esplanaadi reveries

I WENT BACK to the Esplanaadi, to revisit the scene of the “Esplanaadi Bakeries.” Dulcinea’s Bakery was closed but Strindberg was open and there were clients inside. Interestingly, Dulcinea’s Bakery was actually closer to the Svenska Teatern, Strindberg’s was farther. I remembered it as being the other way around. And I didn’t see any metal ovens inside at all, so how was it possible that I had seen her baking there one morning in November? That was something that was recorded on the spot. Jotted down in the journal. I had not made that up after the fact. All had happened as it had happened. But even my rendering of a scene in real time had been altered by some personal filter. Maybe I was dreaming? It’s also possible that I could return to the site of the bakeries within a few months and what I recall from yesterday will have rearranged itself. The human mind is just not a reliable tool of measurement. There is no line between fact and fiction. Yesterday, I walked past four teenage boys on the ship back from Helsinki. All four of them were seated in an almost catatonic stupor, staring into their smartphones. It was like something out of a science fiction novel. The great zombification of the masses. “Gen Z.” I’ve managed to pull my mind out of “the matrix” for now, but it’s not so easy. Pieces of the matrix remain with you. You are “here,” in the physical reality, but your mind is still “there,” in the digital one. People speak to you, but you don’t hear them, because you are too busy thinking about something you saw in a virtual environment. It takes time to detox. It doesn’t happen overnight. In the morning, it rained in Tallinn, but then the sun came out. I saw a pretty girl outside Viru Keskus and followed her into a shop, just to see her a few more times, so that I might remember her just as she was. She was dressed ordinarily and there was nothing special about her. That’s why I liked her. I pretended to be involved in the purchase of some vitamins. Later, I showed my daughter the hotel that had been built in 1972, complete with KGB listening stations. We’ve been free for so long. How could anyone ever take our freedom away from us? The Old Town had its fair share of foreign women wearing shades and clutching expensive bags, as if they were just fired from some modeling job. We walked past the Rae Apteek, and chatted about the Apteeker Melchior films. They struck just the right balance, I said, of historical accuracy and Hollywood action. Perfect for popcorn. Pure satisfaction. We couldn’t remember the plot of the last film. Something about hallucinations.

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