You carry a plastic shopping bag with you just in case’. When crossing the street, you sprint. You are impressed with the new model Lada or Volga. You hear the radio say it is zero degrees outside and you think it is a nice day for a change. You actually know and CARE whether Zenit won last night You win a shoving match with an old babushka for a place in line, and you are proud of it. You are pleasantly surprised when there is toilet paper in the WC at work/school You give a 10% tip only if the waiter has been really exceptional. You are relieved when the guy standing next to you on the bus actually uses a handkerchief. You discover a new love of beets. You know seven people whose favorite novel is “The Master and Margarita”. You change into ‘tapki’ (slippers) and wash your hands as soon as you walk into your apartment. You start thinking of black bread as a good chaser for vodka. You drink the brine from empty pickle jars. You know more than 20 Lenas, 30 Mashas and 60 Sashas. ‘Remont’, ‘Pivo’ and ‘nalivai’ (Renovation, beer and pour some more) become integral parts of your vocabulary. You think metal doors are a necessity. A gallon of milk seems like a foreign concept. You do not take off that silly sticker on the sunglasses that you just bought. You sit in silence on your bags for a few moments before leaving on any long journey. You catch yourself whistling indoors and feel guilty. You never smile in public when you’re alone. You know the official at the metro station/airport/border post/post office/raliway station, etc. etc. is going to say ‘nyet’ (no), but you argue anyway. The word ‘salad’ ceases to have anything to do with lettuce. Mayonnaise becomes your dressing of choice. You do not leave any room between you and person in front of you in line. Ever. You are no longer surprised when your taxi driver tells you that before Perestroika, he worked as a rocket scientist. You dress up in your best outfits for work/school. You actually laugh at Russian jokes. And when you get home… You try to pay a traffic fine on the spot and get arrested for attempted bribery. You look for ‘kvas’ and ‘kefir’ in the supermarket and ask to buy half a head of cabbage. You see a car with flashing lights and think it’s a politician. You forget to clear your own tray at fast food restaurants. You are in awe that after three days at home, your shoes are still clean. You get wildly offended when you are asked to pay at the coat check. You answer the phone with ‘Allo’? You feel queasy when someone tries to shake your hand over a threshold. Before getting in line at the grocery store, you ask ‘Kto poslednii?” (Who’s last?) You specify ‘no gas’ when asking for water.