Remember The Good Old Lines?

"Oh, the romantic lines of my youth," sighs a middle-aged Moscow housewife. "We would line up at Sokolniki Park to see the first American exhibition, where Khrushchev debated Nixon. Or at the Pushkin Museum to see paintings by Fernand Leger. What wonderful times we had! Not like in these horrible lines today."

It would seem a bizarre monologue almost anywhere else, but not in the Soviet Union. Though comrades have stood in line ever since strains of the Internationale first wafted over Red Square, the queues are longer and crankier these days, thanks to chronic shortages. Biding one's time to buy...

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