When I started my current job, I was warned about an odd Ukrainian woman who works there. She isn’t likable. She says nasty things about everyone. She’s got a face that shows a long history of frowning and aggression. But I don’t have to be bothered by it, because around her, things get weird enough to become fun. Every blogger should have his own Yogurt Lady.
I tried to get to know her, thinking that her terrible manners might be only a language barrier issue. I was wrong. She’s just a rude, difficult person. But because I tried, she now assumes I want to hear her views on everything from religion to politics to my coworkers.
Nothing stops her, including the words “I don’t want to talk about that.” One day she decided to give me a lengthy dissertation on potato salad. It’s no good here, you see. It’s better the way she makes it, in the Ukrainian style. (Most everything there is better.) So I tried to tell her that I don’t eat potato salad, hoping to cut her lecture short. What I actually said, verbatim, was: “I don’t eat potato salad, oh you’ve already stopped listening.” She didn’t hear it, because it was true.
I call her the Yogurt Lady because she once caused me to tell someone, “Excuse me, I’ll be right back, there’s a crazy lady running around accusing people of stealing her yogurt.” That really happened. She went so far as to attempt to deputize other Yogurt Detectives in her quest for justice.
The Yogurt Lady is not attractive; she resembles several loaves of uncooked dough sticking out of a beachball, with a mannish haircut and a scrunched-together face that apparently stuck that way during one of her scowling marathons. But she thinks she’s pretty hot stuff, and I genuinely love that about her. One of her lectures was about how beautiful Ukrainian people are. So much more beautiful than Americans. “Over there, I only average,” she says. I smile pleasantly and think, “I better not tell this story. No one will believe me.”
She has also told me, with absolute sincerity, “My English perfect.”
So you’ll be hearing more about the Yogurt Lady. Because she gives me new material almost every week. And blogging this stuff will keep me sane.