Fate could be of help by giving him a gentle push down a slippery sidewalk.

How does one end up on a train at eight in the morning on a Sunday? It can only be the shriek of duty. The incoherent rambles of the people I still for somehow even reach out to here. I tried; I hugged all the sick and crippled between the stadium and the railway station, but nothing life threatening unfortunately clung on.

I wonder what they’ll have me do today. Price tags don’t straighten themselves, although they’ve certainly had the encouragement to do so. Yesterday I saw an opportunity for branching out in a new area of business, though. The Zamboni-man looked old, frail even. He can’t stick around forever, he might retire soon. I’m gunning for his position. Fate could be of help by giving him a gentle push down a slippery sidewalk. I’ve seen him going, it doesn’t look like sometime I couldn’t pull off with an ice proofed bike (I don’t have a driver’s licence). Ecologically valid. Sustainable. I bet I can also squeeze logistics in there somewhere and then I would have got my work placement in the pocket. School will be proud.

Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

2016 was a pile of pish for most of us, and then some.

We lost many a brilliant and talented soul. Of the top of my head: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Sharon Stone, Prince, Sonia Rykiel, Franca Sozzani, Carrie Fisher, Bill Cunningham, Johan Kruijff, George Michael, and the list goes on for a couple of pages (Lenoard Cohen will be missed by many but I have bad memories to his songs due to an unfortunate hitchhiking trip through Norway). The rest got injured and cannot play and be epic for the remainder of the hockeyseason.

Speaking of which –my team sucks. No other way around it. Silver-lining speak such as ‘two steps forward, one step back’ does not cut the mustard. In fact, we’ve taken the mustard and I don’t know where else to go with this sentence other than that everything sucks, mustard spilled all over the ice, and it’s a big mess and all I can think of is getting a stack of big, fluffy cardigans from Fida for those cheerleaders cos they must be freezing cold!

The other remedy would be making hotpot for the whole bunch, with some nice extra Sichuan peppers for the coach. I’m sure Larry David would have something nice to say in defense of the bald gentleman but I sure have not. If you don’t have anything nice to say… hotpot it is. The great equalizer. Hotpot with Baijiu, which was the great equalizer amongst Chinese poets – most of whom drunk themselves to bottoms of many a lake and river.

Meanwhile, nitwits are thriving. Spina still happily scooping spinaattispoothies there where the sun daren’t shine. Americans once more got over competitive after that whole Brexit pile of shite –there can only be one dumbest of them all- and decided to hire themselves a cauliflower for leader (‘MURICA!). Numbnuts think somehow it’s now possible to grab a hold of a truck and bluntly start plowing through crowds of people. Wilders somehow is still on the scene – and people are somehow still listening to his incoherent rants about nothing. That hairdye must have gone through his brain by now. Nazi-zombies from below the sea. I’ll start on the script right away. The most horrifying things go on and on all around us, and all we care about is thingie not winning some singing show, a bunch of other dumbasses doing a bunch of other things, some other idiot got Jalapenos on his pizza even though he didn’t want to and while we’re all reminiscing on their lavish adventures, China has pumped a range of islands out of the sea. Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

What, then, about the next year. Somehow January 1st is a milestone for many. Everything will be magically different. We’ll battle hunger. We’ll be nicer, and buy less crap. We’ll go to the gym (hyii). If only there was such a thing as a magical-slate-clean-wipe-make-doer. January 1st many pretend that there is, and for a week they manage to behave themselves moderately, only to continue being a sloppy dumbass for the remaining 14 months of the year.

Did you know that Noam Chomsky reads 6 newspapers + 80 articles a day? Did you know that John Galliano used to run stretches next to the Seine every day in order to get inspired? How about Bill Cunningham, who lived decades in a stamp sized apartment in Carnegie Hall, walls lined with filing cabinets collecting each and every photography he ever took, riding a bike every day, exclaiming to the real estate lady who showed him replacement houses cos Carnegie hall was to house telemarketers in office cibucles exclusively: ‘I don’t need a clothes closet, and who needs a kitchen and a bathroom!?’ Speaking of Andrew Carnegie – did you know he insisted on pumping his excess profits back into society by supporting the arts and whatnot – because thought that to be his duty?

Without telling you what to do or what not to do for your new year’s resolution (they can work. Mine worked throughout the year as I made it a very small sacrifice – always a smart trick), let’s all be inspired by Chomsky, by Bill Cunningham, by Sharon Stone whose musical career blossomed by the time she as well in her forties. Let’s start reading more stuff (it’s fun. Books are friends!) and question what we’ve read at the pub or somewhere. Let’s start running; not at one of those treadmill monstrosities at those gym places (yuk), but properly outside. Bonus if you go in winter. Be careful not to break your hand. And why not keep trying to do that one thing, the thing that everyone says we have to let go cos a) we suck at it b) we’re too old for or c) we have no time/place for.

Ps.:

Grace Coddington – if you’re reading this, please be safe. Stay put with lots of blankets and tea and whatever it is you need to stay alive. We need! We need you to thrive for many years to come!

 

p.p.s: the resolution I’m starting today is learning how to properly finish a piece cos that I still don’t know how to do.

It gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour.

‘Doris, go shopping!’ he said. He meant the bookstore, but I’ve been there already too many times; I’m barred. So off to Fida I went, on my trusted vehicle.

I am not one for shopping. Stockmann in particular makes me nauseous. Too many pompous people, who are studying the ceiling with their nose in the air pompously, whilst marching, plowing as on a battlefield with ferocity -and whilst looking ridiculously pompous- through the crowds of peasants and serfs, through piles of pompous knickknacks, as if the Swedes were due back here any moment. I saw Kirsi P, I am pretty damn sure of it. For me that’s a big deal, he couldn’t care less.

My dear fellow, apple of my eye, man’s best friend etc. let me wait. Surrounded by the skirmish that is Helsinki during the holiday season (it gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour) I put myself under the clock, which is where a lot of people like to meet. There’s also a tram stop, and a Christmas market, and the clock hangs smack above the middle of an entrance. People galore.

Les People, the good folks, the laobaixing -there is a time and a place for everyone and everything, and today was clearly neither time nor place. From the moment I fetched my vehicle from the valet (= took bike from shed), people had universally agreed to be in my way. It was a done deal. Shadows on my path, from the island well onto the bike rack (I love me a good bike rack, don’t you?). The shrieking hordes began to well take shape before the gates with the twinkly lights. Apparently there’s some sort of a window display but I was none the wiser as I made my way to the clock, losing a shoe and half an arm in the process.

My gawsh, the vicious crowds.

And he made me wait, which is not that big of deal, except that today the menacing crowds were so much harder to deal with than usual. As that Frenchman once said: hell, it’s the others. Pinching and shoving and bumping and glaring, there they all were. I was after all the thing standing between them and the things in dire need of consumption, therefore I must have deserved the pinching and the poking and the toe-stomping somewhat. Therefore, when invited to join in the mayhem, I politely ignored the invitation to treat (Doris, go shopping! Go and consume, you woman!) there and then, and took to my vehicle (bike against rack) after our business was done with.

Now, there’s three UFF’s, two Fida’s and two Lidl’s on the way home.  It would be rude to not grace at least one of these institutions with a presence. Fida it was. Three shirts that I cannot wear until the temperatures are back in the double digits again – minus a student discount. As I zipped up my coat, a few posters congratulated me on the fact that my purchases had helped a school get writing equipment, and a girl got a little push in the back on her road on becoming a teacher. I’ll happily wait those fourteen months before it’s acceptable to wear sleeveless again.

 

 

 

We bantered about swamps and hockey merrily.

I have switched to wine recently. My waistbands should be grateful, as should my inner plumbing because of the anti-oxidants and whatnot. Oakiness. Palettes. Either way, red wine is what’s on the desk, the coffee table, in the fridge and at the pub. yes, I was as surprised as you are to find out that the local sports bar serves wine without blinking or spilling.

Even though the apple of my eye and definitely my better looking half has started calling me a ‘wino’, I feel very zen, balanced, and above all: a grownup. Everything becomes a little more sophisticated when you’re waltzing a glass of shimmering red in your hand. When procrastinating at your desk whilst sipping from an elegant glass on a long leg, you’re not just being lazy, nay, you’re simply pondering!

Yesterday I chose to ponder at the pub as I had a long day of redecorating the shop and it was matsipäivä (they’re at the other edge of the country this week). I staggered to the pub through the sludge (snow has started to melt, so simply walking is impossible. You have no choice but to stagger) after being absent for a while, cos they foodpoisoned my eye-apple. Also their service stinks, the beer is overpriced and when asking for a mug of tea you get a mug the size of my ass, filled half. Not good. Food poisoning is easily taken care of by simply, bluntly, dining elsewhere (hesburger), trying out a new beverage however looked like a gamble. I got quite pleasantly surprised.

A glass of house-liquid turned out ok, and there’s an even bigger upside to sipping wine than I ever realized. When you’re sitting, sipping, waltzing, pondering, looking sophisticated altogether, gulping the whole load at once would negate the pondering and the altogether sophisticated looking. One must stagger, and take one’s time. This adds even more to the grownup-ness, as staggering reeks of patience and washing down liquids glass after glass is something for silly little kittens.

It’s a wonderful thing, staggering just the one glass. Getting stink-eyed from behind the bar. Making it through two periods + breaks of a hockey match with just the one glass. Then, halfway through the second period, something happened. I got served a second glass. The second glass was way fuller then the first one, too. Folks, this never happens to me, it certainly never happened with beer. It turns out the wine was a gift from a set of gentlemen watching the other game.

I headed over there to express my gratitude, as ladies (and grownups) must, and had a lovely conversation (the match went down the drain, unfortunately). The fellas hauled all the way from Oulu (The Others) and were avid kärpät (rodents) fans. Their team was losing which unsurprisingly made me feel slightly better about my team also biting the dust (how they managed to go from 3-2 to 5-2 in mere minutes I’ll never understand. Black magic. Dark matter. Stephen Hawking was called in and is still pondering).

We bantered about swamps and hockey merrily. Apparently Oulu is the greatest biking-city in Finland; this gentleman certainly put a lot of energy in convincing me that I should hop over with my wheels and not just take his word for it. I happen to know that Lalaland is by far the most bike-friendly town I have ever encountered in this great nation, but I let this poor fellow have his moment.

How great it is to banter maters of life and death, in a pub, with a glass of wine at hand and civilized company. How great having a brain, which made the very sound decision to take the MTR to work today. How marvelous this thing called hockey. And how astonishing, my new liquid of choice.