Friday, March 07, 2008

You Did WHAT in the Army?

So, what did you do in the army, if it’s not a secret.

I was chatting with my taxi driver and, as per usual, looking for some language practice. Most Russian men have served in the military and that makes for good conversation.

I danced, he answered, glancing in the rearview mirror.

You danced? You danced? Why?

Because I was good at it.

No, I mean, why did you dance as a job in the army?

Because I was good at it. I was in the dance ensemble and we performed for the troops.

Eventually I came to understand that Mr. Driver served in the army not as a pilot, a gunner, a mechanic, a photographer, certainly not as a chaplain – but a dancer. And his dancing was during a time of conflict, during Russia’s war in Afghanistan.

We danced to bring joy to the troops, make them laugh. War is a terrible thing and they needed happiness.

You know, now that I think about it, I believe one of our presidents served in the army as an actor.

That’s right. He played the saxophone.

Well, no, that was someone else. I’m talking President Reagan. He was an actor in the army.

The idea of serving ones country as a dancer was new to me. Of course entertainers such as Bob Hope have always made special tours to encourage the troops. But dancers in the army? This was a paradigm shift.

As the taxi neared my destination, I thought about you, dear blog readers. And thought you might like to meet this nice man. Happened to have my trusty camera along and he happily posed for a photo.

So there he is – Army Dancer, Retired. Oopsie, I didn’t manage to get his name. But chances are that his name would be Sasha (short for Alexander) or Seryozha (short for Sergey) or Vova (short for Volodya) or Zhenya (short for Euvgenie) or Vlad (for Vladimir). Because that’s what maybe 85% of the Russian men are named.

Now it’s your turn: Had an interesting conversation with a driver? How about a surprising job in the military?


Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Hi, Eileen!

Happy the 8th of March!

We wish you Love, Happiness and Health!

Svet and Kyle
PS As for Russian names:
1)Vova and Volodya are both short versions of Vladimir.

2)Vlad could be short version of Vladimir or Vladislav or even Vladelen ;)

Charity said...

Well, I've haven't had any unusual military jobs, and I've never even set foot in a taxi, but Danny and I had an interesting conversation the other day while he was driving our minivan - does that count? :D And I had some very bizarre dialogues with my driving instructor, while in high school. He actually offered to hypnotize me to help me pass my driver's test (obviously, he wasn't too confident in my driving abilities!).

Eileen said...

Hey Kyle and Svet, THANK YOU for stopping by. And for your notes about Vladimir and all. Let me ask, what IS your secret to productivity? You update that great blog of yours about five times daily plus comment on everybody elses. How do you manage to do that plus everything else? I know, you must have household help! ;)

Hey there Charity ~ Hypnotize for your driver's test? Toooo funny! Say, I'm looking around here for Russian teas, as you mentioned missing them. I'm seeing Lipton, various imports but what brands of Russian tea? (surely you made a note of that somewhere. or...maybe we could hypnotize you to get that info pulled up.) ha Or shall I send photos to remind? There's this Princess Noir tea that seems pretty popular with local folks.... does that sound familiar? ;)