call “MDD” until just now he gave me permission to use his first name, Vadim), is fashionable. Mostly, in my opinion, because he often wears houndstooth polyester pants and because he regularly changes up his glasses, which include a pair of stylish clear frames.
I wrote today to confirm a couple small details for another story. He replied that he was in surgery and couldn’t talk: “Sorry…I have to extubate this patient.”
Together in our car, Vadim and I would belt out the most situationally bizarre songs as we passed rusted-out Russian armored vehicles while my fixer in the front passenger seat tried to ignore us. Songs like Sinatra’s “New York, New York” (I will spare you the video of our monstrous take), and “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes. There was some Depeche Mode and R.E.M. in there, as well as way too much heavy metal (I pushed back on that).
Side note #1: Never listen to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” unless you’re ready to cry. Hard.
Side note #2: I discovered a fantastic Ukrainian Band, DakhaBrakha. Listen to “Baby.”
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