kuidagi mõnus sügisene tunne

GOOD TO BE BACK as well. It’s not at all bad weather, far from it, the sun is out, the air is cool, there’s a kind of sweet, autumn feeling about, kuidagi mõnus sügisene tunne, and the market is full of berries, yellow potatoes, beans and even mushrooms, big, floppy beautiful ones. I got a good batch of blackberries, my favorite, but watch out, they stain. Tallinn. I guess I belong here, how natural it felt to just glide back into place at a cafe, pull out a pen or a keyboard, jot down some thoughts or type out a column. I’m a savage perfectionist as a writer. I write plenty of mediocre claptrap that never sees the eyes of the world. Long-winded essays that meander, go nowhere. No dialogue, no story.

Story is of the utmost importance though. Story is everything. Here begins another chapter of my story after a good long soak in the United States, where I re-acclimated, only to have to switch back into Estonian again (how funny, I have been writing in Estonian all these weeks, but to actually speak it again feels forced, stiff, not fluid). I’ve spent so much of my life here though it’s in my bones one way or the other. Those potatoes. Those piles of red and black currants. I know why the local people love them. The lines of girls behind the counters and they are so pretty with their yellow straw hair. This not in some lecherous way, they’re just beautiful. What a special, funny little place.

good to be away

I’VE BEEN AWAY for a week now and mostly acclimated to New York life. The famed ‘accent’ (oh-moi-goo-awd) is still jarring and strange (where did they come up with that one?) and there is this odd very newyorkese habit of both seeing one as the center of it all and colorful provincialism. New York is global and provincial, like us all, like us all.

There’s a local mats culture of guys with scruffy hair and pickup trucks. Supposedly, we must fear the wrath of these ultra-American road warriors or they will give us the Trump family for another four years. At a local graduation, a balloon popped in the hot sun, and the students looked around uncomfortably and tugged at their sweaty collars.

Estonia though is not only a nation, it’s a large extended family, with the rivalries, inborn competitiveness. “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” If the neighbor has 10 sheep, then, my god,  I’ll succor and nourish 400 of them! You call that tiny thing a bagpipe? This here is a bagpipe. So you got your photo taken with Tom Hanks? Well, I got my photo taken with Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise. So there!

It is my great fortune to not be a real part of that great warring family. I have the luxury of disappearing to New York, where no one knows anything about me. The anonymity is wonderful, dreamy, and yet frightening too. I know none of the neighbors. I know no one in the shops. This is how you wind up with these nightmare stories of kidnappings, murder, people who live with two thousand cats. No one knows what’s going on right next door. We are all from other places: Italy, Ireland, Japan, Israel, Ghana, Australia, India, Bangladesh, Turkey (many), Haiti, China (many more). Many amalgamations.

No one knows what is going on right next door.

These are the trade-offs, I guess. You trade anonymity for the security of knowing that, if someone steals your bicycle in Tallinn, there were at least five witnesses, two of whom are related to the culprit. One wonders what happens in smaller nations, like Iceland.

Perhaps one steals his own bicycle up there?