the lobsterman

A FUNNY LITTLE THING LAST NIGHT. I was out with a friend and she noticed the spots on my shirt. I had been cooking and not noticed that some of the sauce had dripped everywhere. “I look like a goddamn lobsterman,” I told her in Estonian. Homaarimees. For Estonians, this makes no sense. Lobsters — homaarid — are not a regular part of their diet, and they don’t really know what a lobsterman is. This is something I knew from having grown up at the end of Long Island, which is more or less like New England. For me, the term lobsterman conjures up a rough and tumble character with a dirty old jacket and a stained shirt, someone who hasn’t shaved in a while, someone who has cuts on his hands. All of that is missing here, where they do not feast regularly on lobsters. There are cultural similarities with New England aplenty. To better explain myself, I told her that I looked like a fisherman. A kalamees. This, of course, she knows. Everyone knows what a fisherman looks like up north in these parts.

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