Day 4 of 11 Part Deux: The Mechanical Highway

3 Jul

So during this visit to the in-laws there were a few rules that had to be adhered to.

  1. The Finnish flag is only allowed to be flown on certain designated days (there are about 25 official ones) and it has to be taken down by sunset or 1800 hours (whichever comes first). The only exception is Midsummer’s eve where one is allowed to keep it up until 18:00 on Midsummer Day. You can also hoist the flag on days of significant personal significance – for example a sixtieth wedding anniversary. Note: if your anniversary is not a multiple of five and greater than thirty-five, don’t even bother applying for the permit – you will be turned down.
  2. There will be lots of singing. Mostly Finnish folk songs and ballads. Some rap. Nothing in English.
  3. Alcohol is verboten! Exceptions include holy communion and the party-van (more on this later).
  4. Everyone must go to church. There are no exceptions. The only exception is if you really, really don’t want to go.

Ok, enough of that. Time to discuss the party-van. I know my more political reader was hoping for the *political* party van (sorry dude – boring!). My gf’s grandparents are allergic to alcohol (morally, not physically). So when the big event was winding down (the grandparents had turned in for the evening) we decided to partake in some spiritous beverages.

Throughout the day, I had heard rumours (only whispers really) of an aunt that had a stash of German beer and French cider (?). As the evening progressed I was able to piece together the plan. After the family’s patriarch and matriarch go to bed we would have a couple drinks. I naturally assumed we’d build a campfire, tell some stories, play some euchre, and dance around the maypole not caring that it was June.

But Minerva, the Goddess of Fortune, was not smiling upon us that day – she was preoccupied with something else. It was raining, there were tonnes of mosquitoes, and drinking inside the house was off limits. So we ended up piling into the back of Aunt Jenny’s van (I found out later that this is a tradition) and we had our party there.

Inside the party-van!

It was disappointing for me cause it was really late and it was still light out. I wanted to dance in the midnight sun. The strangest thing about this whole experience was I discovered there exist people who in their sixties are afraid / unwilling / unable to have a beer in front of their disapproving parents.

The party-van circa 23:56

Or maybe they just like to pretend like they’re sixteen again.

In a complete one-eighty from this past weekend, I read somewhere that parents today are now seeking approval / validation / whatever from their children (in North America anyway). The article was warning about the societal pitfalls of spoiled kids growing up to be annoying adults. If what the article says is true, then we have some serious problems on our hands. Personally, what I am most afraid of is the fate of my favourite movie genre: the father-son mind-transfer comedy.

The defining theme found in every film from 18 Again to 17 Again involves the son figuring out what it means to have adult responsibilities – an impossibility in a society that puts values of the teenager ahead of the values of the adult. The moviegoer of the future will not be able to identify with what the characters on the screen are experiencing. Can you say “box office poison”? And I for one don’t want to live in a post-apocalyptic world devoid of new father-son mind-transfer comedies. In such a world the living would undoubtedly envy the dead.

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