As I have mentioned before, I have another blog where I post about pretty much anything crossing my mind. The blog’s name is looking4troubles and it is still quite new, less than two months old.
While Rejuvenaction is and will always be the main hub through which I give my humble contribution to the cause of rejuvenation, I will post rejuvenation-related stuff on l4t too, hoping that people who end up over there to read other posts will become interested in rejuvenation as well.
As a formal introduction of l4t to readers of Rejuvenaction, I would like to copypaste my first l4t blog post in the category of rejuvenation—which I thought appropriate to call Rejuvenaction. The post’s title is How would you feel?
There is a story I would like to tell before I forget it. It is a real story, and in a very sad way, it is the perfect story to inaugurate this new category with.
About three weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were returning home from the supermarket on a Friday night. The end of March is still quite cold and dark in Finland, and when you’re carrying heavy bags full of groceries you generally want to get home fast, especially if you’re coming from a tiring and eventful week. We don’t live far from the supermarket, but the area is fairly isolated at night, closer to the outskirts than the city centre. Finland is a very safe country, and your odds to run into troubles are extremely low. Worst-case scenario, you might bump into a drunk, and dammit, most drunks I’ve met in Finland are more well-educated than your average Italian. But that’s not the kind of encounter we had.
We were talking about something I can’t recall when we passed next to a person. I couldn’t see this person very well. I had a feeling it was a woman, but that’s all I could tell. As we passed her, I thought I could hear a voice calling. Maybe it was her, but she was probably talking on the phone or something, I told myself. Then I heard calling again, and it was then I turned around to see if it was that person trying to talk to us.
It was an old Finnish lady, looking quite lost and tired. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the entire conversation line by line, so I’ll have to improvise a little as I translate from Finnish. My girlfriend is not yet fluent in Finnish, and she didn’t participate to the conversation. It was just me and the old lady.
“Yes?” I said.
“Sorry, how do you get on a bus around here? I’ve been walking back and forth for half an
hour and I got nowhere,” she replied.
“There’s a bus stop right there,” I said pointing at a stop less than 400 metres away, in the same direction we were going.
“What bus stops there?”
“79, it goes to Herttoniemi. There’s another stop over there,” I continued pointing at a stop at about the same distance in the opposite direction. “79 goes by that stop too. Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the city centre. I’ve been waiting for a bus over there for a while, but it never comes…” I am not quite sure where she meant. It probably was another stop close by, where bus 68—which does go to the centre—is systematically late. The lady started to look like she was about to cry. As she began rummagging in her handbag looking for something, I asked my girlfriend to take her phone out and check Google Maps.
“Would a bus to the central railway station be okay?” I asked the lady, since the station is located in the very city centre.
“It would be, sure…” she replied, as she looked around confused and visibly heartbroken. I told my girlfriend what to look for, and she quickly came up with a couple of options. I started explaining the lady what the options were, not yet convinced she was crying. Maybe she was just blowing her nose, I thought. I was trying to explain the quickest way to get to the centre, but as I’m not 100% fluent in FInnish, I didn’t quite know how to phrase what I wanted to say.
“Tell you what,” she said, “let’s forget the whole thing. I’ll just call a taxi.”
I insisted the bus stop was really close, and suggested I could come with her myself.
“No, don’t worry,” she answered, “I’ll find my way there. I’ve been living in Helsinki my whole life, that’s 70 years. Do I look my age?” she asked, with an incredibly bitter smile, made even more sad by her tears.
“You do,” I said after a brief pause. That’s possibly the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. “Are you alright, madam? I’m getting a little worried…”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m fine…”
“Again, how about I come with you to the nearest stop and we wait for the bus?”
“No, no, it’s not necessary. My fellow Finnish citizens don’t worry about me, I don’t see why you should…”
“It really would be no problem,” I insisted, talking over her.
“…Maybe where you come from, you have a better concept of love, and that’s why…”
“I don’t know about that, madam…”
“Well, that’s just my opinion. You both have been wonderful and I’m very thankful…”
She then proceeded to hug us both, and continued saying she would call a cab. I asked if she had a phone with her and knew where to call. She said she did. I asked if she was going home, and if anyone was there. She was indeed going home, but she said she lives alone. I tihnk I suggested a few more times I could at least wait with her until the cab arrives, but she was adamant I should not. She hugged us once more, and as I wished her all the best, she slowly started to walk in the direction opposit to ours, faltering along the way. We gazed at her for a minute or two. My girlfriend cried for a while, as I explained what we had said.
You might think I’m now going to complain about the supposed heartlessness of Finnish people the old lady hinted at, or about how we should take better care of the elderly. I won’t. I have never been a fan of placebo ‘solutions’. I belong to an entirely different school of thought, one that is thankfully gaining more and more popularity. I will tell you more about it in my next post in this category. In the meanwhile, I will leave you with one question. How would you feel if one day, you or your loved ones ended up walking alone on the street, sick and tired, barely able to walk, grieving your lost independence and fearing the few days left ahead, feeling abandoned and not even knowing how to get back home? This article on Business Insider may help you answering.