More on the "I-seem-foreign-but-not-American" front: went in to look at guitars over by MKhAT-Gorky (the acronym, I've realized, is likely incomprehensible to most humans. Moskovsky khudozhestvenny teatr imeni Gorkogo - Moscow Art Theater named for Gorky -- to differentiate from the parent MKhAT, which is named after Chekhov). The store owner was this hysterical older man who was likely just excited to have someone in his store (I was the only customer, and seemed to have been for some hours.) He started by showing the selection to me, and then describing all of the different timbres and tones, and then trying to play guitar; at my slightly bemused face, he goes, "I don't actually play guitar. BUT I do play viola, and I've toured..." [and herein begins a listing of every major European country and many many musicians' names name-dropped.]
Then he paused. A vy otkuda? [We'll remember from Cookie Monster's Friend, that means: "And where are you from?"]
I know some people who lie, who say they're from Canada or England or whatnot. I don't. Iz Ameriki.
Ekh! His hands splayed out in front of his face in a cross as he backed away jokingly: I ne skazhi mne, shto zavtra pridut nashi sotrudniki FSB menia sprosit', pochemi ia shpionu dal stol'ko sekretov! [Don't tell me that tomorrow the FSB agents are going to come and interrogate me about the secrets I told the spy!]
...o...gitarakh? I riposted. [...About...guitars?]
He was awesome. The reaction especially was very comic, but in a cool, I-don't-think-he-was-anticipating-doing-it kind of way. In the end, instead of taking a couple of minutes to check instrument prices, I spoke to this guy for 45 minutes. Cross-cultural connections!
6 months ago