Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words to Remember

место сохранены для пожилых пассажиров и инвалидов

We went over a whole bunch of different phrases during the fall of my 4th year Russian class.  This was one of them.  Honestly, I was not a great student of the Russian language.  I did my homework because I was compliant but didn't work hard to apply my knowledge all too often. 

In the spring of my Junior year I was more than ready to say goodbye to another year of foreign language.  Mr. Miller talked me out of it.  He was sure I could get through the 4th year, plus he'd be taking another group of students to Moscow and Leningrad in the fall and he thought I should be part of that.  So, with Back in the USSR playing in my head I signed up for year 4 and an 8-day trip to Leonid Brezhnev's Soviet Union.

Like any good teacher, Mr. Miller wanted to make sure we were prepared for the trip.  We read Hedrick Smith's The Russians so we'd have a better understanding of the Russian people we'd meet.  We spent time going over basic signage (like the one noted above) and stocked up on jeans to trade on the black market. 

Okay, so I actually did read the book and found it pretty interesting. Jeans?  Yup, I had that covered as well.  If only I'd given the same kind of attention to all those sign phrases Mr. Miller said we'd need to know.

If I had I would have escaped the blow of a small carpetbag to my head. 

I was sitting on the subway,  minding my own business when the short babushka came out of nowhere.  Her mouth was moving, her finger was wagging and I was completely in the dark as to what she was trying to say. 

Fortunately, I didn't need more than one hit to the head to get the message so I immediately got up and watched her take my seat.  Ed gave me a gentle poke and pointed out the sign.  I looked at it knowing it was familiar. 

And then I remembered...

"Seat saved for elderly and disabled passengers"


  1. Hahaha, hysterical! The way you wrote this slice had me curious the whole way... and completely delighted by the surprise at the end!