back when living in an island of africa, I spent my 21st birthday inside a haunted house napoleon once slept in, trying to find a small piece of something worth 1500 euros from a huge pile of old furniture, motor parts and tens of boxes of fake flowers. I was accompanied by three sardinian men, all either too old or too ignorant to pay attention to my magical day.
after not finding anything tangible after hours of digging in the dusty room, we returned to the small village where I lived in a four story house as the ninth weird member of famiglia. on the fourth floor, in a room with huge poorly isolated windows, I had a sofa-bed to share with a punkabbestia I had fallen in love with during one cold winter night in helsinki almost a year before my very 21st birthday.
after eating the dinner that evening, with all nine of us around one small square table, I climbed upstairs to lay on the sofa-bed and smoke. the house shared a wall with the church of the village of lingering houses built wall to wall to form a huge maze I easily got lost in when walking the blind bitch pitbull of ours. laying there, I could hear the church's bells sing for midnight, the hour of my birth. drinking from the mouth of a bottle of white while crying out of sheer happiness, I knew where I was from, where I was now, and in a weird way I knew where I was going.
now, late on a friday night of helsinki I am in in the company of '88, '89, '90 and '91 born mates, celebrating the 21st birthday of one of them. all of us, except for the one not turned the magical 21 yet, agree it to be the best age there is. gathered around an oval table, we eat cherry cheese cake and salt-dried vobla, and drink icy cocktails based on egg liquor, russian champagne and dark beer.
I could not be more happy as I am when sharing the space with amazing storytellers. for years we have formed an unofficial group of people who know what the term markku refers to, and thus gather around frequently to analyze its effects upon the world.
markku is a term attempting to define the kind of people who go on living their lives in the cloud of positivism. markkus lead their lives believing firmly the never fully analyzed view of life being about progression in the material domain. they are our engineers, our salesmen, our professionals. going around with the belief of saving a piece of the world everyday, they possess the sort of a logic behind their being that is worth a gift bag from all us sardonic.
tonight, we yet again share stories of encounters in the revolutionary world of markkus.
“when I picked you up today from kisahalli I remembered that some weeks ago I delivered a two liter oxygen bottle there.”
“for the people working out in the gym? pumping all the oxygen out of your body will do stuff to your brain I hear.”
“no, for the drunk tank.”
“imagine when, after a drunken night you will never in your life be able to remember anything of, you lay on a concrete bed dry as this vobla with your numb brain too lazy to properly control your breath. then, like angels appearing from a door to light two police officers enter the room and place an oxygen mask gently on your face. full of gratitude and bursting with newly found life, you vomit into it and the next guy they hand it to will smell your gentle fucked up breath.”
“a kiss from a drunkard to another.”
“speaking of medical equipment, I had the most david lynch moment of my life some time ago when I had to go and buy a special suction cup for a glass eye from the only place in helsinki where you can buy one. I found out online the place is in mikonkatu, in the same building where the casino is. in the lobby I looked up where the office of the company was and took the elevator to the top floor. I have been to many elevators around helsinki, but that elevator was the fanciest I have stepped into here. it looked as if somebody had rubbed it clean from top to bottom just a second before I entered.
the elevator doors opened to a long white oval room. I looked around for a reception desk or something which I could walk to and present my case, but all there was were three doors on one wall, a meter from each others, and few chairs. on them there were two retards, and a guy with an empty eye socket. I asked from him what I should do, and he said “just wait, they will call you out by name.”
so I sat there for some time, knowing that it was only slightly possible that my employer who needed the suction cup had called and said I was coming. suddenly, the middle door opened and a woman looked around without saying a thing. I stormed up to her and presented my case quickly, and she let me into the office.
it was one big room with huge windows facing the railway station square with a view over the city, to the west. when I entered I noticed all the three doors lead into it. the people working there can choose, based on where in the white waiting hall with chairs only on one wall a customer is sitting, to open the door number one, the door number two or the door number three and welcome the customer to walk straight ahead across the room from his seat to enter the office.
the view was really amazing, and I kinda felt sad for it being lost most of the time from the eyes of a man who in the corner, under some delicate instruments, was filing a white ball between his fingers.”
“so, in short, you are speaking about the best office real estate in the city dedicated for pedantic handicrafts and the ones who lack distance vision or sight altogether?”
“yeah. there are so many places in this city you could never dream to exist.”
“I work in a corner office on the third floor of a jugend building. on the street level there is a legendary tailor shop that has been there for decades. back in the eighties, the owner of the place took two young apprentices straight out from school. in the years that followed, he frequently stood leaning onto the drawing table without saying a thing as they hurried to finish suits for politicians working in the parliament just a couple of blocks away. often enough, he leaned closer and while leaning his head to his left hand he used the index finger of his right hand to tick his glass eye. tick, tick, tick, like the time ticking away.
at other times, he stopped all the work at the height of the hurry to have a meal at his house. his special dish was rabbit stew with red wine. he said, there is no bargaining with food.
after twenty years of apprentice, the master died, and bequeathed the shop for his apprentices. another earthly heritage he left was his glass eye placed in frames on the wall of the tailor shop, forever looking over the work being done.”
“now when I know that I am sure there will be a day soon when I will enter that shop with my camera, looking as if in the need of something tailored asap, only to ask if I can take a picture of the eye.”