Friday, July 31, 2009

Lunch lady

There's a small deli where I get my lunch every day and the woman who runs it is Russian. Sometimes we have conversations in Russian in front of the other customers, which makes me mildly uncomfortable because I don't want them to think that I'm talking about them.

Recently, I became concerned that she is dying of cancer and I was thinking of the best way to let her know that I'm thinking of her without spelling everything out. I thought that she had a terminal diagnosis because every time I'd ask about her well being with a friendly "kak dela?" she'd say "don't ask" and look very morose.

So this week, after my "kak dela" and her "don't ask" I followed up with a "who knows what will happen" and she unburdened herself and told me that she doesn't like the bra that she bought for her daughter's wedding because it's doing nothing for her dress. So, it's a wedding and not cancer. Which is wonderful news.

This is why people dance at weddings.



Blogger ShallowGal said...

Obviously you've never attended a wedding in an ill-fitting bra.

It's pretty fucking tragic.

xoxo, SG

July 31, 2009 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Maura said...

Now, see, I'd be all over talking about the other people without them being able to understand it. I mean, that guy in the corner with the pastrami hanging off his mustache? Please.

I'm glad it's a foundation garment issue and not cancer. Because if she died wearing an ill-fitting bra, heaven knows WHERE all that blood would go...

July 31, 2009 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I love it when I find someone I can speak French with. Every now again I'll look at a stranger and let them think I'm talking about them.

They threw me out of NYC for being evil.

July 31, 2009 at 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Maureen at IslandRoar said...

"Kak dela;" sounds cool. Would love to hear it spoken.
You need to coach her in the ways of bras, obviously.
You're so thoughtful!

July 31, 2009 at 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Audrey at Barking Mad said...

I used to think I spoke English until I married my British hubby.

I now realize I speak American.

And a poorly fitted bra is a crime...seriously.

July 31, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

Oh Marinka, I laughed out loud at this.

Mostly because i MYSELF have a bra that is NOT WORKING properly. And it is NOT the nursing bra.

July 31, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Nap Warden said...

Well, since I have NO chest, I can not comment on the ill fitting bra issue:(

July 31, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Mwa said...

"kak dela" - dela is a funeral firm here, and kak is obviously poop. To me, is sounds like you asked her who pooped on her funeral or something.

Glad she was only having a fashion illness.♠

July 31, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger MsPicketToYou said...

that reminds me: find bra.

July 31, 2009 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...

Nice ending. A bra...

July 31, 2009 at 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

Hey Shallow Gal: It's not as tragic as attending a Southern Baptist wedding. No dancing and no drinking - you can't even get drunk enough to not feel your ill-fitting bra!

July 31, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Kabbalah Rookie said...

I bought 3 very cheap bras today with the thought that if they didn't fit properly, I hadn't wasted much money. I was lucky. Oh the blessing of having small boobs.

Now I just have to remember to take the air-bags out of the bras before washing...

July 31, 2009 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

I always wish I could speak another language (I know, I know - learn one already! I know!) so I COULD talk about people without them knowing it.
And, ill-fitting bras are about just about the worst. At a wedding? That is why people drink!

July 31, 2009 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger A Mom on Spin said...

I - too - shall be in the "don't ask" camp when my daughters wed.

Mostly because of the "Who's paying?" aspect. . .

July 31, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger A Mom on Spin said...

And how do you say "Who's paying" in Russian????

July 31, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

I love that the appropriate response to help her open up to you is a completely cryptic line that sounds like it came out of a nineteenth-century novel. "Who knows what will happen..." It's like the opening of a tragedy.

July 31, 2009 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

You crazy Russians. It's like you're from another country or something.

July 31, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

If I ever talk about you, I will totally do it in English and not Russian.

July 31, 2009 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

But this doesn't explain the whole hava nagila concept. Being held up on the chair by a group of drunk guys makes me all a-scared.

July 31, 2009 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Faithful said...

Obviously, this woman has never been to one of my family weddings...after a few drinks we don't only toss off our ill-fitting shoes..we toss off any ill-fitting bras and under-garmets!

August 1, 2009 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Momo Fali said...

What's a bra?

August 1, 2009 at 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I can envision this conversation.

Marinka: How are things?
Shopkeeper: Don't ask.
Marinka: Who knows what will happen?
Shopkeeper: My daughter WAS getting married. She's not any more after she read your blog post about Russian food. Now my Nastenka will be single FOREVER. Ti sglazila eyo (You gave her the evil eye, therefore cursing her life forever.)
Marinka: Oh. Does this mean I can't get the pastrami on rye here anymore?

August 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger blognut said...

I had to stop and think for a while about which woule seem worse for me to have to endure; having cancer or being stuck with an ill-fitting bra.

Really, the choice isn't so clear.

August 1, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

I do think there is some kind of illness that overcomes us, though, when we're at weddings and discover we've hit the floor to do the Chicken Dance.

Of course, that mysterious illness could just as easily be diagnosed as drunkeness in some cases.

August 1, 2009 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Charmaine said...

I actually know how to pronounce kak-dela.

After you ask me how I am, I can tell you, in Russian.

Uh, ya, it's cuz my sister majored in Eastern Europeon Studies. Poch-a-moo? I have no idea.

August 1, 2009 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Reiven said...

I love that you went straight to cancer. True Marinka style. ♥

August 2, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

And, why people cry at weddings....

August 2, 2009 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

my mother doesn't work in a deli

August 2, 2009 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Kari said...

I'm sure she was relieved to get that off her chest.

August 6, 2009 at 5:46 PM  

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