Today is National Drinking Straw Day!
Once again, it’s a ridiculously warm winter here in Helsinki, around +4 degrees. It’s sad, it’s worrying, it’s annoying, but at least it constitutes as iced latte-worthy weather, right?
(Unstraw-related ponderings:) Today was generally quite an eventful day, and not in the best ways. I was in the middle of a hectic work phone call on the street when two random people came up to me. They didn’t look foreign nor lost, which meant they must be asking for money for some decent-sounding reason or other. They were waving a travel card at me, so I assumed automatically that they wanted money “to be able to travel” somewhere “important”. Usually my minimum answer in these situations would be a polite ‘not now’, but at that moment I had no time for that kind of faff while trying to solve the work situation, so I blatantly ignored them, trusting they’d get my hint. Luckily they gave up quickly and walked off.
After I’d sorted out the phone call, I stopped to think about these two people, long gone now. It was a strange situation, them being so adamant coming to talk to me, but still leaving so quickly.
Ok, just to check, where is my travel card?
As you may guess. I didn’t find it anywhere. Not in my pockets, not in my bag, not anywhere.
Well, I assume I know what happened. They had picked up my travel card which I’d dropped. They were offering it back to me. Therefore I’d lost my travel card due to my narrow-minded, careless stupidity. (My travel card I’d been religiously charging five euros onto each time I bought a coffee from R-kioski, just coz I got a discount on my coffee. And I thought I was “saving” money.) But that was just a small problem.
The main problem was my rudeness. I was horrified with myself. I didn’t mouth ‘no’ to them, I didn’t smile apologetically to them, I completely ignored them. That is really not how I want to behave to anyone, let alone people with good intentions.
Finns are less overtly polite than, say, Brits. Some people say it’s rude, but I’ve got used to it. I used to be a vocal supporter of British “friendliness” and an opposer of Finnish “rudeness”, but more and more I’ve found myself defending Finns. Finns may seem rude to a foreigner, but they rarely actually mean to be rude. Most of the time they’re honest, and that again is something Brits struggle with at times.
But I found my behaviour utterly rude and very much out of character. I didn’t find these potential angels again despite fervent searching around the area, but I decided that from now on, despite living in Finland where there’s “less of a fuss to be polite and nice to people” I will dedicate my 2018 to actually refinding that kindness to strangers. They may even actually be trying to be helpful.
And yes, also lol. At least it wasn’t my passport this time.
So National Drinking Straw Day was pretty deep after all. As was my latte.