A Day at the Races (part one)

September 22, 2005

Easter Sunday 2005, Tampere. Today we pay homage to Jesus’s vaunted resurrection with one of our own. Getting up after three days of Koskenkorva and “Pass the Pan” feels just as hard as rising from the dead, and at least the dead can get some rest.

Lari and I pile into the back seat of Sebastian’s Nissan Sunny and take out his laptop for some in-flight entertainment on the drive to the ferry terminal in Helsinki. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s a good film, and it helps pass the time while Seba sits all alone in the front, fuming about having to drive and stay sober.

On board the ferry, as luck would have it we have an encounter with Mikko (Level 23 Loppasuu, Level 1 History Student) and he joins our party. The ferry ride, though it costs around 20 GP, is peaceful and uneventful enough. Lari makes some investments, we play some Kasino, and we have a drink or two. After an encounter with a Piirivalve (we manage to slip past by using our Dokumendid) and some cutscenes, we emerge in Tallinn.

The relevant part of the story is this: In Tallinn, we stop at a Statoil for some gasoline and delicious Kabanosses. More petroleum probably goes into the making of the hotdogs than into the gasoline, but they’re delicious beyond belief so it doesn’t really matter. I take a big bite of my Kabanoss (squirted full of majonees & sinep) on my way out of the Statoil store, expecting to start effortlessly chewing a slightly-vürtsikas homogeneous suspension of hog anus, pig rectum, and shoat sphincter.

Instead I am greeted with a sickening crunch and the feeling of something hard between my molars. I fish it out of my mouth and decide it’s either a chunk of bone or a chunk of tooth. I finish chewing my mouthful of hotdog and swallow it, so I can poke around with my tongue to see if I can find any gaping holes where teeth used to be. Nothing hurts anywhere, but both my lower wisdom teeth just feel… unusual. Perhaps it’s my imagination.

I stand by the automatic doors and inspect the piece of bone/tooth again, and consider walking the 5 meters back over to the counter and complaining. If this were America, I’d probably get a brief mention on the evening news and some kind of settlement from the company after filing a lawsuit. But this isn’t America, and the most I’d end up getting would be a whole lot of attitude and, possibly, a replacement hotdog. But that sounds like a lot of effort for very little payoff.

I look back at the chunk, shrug, flick it onto the floor of the store, and step outside. Even if I’m not going to make a scene about it, I can at least passive-aggressively make somebody else clean it up. As I head over to the Sunny I gingerly and tentatively take another bite of Kabanoss. Nothing hard, nothing out of place — but my molars still feel weird. Obviously they can’t both be broken, since I only felt the chunk of tooth on one side; but I’ve forgotten which side that was. I must be imagining it since they both feel odd, right?

I finish the hotdog, feel my teeth again, and doze off. My decidedly discomforting dreams all feature gaping chasms, open pits, and a harrowing sense of loss. I’m relieved to wake up back in Tartu, where I proceed to look up the number of a local dentist immediately upon getting back to my room.

Three and a half months later, as I’m packing up to go back to America, I still haven’t called.

Song of the Moment: «Chicago» — Django Reinhardt

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