Friday, November 12, 2010

My life is not like the lives of other people, part N

A couple of weeks ago a man wrote to me on Facebook, saying he was my relative. This happens to me every once in a while; I have a lot of relatives and don't know half of them. He was clearly a descendant of one of uncle Leib's numerous siblings (uncle Leib's parents having been very religious, very careless or probably both).

I was kind of surprised to see I have a relative in London; I always figured that that branch of the family tends to live in Switzerland, the USA, Israel and maybe even Russia.

In any case, the guy - his name is Dima - was coming to Helsinki for a business trip, and we decided to hang out. Dima turned out to be a very pleasant and entertaining guy and we had a good if somewhat surreal time. Hope he didn't get too surreal an impression of Helsinki nightlife, and hope he doesn't have too much of a hangover, although considering that he is attending some company's pikkujoulut the latter is highly unlikely.

We started in Belge, and probably should have stayed there, but this was a "see as many bars as possible" night. There we tried to carefully unravel the mystery of our kinship, a delicate mission since in some places the family tree doesn't branch all that much, or resembles a network. I figured out that Dima's father's father's mother's mother was a sister of my mother's mother's mother, and we decided not to go into all the other, more distant ways he is related to me.

Later we decided to go to Torni and look down at the world. On our way down from there there was a bunch of Chinese-looking women waiting for an elevator. The elevator was on the 12th floor (that is where we were) but the button wasn't pressed. Dima pressed it, and the door opened, revealing two buttocks (dressed) and several suitcases.

The owner of the buttocks and the suitcases complained in English that the elevator wouldn't move, but seemed to have no intention of abandoning his quest, or the recalcitrant elevator. One of the supposedly Chinese women sighed and insulted the elevator's mother in very pure unaccented Russian.

Dima decided that we should attack the elevator anyway, and we did. Turned out that the elevator would go only to the 12th or 1st floor, and its occupants (ther was a smaller person hiding behind the buttocks owner) were extremely persistent in trying to get it to go to the 4th. We just pressed the 1st, and suggested that the innocent elevator victims take another one to the 4th.

Then we went to Rotterdam. Rotterdam was surprisingly empty, and I was a bit taken aback at the senior citizen asking in a rather faltering Russian whether he could sit with us. i would say no, but Dima already managed to say yes.

The senior citizen told us he loved Russia (which was rather obviously untrue), and tried to discuss Russian politics with us, which was hard, considering that we don't live there (Dima turned out to be a French citizen living in London) and don't follow it. The senior citizen then drank for the return of Karelia with us, and then drank again, and again.

Then he told us that he was responsible for Finland's policy towards Russia, that he met Brezhnev pretty often (we started asking whether he kissed him, too, but for some reason he didn't answer that), at least until Koivisto kicked him out, that later he became a historian and wrote a lot of books, that he graduated from France's most prestigious Grande Ecole for politicians, etc. We laughed at his stories, of which we didn't believe a word, and left when he became to drunk.

The laugh was on us. When I came home I googled the senior citizen, and he turned out to be the real thing.


Vera said...

Karjala takaisin: I left the name out for a reason. Of course people who know the man can figure out who he is from my description (and your guess was right), but there is no need for everyone who googles him by name to know what he does when really drunk. :)

Unknown said...

I believe, that the Torni elevators do stop for lower floors if you use a key card with proper access rights before pressing the button. I guess those cards are given to hotel guests. If those buttocks were holding said cards, they didn't know how to use them.

Burgeri said...

Karjala sekaisin!

I would really like to know who the old dude was... ;)

Vera said...

Burger: ask me about it on IRC when we are both awake.

Auri said...

Can you even give a clue? Aaargh, now this is going to drive me mad!

(I love your writing, btw. :)