Florida adventures, eps 3: the people and the food
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13-12-2013, 11:16 AM
Florida adventures, eps 3: the people and the food
So I told you guys before about Ian Ritchie Stewart, the writer/federal park ranger who fell on hard times.
But he wasn't the only colorful character I encountered.

I was staying with my friend Greg, who pretty much lives in a room he rents in a house rented on a resort that is rented by his roommate. His roommate was an HR exec working at the local community college. She and her daughter went to visit family over Thanksgiving break so she let 2 students stay in her rooms.
It took 4 days for me to meet the first one, they pretty much lived during the night and slept during the day. A lifestyle we're all familiar with at some point, but pretty annoying when you're sleeping on the couch in the living room and trying to get rid of the jetlag.
These 2 were great examples of the US educational system. At one point we were standing in the kitchen and I said something about the stove being a 3 dimensional object. They both looked at me in complete bewilderment, they had NO idea what of I was talking about, they "didn't need to know stuff like that, they majored in biology". They left their dishes around, I did them now and then and only showed any semblence of activity when Greg's roommate returned, upon which time they quickly helped unload suitcases and were attentive to her every need.
This too, didn't interest me. But after that they did some complaining about us, which really ground my gears. Whatever.

When Greg showed me around, he took me to his store a couple of times.
Now Greg's a great guy, but he's not much of a looker, (he's 6'1'', doesn't spend time on his appearance (wardrobe, hair, hygiene) 300lbs and when I joked about bras he himself joked he needed one) and his tone of voice is low but not deep.
So when he told me he worked in sales, I thought: what kind of store wants a guy like that to be their salesguy and public face of the company?
But then we went to his Radio Shack, and his colleagues were even worse off than him! I was shocked, salespeople here are almost exclusively selected for looks.
Is this a thing? Is Radio Shack known for not being very selective in hiring or something?

He also works at a Grocery-store, one day we were walking through there, he introduced me to some of his colleagues. Lots of characters there too. One of which was sitting outside having a drink, Greg told me he was from Belarus and used to be a Soviet rocket scientist that came over after the wall fell, he was pretty much literally this guy.

One day we stepped into a pawn shop, we don't have (m)any of those here either. Half the store was engagement rings. What is it about a subtropical island like that that everybody gets divorces?

Went to Five Guys, best chain restaurant I ever went to. Great burger, great fries.

Went to Quiznos, great subs. We only get Subway here, now I'm sad.

Ordered some pepperoni pizzas (pepperoni is an american invention, it does not exist in Europe). I was expecting a Breaking Bad roof pizza, but I was disappointed.

We went to IHOP, those pancakes are awful! What's in those fluffy slabs of tasteless mass? It can't be any kind of grain. The omelette was pretty decent though.

We also went to a local deli a couple of times. During my first visit I had a check of $11.xx and Greg told me a 25% tip is customary (here we just pay people a salary). So I paid with $20 and told her to give me 5 back.
She looked at me and said asked if I was sure. She then showed me I actually paid with a $50.
I was shocked, here you have someone who works very hard for tips and she's basically giving up a $30 dollar win.
Had it been me I might have kept my mouth shut. (Though I can understand that she might get into trouble for that later).
So I rounded it up to $20, for her honesty, (still an 80% tip) took back the 30 and visited the deli some more later in the week (though I didn't see the girl anymore).

Another day Greg went to donate blood so we would get free movietickets. This old man came up to me and asked for a dollar for the bus. His name was George, he too had a sad story as I had heard more before.
I only had a 20 on me, so we walked into the K-Mart and I got some change. I offered him the dollar, but then he said he actually needed 2, I should have gotten suspicious then, but bus-tickets ARE $2.
So I didn't really care and gave him the extra dollar. Greg came back, we went to the aforementioned deli and did some shopping. We came back about 3 hours later to catch the bus and George was still sitting at the busstop!
Guess I got screwed out of $2.
A week later an old drunk guy on the bus asked for a quarter to buy his friend a beer. Probably shouldn't have enabled him...

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