“I Have Never Seen Anything Like This” – Operation Lockdown
“I have never seen anything like this”, a friend said to me a few days ago, as we watched the line in our little grocery store wrap around the aisles and go all the way to the back of the store.
“I have”, I said slowly.
I don’t remember much, but I do remember that there were a lot of lines in the USSR right before it collapsed. Lines and empty shelves. A loaf of bread cost a quarter (of a ruble). I remember eating most of the loaf on my way home (not because I was hungry, but because the bread was so good). I also remember that grownups were really stressed out. There was this nervous energy in the air. And the smell of fear.
I asked my grandma this morning what infamous bread lines were like after the war.
“Three days”, she says. “They’d write a number on your palm in blue ink. And we took turns going home to sleep and shower.”
“Oh, and it didn’t matter what they sold. You’d see a line, and get in, because at least they were selling SOMETHING.”
“But I have never seen anything like this”, she said.
“We never had to avoid each other.”
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