Wednesday, November 5, 2008

не моя проблема


when we both
had to squeeze through
that narrow space
on the street
and i heard him mutter
здравствуйте
(hello)
i found myself looking back at him
thinking
what the heck was that?

years ago when i was
a missionary
in this foreign land
we used to say hello to strangers
on the street
and they did the same thing.
look at us like we were crazy.
and we thought they were crazy,
for thinking we were crazy.

and then a few short hours later
at the grocery store
that i hate
i was in the checkout lane
with a bunch of stuff
and some apples
on which the barcode wasn't scanning.
and as usual
they try to get me
to leave the apples
to avoid any unnecessary effort.
this time i wasn't budging,
i didn't care that there
were 3 people behind me in line.
and i heard myself saying
разбирайтесь,
это не моя проблема.
(figure it out,
it's not my problem).


это не моя проблема?
(not my problem?)
such a russian thing to say.

and as she closed up her register
to go over to the produce
and figure out the price
i sat and pondered
with all those people
waiting behind me in line,
how i'm becoming
one of them.

7 comments:

Brittney said...

Strangely enough, that story made me suddenly so homesick for Russia.

Velda said...

becoming one of them eh? how do you feel about that?

I must say, I was listening to Obama's acceptance speech in another window when your "Chunga's Revenge" music started playing, and I thought to myself, "They added a soundtrack?"

happyfamily said...

I was just thinking about this about you the other day- wondering if I hung out with you if you'd seem Russia to me.
I guess the answer is yes?
PS. The apple thing cracked me up- just don't get the apples because you're holding up the line! Must be a Russian thing...

Amy said...

One of my aunt's friends just got called on a mission to Russia with her husband, and my aunt was telling me some of the things they were told about their behavior...like don't smile in public and don't wear bright colors. Sounds so "weird" to me, but it sounds like your reality!! :)

OnGod'sErrand said...

There are many wonderful things to learn from every culture...just pick and choose wisely. <3

Susan said...

"not my problem" is my new favorite phrase! In a way it's saying I'll handle my responsibilities and I expect you to handle yours. A little bit of this attitude is so freeing. It doesn't mean you're calloused or that you don't care. It means you deserve to get your apples!

fauxcalpoint said...

One of them? Oh man... watch out my dear...Makes me think back to all of the things that aggrivated us as ILP students and missionaries.