Had I known that, I probably would not have experienced this afternoon's cerebral implosion. As it happens, I walked up to the kiosk and asked my question, anticipating a no, hoping for a yes. And that is what I got.
It is the System. It is what we blame when things go horribly wrong and when it is not the fault of any one individual. It is a force to be reckoned with in Serbia, but it is equally powerful in all corners of the world.
When anyone deals with public administration and its inherent bureaucratic labyrinths, we blame the System. When anyone is admitted into a public hospital and is treated like a piece of meat on a slab, we blame the System. The System is most often used to explain away the arcane and the unacceptable and most usually pertains to the large behemoths created by big government and big business.
[Moment of silent contemplation]
A scientist, chosen by the same gang that strong-armed Galileo into backsies, that poo-pooed Copernicus, and that burned Giordano Bruno for heresy in the middle of Campo dei Fiori. As a class, these are people who do not get along very well with scientists. But now...
When a driver struggles and attempts to parallel park five times on a busy Belgrade street, he may also wave to the accumulated traffic. As if to say, "Thanks for being patient and not killing me."
The world's legion paranoid masses announced the end of the world for May 21. I am not sure anymore why the world had to come to an end seven months ago, but it seems this month we will get another shot at putting our cosmic lives in order and getting ready for the New End of the World on December 21.
With the spate of price increases here and there of excises and specific taxes which was landed on our collective heads in Serbia this week - cigarettes, bus tickets, fuel, heating costs, and VAT which affects almost everything else - the government is showing us that they are fresh out of fresh ideas.
I would forget to say please (slap). I would omit to say thank you (slap again).I would sometimes burst into a room whose door was closed without knocking (slap-slap). And thus I was taught what everyone in America of the late sixties and seventies, my formative years one might say, called "good manners" and "being polite."
There are two reasons for this. The first is that, having done what I do over a considerable time, I have become adept at it. But another reason is that it is more acceptable from a societal point of view to establish continuity and therefore predictability in my persona.