No, my niche and destiny is the Suburban Pub, the Crud Collector of Finnish society. Shock-a-doodley-doo! Yeah.. I'm devastated too! Never thought about myself as a person who would think that sporting a wide Truckers Grin (that's a hairy, stinky show of ASS CRACK for you special education alumnis) while rockin' and rollin' to the tune of out-of-tune karaoke tune is a cool fucking fashion statement. Nor do I have the keen interest and passion required to teach meself the delicate fineries of belching the National Anthem. And I do not yet possess even one item of the belts, rings, pilot jackets, ice hockey shirts, necklaces or bracelets bearing the mark of the proud Heraldic Finnish Lion. (Someone's making mad money with that shit! Take a product, slap a Finnish Lion on it and sell it like crack! The R&D process goes like this: Hmmm... Tena Men's Diapers + Lion... Hey presto! Rolling in cash!)
Soo.. how did I come to this dismal mental place where I must look at myself through the intrusive and all-revealing lens of the Naked and Turn-Offery-Inducing (and more than slightly revolting) Truth? As it often does, it all began when we got up from the gaming table in such an inebriated state that we saw it fit and proper to first watch Juhlajätkät, and after that, to engage in the act of singing. There is no touchier scene than beard-boasting gamers bawling away Finnish rock. In this intimate moment there is no shame, no moderation (and no musicality), there's only slavic melancholy and alcohol-induced camaraderie. And downstairs neighbor banging at the radiator. In desperation. Trying to save his sanity.
So you can see that I already was, in a sense, without rather than within, the barriers we human beings set up for ourselves to protect from the madness that is lurking in the fringe areas of our society. So when our Rubicon came, and alea was about to be iacta'ed and the question concerning the location to be chosen for continuing the festivities out of audible range of the downstairs neighbor was uttered, I somehow did not manage to decline the offer to join conducting the act of carousing at the 'local place'. Normally I would not neglect to do so, as in my mind the 'local place' is not so much connected to a feeling of general merriment while downing some tasty brewed beverages, as it is connected to a feeling of dread for the shank that may be forcibly inserted to ones lower respiratory organs.
As an interlude, here, let me tell you something about Oulu City's regions and history: "...blah... blah... blah... blah... blah... blah... and because of that, Tuira, the cesspool of greater Oulu Area, has always attracted more than it's fair share of outlaws, cut-throats and other more shadowy, criminally insane and murder-mania-prone members of the underground." So there you have it! Extensive proof and cast-iron logic you can't argue against! I was however tipsy as a tiger and you know how well extensive proof and cast-iron logic will penetrate the skull of gamer geek who is drunk as a dingo.
In we went, and I was instantly knocked senseless by the loud music (of unknown variety, if played loud enough the brain cannot comprende de la musica, vaquero) and pervasive body odor we can thank the new Tobacco Legislation for. (Before, you could not smell the body odor as you had to wear a fucking oxygen mask to stay alive.) Like the seasoned alcoholinists they were, Tommi and Henkka had instantly scuttled to the bar to order some poison to dull the nasal nerves, leaving me there like a deer in headlights at the center of the floor. Swaying, I looked around and saw some of the characters this kind of place attracts: young hipstery men with cannabis-themed woolly hats, unabombery guy in ulster, big drunk she-hippoes that were showing people their adenoids, wide sweaty Trucker's Grins you could store your pint in, some shady characters in all likelihood in the process of negotiating a narcotics deal, and somesuch.
And BAM! Mr. Unabomber was within my personal space fixing his beady maniac-eyes to yours trulys mug like a cobra does when angling for a killing blow. It was steaming hot in the pub, but this guy had his ulster all buttoned up and his hands in his pockets, probably fidgeting with the trigger to his concealed dynamite belt. I did not have the guts to look down, but I suspect that where the ulster ended, bare, hairy and knotty bare legs started, before disappearing in rubber boots. Could be wrong there, though, you know how the memory does tricks when dipped into screamy horror.
His eyes twitched nervously and then he did his attempt to smile, baring his rotten teeth and said, all charming like a scorpion: "You must be one of them... Rockabilly-Spirited men, right?" *Twitch.* Rockabilly-Spirited was said in the suggestive tone of voice reeking of guys sucking each others cocks with gusto. I felt my anus tense, trembling in fear. It is not that I'm homophobic, it was more the idea that the fucking Unabomber potters around behind me with his stick of dynamite. Fearing for my life and that of the others I decided to play it cool. "Naw man, heard a couple of songs by Danko Jones, but that's it." Twitch. The temperature instantly dropped for 20 degrees centigrade and the Attempted Smile died like an amoeba in desert. "That's it?" Twitch. The voice was like a butcher's knife screeching against bone. Twitch. "Yeah, I'm more of a heavy metal guy.", I said, gesturing that, nice talking to you, oh shit I'm thirsty and there my friends are and I'm just gonna go and...
I flashed behind the corner of the bar to get some cover from the inevitable shrapnel and saw mr. Unabomber first standing still looking at me intently and then scampering backwards back to his ambush site against the wall like a receding fucking moray, hands still deep in pocket. Oh boy, that was a close call I thought, noticing cold sweat pouring from my brow and decided to order something to flush the fear from my throat.
I turned my head to get the attention of the barman and stared right into the gaping maw of the aging she-hippo with an enormous loose denture. The she-beast clenched its jaws and produced a drunkenly guttural growly noise and it took me a while to understand that it was trying to communicate with me. Then it closed it's maw, batted the eyelashes tattered with thick layers of mascara, pursed the loose, widely displayed sacks of mammary glands with its tree-trunk-like arms and leaned towards me and displayed again the dental prosthesis between the fleshy, generously painted lips in a smile-like grimace. It became evident, that the she-beast was the primary source of the body odor and the stench of week old excessive cheap perfume in these parts of the watering hole.
I was already in the middle of the transaction with the barman so there was no escape before I got back my credit card. I confess to fearing the loose mega-denture for my life, for if they had slipped, I would have certainly lost half of my face in one river boat destroying snap of the yaws. I tried to buy time by apologizing for not hearing and leaning away from the snapping yaws. A big mistake. For the stench and the huge hippo-maw leaned to lethal radius and the beast roared drunkenly: "Wouldsh ya happen to be pick-uppable, hon!" Dazed, I realized that the abomination wanted to mate with me!
If the smell had not knocked me windless, I surely would have screamed and gotten mauled by the huge animal in response. Luckily, at that instant I felt the credit card in my hand and sending a thank you prayer for both Dionysos and the barman I run a way with my drink like a scared little girl. I looked for a safe haven in panic, when I noticed Tommi and Henkka in corner talking gamer stuff like nobody's business. Thank ye gods! Gamer talk is like insect repellent. True, it repels indiscriminately, driving away hippoes, maniacs and hot chicks alike, but being a happily married man, I do not care. I dashed in to the corner and covered there, protected by and vigilantly contributing to the atmosphere of elves, dice, orcs and space marines. If we just could keep the nerdysphere powered up, I was safe!
Alas, the excitement and my body conspired to betray me. I soon felt certain urges in my nether regions that would not take no for an answer. Try as I may, the mouse was already peeking from it's hole and my sphincter was valiantly fighting a battle it could only lose. Earlier I had noticed that mr. Unabomber had left the premises and that the she-hippo had found a victim that it was swapping bucket loads of spit with. The grisly face-suckage victim was apparently dying and his hands journeyed the vast expanses of Loose-Boob Land in an desperate attempt to find the behemoths kill switch. All in all, the route to the bog seemed clear, but who knows what other unspeakable horrors there could be in a wilderness like this? But when the nature calls, you simply do not hang up the phone. To do so results invariably in catastrophic failure in the Dam-up-the-Shitcreek-on-Avon. Concentrating the fusion power roughly 50/50% to my legs and to my sphincter, I sprinted down to the bog, hoping with all my remaining hopage that the stall would be empty.
Luckily it was. There are reliefs, and then there are Reliefs. Realeasing the trout to the mountain stream after a long wait is a Relief, if any. So I bombed away, at the same time marvelling the creativity of fellow human beings who had carved and written the stall walls with their poetry, witticisms and phone numbers of traitorous exes. The artistic drive, if not skill, was stunning. It was like looking at aboriginal paintings in Australia. It seems that when wild in nature, or free of social convention inside the privacy of a shit booth, man is at his most genuine and basic state, and the creative juices start to run amok. The only minor thing lessening my enjoyment was that the stall door lock kept falling open and I had to manually keep it in the locked state.
Just when I was about to finish the carpet bombing with my Primus Opus, Fat Boy with a nuclear smell, there was a loud banging on the stall door. Startled, Fat Boy refused to let go. Crap! Was it the Unabomber with a wily smile and a big bomb with a burning fuse? Or perhaps the she-hippo had lost it's prey? Looking below the door I saw a pair of cannabis patterned sneakers and I lost my horror. It was just one of them pot-smoking lethargic hipsters. The realization came too late however, as Fat Boy had returned to bomb bay and had no intention of taking his righteous fury to the enemy compound on the riverbank.
That's not how you win wars, private! So I decided to make one more bombing run, and do it properly this time. So I set the safety to "Fire" and started counting the time for bomb release. "5... 4..." The bomb bay doors were once again open and the breeze washed over the lethal tip of Fat Boy. The altitude was pitch perfect and I lowered the air speed a little. "3..." I got the visual to the Target Zone and readied myself for the explosion. The other hand kept the stall lock from falling open and the other was on the imaginary bomb release catch. Soon... soon! "2..." *Bang-bang-bang!* The fucking hipster made me abort my bombing run a second time! Fat Boy winced and retreated to the corner of the bomb bay and I knew that no amount of coaxing could pep him into third try on this mission.
Fucking pacifists, getting in the way of my Shock and Awe! I yelled that the door banging would NOT help and I would come out when good and ready. Ever tried wiping, yelling and holding a stall door lock at the same time? After having endured a hefty amount of recreational alcohol? Yeah, it dont' work. I did not fumble with the cleaning of the Bomb Bay Doors, but the stall door opened a bit on the early side. I have never drawn my trousers up that speedily, nor have I ever been that angry at the bog. "IF you don't mind, I'll zip up and THEN you can have the booth.", I growled between my teeth, just like Eastwood does. Instead of being suitably afraid and impressed, the stonerjust stood there like a slot machine, his eyes rotating and suddenly I knew that the fucking hippie was about to hit the jackpot just then and there and I was right in front of his slot. The horror.
I narrowly escaped the hurl and washed my hands listening to the sounds of violent upheaval. At that point my nerves were wrecked. Holy cow, I just could not take it anymore. So I called the missus and asked her to come fetch me. Defeated, I exited the local place swearing never to return again.
I have been in normal bars since. But like a journalist returning from the war zone the 'normal' just does not cut it anymore. I'm having recurring dreams about the 'local place' and it saddens me to concede: I miss the exitement, the feeling of being alive you can only achieve when facing the mortal danger. I try to delay it as much as I can, but on some level, deep down, I know that the suburban pub is a place where I'll return someday.