Friday, July 28, 2006

Don Juan in Helsinki: 4

Oh ho Donho, you are probably saying to yourself now, so who the devil is this world-famous star anyway? Why are you being so shy about typing her name--and instead just telling us, 'Hey people, Google who is the most popular singing star in Finland?' Are you so afraid of her lawyers? Well, yes I am. But I will tell you honestly who she is anyway, because I have no secrets from you. Her name begins with an 'M' and has two 'a's in it. And many many years ago, when I first moved to New York and she was still in art school or drama school or whatever, it was she who was my stalker. Yes, it's true. The young chicks have always been into me, even in the '80s. At that time, of course, I could not remember her name very well--too few double vowels. But now that she is very famous, naturally it is much easier for me to remember it, like Sony or Xerox. I have no trouble with these. Even so, I think of her by the name I invented for her, which remains much more 'real' for me. In those days she was a much smaller person, but already she was becoming a very loud and bossy nag. So my name for her was 'Jiminy Cricket'.

The plane takes off. Now the Strawberry has a new topic: Cricket. By now, sensing that perhaps my audience on the Internet will also find the bizarre events of this day of some interest, I have begun to record her chattering on my iPod. So, above the roar of engines, a child's loud wailing, the tinkling and the tweetling of Gameboys and Blackberries, and an annoying ambient echo, one can hear the Strawberry asking me if I am a 'fan'? Have I ever seen Cricket 'perform, like in person?' I have to bite my tongue. I certainly have seen her perform in person for sure, LOL! The Strawberry has just been to her 'Confessions Tour' concert in Chicago, and is very excited by the thought that her idol is now just a few metres away behind the purple curtain that separates us from first class. I can tell she is not sure that I am young enough to have ever heard Cricket's slutty chirpings on the radio. Hah! I have a few 'Confessions' I could tell as well! But I am too much the old-fashioned gentleman to ever be indiscreet, as you can tell at once from this blournal.

Next she tells me all about herself, which is so boring that I forget everything she says almost the instant it leaves her mouth. She is or was at the University of Chicago, either studying or teaching, I cannot remember which, the Kalevala, the great national epic poem of Finland. That is why she is flying to Helsinki, in order to research the subject in detail, particularly its trochaic structural links to other great epics such as the Welsh Mabinogeon, the 'Chronicles of Narnia', and 'even the Bhagavad-Gita.' Did I know that Lithuanian, for example, was linguistically related to Sanskrit? Nope, didn't know, don't care (ever met a Lithuanian? I have--not pretty.) Face to face she does not look quite so Simon Pure. I don't remember such a direct, blue-eyed gaze on the face of her imaginary mother. Nor do I remember any silver cross hanging around her freckled throat. OMG, does this mean the Strawberry is an Xian? Will I spend the next nine hours hearing about Jesus?? Men always say they prefer their ladies not to have any inhibitions, and certainly that is true for all the kinky hot times in bed together when you want to explore every hole. But instead this Strawberry girl seems to have no inhibitions in her conversation, which is very irritating. She is making me feel squirmy in those kinky places now--and not in a good way.

'Why haven't you ever married?' she is asking me now, having established this important fact about me earlier. 'Are you gay?' This question is not asked in a challenging way but sympathetically. I hate sympathy.

'No, no,' I say, careful not to deny this too much. One must employ the New York 'metrosexual' tone when answering this question. 'I just never met the right lucky lady. In fact, only today I was wishing that perhaps I had a child after all. Well, not a child, exactly, I mean a grownup son or daughter like yourself. Now, of course, it is too late.' Naturally, what I mean is that I am dying, but she is not to know that.

'Why is it too late?'

'Well, to be totally honest, I have lost all interest in women.' Why was I telling her this? To warn her off? I guess I did not want any complications on this flight. I could not rejoin the 'mile-high club' inside a business-class toilet cubicle even if I was crazy enough to want to. But now she is looking at me with even more of a pitying vibration. Ugh! : (

'There are pills for that, you know.'

'Yes, I know. But why would I want to drug myself in order to do something I no longer wish to do? I would never think of drugging a woman in order to have sex, so why should I treat my own body like that of a farm animal? It is the existential desire for women I no longer feel. I am not impotent, you know; I wake up every morning with a healthful erection!' On the recording, this last bit is surprisingly loud. In general, I am surprised and a little allergic to the sound of my own voice. I sound like a grumpy old man. Perhaps it is only the effect this silly, fleshy, clumsy young woman is having on me. But perhaps it's just as well the live podcast was a failure.

'You might want to if you really loved someone,' she is saying now, her face flaming all over with blushes.

'Well, I don't.'

'Poor you,' she replies after a few moments. Oddly, I don't remember at all hearing her say this at the time, but it is quite clear later on the iPod recording.

OK, now in the background there is a loud crashing and thumping. Even though it is still broad daylight, the flight stewards and stewardesses (a word which I have always loved more than any other, perhaps) are performing their ballet in the galleys, opening drawers, slamming drawers shut, clinking glasses, clashing cutlery, and microwaving the frozen slabs of food we have taken aboard at the airport. Then they will wheel them out to us on their surgical-looking stainless-steel trolleys. It has been so long since I have flown this class that I have forgotten how dreadful the food is, especially when it is catered on this side of the Atlantic. And, as Woody Allen would say, such small portions, too, ROFL! To make matters even worse, Cricket's entourage in the front rows are served the first class menu, which we all must smell and stare at in envy, though her personal chefs have disappeared forward to prepare her own private meal. Halfway through the meal, there is a great trembling and shaking of the purple first-class safety curtain, and then after some moments, out pops a person who looks just like a puppet in a Punch and Judy show. It is Cricket. She has become too bored and restless to enjoy her solitude in the first-class section any longer and has come back to visit her children and confer with her underlings. At once the smaller child begins to whine and howl again, and the larger one is led off to the toilet. The nannies keep their heads bowed and are careful not to catch Cricket's eye; later I overhear that at Cricket's home no servants are allowed to look at her or speak to her unless she speaks to them first. She seems very restless; perhaps it is the hour she normally has a workout. She paces up and down the aisles like a caged tigress with striped blonde hair on her too-big puppet head, blocking the trolleys and pausing sometimes to smile stiffly or even banter with some lucky peasant, like the totally thrilled Strawberry. Several times she looks directly down, but pretends not to recognize me--and suddenly I realize, with the cosmical human empathy that the passing of time has blessed me with, that all those many years ago I must have hurt her very deeply indeed for her to still be so bitter now. I find this thought almost erotic. And she is still not a bad-looking babe, too, though to be honest, she is getting a bit old for me.

Oh oh, jet-lag--I must go drink now. I will tell you the rest of this story later.

Next time: The House of Haynes.

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