STUMBLING OVER PUSHKIN by Tatiana Mey

 I have translated this blog recommended by my friend. The Russian original is at the address: http://www.snob.ru/profile/27336/blog/82124

This morning my daughter, a well-known rolling stone, returned from Poland. To my question about her travelling experience she told me, quite emotionally, about “gorgons”, by which she referred to her travel companions in the train compartment. As regards the “gorgons”, the characteristics was Tanya ‘s own opinion, but I usually trust her estimate of other people.

All the way in the carriage the companions were grooving first on “caddish” Poles.Then they switched over to “sticky-fingered” Ukrainians. When the train was approaching the Byelorussian border, they remembered “shameless” Byelorussians. My daughter (a wise thing!) was keeping unperturbed silence. With all the nationalities picked to the smallest pieces, the patriots started asking each other ruefully: “Why doesn’t anybody love us, the Russians?”

Finally, they took a notice of their compatriot who was staying away from their convivial discussion. They decided to amend the situation and chose what they thought to be a sure-fire theme.

“Hey, sister, what do you think of Barack Obama?”

In cases like that I usually disregard the talk, bury myself in a book and accept what is going on as an inevitable evil, or I puff up in a way a blowfish does. As for my daughter, she only gave a beaming smile and said, “Why Obama? We are Russians, aren’t we? Let’s talk about Pushkin…”

Silence prevailed in the compartment.

Translator’s Note: Pushkin’s great-grandfather, a Black African, was kidnapped and brought to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great.

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