March 13, 2009

Short stories

It's Friday evening, and for the first times in weeks I'm home fairly early, and alone. Even my flatmate Julia is at a master class in Italy - when she returns, she'll find a clean bathroom and some ham which I didn't eat up despite her kind note urging me to do so. After having a drink down town with a colleague, I start thinking of things to do. Should I get out the 25 scores for the conducting competition in two weeks? They're already so full of markings in red, blue, phosphorous yellow, pencil, and brownish (oh wait, that's coffee) that I'll probably be better off conducting everything by heart in Ljubljana. How about grabbing one of those bottles which have been unopened in my cupboard since I got them on my exam last November, and gulping down champagne while listening to slow Finnish pop music (with the lights out, of course). I could also light candles, make myself a cup of tea and finally get that Ian McEwan novel started.

Then again, I could just get into bed. This afternoon, it took me about two seconds to fall asleep and start laughing at some absurd flashes of a dream which probably would have been a good one if I hadn't woken up, realising I didn't have time to sleep at 3 pm. Maybe I could try to find that dream again? But then it hits me. I'll write a blog post! After all, it's been ages since the last one.

My blog posts are rarely centred on some certain theme or subject because I don't like to restrict myself to only one story when so many happen every day. This morning's first story was a classic, at least for everyone who regularly commutes using tram line number 8: musical chairs. It's fun to speculate on exactly WHERE that disgusting smell is coming from - is it that fishy-looking man with the plastic bags over there? Did someone pee under the seats? Or maybe I'm just imagining it? No, I can't be, because that girl across me is holding her newspaper against her nose (that can't smell much better, can it?). And, for the six stops it takes me to get to the Academy, the masses travel from the front of the tram to the rear, and back again, finding no escape and looking like they're about to be sick. I smile at the thought of my friend Sanna's mother, who once walked up to the driver and told him to do something about this smell or give her her money back.

Today, I'm up early, and the kitchen staff is spared my traditional T-house queueing dance (although I do visit them to indulge my newest addiction - the warm cinnamon rolls have me nearly banging on the door of the cafeteria before they open). This time, my neighbour is rehearsing a piece I know very well: Erkki Melartin's "Sade" (Rain) for piano solo. It takes me a while to build all sorts of mental fences and blockades around my mind before I can get my inner ear tuned to Sch├╝tz, Slovenian contemporary music, Mendelssohn and Poulenc. At least this time, I didn't get the lunatic accordeon player who makes that abrupt fortissimo hoover sound with the instrument every single time he/she plays a wrong note (which is OFTEN).

Slightly annoying: an article I'm interested is published in a 1982 edition of a music magazine, but our library only has the magazine's issues since 1983. Well, there are worse things. The sun is shining very brightly, but I suppose it's still too early to get out that spring coat I bought at the Selfridges sale in London. At least I have new shoes again, but they get wet while I'm caught in snowy Otaniemi at eight in the evening. I get pretty pissed off at someone, but I don't dare give details in such a public way. I didn't know there were so many rabbits in Lauttasaari. At my local supermarket, I cause something of a spectacle by not being able to decide which till to go to - this causes much laughter and even competition among the cashiers! You might have realised I'm already skipping through various small stories from the past weeks.

In a weekend in January, everything falls into place as I am sucked into a vortex of Kaija Koo and tequila at a nightclub in Kuopio. Before that, however, a man passes out right infront of the door of our room, and I have to call the hotel reception and ask someone to come and drag him away so we can get out. I watch as a shy woman in a red Sokos uniform bends down and says "You see, you really can't stay there, mister, people are stuck in their rooms...", but the only reply is a snore. I wonder whether this is everyday hotel routine in other countries as well.

I hope I'll have time to write some other small short stories for you soon. I've just finished my tea, a lullaby by Scandinavian Music Group is playing, and I think I'll still make a short trip into Ian McEwan's "Enduring Love". That leaves the champagne and candles, but I'll save those for an evening when there's company.