From Estonia with Love

I love Tallinn.  It’s ancient and modern at the same time.  The people are cultured and willing to forgive me for being a stupid American.  In fact, an Estonian friend recently gave me the option of being an apprentice Estonian, which I took as a compliment—even though I am and will always be a child of Southern California.  Represent.

But after 14 hours of work—writing, teaching, promoting my business, applying to ESL instructor positions—I feel the need for a beer.  That’s good.  Estonia is deeply in love with beer of all kinds.  Unfortunately, the country is also deeply in love with rules—specifically, the rule that no beer is sold after 22:00 (that’s 10 PM for all you yank readers) in stores.  Alright, so the intrepid internet laborer who loses all sense of time must go to a bar if it’s 22:27, which it is.

Naturally, in moments like this, I invoke my Irish ancestry and pray to St. Patrick to leave me the fuck alone so Satan can find me the worst, most decadent drinking establishment in Tallinn.  I wind up drinking in St. Patrick’s pub in Old Town.  It’s okay—fairly standard Irish format with a jovial Irish manager slinging drinks and several nymph-like Estonian waitresses who don’t know how to make a half-and-half.  So okay.  I can handle that.  Guinness it is.

I drink my Guinness.  And I am content.  It is only after the third pint that I am approached by the poor man’s Cate Blanchett—tall, blonde, blue eyes, and post-apocalyptic survival instincts.  Apparently she is Russian because she says, “Do you speak Russian?” in an accent that can only be Russian.

“No,” I say, “I’m an American.”

“You are a beautiful American.”

“Yeah?”

“I would like a cocktail.”

“I voted for Obama.  I would like a cocktail.”

At which point, she makes a face at me and says, “Oh, you are not buying me a cocktail.  I’m sure you are used to fat disgusting monsters in America.”

I laugh at this for at least 15 minutes.  Then I dance by myself amid several married, middle-aged Estonians while a Rod Stewart lookalike sings “I Just Called to Say I love You” with a drum machine and a Peavey 6-string.

Have I mentioned that I love it here?

She takes a new position on the other side of the pub and shoots me a lot of nasty looks while I finish my drinks.  I want to say, it’s okay.  You should go to the States.  And you will find a wonderful guy with a spray-on tan and gold chains who will buy you cocktails.  But I don’t say anything.

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About Michael Davis

Writer. Reader. Appreciator of corgis. View all posts by Michael Davis

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