I met an Orthodox priest today and he told me I have nice teeth. I did not know how to comment on my mother's genetics in Romanian, so I told him I don't smoke.
Actually, this was only the second-strangest comment a Romanian man has made to me in the last few weeks. The other was like this. I had gone on a bike ride with my friend and co-laborer, Darin, and we had just gotten back pretty close to our apartment block. We saw a kid we knew, so we stopped to talk to him, and this other guy saunters up the dirt alley towards us, pantomiming dribbling a soccer ball, shooting, and, I presume, scoring. It became clear to me (I am a very astute observer) that this man had had far too much to drink, so much, in fact, that he could not tell that I was not a perfectly fine chap with whom to have a conversation.
So we started talking, or, rather, he did. I listened as the 100-proof words blew past my ears. All of a sudden the man stopped. He was looking at something...my shoulder, half-covered by my sleeveless running shirt....Now, for those of you who don't know me, I am kind of a hairy guy. Not as hairy as my friend, Brian, but hairy enough. So. This guy reaches out and, sort of...caresses my shoulder with his callused hand (it would make a good farmer's hand). Then he takes his hand back and pulls down the collar of his t-shirt to reveal an impressively hairy chest.
The only image that comes to mind that might adequately depict what was going on is the one from the old Tarzan movie where the Tarzan is standing in front of the fair Jane, gesturing and saying: "Me Tarzan...you Jane," except this guy was maybe saying something like: "I know it seems like you and I are pretty different We don't speak the same language or really look the same. We probably have radically different backgrounds and interests and proficiencies. When we go home this evening we will probably prepare different foods for dinner, according to our individual tastes. But, you are extremely hairy, and so am I, and I hope you have a nice day."
And then he left.