Tuesday, October 7, 2008

everything i know about the balkans, i learned at a dive bar

i am typically a shy person and will not talk to strangers, especially attractive young women. i mostly keep to myself. i can recall very few situations in which i have managed to successfully engage conversation with strangers without pretext.
one situation happened last winter. i was on the bus, returning to capitol hill from ballard. two girls got on the bus in fremont and sat in the seats across from me. one of them was quite the vivacious little number with short dark hair and small features and the other was a tall bookish type with long hair and a rather vertical face. both of them were quite attractive.
when they started to speak, my interist could only grow. such a white person i am, a sucker for girls with cute accents.
"where are you ladies from?" i asked them, using my phoney mochismo voice.
croatia and macedonia. exotic, isn't it?
the punky girl (was she wearing glittery tights?) was not very comfortable speaking english and she let the bookish macedonian girl do all the talking.
"i regret to confess that the only thing i know about croatia is from when bill clinton sent troops into your country. do you remember that?"
of course they remembered that.
"i am very impressed that you know about that," the macedonian girl said to me. "most people don't know."
i suspect that she was just being nice. none the less, i felt that i had accomplished something spectacular on the bus with the two women and built up the courage to get their phone numbers.
we talked then about things to do in seattle and they both complained that people in seattle do not know how to party. people go to bed too early here, they told me.
i suspect that dance parties in the balkans go all night.
if i was wise, i would have gone home and compiled a comprehensive history of both croatia and macedonia and of course their relationship to the united states. i did not do that. i don't know very much at all about the balkans.

here are some recent articles published in the new york times regarding bosnia:
feb 2007: a group of people from serbia have been convicted of genocide. it is important to note that the country of serbia itself is not responsible for the genocide. this distinction is subtle and debatable. some people feel that serbia should have a better handle on its people. i think this killing happened in bosnia?
marh 2008: hillary clinton went to bosnia. the first lady said people were shooting at her when she got off the plant. hollywood comedian sinbad said nobody was shooting at anybody. its good to know that bill isn't the only one who lies in that relationship. i wonder if sinbad would have taken a bullet for the first lady?
august 2008: remember the genocide? let me tell you something about the military genius behind it. he's had a rough life. at a young age, his father was murdered. he was raised by his poor mother. when he finally had a family of his own, his daughter took his favorite pistol to kill herself. things are pretty crazy out there in bosnia.

here are some stories about serbia:
may 2007: remember the genocide? serbia is sorry. now, they want to lead the anti-genocide counsil of europe. lots of people don't understand how this is possible.
feb 2008: kosovo declared indipednance from serbia! the albanians are sick and tired of the genocide (see contradiction above). the western world is happy for the albanians and for that, the serbians are resentful. naturaly, the land of kosovo holds some religious significance to the serbians. america is caught in the middle, somewhere. we want to be friends with everybody!
sept 2008: remember the military genious behind the genocides? the serbians caught him and he will be punished. somehow, this completes the twelth step of the genocide anonymous program and serbia is ready to join the european union and possibly lead in anti-genocide counsils. the netherlands are not convinced.

this is some news about montenegro:
dec 2006: the russians are coming! this seems to be a motif of balkan history. did you see when this article was posted?
1981: its not just a movie!

there seems to be a theme here. the new york times cares about foreign affairs when they involve one of three things: 1) the president or his wife 2) genocide 3) sweedish women

the weekend after meeting the balkan women on the bus, i met up with them at the bar. i tried to take them both to the symphony with me because i felt that would be the appropriate white person thing to do. they didn't want to go because it was too early.
we met up at a dive bar where it was too loud to talk and it was too crowded to dance, which might have been for the best because i'm a terrible dancer. it would give you nightmares.
the bookish girl said they had to go home early to do homework and get rest before class in the morning. the crazy girl wanted to smoke pot and go dancing at the gay bar. it was quite the eurotrash moment and i was reveling in it. but the bookish girl didn't want any of that.

i never saw or heard from them again.

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