It was only after I wrote my last post that I fully recognized the phenomenon of the Middle-Aged Russian Woman. Sometimes it feels like everywhere you go in Russia, there’s a woman over 40 ready to scold you for something. In museums, coat checks, the Metro, offices, supermarkets, you’re bound to get yelled at for doing something wrong.

Adults just don’t talk to one another that way in the US, even those with a yawning age gap between them. Well, maybe sometimes it happens, but it’s an aberration, not the norm.

This doesn’t seem to faze Russians. They grow up with it. They never take it personally. I try not to take it personally, but sometimes I would like to get through a day without being made to feel like an idiot.

Today at work between the hours of 8:35 and 11:10 a.m. I got scolded by several MARW (well, mostly one in particular) for:

-Having snow on my hat after coming inside from a blizzard;
-Allowing children to play freely with a dollhouse during free play time yesterday (we are supposed to guide their play so that they learn how to play properly);
-Incorrectly filling out a reimbursement form in which I indicated the amount owed to me with a positive rather than a negative number;
-Distributing a child’s birthday party treats among the other children’s lockers one at a time rather than two at a time (i.e. I was planning to put in all the Kinder Surprises first and then the Chupa Chups, but doing it that way is obviously improper since something will be forgotten);
-Taking a moment to fill out the attendance register while heading to the music lesson (there were already four teachers in the music room with the class and my presence has previously not been obligatory);
-Not holding my arms stiffly enough when making a circle holding hands in music lesson;
-Looking peeved after the last admonishment.

At that point I couldn’t take it anymore, and seeing as I had already considered taking a sick day on account of my sore throat, and since we had an extra teacher on duty today, I decided it was time to go home. I know it’s super bad to leave work in a huff, but I didn’t want to be irrationally angry in front of the children.

So on Monday I’m going to have to mend some fences and generally learn how to stop being a sensitive American wimp and take it like a Russian.