Monday, 26 September 2011

You are not charming

Things you will realise about yourself, after receiving service in a Russian cafe, or restaurant, or shop:
  1. You are not charming
  2. You are not interesting
  3. You are definitely not funny
  4. At all
  5. Your attempts to speak the Russian language are in no way cute
  6. Or endearing
  7. Your desire to exchange money for goods and services does not in any way mean that you deserve respect
  8. Or politeness
  9. Or really anyone's attention
  10. At all
  11. You should be grateful to be tolerated.
  12. You know, in the way that people tolerate haemorrhoids
  13. Or genital lice
  14. At least until they can get hold of a decent ointment
You may not notice how much your self-esteem is buoyed by the dozens of tiny interactions you have each day, with shop assistants, baristas, waiters, receptionists (etc.) - the smiles (however forced), the polite inquiries about your needs (however insincere), the general sense that your custom, and indeed your wellbeing, might matter to somebody, somewhere...

... until you have it taken away from you, all at once. I'd hate to over-do it - it's not that you never get polite, good-natured service in a Russian service situation.

It's just... nearly like that.

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