Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Lion in Winter

It has been, my dear ones, far too long since we last visited the enigma wrapped inside a tumor that is my dear office mate Irina's inimitable mind. True, too true, the woman has driven me batty with her anti-Orange Revolution propaganda and her strident Bill O'Reilly inspired Christmas jihad , and her incessant, heaven-help-us, avalanche of neverending opinions, but really, I quite like her. You know the way you like some unstable relative who probably ought to be kept away from children, but is such a character.

Like today. Her Russian soul has been lifted over the last few days by the snow. She has regressed into a little Soviet girl flitting around Leningrad once more. At lunch today, she went out for some soup and she wandered under a building that has always reminded her of the Kremlin. "And you know, Syuzan, it was so nice with Kremlin there and the snow. And I pick some of it up, and it is—you know how there is different snows that are wet and dry—I could tell. This is professional snow. So I made the leetle balls and I threw them, like a few of them. And people kept looking funny, so I decided not to throw the balls but to make a leetle snow creature. Not a man. A creature. I was probably only democracy professional doing this today on street. " Yes indeed, Irina. I imagine you were.

On Monday, we had the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, of course, a national obsession that has long since puzzled Irina. So, naturally curious, she paused in her Monday morning commute to ask a pro-life protester why he was so obsessed with abortion. "I really want to know," she told me, "so I ask him—very nice man—isn't there other things, like disgraceful war in Iraq and like thousands people die in New York and social security going to take away the pensions like I came from Russia to escape, and so why this thing?" And as he was no doubt patiently explaining his viewpoint to this funny woman with her funny accent, dear Irina picked up on another detail. The man had two little babies with him out in the cold and snow. And Irina, well. Irina gave him hell. How dare you, what could you be thinking, take them home right away, it is so terrible for them.

This is why I love my office mate, really. Who else could get away with lecturing pro-life protesters on their criminal mistreatment of their babies?


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