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A Russian Connection; Geo Quiz; Papillon; Snack Thief; Sexism

There is really a difference in cultures around the world, and the latest example was provided by Dmitri, a 40 year old Russian guy who purchased our Toyota yesterday. I asked Dmitri if he was from Russia, and he muttered suspiciously, “Yes, but we don’t ask where people are from.”  As he was test driving the car with me, I said, “Dmitri, please slow down, the speed limit is 15 and you’re doing 35; it’s not safe, and you may get a ticket.” His reply was, “So what, I don’t live here.” “Oh-kay…”

I decided that he might not want to discuss his current job (maybe one of Vladimir Putin’s “enforcers”, or worse?). He wouldn’t hand over any money until we had both signed the title, and kept hurrying us along, even to the point of taking the pen from Suzanne’s hand. Suzanne’s comment that he was “the pushiest guy I’ve ever met” was telling; as you know, she is a pretty patient and understanding woman, and when she gets flustered, you know it’s gotta be bad! I was very happy when we got to the bank and deposited his cash; I was just a bit worried about a potential counterfeiting connection with this lad. At least he had good vision; when we drove up to meet Suzanne, who had come from a lunch with friends, he said, “Is that your wife? She’s beautiful!”

Okay, a new periodic element (but not a heavy metal element…) for the blog: a geography quiz. How this works is that I close my eyes, spin my globe (a Christmas gift from My Loving Wife), and point at random… where the globe and my finger intersect is the locale for the quiz, which has two parts. Today’s Quiz: (1) On what large body of water is the city of Turkmenbashi located? (2) For what fish is that body of water famous? The first person to email me with both correct answers will receive a package of Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes, delivered personally by bike if the winner lives in The Villages or nearby… email your answer to   

While walking Rudy the other day, I noticed that he would catch a scent, then turn away, then turn back, then away, until he found whatever it was that he was seeking. I realized that he was focusing in on his target using his sense of smell, which is 10,000 times more intense than my own. His world at that moment was limited to a piece of dirt and grass about 4 feet square, yet he probably found a hundred different smells where I might be lucky to find one. He wasn’t distracted by any outside influences, including loud noises and cars driving by. He was focused… I think Rudy was truly “living in the now”.

Speaking of dogs, while walking near the boardwalk at Lake Sumter the other day, I spoke to Connie Smith, who was walking her Papillion Molly. They were both delightful, and I learned a lot about that breed, a really cute little dog. Papillons were bred as lap dogs for European royal houses, so they don’t have the hunting instincts that our dachshunds Rudy and Gretchen display. They have more “courtly” attributes; here is Molly displaying her ballet skills.  

For those readers not located in Florida, I have to describe one of the local squirrel species here. The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger – also known locally as Robo Squirrel) is the largest squirrel in the Western Hemisphere, and weighs between two and three pounds, twice the size of a gray squirrel. It is named for its luxurious tail, which is remarkably similar to that of a fox. I spotted this guy on the golf course the other day. They are notable for raiding golf carts for snacks and sandwiches, even while you are standing just a few feet away. 

I hesitate to raise a sexism issue, but I think women often get preferential treatment that a man would never get… Suzanne drove over to visit a friend in a gated community where everyone gets stopped, questioned about whom they are going to visit, checked against an access list, etc., basically everything but a pat down. So, she’s driving her new red Corvette, pulls up to the gate, and the guard looks at the car, comes out with a huge smile, says “Niiiice…” and raises the gate, no questions asked. I ask you, “Is that fair?”

Speaking of her Corvette, I asked My Beloved if I could drive her car to run some errands… as memory recalls, the conversation went sort of like this… “Oh, Ty, I’m sorry, I have to meet Elizabeth for lunch.” “Okay, how about after lunch?” “Well, I have some shopping then…” “Well, could I sign up on a waiting list?” “Darling Ty, you don’t have to do that… you can drive My Beautiful Red Corvette any time you want… how about on alternate Thursdays in months that don’t have an ‘r’?” “But Suzanne, that would only be May, June, July and August, and we’ll be travelling in the RV out west next summer and the Corvette will be in the garage back in The Villages!” “My Darling Ty, you have always been very quick…”  

My Loving Bride recalls that conversation differently than I, so she asked me to put in a disclaimer…..

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