He parked his small white car by the side of the road right outside the front door. Or at least as close to the door as it was possible, so close to the two old barrels that now were flowerbeds that he couldn’t have opened the passenger’s door of his small car. But he didn’t have to, because he was alone in the car, and was just going to make a quick stop at Grandma’s to say hello.
It was one of those perfect summer nights. You know the kind. It’s the time of the year when the nights are still warm and it’s the time of the day when you’re not sure if the sun has gone down yet, or if you can still sort of see it in the horizon.
Loyal readers like you will remember that Risto wasn’t my parents’ first choice for my name. Their first choice was Kalle to the point that even my godmother thought that I was going be one. I’m not sure when she heard the news that I was going to be Risto, but whenever it was, it was too late for her to get her gift spoon re-engraved.
That spoon, that had the time of my birth, my weight and height on the front, and then “Kalle” on the back, was my favorite spoon for decades, and I think I still have it, although, unfortunately, I may have lost it over the years as well, or I may have left it at Mom’s.
I am one of those people who like lyrics in songs. I listen to the text, and for me to like a song, the text has to make sense. Well, the exception that confirms the rules is “Scatman” but I’m not sure if that even counts.
I think it’s partly because my brain’s just wired to play with words and twist and shout them, and love the words, and partly because I wouldn’t want to get caught pushing a message I don’t understand. It hasn’t always been easy, especially since Mom used to play Harry Belafonte and Edith Piaf at home when I was a preschooler, and as much as I’d love to say I was fluent in French at the age of five, well, I just can’t.
And “Je ne regrette rien” may even have been be easier to understand than “Day-o, day-o, Daylight come and me wan’ go home, day, me say day, me say day, me say day”.
Imagine a teenage boy. Now imagine he’s a hockey player, then imagine he’s a pretty good one, and then, imagine him on the ice. Imagine it’s the 1980s, and imagine he’s playing a game in a fairly big rink. Imagine it’s the main rink of the town.
Despite it being the city’s biggest rink, and the only indoor arena, imagine only a handful of people watching the game. Imagine there are a few teenage girls, but mostly men of different ages. Imagine some of them in the stands, and some of the standing behind the plexiglass at ice level.
“Every time I jump like that, I feel like time slows down a little bit.”
– Son, today, after a hop over a puddle
On the back wall of my elementary school cafeteria, there was a big clock. White background, black hands, no numbers, just the short lines that indicate the five-minute (or second) intervals the hands have to make to travel around the face.
There was also something else I’ve never been able to forget in my school, and that was the rule that you had to finish your plate, because food was never to be wasted. That’s why I sometimes sat alone at a long table and stared at the clock, while trying to chew whatever food was given to me that day.
One time, when I was there alone, trying to make the food go down, I glanced at the clock, and waited for the seconds hand to move, as it did, second by second, not in one smooth motion – but it didn’t.
Maybe everything would be different had I acted on my impulse. Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting in this little office room in our yellow house, for example.
Maybe I’d have another job, maybe I would wear a suit every day, and not just on days when I want to pretend to be a guy who wears suits to work, like today. Maybe I wouldn’t have seen the Life of Brian, and maybe I still couldn’t tell the Spice Girls apart.
A few days ago, I put on my father’s IT support person’s hat on and tried to help him hack into his own Apple account so he could buy an app. It was fairly easy, or should have been, as it was the same IT support person who had once created the account and the password to go with it. However, once again, I had been too clever for my own good, or the good of my father, because I simply couldn’t remember the password and had to take the bonus round: the secret password questions.
First question: What was the name of your first pet?
Since the questions were designed to retrieve my father’s password, not mine, I hesitated at first, but then asked him, “Maybe Roope?”
“Nooooo,” he said, “who’s Roope?”
Who’s Roope? Only the first pet I remember him having.
First of of all, I told the world, I’d work on my physique
“This year, I’ll go to the gym at least four times a week”
But 300 days later I have to concede
That I’m not made for life at the gym, simply because I am weak
If a song was written in 1904, is it a traditional folk song? Maybe not, but I didn’t care because I was in fourth grade, and I didn’t know the song was written in 1904, or that a version of it had been in an early 1960s Finnish movie. Our teacher had probably picked that one to make our music class a little more contemporary.
It didn’t, but I didn’t care. I just loved singing the song.
I sat in the front row, as I often did, being a small kid. The big kids could see from behind a smaller one, but us shorties wouldn’t have seen anything sitting behind a big, we were told, so I sat in the front row even in music class, even though it didn’t really matter there.
“Daddy, I can’t sleep … tell me a story … pleeeeeeease.”
“Try to think of something nice. Like, like, fairies, and butterflies.”
“You always say that butterflies are just overrated insects, that’s not nice, is it?”
“Well, no, I know. How about you think about, say, the Smurfs? They’re nice. And funny, remember how that one smurf always carries around those gift boxes that explode?”
“Yes. He’s Jokey Smurf.”
“Yes! What a funny guy!”