Friday, February 8, 2008

Slow News Week

Today in Moscow

They are not the only ones marching to the Partly Line

In 1991 I naively thought that the country I was taught to hate, the Soviet Union, came to an end. I looked forward to perpetual peace and prosperity for the free world, to unbroken capitalism and and the end of communism. While technically the late, mourned USSR is no more, her spirit lives on and thrives right here, in my own city.

During a meeting today, the comrades were hunkered down, beaten into a strange submission by the copy of next year's budget, I thought I saw the ghost of Stalin poke his head through the stacks. He had a twinkle in his eye as he winked at me and slowly drew his finger across his throat. I felt a cold sweat bead up on the back of my neck as vile sounding acronyms floated down from the ceiling like so many flakes of ash, blanketing the proceedings in a silent, white fuzz. The meeting dragged on for hours. Bad news dripped down like water torture. I tried making funny asides to my comrades but they ignored me and I ended up feeling like a doomed social retard, so I stopped.

Hello, Political Officer!

I thought America was based vaguely on a decentralized model of government, with states and municipalities having control of local things, and the Federal government overseeing large, important matters, like wars and printing money. But now I am slowly discovering how much Moscow will control what I do and how I do it, and exactly how the People's Will will be enforced. I had heard the rumors for years, but now, I find myself in the thick of it.

A few of my fellow sufferers had an amazing ability to manufacture enthusiasm for the inane and questionable activities we had to do as a group. I couldn't tell if they were serious or not. I watched in horror as innocent questions were shot down with a smirk. Mistrust and paranoia were palpable, after a while, the objections ceased. People seemed to take this seriously. Its just money, just a budget, that may or may not happen as described. I wanted to get up on the tables, break the spell and lead every one in an improvised hippy dance performance. I would have been perfectly happy to sacrifice my dignity for a few moments of ridiculousness, anything but that suffocating fear.

Are you happy to see me, or is that an SUV in your pocket?

The Soviet Empire wasn't the only thing going down in 1991

Since Charon took the Silver Bullet on her last road trip to Valhalla, I have been mostly wheeless, with the occasional exception of Big Red, Dutch's new vehicle. I used to have no sympathy, envy or respect for people who drive SUVs and I still don't. And while I am grateful to Big Red for getting me to work on time and to obnoxious warehouse stores that will remain nameless, the price I pay is impossible to ignore. Clocking in at 13 miles per gallon, her massive V8 brings us right back to 1967, when size was cool and economy was for the Soviets.


John B. said...

Welcome to public education.

No doubt you either were told or have inferred that No Child Left Behind is one of the biggest of those Big Lies: a program whose chief advocates say is a returning of control to states but in reality strings up a big ol' Damocles' Sword called cutting-off-federal-funding for schools that can't improve their students' scores.

Anyway. As your colleagues also probably have told/will tell you, sometimes all you can do is hunker down and teach. Good luck.

Camille said...

Thanks. I guess it could be worse.

H said...

You can always remember how much they loved you at Theurkauf.

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