Joulunalustaikaa

On taas se aika vuodesta. Meillä ei ole tänä vuonna joulukalenterin joulukalenteria, eikä koristeita vielä esillä, enkä joulumielestäkään ole ihan varma (ehkä siksi, etten oikeastaan tiedä, mitä se tarkoittaa edes), mutta joulu se on kolmen viikon päässä enää yhtä kaikki. Viittä vaille kaikki lahjat on hankittuna, kiitos verkkokauppojen. Ehkä pari viimeistä juttua löytyy Stadin joulumarkkinoilta ensi viikolla, se olisi ainakin suunnitelmana.

Kävelen keskustassa satunnaisesti viikottain, onhan toimistomme ihan ytimessä ja välillä on asioita hoidettavana siellä täällä. Aleksin perinteinen joulukatu avattiin kai pari viikkoa sitten ja Stockmannin perinteinen taiaonomainen jouluikkunanurkka on yhtä hohdokkaan hohtava kuin aina. Katselin sitä erään kerran ohi kulkiessani ja hetken aikaa tunsin itseni lapseksi jälleen.

Helsingissä on Tuomaan markkinoiden aika. En kai ole koskaan käynyt katselemassa, mutta faija vierailee markkinoilla joka vuosi. Pitkät piuhat yhdistivät vasta ihan tässä viime viikolla, että nehän on niinkuin ne keski-Euroopassa ihastelemani joulumarkkinat. Ihan täällä kotikaupungissa. Markkinakojuja nousi kolmen sepän patsaan luo myös tässä viime viikolla, mutta tori ei vielä ollut auki, kun keskiviikkona siitä ohi kuljin.

Jouluinen Helsinki valoineen ja jouluikkunoineen on melkein yhtä kaunis kuin kesäinenkin ja omalla jouluisella tavallaan todella tunnelmallinen. Omallakin kuistilla on “jouluvaloja”, lyhtyjä ja kynttilöitä, joskaan en niitä ihan suoranaisesti miellä jouluun liittyviksi kuin pimeän kauden tunnelmavalaistukseksi. Joulunalusaikaan liitty paljon taikaa jos sen vaan antaa vallata ja viedä mukanaan ilman stressiä ja paineita.

Minulla on joulun kanssa vähän sellainen viha-rakkaussuhde. Toisaalta pidän joulun tuomasta valosta pimeyden keskelle ja rauhallisesta yhdessäolosta perheen kanssa, lahjojen antamisesta ja hyvästä ruuasta. Toisaalta jouluun on vanhempien erosta lähtien liittynyt jonkintasoista ahdistusta, sillä silloin nuorena kärsin siitä, kun vanhemmat riitelivät siitä missä minä ja sisko ollaan milläkin kellonlyömällä, eikä meiltä kukaan kysynyt, miten ME haluttaisiin joulua viettää. Ja tietenkin se klassinen lapsen toive, että vanhemmat olisi jouluna yhdessä. Se toteutuikin pari kertaa sitten kun olin jo aikuinen ja äiti itsekin.

Enimmäkseen olen tuon ahdistuksen jo jättänyt taakseni, huomaan. Suurta jouluihmistä ei minusta saa tekemälläkään, mutta vuosi vuodelta huomaan, että joulun taika ottaa aina hivenen tiukemmin minusta kiinni, sellaisella sekoituksella perinteistä ja ei ollenkaan niin perinteistä joulutunnelmaa. En kaipaa pipareidenpaistoa – mutta olen iloinen, että tosikoinen kaipasi ja niitä paistoi ja tekipä piparkakku-intiaanileirinkin meille. Glögi kuuluu vuodenaikaan ja parit joulutortutkin ihan varmasti tulee jossain välissä paistettua. Vaihdoin Facebook-kuvani tonttulakkikuvaksi ja kansikuvan piparkakuiksi. Maalasin jouluisen kuvan, josta teetin pienen määrän joulukortteja edes joillekin sukulaisille lähetettäväksi (jos löydän jostain vielä osoitteita).

Jouluiset elokuvat ovat aina kuuluneet tunnelmanluojiin. Jouluelokuvia on maailma pullollaan ja Netflixistä olen katsellutkin muutaman ihan uuden ja ennestään tuntemattoman jo. Jouluklassikoideni katselun aloitin heti joulukuun ensimmäinen päivä elokuvalla Holiday. Love Actually on leffa, joka katsotaan yhdessä ainakin esikoisen kanssa, ja sitten on vielä Borrowed Hearts ja vasta juuri joulun alla katsottava White Christmas – the ultimate jouluelokuva.

Lahjojen paketointirituaaliin kuuluu Ally MacBealin joulu-CD ja viinillä terästetty glögi illan pimeydessä – siksi en kai vielä ole paketointia aloittanutkaan, vaikka iso osa lahjoista jo piiloissaan odottaakin. Muutoin meillä soi ehkä eniten We wish you a metal Christmas (“grandma got ran over by a reindeer…” :D ) ja itse polttamani kokoelmalevy Christmas goes POP. Nyt olisikin jo sopiva hetki kaivaa joululevyt esiin ja laittaa soimaan. Joulua ei saa aloittaa liian aikaisin syksyllä, muuten siihen ehtii kyllästyä ennen itse joulua!

Joulualustaika on minulle vähän niinkuin erotiikka. Täysi alastomuus on ennemmin pornoista kuin eroottista, liian paljastavat vaatteet eivät jätä mitään mielikuvituksen varaan. Liiallinen joulukoristeiden määrä ja joululaulut joka tuutista tukahduttavat ja tukehduttavat eivätkä jätä mitään salaperäistä ja mystistä jouluun vaan levittävät kaiken esille. Joulun taika on hienovaraista, vihjeitä ja ripaus mystiikkaa. Valoja pimeässä, hyvää mieltä ja hienoista odotusta. Minkä? No sen, millaiseksi joulu kulloinkin muodostuu yhdessä perheen kanssa.

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The world post-truth

Post-truth, Oxford dictionary:
Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:
‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’”

wolfdoesntlosesleepPeople like Trump play with what they consider as weakness in other people: emotions. They are like the wolves that don’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep. Being sensitive, being sensitive to other people, being emotional, is often times considered as a weakness by people who believe that they can do just because they can. Nevermind the smaller ones, who, in their eyes, are too weak to fight. Like the sheep. Those people tell the sensitive person that they are disgusted by their butt-hurt over something. They believe their standard of cold and bold is the standard by which everyone should be judged.

Being sensitive is ok. Being hurt is fine. Reacting to hurtful things is ok too. It’s the bully who is weak. So weak that they cannot take it that someone is different than they are. So weak that they have to put others down in order to make themselves (appear) big. So weak that they cannot afford to consider other people’s emotions in fear of losing themselves and what fragile ego they have. Kindness is not a weakness, it’s a virtue and only the truly strong ones possess it. Strength lies in the ability to be there for other people (too), not just for yourself. True strength is when you are hurt, but you still go on and not only go on for yourself but for others as well.

So, people are easily manipulated because of their ability to feel and because their actions can be affected by affecting the emotions. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s right. So, many people are like sheep or cows, following the herd mindlessly or half-mindedly, especially if there is the promise of a reward that will make them feel good. Be it a free bucket or discount on pizza or a president who supposedly will make your life great again.

The gullibility of people does not mean that they should be taken advantage of. On the contrary, it calls for a responsible leader who will take care of the people in a responsible way, guiding them to truth and goodness instead of selfishness and feel-good lies. Utopia, I know. Unfortunately those who want power, don’t usually really regard truth very highly. Unfortunately those who have it in them to make it to the top of the political game, are those wolves, those bullies without virtue. For those who would make the best and most righteous leaders, fall off early even when trying. Weak, they are dubbed, too kind and nice. When did that become a flaw?

Why do we look up to the crude and ruthless for guidance? Why not to the Mother Theresas of this world? Why do we look up to the selfish to care for us instead of looking up to the ones who actually care about others? Why do we call emotions and sensitivity a weakness? Why is a Shrek-y kind of abrasiviness called strength?

There’s a lot of talk about harrassment in schools, bullying and how to stop it. It won’t. Not in a society as ours in this western world where the adult world around the kids constantly shows the example that the bullies will rule the world. That the sensitive and kind are weak and that it’s ok to put them down, just because you can. As for those bullied around, adults tell them to grow a thicker skin. Sure, it’s good to be able to protect yourself from the bullies of the world, but I would still rather see a world where bullying is frowned upon, not hailed.

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Up until the social media took over the internet within the past ten years, people didn’t have the forums to affect others in such vast and global ways. We relied on newspapers for the truth and mostly they delivered the truth. With social media enabling anyone anywhere to post articles that look like truths, the full-blown manipulation of crowds has become way too easy. Anything that can be used, can be misused. The world is ruled by the unethical people willing to lie for their cause. A cause that requires lies is not a good cause to begin with.

You ask me, we don’t live in a post-truth world only, we live in a post-ethical world. A world where ethical is an ancient word with a faded meaning. A world where it seems more important to hold on to your own beliefs than to see the person next to you. “So, when was the world ever ethical?” you ask. A very good question. Perhaps it never was. Perhaps the philosophical era of ancient Greece was closest to it, closest to a utopian world of acceptance of difference, of true discussion between different beliefs.

BothAreRightMy rebuke goes to both parties. The conservatives and the neoliberals, liberals, the supposedly permissive people. Both parties believe in their own cause and refuse to engage in a real discussion with the other party. The liberals who preach tolerance, but are more intolerant than any when it comes to people who have a different opinion and belief. There’s good and valuable on both sides and everywhere in between where most of us fall.

If only people could lose a little bit of sleep over the others’ opinions, in the way of allowing them to mold their understanding of the world. If only people would understand that their truth is not the absolute truth. If only peopl understood that in human life, human world, there often times is no absolute truth. There are as many sides to each story, as there are people involved in it.

It is only human to forget this, of course, and many times actually the most empathetic people are the most easily swayed by one side of the story only. I get reprimanded by my husband quite many times for this exact “sin”.  That is exactly what makes people so easy to be manipulated. That is exactly the reason empathetic and sensitive people are considered as weak. Because the “strong” and ruthless can so easily take advantage of them.

I believe, however, that the real strength is in the sensitive and gullible people because they continue to go on and believe in people even after getting hurt so many times before. Take that, you abrasive beings who need to shield yourself from feeling in fear of breaking.

 

An der schönen blauen Donau

Bored on board
Somewhere above Europe, Mon 14. November 2016, 10:00 EET

I have a book. The flight’s not even that long. But I’m bored. Too tired to read, yet too awake to nap. I’m not really even able to nap in airplanes (or trains, or buses, or…) unless Im unearthly exhausted and fall asleep despite myself.

Just had my third cup of coffee, together with a blueberry juice. My diet this morning has been rather liquidy. At home, I had a cappucino and a glass of red grapefruit juice. At the airport a cappucino and a blueberry smoothie. And now, well, you already know now. The snack cart is just about to reach me, but I think I’ll save my hunger for later and eat when I get to Vienna.

So I left the snowy Helsinki for a few days again. Last week I spent a couple days in cold but snowless Iisalmi and another couple of days in semi-snowy Heinola and then the weekend at home, trying to avoid needing to go outside or do too much inside either. I was determined to rest, but I AM the mother of a family and I HAD been away for most of the week, so really, dream on.

I did get to sleep in, though. Usually I do. Even our dogs don’t harrass me out of bed until closer to noon; they have quite efficiently adapted to our late and lazy life rhythm. Around one pm on Saturday I shook my teens awake and left the dogs in their care while I slightly reluctantly accompanied my husband to the stores. It was MY dad coming to visit on Sunday, after all.

Looking back on Saturday, I didn’t really do too much after we came back from the store, just the usual: hanging up laundry, cooking for kids, taking dogs out, warming up sauna, going to sauna, etc. Still, I was struggling to get one lousy movie watched from Netflix. Interruption after interruption even though the teens were mostly glued to the TV with Playstation Minecraft. I know, I can’t do the math here either :D

Sunday was Father’s Day. None of our kids were with their own dads for the day. No cards, no Father’s Day gifts, just text messages or a brief phone call to wish their dads a Happy Father’s Day. I had a card a a gift for mine. One I made myself, for that matter: one of my watercolor paintings photographed and then printed on canvas. I told my husband that he’ll probably get a Father’s Day gift from his daughter again, when SHE’s 41 in turn.

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The things and people you take for granted. Your parents are supposed to be there always and only after they start passing away, do you realise how precious it is to have them. My grandma was supposed to outlive me (you know, supposed to be invincible and immortal) and my mom’s life was cut quite short. The rest of my grandparents have been fertilizing graveyards for a long time already. It’s only my dad and his wife left anymore for me, of the older generation, that is.

I’m so happy my sister and I have been talking regularily lately. Many years passed when we talked only a few times a year, not out of spite or anything, just out of busy lives. Now we have a weekly Skype date and it’s great! This week I probably can’t make that date, though, what with being in Vienna and not knowing if there’s any possibility or even time for it.

An hour to go still, almost. Maybe I’ll try to read some more.

Glühwein, apfelpunsch and the beautiful city of Vienna
On the soft bed in my decadent hotel room, Mon 14. November, 2016, 18:06 CET

The flight came to an end in due time, and I scrambled out of the plane with all those people who seem to have ants in their pants when it comes to getting out of the aircraft (seriously, it would all go so much more smoothly, if everyone would just remain seated until the row in front of them has got their carry-on stuff and is getting out instead of crowding the aisle and pushing forth and whatnot) and made my way to the CAT – the City Airport Train. It took me to the center in 16 minutes exactly, exactly as promised (Helsinki, really, there’s something to learn from here!) and I spent those minutes contemplating between walking and taking the U-bahn.

I was almost heading towards the U at the central station, thinking that I’d probably rather make my detours in the city without my luggage (tiny carry-on roley-poley, but still), get to the hotel as fast as possible to leave the extra baggade behind and actually head to the conference center for this roundtable thing, when my eyes hit the prize. If there is one thing, one single thing that I indulge in on every trip I make outside of Finland, it is allowing myself an approx. 100€ purchase in Desigual. No Desigual in Finland, and I resist the online stores. There was a Desigual there, right there at the central train station, right in front of me.

Luggage or no luggage, I went inside to take a look and immediately saw way too many wonderful things. After some wandering around I selected two dresses for fitting. Right at that moment my phone rang. Call #1 from my youngest teen. There I was, talking on the phone, trying to figure out some school stuff, telling the girl to take care of the school business with her dad or step-dad while I’m away, and holding those dresses in the other hand. The clerk came along to my rescue, taking the dresses to the fitting room for me. I followed soon and tried on the dresses, thinking that they’re both way too nice.

Finally I made my decision with the help of the clerk, bought the dress and a scarf and stepped out of the store and out of the station. Somehow the Desigual had given me such a euphoria that walking seemed like the only reasonable option. I typed the hotel address in googlemaps on my phone and set to walking. I knew my hotel was pretty much in the center, a rock’s throw (couple km) from the central station, but I did not realize my walk would take me through all those nice shopping streets and Weinachtsmarkts and by beautiful churches and all that jazz.

For a while, I was lost in Vienna. Not lost lost, I mean I knew where I was and all, but I was lost in the beauty and the atmosphere and the stores :D Although, I visited only H&M for a shirt (how stupid of me to not have packed a long sleeve other than a hoodie) and “tuliaiset” – gifts – for my teens, and I only stopped once for some apfelpunsch at Stephanplatz (the jul-boot-mug was so cute I had to take it with me!), but I felt like the city was drawing me in and I could just lose myself there.

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Finally I wound my way to my hotel, a little past noon. I hadn’t really taken so much time walking there, it just felt to me like time had stopped or something. My room was not ready yet, as I had anticipated, so I left my bag in the luggage room and set off to find my way back to Stephanplatz to take the U to the conference center from there. I thought I had my compass calibrated, but when I checked googlemaps, I was way off. A little detour it was then, but a pretty one. Anyhow, I was at the conference center sometime around 1pm. I registered, got my pass and asked about that roundtable thing but nobody knew anything about it. We looked for it for a while, until I thought to check my emails and, duh, it was canceled.

My whole day plan was kinda cancelled with that and for a while I felt lost in a different way, wondering what to do next. Sightseeing? Back to the hotel to see about my room? Walking a bit? For lack of a better plan, I started walking towards the shores of Donau. The bridge that showed in the map was not there, so I walked to the one where the U1 stops in the middle of the bridge. Donauinsel. Sun was shining sweetly and I already planned to walk all the way back to the hotel. Only three km or so. However, on the other side of Donau, my backpack started to feel a bit heavy on my shoulders and my feet started to feel a bit tired in the boots. I had already walked several kilometers with the extra weight of my backpack. So I hopped on the U again.

Back on Stephansplatz and I was hungry. It’s all kind of fancy there, design stores and modern looking restaurants and bakeries with extravagant chocolate masterpieces on display. I wanted a nice small restaurant, not expensive, no white tablecloths, no pretense and preferably a meal that would keep me happy until tomorrow, or at least late evening. I walked in circles, scanning the shops and restaurants and cafés and finally settled on a simple enough looking place that offered simple Austrian cuisine. I had some schweinkoteletts with fries and a coke (water was expensive there, and I have this principal about how much I’m willing to pay for water) and left happy.

Stopped by the Starbuck’s for a Grande Cappucino (ah, the warm feeling of safety in an international chain when it comes to coffee), visited a couple stores for a little bit of something for the kids and myself too before heading back towards my hotel again. On the way, though, I got lured to another Weinachtsmarkt for some glühwein, and then there was the call #2 from youngest teen.

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When I finally made it to the hotel, I was handed my room key along with a “the wifi and minibar are free of charge for the superior room” and the bellhop brought my luggage all the way to the room for me and asked if there was anything else he could do for me before he left me in my room. I had barely settled when the phone rang, the room phone, and in my confusion I lifted the receiver to my deaf ear and wondered for a split second why the sound was so muffled. Switching ears, I heard the lady from reception asking me if everything was good and whether I was lacking anything. Slightly bewildered, I told her everything was just dandy. And it was, still is!

Here I am, feeling like a princess, or something. I mean, it’s not out of this world luxury or anything, but way finer than the Sokos hotel in Iisalmi, let alone that Seurahuone dump I stayed in the first time there. Here I am, exhausted but thrilled to be here, missing my family, but feeling as good about this kind of a trip as one can possibly be. I’m just so happy I’m not staying in any of those colossal hotels closer to the conference center. This here, perfect!

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P.S. To my husband, who is probably worried: no, I have not spent hundreds of euros here. Just some very moderate shopping. And Desigual.

Omenoita, lehtiä ja lentolaukku

Viime viikonloppuna oli vielä liki kymmenen astetta lämmintä. Sää oli harmaa, yöllä oli satanut (kumpanakin yönä, mitä siihen tulee) ja maa oli märkä. Teineille oli annettu ukaasi: ei suunnitelmia viikonlopulle, sillä piha oli hoidettava talvikuntoon. Puolilta päivin lauantaina siis keräsin enemmän tai vähemmän vastahakoisen nuorisojoukkomme pihalle ja suoritin käskynjaon: ensin keräätte pihalta omenat, sitten tartutte haravanvarsiin. Itse jäin haravoimaan takapihaa miehen hoitaessa kauppoja ja ruuanlaittoa, sillä isäni vaimoineen oli tulossa meille syömään iltapäivällä.

Kuukausi-pari takaperin meillä oli suuria suunnitelmia omenoidemme varalle. Mies oli ostanut vanhan omenamurskaimen/pusertimen ja kunnostanut sen tosikoisen avustuksella ja puristanut ensimmäiset pari litraa mehua keräämistäni omenoista illan pimetessä. Seuraavana iltana yritimme jatkaa hommaa kovin odotuksin; olin pessyt kymmenkunta litran muovipulloa mehua varten ja tehnyt niille tilaa pakastimeen. Saimme pari litraa mehua puristettua, kun laitteesta rikkoutui pultti. Mies sitä tutki siinä iltasella ja löysi sopivan osan suorastaan kotoa, mutta oli jo liian myöhä. Ja sitten sää muuttui radikaalisti sateisemmaksi ja koko mehunteko loppui siihen.

Viime viikonloppuna ei siis enää mitään mehuja edes yritetty omenoista tehdä, vaan nuoret keräsivät kuution omenaa maasta ja dumppasivat ne tuonne kompostiin. Hyviä omenoita, tai siis ne olivat hyviä ennen kuin syksy ehti näin pitkälle ja ne alkoivat kaikki olla jo vähän tai vähän enemmän mätääntymisen puolella. Molemmat omenapuumme tuottavat todella herkullisia isoja omenoita. Napsin niitä suoraan puusta silloin sun tällöin. Tuoretta omenaa riittää elokuun lopulta pitkälle lokakuuhun, sillä puut kypsyttävät omenansa vähän eri tahdissa.

Ylellä kirjoitettiin jokin tovi sitten, että haravoinnin voisi unohtaa ja lehdet silputa ruohonleikkurilla nurmikon ravinnoksi. Yritin kaupata ajatusta miehelle, joka kuitenkin torppasi sen saman tien ja ilmoitti, että not gonna happen, koska kaikki on niin märkää. Aika raskasta puuhaa olisi sekin kyllä ollut ja onhan tuota lääniä leikattavaksikin, jos kohta haravoiminenkin ottaa voimille ja aiheuttaa hiertymiä.

Lauantaina tehtiin hommia reilut pari tuntia. Paljon ei enää sunnuntaille jäänyt, tai siltä lauantaina näytti. Pari tuntia siinä silti sunnuntainakin vierähti, haravoidessa loppuja (ja osaa pihasta uudestaan yön tuulien lennätettyä lehtiä sinnekin, mistä kerran oli jo haravoitu). Pihapöydät ja -tuolit sun muu kesäroina laitettiin varastoon tai paketoitiin pressun alle talon viereen. Grillit pakattiin pois. Vaihdettiin autoon talvirenkaat, mikä tuntui jälleen hieman absurdilta, kun ei lumesta vielä ollut jälkeäkään.

Tieto kuitenkin oli ja maanantaina jo ilma viileni huomattavasti. Keskiviikkona pöllytti lunta tupaan ja talvirenkaat olivat enemmän kuin tarpeen. Luin uutisista, kuinka ihmiset jonottivat renkaanvaihtoon useita tunteja. Talvi pääsi yllättämään, taas. Ei meitä, tosin, vaikka viime tippaan homma jäikin. Monesti tuossa viikolla taputeltiin itseämme selkään siitä, että saatiin kuin saatiinkin piha pakettiin ja talvirenkaat autoon ennen lumen tuloa. Talvi on aikaisessa, me oltiin vähän myöhässä, mutta ei se mitään.

Tänäänkin tupruttelee lunta ja alkuviikoksi on luvattu suorastaan myräkkää etelä-Suomeen. Minä suuntaan huomenna kylmempään mutta vähälumisempaan pohjois-Suomeen pariksi päiväksi. Seuraavat pari viikkoa ovatkin yhtä matalalentoa ja välillä vähän korkeampaakin, kun ensin olen alkuviikon Iisalmessa, sitten loppuviikon Heinolassa, viikonlopun hätäseen kotona ja seuraavan viikon maanantaista torstai-iltaan Wienissä. Siellä sentään ehkä on vähän lämpimämpää. Ainakin juuri nyt weather.comin mukaan yhdeksän astetta lämmintä. Ei ehkä tarvitse edes kevyttoppista vaan se keveämpi syystakki riittää.

Samalla tässä tietenkin flunssa päätti yrittää painaa päälle. Minä en kuitenkaan ihan helposti antaudu. Echinea, Coldrex, C-vitamiini, sinkki, D-vitamiini, monivitamiini ja tupla-kortisoni. Aloitin pakkaukseni lääkintäarsenaalista, johon edellisten lisäksi vielä pakkasin mukaan Montelukastia, Duactia ja Buranaa. Minuahan ei flunssa juuri nyt mihinkään kaada! Iisalmeen pitää pakata mukaan pipo ja kaulaliina.

Lentolaukku on vielä jemmassa mutta ajatukset pyörivät jo sen pakkaamisessa. Vaikka Iisalmen ja Heinolan välissä olen yhden yön himassa, pakkaan koko viikoksi, sillä tulen keskiviikkona myöhään ja lähden torstaina aikaisin. Heinolasta voisi ajaa kotiinkin yöksi, mutta jaksamiseni vuoksi jään yöksi kummitädilleni siihen Lahden ja Heinolan väliin. Lapsillekin on parempi, ettei äiti aja väsyneenä kolaria ja kuole vaan on yhden yön enemmän poissa kotoa.

Ulkona tupruttelee yhä lunta. Keittiössä mies valmistelee porsaanpaistia. Yritän vielä rauhoittaa mieleni nauttimaan rauhallisesta vapaapäivästä kodin lämmössä. Pakata ehdin huomennakin.

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Sucker for the story-behind

In graphic user interface based software development there is the UX layer, the interface the user interacts with, and then there’s the functional layer with all the actual code in it. Probably somewhere there is also the data layer, that holds all the information the entirety of the software needs, the data the code intearcts with and then relays messages and actions to the user. Without the fuctional code, the user interface is just a pretty (in best cases) but dead picture. This code behind the user interface is referred to – quite logically – as the code-behind file.

This is pretty much how I view the world. Every image we see, every song we here, every person we interact with, everything we experience in daily life is just the superficial, just the user experience layer. We reeal a polished image of ourselved to other people. We receive and interact with a similar honed image of others. We watch a movie, we listen to an awesome band, we wonder about the kid who slapped another kid in school. Kids are not polished yet.

Often times, especially in the age of the Facebook, it’s quite easy to feel the sting of jealousy. Look at the perfect wedding and honeymoon photos of this person! See, how beautiful children that one has! Oh, these people are so perfect, they have it all! Just listen to this song, he is so talented and successful, his life must be a ball! Many people blame Facebook for this jealous behavior induced by perfect looking lives of other people, but even though I said “especially in the age of the Facebook”, I believe this is a very core trait in us people.

Who wouldn’t want to look good, even perfect in other peoples’ eyes? We show others what we choose to show, we tell others what we choose to tell, we share only what we choose to share. Whether it be in Facebook or in “real life” (I hate that term, by the way, because it indicates that communications in FB aren’t real), that’s the way we act. We show the nice UI, hiding the ugly looking story behind, into a story-behind file only a few people are allowed to access.

Some people are more open about their story-behind and some lock it down more tightly. Celebrities often times gain from opening up the story file to all the curious fans of the world. Some celebrities go on to fabricate a life more interesting than they really had, hiding the story-behind even deeper and actually reveal another image instead of revealing any reality behind it. Some people write their stories just for the sake of writing it, maybe hoping that reading it will some day help someone else who is going through similar things, or maybe to shine light on some otherwise hidden larger story.

The world is full of stories. Every person has one, a quilt of stories made of different story patches. Ecery place has one, woven in history by the people who lived there and passed through and stayed a while. Every object has one – maybe not the cow bell you by from a souvenir store or the brand new winter coat bought from Esprit, not the things straight out of a factory, but after they see life for a while, they get their story too. Like the cow bell. Maybe one day when I am gone, my daughter will want to keep it and tell her children that granny brought it from Seefeld. Maybe my winter coat will keep someone else warm some day like my grandma’s winter coat keeps me warm now.

I am a sucker for that story-behind. I love to hear the stories behind objects, places, people, music and books. Understanding – hearing or reading – these stories attach me to the *thing* with a special bond. Like Purnumukka. I needed to go see the place, when I heard the story of this brave woman who lived there. Later on, I read her book and felt like she had become a friend. Like Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl or Chili Peppers and Anthony Kiedis. After reading the stories behind, the music caught up a whole new intensity and feeling for me.

Even though I think this trait is in me somewhat stronger than average, I don’t think it makes me unique in any way. Isn’t this exact trait the reason for all the biographies and making of [movies] -documentaries etc.? The very human desire to understand the story-behind of other people, of incidents, of things and places. The story behind the movie, the rock album, the band the small town, the little object you bought at the flea market. Isn’t that the very essential that makes something dear to us, knowing the story-behind?

I come from a family of story tellers. If it wasn’t for modern technology, if it wasn’t for the ability to write things in books and blogs and whatnot, my family would be passing on tradition by the camp fire of the village. My grandfather –  as a teenager I loved to sit with him and listen to his stories – my grandmother, my dad, my mom, my mom’s parents, me, my sister, my kids. Story tellers. Tellers of the stories behind the appearances.