Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Just a Tad

GUEST BLOGGER ALERT. Here, my Canadian pal Tadich – who now resides in Moscow - describes what he calls “a rather eventful day for me in the Managed Democracy”...

9am: convenience store near work
I am proud to say I conducted this conversation entirely in Russian!

Me: I'll have a packet of sour cream & onion chips, and, er, a red apple please.

Clerk: Green and red! Red and green! (NB: the bag of chips was green)

Me: Yes, it's like a traffic light isn't it?

Clerk: Almost, but you need some yellow!

[Clerk grabs a big bag of cheese-flavoured chips and plonks them down on the counter]

Me: (jokingly) No, I'd rather have some orange juice!

[Clerk suddenly turns all serious; grabs a litre carton of OJ from the fridge behind her, plonks it on the counter, and puts the cheese chips back]

Clerk: So, you want to buy the orange juice, then?

Me: [Sheepishly] No.

[Clerk scowls and rings up the purchase]


9pm: at the swimming pool
As I round the corner from the shower room into the changing room, a cleaner dumps a bucket of scalding water onto my naked feet.

Me: Ow!

Her: Watch where you're going!


10 pm: at the grocery store
There's a huge line-up (half the length of the store) because only two tills are staffed. But I wait through it cause I need to buy sausages.

An old guy who looks EXACTLY like Lenin c. 1917 (flat cap included) starts shouting very loudly at the store staff for a good five minutes, who completely ignore him.

Then he turns to face his fellow customers, and urges us to form a "union of fellow Russians" and to take our groceries "out onto the streets!" and not pay for them.

In his right hand, he clutches a huge amount of money, what looks like the equivalent of four or five hundred dollars.


12am: my apartment

Housemate: Are you cooking sausages?

Me: Yes. [Long pause. Realise I've never seen him eat meat.] Um... are you a vegetarian?

Housemate: [Smugly] Yes. But I eat meat once per year. I like the flavour and the texture.


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