May 13, 2009

A million sunglasses

”Please put these on”, says the woman who is always part of the team; typing numbers, adjusting lights, and mechanically repeating everything her colleague says. I am given a pair of huge adjustable sunglasses and lie down on a paper-covered chair, staring at the ceiling through my fancy new accessory. When was the last time I was at the dentist? Whenever it was, this certainly is the first time I’ve been made to look like an astronaut with a cramp in his jaw. Shit, one of my buttons is open – but I’m hardly going to start fumbling with my trousers now. On the radio, there’s a discussion going on about the fish-life in the Helsinki region. The interviewer sounds bored (”Em, so you were talking about this new species found in the Vantaanjoki river; what would you say was the most ideal environment for the fish to breed?”), but not as bored as the interviewee (”I’d say… Nurmijärvi”).

I’m concentrating hard on trying to make the dentist switch channels, but my telepathic skills obviously need brushing up (unlike my teeth, by the way, which get quite a vigorous brush twice a day – family members tend to rush behind the shower curtain to take cover whenever I put a toothbrush in my mouth). I wouldn’t mind listening, for example, to Finland’s entry for the Eurovision contest this year. When I realised even members of my choir were ”Losing Control” over the song, I decided to look it up on YouTube. ”It’s such a catchy tune this year”, gasps one of my sopranos, ”I think we really might have chances!”. Grudgingly, I return everyone back to Planet Earth and the task at hand: trying to finally master the alto part for ”Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. It’s just three weeks to Diafonia’s spring concert.

The performance is quite an event for two reasons: first of all, it’s the first time these 13 ladies from the Diakonia College are performing anywhere outside the walls of the institute. Second of all, the concert will be arranged in co-operation with the choir of the Helsinki Policewomen conducted by Airi. Needless to say, the concert requires a couple of joint rehearsals for preparing our grande finale. Timidly at first, but confidently, we arrive on time at the Malmi police station, which, I must say, isn’t the first place you’d imagine finding a choir rehearsing ”My favourite things”. Combining the efficient and crisp organisation of the Policewomen’s Choir with the inspired enthusiasm of Diafonia, the concert is bound to be a success!

Tuesdays are Kaamos-days as well, and from the music class of the Diakonia Institute it’s just a short drive to the concrete jungle of Pasila on bus number 23. I’m the only one with the key to the chapel, but today it looks like everyone would prefer to rehearse out in the sunshine. However, we decide it’s best to get sanctuary inside from the football-kicking hooligans who have also realised it’s a good day to be outside. I can’t believe we are all present (all except one, of course) and after a short discussion about last week’s concert and the subsequent review in Helsingin Sanomat, we get down to perfecting our program for the Tampereen Sävel vocal music festival in June. Our Danish might sound like Norwegian, but boy does it sound good (a very objective opinion, of course) when almost all of the choir is present. Rautavaara’s Credo gains an even more rhythmical quality through the banging of the football outside.

Next day, maybe inspired by my visit to the dentist, I decide to go shopping for sunglasses. And this time I don’t mean those clips you attach to your glasses – I tried those once, but if anyone ever saw me wearing them, you’re probably joking. They must be the most impractical things ever – impossible to get on straight, pressing down on your nose and dangling on one ear. A guy passed us recently looking like a pirate with the other lens covering his mouth. Exactly my point! Not to mention how they always get lost. As it turns out, I end up getting a new pair of regular glasses as well.

And now we come to something which has always bothered me – I try too much to see things through the eyes of others. Which practically means that I want to make quick decisions at the optician’s, because my worst fear is that the girl attending to me will start getting bored and frustrated at this fussy young man who just can’t bloody decide what sort of glasses would look best. Oh yes, she’s smiling, sure, and happily bringing me set after set of fancy frames she thinks would suit me, but I can see that she’ll only last for 10 minutes, or 12 at the most. ”I’m sorry, but could I just perhaps please try those once more, I just can’t seem to make up my mind…” I pathetically whimper, and she hands them over with a slightly more tensed smile, and am I just imagining it or is she glancing at her watch? ”Those certainly look elegant on you.” What’s her work like anyway? She must be bored with me already. Not really caring anymore that my choice will affect the way I look for quite a long time, I make a quick decision and almost run out to the street for a breath of fresh air.

Being a boring fish up in boring Nurmijärvi must be so much better than wandering aimlessly on Aleksanterinkatu, trying to get a grip on which way to go next, and having millions of sunglasses dancing in your head.


At 31 May, 2009 08:44, Blogger Melissa said...

Choosing new glasses SHOULD take time and consideration! In case it'll be your only pair from now on, then you'll need to look at them every day. If she couldn't handle that, then she's not a very good optician.

When you reach the "star level", where you own >10 pairs of glasses, then it's ok if they are not all quite perfect :D


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