perjantai 4. joulukuuta 2015

4. luukku

"Alla oleva lyhyt teksti on peräisin tältä kesältä. Tykkään siitä, mutten ollut tähän mennessä löytänyt sille sopivalta tuntuvaa julkaisupaikkaa. No, nyt se löytyi.

Kiitokset Jennille avusta tekstin viimeistelyssä!"

Joonas Puuppo

I wrote the following on July 3rd, 2015.

I don't mind strangers coming up to me in public spaces and wanting to talk. In fact, I'd like to think of myself as someone who is interested in getting to know people and enjoys a good conversation. But when the same middle-aged guy approaches me in the same place twice (in June 2014 and today), starts asking me questions about my personal life within the first minute of our "conversation" while giving vague and short answers to any questions I ask, and doesn't stop trying to talk to me when I clearly indicate that I'm not interested (avoid eye-contact, start reading a book), I can't help but find that a bit unsettling.

It would trouble me much less if I had seen this guy in that same area more than twice, talking to other people. Then I could just come to the conclusion that "Oh, he's just that guy who likes to hang out around here and strike up conversations with strangers." But I haven't, unfortunately.

- "Coffee?”, he asks, and points to a nearby kiosk.

- "Umm, no thanks. I was just about to head to the grocery store, actually.

- "Ah, okay." Do I sense an undertone of disappointment in his voice? "You know, I was just thinking about what to cook for dinner today."

- "Oh."

After what felt like a minute of silence, I pretend to check the time on my phone.

- "Okay, I think I have to go. I'm seeing a friend later today." I stand up.

- "So, do you have family here?"

- "Nope, they live somewhere else."

- "Girlfriend?" he asks with a tone that is trying a little too hard to be light-hearted.

- "Umm." I open my mouth to answer, then close it. Why does he care? "It was nice seeing you. Have a nice rest of the day. Bye!"

I head straight to the grocery store even though I'm well aware I don't need anything. My pace is quicker than usual.

Later, at home, I unwillingly play back the events in my mind over and over again. Anxious to get the images out of my head I start googling, using strings of key words such as "same stranger twice public place uncomfortable creepy".


I am struck by how big of an impact what happened had on my mental state. The thing is, nothing really happened. A guy who had come up and talked to me a year ago came up and talked to me again. He was asking me for information I didn't feel like giving him and so I left. He wasn't angry, he didn't threaten me in any way, he didn't follow me. And yet I felt very uncomfortable afterwards. Am I going to go to that same public place to read and to enjoy the sunshine again? Yeah, I'm sure I will, but probably not tomorrow, or the day after that.

Without inflating this whole thing too much, I think it has given me a new perspective into what these situations can be like, what they can make a person feel, and why the people who have to deal with this kind of stuff regularly (mostly women) speak up about it. To an outsider it might seem like exaggeration. I have sometimes felt that way. Now, however, I'm strongly siding with the view that people make this sound like a problem because it is a problem. 

I wrote the following on August 23rd, 2015.

In some sense, I'm thankful to the middle-aged guy I met for (unknowingly) teaching me something new about myself. You don't really know how you'd react to a certain situation until your life throws you right into the thick of it. We should all keep that in mind when we struggle to understand the words and actions of others, whether the “other” is an old friend who hasn't kept in touch despite your best efforts, or a Syrian migrant crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a small inflatable boat. Imagine yourself in their shoes all you want, but remember this:

You don’t know.


7 kommenttia :

  1. I kept wishing for a mind-blowing twist at the end, but it never came. Great story though :)

  2. Arvostan tätä tekstiä suuresti. Pystyn samaistumaan tuohon kokemukseen (kuten uskon monien muidenkin naisten pystyvän). Tuli jopa vähän epämukava olo omia vastaavia kokemuksia muistellessa, mutta se on vain loistavan tekstin merkki. Lauri odotti jotain twistiä loppuun, mutta mun mielestä tuo lopun viesti oli juuri täydellinen. Aina voi yrittää (se on myös suositeltavaa) ymmärtää, mutta ikinä et voi todella tietää.

  3. Tunnistin itseni, aivan kuin kertoja olisi puhunut pääni sisältä, ja juuri tuo samastumisen mahdollisuus teki tarinasta niin upean. Tällaisia pieniä, mutta ihmiseen voimakkaasti vaikuttavia tapahtumia käsitellään jopa liian vähän. Mielestäni on kirjoittajien tehtävä – yksi tärkeä sellainen – tuoda niitä näkyviksi. Pidin muuten paljon myös siitä, että olit kirjoittanut englanniksi.

    1. Kiitos! Miusta tuntuu, että englanniksi kirjoittaminen on miulle keino ottaa etäisyyttä siihen, mistä kirjoitan. Joskus se vaan tuntuu kirjoitushetkellä luonnolliselta valinnalta, ja sitten huomaan, että oho, tästä tulikin englanninkielinen teksti.