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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 8 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 8
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-02-11 09:59:57
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8. Mobiles and rings

I pretended leaving so Marc wouldn’t feel uncomfortable following the other two upstairs where the other members of the lonely hearts club was waiting and when I reached the bar on the ground floor turned and ordered another bourbon. Nobody had taken the place we were sitting before so I returned to my seat and lit another cigarette left alone with my thoughts.


It was not a particularly cold night and sitting outside was not as bad as you might think for Helsinki this time of the year, so long as you kept your jacket and your hat on. I have this thing since I was a kid to watch people, random people and sometimes make stories with them or try to imagine their lives. Sometimes going to extremes and photograph them, well when I remember to have my camera with me.

This started a really long time ago, when I was in my early-twenties, I saw a man one day in my street and I thought he had the face of a murderer. I was watching him and I even followed for a bit, poor sod had nothing to do with murders or anything he was just a man that life had obviously been hard with him, but here I was speculating his life and in the end I even wrote a short story about him that was published to a small magazine I was cooperating at the time. Of course that made me increase watching people and making stories about them until one day I followed another guy I thought he looked adventurous and mysterious!

I forgot to say that the man was two times my size all directions and as I found out later he was a professional athlete. As you can imagine my tailing – to use the right words - was not as good and after a brief discussion and a purple eye I gave up my detective’s future and never returned. I decided to get involved with psychology instead which is another kind of detective job. Not that I managed better there but at least I never got a bruised eye even though I often got a bruised ego! But again that is another story I will tell when I have time.

At the moment I was watching my cigarette burning and the ice cube melting in my glass with my bourbon thinking about the ring and the man with the gray coat. Strange but I could not describe him. I mean I had the feeling that he was blonde with this very Finnish hair cut that makes faces look so square and I could short of see his boned jowls but for a reason I could not say how high he was, if he was fat or thin and now thinking about it I was not even sure if he was even blonde. I think I was a victim of my own stereotypes, in the end I would think that he was even wearing small square glasses the same ones Finns favour including President Halonen wears.

I lit another cigarette using the last one, my hands were too cold to take off my gloves and start looking for my lighter. I always thought that men with rings are from a different age and seen a man wearing a ring especially one with a big red stone seemed totally weird. Somehow I had connected rings with schools, brotherhoods, societies or colleges, I don’t know why …perhaps because of Hollywood. My father used to wear a ring with a round short of coin on the top that was from his university years. I suppose finishing the university before the WWII was a big thing and the people with a degree those times felt like they belonged to some kind of special society and they wanted others to see it and a ring was obviously a good way.

I remember that NBA players got a ring when they get the national cup and I think it is the same with some armies and their officers. It was going to be a worthless evening and perhaps I should move upstairs but then again I had said that I was not going and Marc had done his comment cutting me off from the thought, so I decided to leave the pub. Winter in Helsinki means dark, really dark and cold so the idea of walking around was not the best. Cross the road of the Irish pub there is a short of mall with cinemas inside and fast food places, even a casino. So I decided to take a walk inside there.

It took a while for me to realize that I was looking at everybody’s hands trying to see how many were wearing rings. Damn I’m going bananas. After spend nearly half an hour in a sports’ pub talking about Barbie and Ken I was in a mall looking for men with rings. If anybody could read my thoughts, you know like it happens in cartoons where the thoughts are small clouds on top of their heads, they would definitely think that I was mad.

My telephone started making funny sounds and it was good timing to take my mind away. Usually I don’t hear my mobile and intentionally most of the time I have it in mute making nearly impossible for everybody to reach me. Somehow this way I feel that I am in control so when I check I can see who has tried to call me and then decide if I want to call back. Strange thing this with the mobiles they are made for other people’s convenience, so they can find you any time of the day or the night preferably when you don’t want them to. Apart from that they are there to remind me that I’m coming from a different time-line without mobiles and internet, one more prove that I’m getting older.

The same time I don’t understand how the hell they manage to invade so much our lives, I mean I grew up without mobiles and most of my professional life we didn’t have mobiles. Still life was fine, we did business and we had friends we met all the time and everything was fine. Nowadays just everybody has a mobile, some even have two or three and the life instead of becoming simpler since there is constant access, it got more complicate and I have the feeling that we all lost the sense of privacy, the feeling to be alone ...even for a little. Well, I’m still defending my privacy!


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