Something to cheer us all up on this snowbound evening. :)
Donne should have written: "No man is an island, especially in Russia." Perhaps he would have, if he'd lived here.
Networks mean survival here and the strongest network is family. I'm just astounded that I have to actually argue with western blogfriends that the family is the best available unit when such a question is not even a question in Russia.
Tragedy can hit suddenly - completely life-altering tragedy - this is so the world over - but in the west, despite even the NHS debacle, there is an infrastructure which kicks in, a safety net. Here there is none. The derelict, the streetkid, he's not picked up by a hospice outreach programme, there is no lifeline to call.
He simply dies.
Or she goes into prostitution. The real westerner simply cannot get his mind round this. But surely, in these days of improved medicine, mobile phones and so on? No. We are, all of us, living on the edge each day and that is why, when I don't hear from my friend for two days or he from me, fear kicks in. Not anger, not resentment - it's far worse - fear. Especially in winter.
An aspect of this is that the melodramatic and unnecessary drama then becomes the living reality - and it does do this, it really does.
The Russians are blunt because they must be to survive and any westerner living here must also be so, otherwise he goes down. There is no planning and speculation is a pointless exercise because tomorrow might be your last. It's in every aspect of life. More spuriously, if you see a pair of shoes you like and you wait till tomorrow to decide, they won't be there.
Faith takes on a meaning all its own, the longer you live here close to the streets and markets.
The exhortation of Christ that he will come like a thief in the night, at a time no one expects, is immediately applicable to this country. Make sure you've taken care of all the details before you go out each day. At this moment, the trouble is with my friend and his family. Tomorrow it might be me. There are always two or three issues with everyone - I have mine - but they usually stay relatively benign, dormant.
Then a conjunction of circumstances suddenly renders two of the three malignant and that's your life blighted. It's in this context that I approach cyber-issues as less than life and death, given that I'm due for a fall of my own in 2010. Like wars, it's already been arranged and you just take it as it comes.
So the only thing is to utilize the remaining time, to get your novels, your small legacy, up and running, take care of property matters and then, like any batsman in cricket, just keep stroke making until they finally get you.
After all, everyone has to go sometime.
I like this one too but it requires patience. That's about the amount of snow we have but not the enemy shooting at us. At this point. :)