From a sauna to a night club with a Singaporean

Unedited text.


April. Tapiola, South-East EspooI picked up a Singaporean businessman from a private house at midnight on a weekend. He was visiting his Finnish friend and had just left the sauna. His face was still glowing and even his hair was wet. They were probably sipping some beer in the sauna – the gentleman was in a pleasantly tipsy state.

At first he wanted to go to a nearby hotel, but then a friend called him, who invited him to a night club in Helsinki. During his phone call, I asked him, which night club the friend is in, where should we drive to. The foreigner, being tipsy, told me the name but I couldn’t understand him. I asked again and he gave a different answer every time. It was like we were playing a game of telephone – his friend told him the name of the club and he tried to repeat it to me. It was no use, though.

I told him to ask the address of the club. That didn’t work either because the Singaporean didn’t hear what the Finn said. He was inside the club, in the middle of all the action, trying to give us information. Instead of going to a place more quiet and telling us the name then, he was still trying to give us the name of the club to a drunk foreigner in the middle of the noise.

Finally I offered the Singaporean that the Finn could tell me the name and address instead of telling him. He gave me his phone. Through all the loud noise the Finn tried to give me the name and address. I still didn’t exactly understand what the name was and where it was. I just got a hunch what the name could be.

I called the information line, offering the operator a variety of names. They told me that they don’t know any clubs by those names. Calle, Galle or whatever the fuck it was. The operator was trying to find a club by that name in the database, but it was no use. I didn’t know any clubs by that name either.

I finally got the street and the number of the house from the Finn. But he told me the wrong number. I think he said 12, it was really 40. We took course to Helsinki.

I was in Tapiola, just turning towards Helsinki on one of the main streets, when the Singaporean thought it would be a good idea to take a piss. He asked me if there were any fuel stations nearby. I looked to the right, at a dark spot next to a fence and told him: “You can do your thing right here, there isn’t anyone looking. You can even go under the trees.” He thought for a bit but couldn’t hold it anymore. Better to feel a bit of shame than piss your pants. I stopped the car and he went and did his business. When he was ready, we continued towards Helsinki in a relieved mood.

On the way he started to doubt his plan, though. He said: “Damn, I so tired, I shouldn’t go. Maybe I should go to sleep in my hotel.” I offered him: “You can always change your mind, if you want to,” to which he told me: “Nah, I can’t. I promised my friend I would go,” and continued to convince himself: “Sleeping is for the weak. When I get to Singapore, I’ll have plenty of time to do that.” He became ecstatic: “Damn, that Finnish sauna was good. I didn’t want to leave! When I get home, I’m going to have one built for myself. It’s just that great!”

So I drove the friendly Singaporean to …


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Tommi Topelund



 

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