I sit after yoga class with a Ukrainian actress (about 36yo) who’s lived in America for the past 15 years.
We sip yogi tea.
Tisha B’Av finished minutes earlier.
The actress wears a cap with the hammer and sickle of the former Soviet Union on it.
"People give me strange looks when I wear it," she says. "I do it for a laugh."
"Why can’t people be more understanding?" I say. "You’re being ironic. So Soviet Communism murdered 100 million innocent people. What’s the big deal?"
"Communism wasn’t so bad," she says.
"Only murdered seven million Ukrainians in the 1930s so Stalin could collectivize the farms," I say. "What’s the big deal?"
She has a strange look on her face.
"Say what you like about Stalin. Say he murdered 40 million people. At least he was a strong man. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
"I often wear a cap with a swastika on it. I mean it ironically. I get strange looks. Why can’t people get the joke?"
"Communism wasn’t Nazism," she says.
"You’re right. The rhetoric when they murder you is much more beautiful when the communists do it. I’ve got to hand that to them."
The conversation wanders. She talks about her last trip to New York. Only four days and she had to see friends.
"Both of them?" I ask.
"Both of them?" The strange look returns to her face. "Both of them? Who are you? What’s your name?"