Mixed Mentality
11 September, 2014
Mixed Mentality
Chauffeurs make a special caste in this country – they are almost the members of the boss’s family, taking care of privileged wives and kids and running for them everyday chores and errands.
The USSR (1922-1991) – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – a.k.a. the Soviet Union was a communist nuclear power of 300 million people, which had once occupied one sixth of the world terrain. I was born into its scary socialist lap, grew up in the soviet melting
pot and matured as a person under the commonly used label of a ‘builder of communism’ – convinced atheist by faith, dedicated patriot by calling and true servant of the regime by status. Living in a soviet country was both easy and difficult. Easy it was because personal responsibility for survival was absolutely minimized and difficult because individual thinking was utterly subdued. We all knew our place in life; we knew exactly what to say and what not; we were ruled without our consent and realistic political concerns of ours were equal to zilch. Even having fun was tailored on soviet rules and standards, and the fringe benefits were strictly proportioned and allotted in compliance with hierarchical positions and the commonly accepted value of the job one was doing. The term ‘Soviet Mentality’ was compact and meaningful, and unavoidably indispensable for making survival. Finally, after 70 years of intimidating existence, the news of infamous demise of the Empire was fed to the world which had enthusiastically applauded the almost unbelievable fact. The savory smell of the West appeared in the air and we started imbibing the Western ways and means voraciously, looking at the newly discovered opportunities with wide-open and curious eyes. Socialism was out and capitalism was in. The adoption of the Western way of life became a norm in almost every walk of life. Almost! Yes, almost! The funniest part of the new life was that we only wanted – and still want – only a partial change. Look at what is happening even after a quarter of a century of the noisy soviet collapse! The new-time generations of rulers are coming and going but the soviet pattern of bureaucracy is still there – strong, resilient and deeply chiseled in our administrative paradigm. The special stores are outdated of course and the individual phone lines are obsolete today, but the rest of the fringes are still in power and working like in those not-so-amusing soviet times. The chauffeured cars remain to be the most attractive fringe that a contemporary bureaucrat is desperately clinging to like crazy. The alliance between a boss and a driver of the private office vehicle is an accurate reproduction of the serfdom or slavery, humanized with phony modern attitudes and assumed friendships. Chauffeurs make a special caste in this country – they are almost the members of the boss’s family, taking care of privileged wives and kids and run for them everyday chores and errands. To put it more or less psychoanalytically, the chauffeur of the boss’s office car is almost the boss’s alter ego often playing a role of the closest confidant and being privy to the events that are usually beyond disclosure. The darkest and the most tragic ramification of contemporary chauffeurism which is deeply rooted in soviet bureaucratic pattern is that thousands of healthy young men in this country are working like serfs for tens of years to the pleasure and benefit of their conceited pokerfaced bosses with strutting gaits and void eyes, and keep away from doing the work which could benefit their families and this nation much higher and more productively. And the question is why a regular stupid bureaucrat should be driven around in a private office car, especially in huge and gas-hungry SUV’s? Why? Why can’t they drive their own damned cars, bought with their own money and gassed up at their own expense? Why so many healthy young Georgians should be working as drivers and servants when they have enough chance of creating a much more valuable product than the undeserved felicity of their exploiters and the spoilt members of their families? Why should they be allowed to be offensively driving in our streets and sitting on our tails in the traffic with wildly flashing lights and blasting horns so scarily and aggressively that an accident becomes imminent? Who are these people? Who brings them to power? Why is it so necessary to carry their overfed bodies in the vehicles that are spending ten times more gas at the expense of our poor people than a regular smaller vehicle might use? Why the soviet-type driver-boss relations are still alive and functional? Why do we tend so badly to be capitalistic in what we choose to be and remain soviet-socialistic in what we feel comfortable? Why such a double standard? Forget about this abominable and notorious chauffeurism for a second! How about the preoccupation with putting together the comfortable and expensively refurbished offices as the first step in office in the wake of won elections? The door to the West is finally open and we are getting ready to squeeze our still lingering soviet mentality into it. We might, but why are our Western friends not telling us that the discrepancy between the Western way of life and the soviet Modus Operandi & Vivendi might end up in our fiasco on the Western social, economic and political arena. With communism dead and gone, the soviet style of life is clearly irrelevant. We all know that! And still, we are loath to refuse from the soviet-type fringe benefits, probably because they are so sweet and enticing that refraining from the pleasure might render the jobs we are doing less pretty and valuable. Well, we cannot have both – socialist fringes and capitalist access to choice. Impossible! You enjoy either one or the other. Having both ways is running us into the situation which is normally qualified as double standard. Shall we call it the consequence of the mixed mentality we are afflicted with?

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