In America, when you go to the doctor's office, for example, you take a number and have a seat in the waiting room. When your number is called, the doctor will see you. Pretty straightforward. In Russia, you walk into a riot, ask who is last, and tell that person to hold your spot and then go shopping or something. You return about an hour later and hop back into line like nothing happened. This drives Westerners nuts. Then (then!), while all this is happening, or not happening, people are attacking the gates from other directions, with all kind of plausible and not so plausible explanations.
Yet, in the midst of this chaos, it seems the Russians truly enjoy the lively debate, the human friction, the feeling of being on the edge of god knows what.
Across the Russian capital, the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of cut grass are becoming more common. Grass is sprouting up everywhere. A woman I know even replaced her lush garden at the dacha with grass seed.
Yes, the weed whacker of Western rationalization is slowly making headway against Russian impulsiveness; I just hope it does not supplant what makes Russia so unique.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Konstantin says a love of chaos is key to the Russian soul, citing a Moscow News oped by Robert Bridges. An excerpt: