The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Russian Way

Today I was catching up with my friend Heather's blog and a thought came to me while reading it. The first thought was this, "I hate all you women out there who can just go to the mall and fight the throngs of people for your Christmas shopping without a child (or four or five) hanging from your pant leg." But then I remembered that alot of you women are my friends, so I retracted that statement and realized that there actually IS a better way. :) And hold onto your hats because I NEVER thought I would say this, but I believe the Russian's DO have this one figured out.

Imagine with me now, that you are in Russia (think no anti-smoking laws ANYWHERE!) Now imagine that there are three hundred people trying to check-out (or check-in, or get in, or pay, or whatever) and the space in which to do so is about 10x12. Now, imagine that there is no such thing as personal space, I was here first, or even so much as the CONCEPT of an organized line. Have you ever been to Macy's in New York on Black Friday?
Okay, then you've got a semi-picture of what a "Russian queue" is like (I say semi picture because there's really no such thing as a line in Russia.) So, at this point you get that it's mass chaos (this applies to cars too, but that's another post.) Anyway, so why the heck would I be wishing for that at Christmastime? Because the one thing the Russian's really do have figured out in the line department is that if you have a baby, if you are old, or if you are pregnant, you get to go right up to the front. It's not that people tell you to go ahead of them... no, you don't have to wait to be invited. It's a very accepted and expected cultural norm that you just WALK RIGHT TO THE FRONT!!!! (gasp) if you have a babe in arms. Isn't that AMAZING!??? I mean, seriously, can you imagine?

Now, this brings me to all sorts of conclusions about Russian and American culture. I could make some generalizations about what this says about our country AND their's, but for right now, I am just really wishing that we had this same courtesy in our country because that, my friends, would make shopping with a toddler well worth the time and effort! :)

7 comments:

hthr said...

Hey now! Don't hate me because I have school age children!

I love the way you describe the Russian culture. If it were that way here in America, I might have tried to stay pregnant until I got old so I could always be first in line! Or not.

Truth be told, and I would never have brought this up, but ... I offered for a lady go in front of me while in line for RachRay tickets today. And she didn't get the last ones either! [If she did, that might have gotten a little weird, huh?]

I will gladly go shopping with you and hang with Meg so you can go in wherever you want sans stroller. :)

Lindsay said...

It's the same in Slovakia too. And a lot of the bigger, international chains of stores will even have a check-out set aside for pregnant ladies etc to have priority use on. There are definitely some hang-overs from socialism that, to be honest, are pretty good. Plus a lot of the time the 'old fashioned manners' - like young folk giving their seat up on the tram or bus - are still in existance. That's one that Britain lost a long time ago!

Barb said...

Yeah . . . ya gotta love the Russian (non-existent) line-ups. Even at the medical clinic - people would just open a doctor's door and go in before being invited (even if someone was already in there!).

Amy said...

I think my favorite "line" in Russia was the plane. People literally crawled OVER me to get off the plane. Until I growled "NYET" to an old lady, they were bound to use me as their stepping stone!!

Carey and Norman said...

This is so true. I kept telling my husband that the people we saw in Russia on trips 1 and 2 were so different than the people we (my mother and I) met in Russia on trip 3 bringing our daughter home. People moved out of the way, let us go first, and even helped with our luggage. And, we had an almost 4 year old. I agree that it is nice to see a culture understand the importance of age (old/young/etc) when waiting in line!!

Michelle R said...

Well, this is interesting because frankly, I did see lines. Good lines too. When out in Fryazino at the Globus (think Walmart x 10) EVERYONE had multiple kids hanging on them. It was SO different from Moscow. (my guess is that I know where all the kids being fostered are) And, no one cut in line. The lines were 20-30 deep too. In Moscow, kids were few and far between in the summer. They were all at summer homes. So, I saw what you were talking about.

Kim Abraham said...

We noticed this phenomenon too. When I had the baby in my arms, people literally pushed me to the front of lines, we were first to board airplanes and a lady even gave up her seat on the shuttle bus - something I never experienced at home with my babies. Thank goodness for online shopping!