Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The August Break Day 27: Lines

Kristen says...

In general, the Russian people I have come across don't do well with lines. 

At the grocery store, it is a frequent experience to have someone slip in line in front of you just when it is your turn at the checkout counter. 

On the road, if one person slows or is stopped, instead of making a line behind the front car, drivers will simply go around (on either side, depending in the road conditions and the presence of solid or dashed lines. With all the rules if the road that aren't strictly enforced, the "don't cross the solid line" one will get you every time!)

At school, the students don't travel from class to class in an orderly line, they tend to clump together, blocking the whole of the stairway so you can't get around them or run in packs of twos and threes. 

[Yet, at the airport, they will happily line up at the boarding gate a full half hour before it even opens (and then swarm the counter once the flight is called).]

I find it quite annoying, to be honest, probably mostly because I come from a line-centric culture where it is considered polite to stand quietly and wait your turn. 

Some of the Americans at the Consulate and I had a discussion once about whether it's better to have lines and order (and a lot of passive people) or to be a culture that eschews lines in favor of striving for what one wants at all costs...

That is the beauty of living abroad; experiencing different ideas of what is right or good or normal and being able to come to terms with how you really think, not just what fits your upbringing or cultural norms. 


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