10 December 2007

Back in the USSR


For the past few weeks I have been working construction with Russians. They are very nice people but so far all the stereotypes in my head have turned out to be true. For example, they eat stroganov every day for lunch. They play Tetris-like music on a boombox while we work. They always blast the heat like we're in Siberia or something. They yell and are angry a lot. At break time they drink "coffee" from a thermos but I know it's really vodka dyed brown. You don't fool me, you Russians. I find they understand me when I speak English like Borat. "That's-a nice!" and "Wow wow wee wow!" are the best way to communicate with them. One guy, Petr, does speak some English, actually. He gets by with three phrases: "Not bad," "I hope so," and "Okidoke." I guess if you were to learn only three phrases in another language, you could do a lot worse. I'm actually becoming fluent in Russian due to my daily immersion among these fine natives. The word for today is "Hobbiet," which means lunch. This one's easy to remember because those cute little Hobbits in Lord of the Rings liked to eat so much. Still no word on what "Jagshemash" means.

But the Russians also have a softer side. The other day Konstantin found out I went to law school but I'm working this job. He said he would pray for me "to find job." Then he said he would have his Russian pastor and congregation pray "to help my friend find job." What a guy. Another guy, Sergei, found out I am a "lawyer" and kept telling me while I was cutting some drywall that, "this job no good for you." Apparently I can't cut drywall. Then he called his (Russian?) lawyer to see if he had an opening for me. Thanks Sergei. The other day one of the Russians bought everyone pizza for lunch (I think there was vodka in it) and we all prayed in a circle before eating.

But, unfortunately, today is my last day because I got a "real" job at this company Bill Gates founded (I guess Konstantin's prayers worked). So here's a poem I wrote in tribute to the Russians: (set to the tunes of James Blunt's "Goodbye My Lover" and "You're Beautiful")

Goodbye my Russians.
Goodbye my friends.
You have been the comrades.
You have been the comrades for me.

You're Moldovan. You're Ukrainian.
From Mother Russia, it's true.
I saw your face in a construction place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause now I'll never work with you.


L-R: Petr, Konstantin, Veniamin, Sergei, Anatoli

3 comments:

catherine yeates said...

congratulations on your new job!
we have several russian neighbors and "vladimir" was drunk one day and told us that if he saw people driving fast on our street that he would "take him out of car and broke-face, because that is how we do it in russia". so, wow wow wee wow, and congrats again.
(where is your orange shirt?)

michal & david coombs said...

i'm so glad you're a real grown-up now!!--congrats!! do you think you'll be able to take naps under your desk at work?

Abbie said...

I know this may make me sound dumb, but you're going to work for Microsoft right? I thought (when I clicked on the link) that perhaps you might specifically be working on their music things. WHat are you going to be doing for them?