Since I have no real news to report, and the weather conditions are appropriately wintery, I will use the rest of this post to make fun of Russians. Or more specifically, of one particular Russian superstition that never fails to amuse me. See, Russians believe that under no circumstances should the female of the species be allowed to sit anyplace cold. This particularly applies to sprawling on the ground, a hard-wood floor, or, horror of horrors, a park bench in winter. You might be asking yourself...why? And why should only women and girls have to stand if there isn't a padded chair available?
The answer has to do with our precious reproductive organs. You see, according to a shared hallucination of all the peoples of the former Soviet Union, placing the baby-making equipment anywhere near a cold surface somehow result in irreparable damage. Even well-educated Russians believe this to be true. Take, for example, the case of my mother, a biologist and normally all-around sensible human being. Shortly after we fled the hell hole that was the Soviet Russia and settled in Boston, my mother enrolled my sister and I in ballet classes. On the first day of the class, she watched in horror as the teacher gathered all the little girls together, sat us on the floor, and proceeded to blithely explain various stretching techniques, as if she wasn't thus dooming our future unborn children.
About ten years after this first observation of grossly negligent American behavior, and numerous subsequent experiences watching American posteriors interact with various chilly surfaces, I had a conversation with my mother about irrational Russian fears. I had assumed that my mom had come around to a reasonable view of things, and was thus surprised to hear her explain that the Russian opinion wasn't wrong, per se. It was just that it never got cold enough in America to truly endanger our unborn offspring.
It's been another ten years since that memorable conversation, so I think it might be time to question her again. Next time I remember, I'll ask and report back.