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Don't bother me, I'm reminiscing (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Don't bother me, I'm reminiscing

Aimee Friedland
At first I was skeptical, having made the decision to try out the new Carl's Jr. in St. Petersburg a few months back. Back in the US I was abnormally obsessed with the vegetarian lifestyle, dedicated to granola and serving up tofu to yogis at the local vegan restaurant. But when I came to Russia, all of that changed. I dropped my herbivorous ways and have returned to eating meat – something I vowed never to do.
Nor did I ever believe that I would willingly propose to celebrate the opening of an American fast-food restaurant in Russia with my boyfriend.
"But hey," I thought, "he'll probably get a kick out of it."
I don't know about the rest of the country, but at least where I come from, the types of people you meet in fast-food joints are some of the sketchiest America has to offer. Pimply high school students, drug dealers, not to mention the super-sized regulars who make up our country's frightening fat statistics.
When I was little, I remember telling my mother out of fear to drive faster past the fast-food joints.
"Speed up the car!" I'd shout, "There are drunk people hanging outside of that Carl's Jr.!"
"Don't worry, Honey," she'd try and soothe me, "The drunk people aren't going to get us. We're in a moving car."
Also frightening were signs advertising the "World-Famous Green Burrito," and even worse, the children's play-area, whose appalling stench of feet and grease repelled me from a mile away. Think – pediatric unit meets deep-fryer. It really was that bad.
That's why I was surprised when, upon entering the new Carl's Jr. on Litejny Prospekt 47, ketchups were lined up neatly, the floors were not sticky, and they even offered free Wi-Fi to guests.
Gone were the hoards of barefooted children descending upon the sauce-dispensers like locusts. Gone were the dealers and the thugs. Gone were all the seedy characters inhabiting your typical fast-food restaurant in America, and in their place – young Russian hipsters.
What the hell?! In a recent issue of TimeOut SPb magazine, it was said that eating in Carl's Jr. is a truly American experience. The walls are decorated with painted images of Santa Monica and chill-out music seeps from the speakers. I look around me and see well-manicured youth quietly discussing their surroundings as they eat chicken tenders and over-stuffed burgers with a fork and knife.
"No," I think, "This is not my country." I pause to bite into my chicken sandwich. The barbeque sauce tastes like home. I feel a sudden wave of nostalgia, reminiscing on my short-lived adolescence spent in the US. It was at that moment, however, that I realized that enjoying a BBQ sandwich in the center of St. Petersburg, Russia, was somehow better. More civilized.
"I love globalization," I said to my boyfriend, stuffing the last few French fries into my mouth. He smiled in an ironic way, as if to say, "Oh God, you're such an American."
Yeah, I know I am. Why else would I have taken him here, only to find myself sniffing containers of barbeque sauce like hallucinogenics? Life is funny like that – you can ridicule the drug dealers, the thugs and the obese all you want – but in the end, you are the petty one, going back for free refills and complimentary mustard