I was driving to the post office and video store yesterday, and as I was leaving, I saw the hybrid back in the KGB driveway. Also: their garage door was open, finally allowing me to (sort of) see into the depths of their lair. It was pretty much empty. Immaculate even. I've never seen a garage so devoid of junk. Ours certainly isn't. Two things stood out, though: huge, industrial strength vacuum cleaners. What does that signify? What evidence are they sweeping under the rug, so to speak? I honestly don't know, and my writer's mind can't even think of anything witty. I leave that to you guys.
But here's what's truly interesting. When I got home a little bit later, another car was there in the driveway and two guys were loading things into one of the cars. What kind of things? Lawn/patio furniture. Huh. When I first told you about these guys, I mentioned that they were migratory and usually only stayed for a couple of weeks. So...are they packing up and moving on? Does the removal of backyard furniture mean the end of their wild outdoor parties? Has the HOA won? Or are my neighbors simply upgrading to new and better furniture? Hard to say. Our weather's turned bad, and the parties only happen when it's nice, so I guess we'll have to wait for a better day to get some answers.
And since I can't seem to escape Eastern Europe, I had another odd experience yesterday. I was at the video store, seeking out the next disc in True Blood. The last time I'd been there, I was astonished to see they practically had stacks of them to the ceiling. This time? Cleaned out. I double-checked with the guy at the counter to make sure none were lurking, and he said no. As I was leaving, he asked, "Your shirt, it says Thundercats?" I was indeed wearing a Thundercats shirt and replied, "Yeah! Did you watch it?" He told me he hadn't, and I laughed and told him he made me feel old. That wasn't really an out-there statement, seeing as he looked like he was in high school, meaning Thundercats would have been on and gone before he was born.
He then said: "In my country, we did not have it." That's when I realized he had an accent and that his nametag said--wait for it--Dmitri. He added, "We had what is the Russian Winnie the Pooh." I suddenly felt very uncomfortable and didn't know what to say. So, I said the only thing I could, "Oh." Uneasy laugh. "Have a good night." I then smiled and left, feeling inexplicably guilty since the capitalist messages of Thundercats would have probably been banned in the Soviet Era--though, again, he would have been too young for that anyway. But what was up with the Winnie the Pooh comment? I still don't get that. Was he saying that was their only cartoon? Or was he saying they had some show that was like Winnie the Pooh and was their equivalent to ours?
I have no answers to any of today's questions. Worse, I recently learned there's some kind of unique Russian martial arts style that would have certainly been useful in, say, a book about a badass Russian fighter. For someone whose career relies heavily on writing about Eastern European/Russian culture, I'm hopelessly ignorant--at least if my neighbors and Blockbuster employees are any indication. I'm left only with stereotypes and half-truths...and a blog probably becoming offensive to those of Eastern European descent. What to do?