Monday, March 07, 2005

Hanging With The Russians

Well, I spent my weekend helping out my lawyer buddy setting up for his Russian delegation. See, there's something interesting about this gent(We'll call him G). He has that kind of personality that commands loyalty. He's a natural leader. But from time to time, he can get patronizing. ESPECIALLY with front-line employees if things aren't going exactly his way. If I had to deal with him in that capacity on the plane, I'd probably spit in his drink. But he's worldly and connected...yet will associate with a slackeroid like myself. He's a good influence, I guess. Gives me purpose when I would be otherwise sitting at home in my pajamas, buried in a stack of comic books. Makes me wonder about my own personality. There's one half of me that likes being the cynical, post-modern teenager...and then there's that other half that wants to quiet down, be respectable, and have the approval of same. It's an uneasy overlap. Perpetual adolescence, almost. Anyway, when I finally got to see the Russians coming in, that's when the education really got underway. The most memorable speaker was a civics professor from UNH who painted a VERY unvarnished picture of America for his guests. He ruffled a feather or two amongst his colleagues but I was eating up every word. So nice to hear The Truth without sugarcoating. It just underscored that we're a nation in decline. During a stretch break, I overheard one of the Russians talking to G. and one of his colleagues. He misses Soviet Russia. At least the wealth was more evenly distributed, he opined. He also referred to the translators as "peasants". Nothing like unvarnished Russian bluntness. Now HE would have been fun to drink with. I didn't have the stones to talk with any of them personally... When the group broke up to do some touring, I hung out with George in the suite. Some of his colleagues with The Peace Coalition came on and talked shop. You had a pentagon dude there, a University professor...there were budget proposals, advance planning for the next group(The Latvians), and the usual networking. It was what I like to call "think-tank culture". I just sat there with my mouth shut, ears open, and sipped my beer. Like I said, very educational. Off to work today. Wish I felt better about it... Later...

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