Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What are we in line for?

Everyone always talks about how the British are so willing to stand in line without complaining—well, they are not alone. When I was in Soviet Moscow, the Russians were endlessly willing to stand in line — the thinking was, if there's a line, there must be something good to buy! In fact, you're supposed to get in line first, then ask what "they" are selling--otherwise three more people will be in front of you!
Now, the first shot is just for water, which was usually available, as long as not all the machines were broken. It just seems very orderly to me though, I think I would get my water and walk away with it. In the second shot, the line is the longest because the items are particularly hard to find: children's clothes.
Now, in this line, everyone is quietly waiting for something that was not really that hard to find, but still extremely desirable -- and that's probably the line we would have joined if we wanted to do "as in Rome": ice cream! Must have been the popular one, the one that tasted really good so it was less available, a log of creamy vanilla (always vanilla) enrobed in a soft chocolate cookie. Yum. (I don't believe we ever stood in a line this long, except perhaps once for Russian champagne, which was only available for a couple of days before holidays!)


Emm said...

Gosh - how long ago was that taken? Recently? Do they still have a shortage of children's clothes?

The longest queue I think I ever stood in was four hours to vote in 1994.

ProdigalWife said...

These were taken in the 80s, so quite a while back. I haven't been recently, so I'm not really sure what it's like now. I do remember a friend calling me about ten years ago after coming back from Moscow and saying she had to lie in the bath tub to stay warm because she had no heat in her apartment. I would think it would be more stable now, but I confess I don't have any first hand information. (After the bath tub story, Denis lost all interest in going!)

Emm said...

I'm not surprised! Being cold and being on holiday are never two things I'd like to mix!