Quotable: Divine wisdom, and calls from higher-up

Posted: November 23, 2009 in Quotable
Tags: , , ,

This country seems to have a perhaps larger-than-average volume of it’s defining idioms, riddles, etc. (note: I base my “average” off of my knowledge of English, French, and Russian).

Accordingly, I’ve concluded that this volume comes from the country’s general quotability.

Accordingly, I’ve decided to share a few instances of the basis of my reasoning in this and future installments of what I’ll call “Quotable.” How have I only now been inspired?

“Quotability?” you ask. I reference the Oxford American Dictionary:

adjective. (of a person or remark) suitable for or worth quoting.

So there you have it. I believe Russia to be worth (perhaps not “suitable,” per se. . .) quoting. And it begins.

Literature class. Olga Vladimirovna supposes:
“If I don’t understand something about a Russian, then I am afraid of him.”
We nod our heads in grave agreement, seated before such prudence.

Opening the door for my host mom. With a huge smile that reaches out and pinches my cheek from across the threshold itself, in a breath, Tatyana Eduardovna exclaims,
“Oh! If it weren’t for my boss’ calling me to wake me up this morning, I would have slept all day!”
I equally gleefully respond in agreement, “Hm!” In my head I continue: “If it weren’t for. . . !”.

Grammar class. Shaking her head in solemn disappointment, Irina Meletievna informs,
“God made a mistake.”
Fearing further retribution, from either Him or her, we hold our breath for what could come next.
“He made us so that we had to spend such time worrying about what we eat.”
Fearing that this will most likely go without an exegesis, we are proven wrong.
“Just think: growing the food, harvesting the food, preparing it. . . and then serving it! And then finding time to eat it! For what?”
Answerless, our previous conceptions of the world are again proven incomplete.

Grammar class, three seconds later. Supposing that I have perhaps understood Irina Meletievna’s line of reasoning, I offer,
“Well, then why should we have to sleep?”
Irina Meletievna stares thoughtfully into my eyes for a silent two seconds. She glances down, perhaps referencing her notes. Then picks up her pen.
Without words, she raises her eyebrows and shrugs with a half-whimsical, mostly sarcastic roll of the eyes.
Divine wisdom: pah!

  1. Casey says:

    As cut and pasted by another Irkutsk alumna, Susanna Merrill ’07 from her blog, http://looncompound.blogspot.com/2007/11/disapproval.html, onto my Facebook profile in response to this post:

    Irina Milyetavna: Susanna, when was the Statue of Liberty erected?

    Me: Um, I don’t know, in some period in which the French were particularly happy with us.

    I.M.: Hah! An American, and doesn’t know when the Statue of Liberty was built! When approximately?

    I give some wildly inaccurate date and am further mocked. Eventually other students come up with the right date.

    I.M. And what does the Statue of Liberty commemorate? Monuments and statues are always for some reason.

    Students: It is for freedom.

    Further discussion reveals that France gave America the statue upon the signing of some international agreement. Irina Milyetavna is satisfied that we did not erect the statue just for the silly idea of freedom, but as a pawn in the game of international politics.

    I.M.: So, did you know that in China there is a statue bigger that your Statue of Liberty? [look of triumph]

    Me: The Statue of Liberty is not important because it is big. It is important because it symbolizes freedom.

    Natasha: I would rather have more freedom than a bigger statue.

    Someone else: Is the Chinese statue the same thing except bigger?

    I.M.: Well, no, of course not, it’s a statue of Buddha. It’s bigger than your statue.

    Eddie: Well, I guess they won. We’ll all have to become Buddhists.

    Me: Is it bigger than Cristo Rey in Brazil?

    I.M.: No, the statue in Brazil is bigger. The one in Brazil is the tallest, and the Buddhist one is in second place. The Chinese built a statue that is bigger than yours.

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