jims - Column for 8/22

Tractor love...

YMCA in Russian. Yes, that was the noise that assaulted my ears, tried to drive me past the brink of sanity as I exited the establishment known as Zetor. Zetor, the name implies something like Conan, big, bold, like Russia has prided itself on being over the years. When, infact, it is a tractor bar.

A what? Before you go picturing your local John Deere contraption out cruising for a nice trailer to hitch up to, it is not quite like that. Zetor is a bar/restaurant where you are likely to find a John Deere or related farm instrument. In fact, the tractors make up part of the furniture within the establishment, along with a fair amount of wood paneling, assorted memorbilia on the walls, you get the idea.

The food, is meat based and some of it is good. The social scene, on the other hand, provides quite amusing entertainment. Let me preface things by saying that within the city of Helsinki, during the summer a good aprt of the populace of all ages enjoys going out. Bars and clubs are open until 4am, with a few after hours parties here and there. It isn't unusual to see the random person wandering home at 7am, staggering.

Tractors provide a good metaphor for the singles scene at Zetor. Watching the odd male careen his way through the women present, often getting shot down, a trail of havoc in his wake. A gaggle of guys insistent on asking a particular woman to dance, though she is there with a friend, shot down every time -- primary reason, as someone wiser than I described, "Always bring a wingman." When the odd courting male realizes this, the chance for success with the same woman increases significantly. An illustration of the evolution of deductive reasoning.

Prostitution is legal in Finland, yet Zetor is not the type of place where the working women will frequent. However, it sometimes seems to be the *only* explanation for things the eye beholds. A short, pudgy, guy, resembling the former Polish Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa with two very attractive, younger women. Further observation, proved that I must have had tractor on the brain, for the girls were very much into dancing with eachother, and Lech, he was just trying to join the party, soon to wander off in search of another potential conquest.

Beer, though pricey, and the amusement of observation can prove a good distraction to one's surroundings. A slight distraction, brought the realization that the music entering my ears was to be feared. Like the Old Ones, the sanity is severely tested. Country, folk, 70s, and other music playing. Familiar tunes, with unfamilar words. Each piece reworked, lyrics in Finnish or Russian. Full realization and an empty beer, prompted my quick exit.

You do have to wonder, was Lech still shaking it to YMCA...

Columns by jims