02.27.04 | 2:37 p.m.

On the 19th floor of my Chicago high rise office building...

there is a small shop, which once many years ago sold beverages, magazines, cigarettes and other such "sundries." Today the options have expanded. Pantyhose, beanie babies, condoms, Chicago Bulls jackets, and bizarre bronze gazelle head statues are on the menu. The store also sells Barbies.

Make that, it sells a Barbie. Russian Barbie to be specific. I find this mesmorizing.

Each time I make a trip down for a soda, I take a little time to crouch down by the glass paneled display case to make eye contact with Russian Barbie.

It is no secret, especially to the store manager who tells me that I look like Russian Barbie, that this poor little plastic communist will one day be mine.

We'll laugh, we'll drink shots of vodka in my office, and all will be right with the world again.