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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Outdoorsman




Like so many other expats in this city, I spend much of my time at my dreary little desk, pining to be doing something else, somewhere else, in Russia's great expanse of wilderness. An outdoorsman by inclination, I have been seduced - like many others before me - by Turgenev's stories of bird hunting in the countryside. I have also had visions of fishing trips to the ponds and lakes of this vast nation. Someday, I will write a book about fly-fishing, about finding myself - all in very simple sentences.


With such Hemingway-like ambitions, the first thing to do is become an alcoholic.


Hemingway, of course, was not a Russian, although, at some point, he did grow a beard.


Turgenev spent great periods of time hunting in the countryside, often accompanied by serfs to help with the dogs, or something like that. My hunting ambitions have, thus far, been thwarted by the fact that, not only do I not have a gun, but Ialso do not employ a maid, a nanny or even a driver - something that most self-respecting expats should never admit. I've no dogs to keep and no employees to keep them if I did.


Turgenev, anticipating Hemingway, did have a beard. I would grow one myself, but I would look ridiculous. If anything, it would make me look less rugged - anathema to an outdoorsman like myself.


I digress. Well, not really. This beard thing is serious. With no gun and no servants, I'd make a damn poor hunter in Russia. But I can't grow a beard - it would have gray splotches. I would look like a 20-year-old with a gray beard. Turgenev had a gray beard, but he was old. I am only 33. And I look young for my age.


For some counsel, I decided to talk to some of the girls at the American Bar and Grill. Most of them ignored me. Some, however, were quite helpful. Actually, they were more interested in my buying them drinks. A Texan at the bar had gray hair, but no beard.


"Do you hunt?" I asked my fellow American. He said that he likes talking to the girls and has even bought a couple of them drinks, but that he never pays for sex. I appreciated his moral fortitude, of course, but he hadn't answered my question.


Although I have no children, I do, however, plan to employ a nanny.


- Guy Archer