Thursday, December 21, 2006

Punks and Little Bastards

Outside the house right now there are periodic pops and cracks, that sound like gunshots -- m80s or cherry bombs of some kind that a little gang of punks has been blowing off pretty much since we got here. Sometimes they blow up cans, sometimes they throw them into the air. They are loud in our little narrow street. In fact, one just blew off and set off a car alarm, which is currently getting all hysterical.

Little kids, and even men here can be remarkably bold punks. I'm kind of amazed. Walking by a crowd of the little bastards is always a tossup -- are they going to say "hello" in English? or taunt you in Georgian?

This afternoon I was at the grocery store, and a couple kids, maybe fourteen or fifteen tried to cut in line ahead of me. Lines in Georgia are nebulous things, as most people tend to just crowd around the escalator or booth or doorway. Still, this was one of the rare instances where there was a legitimate line. Not only did they cut in, but then they started mocking me... since I'm obviously a foreigner. ARGH. so I yelled at them in my limited Georgian, which caused more mocking. "Hey, boy! I'm standing here?" "What, I didn't hear you?" "I said, I'm standing here!" "Georgian, georgian georgian, laughing, laughing, Georgian." I stood my ground and stared them down... and they eventually went over to another line, which was shorter, and paid for their stuff and left. At which point the people on either side of me to start bemoaning "where are their families" and "it's the school's faults" and such -- at least as much as I could catch. When I left the store, they were hanging around outside. Before they could say much of anything, I took off.

And when I came home and told K. about it, we went out onto our porch to drink some tea and relax and enjoy the weirdly good weather -- and watched a man with a gas can and some hose wander down the street casually checking cars for unlocked gas tanks.

But what bothered me most is that he was doing it while smoking a cigarette.

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