I’m getting old, I thought. Coincidentally, it happened to be my birthday that day, but that had nothing to do with it.
A white-bearded man was flying a drone over a beach where people were in their bikinis and kids were running around naked. The drone, buzzing loudly, would periodically stop and I could only assume its camera was busy zooming in on something interesting.
Where was this footage being posted? I hoped he wasn’t there to film kids.
Why was no one else bothered? There was nudist beach a bit further away, and I wondered how they would’ve reacted.
Buzzzzzzzzzz – silence. The drone stopped right above me as I swam in the sea. I imagined the bearded man losing control of his drone and it dropping on my head, knocking me unconscious in the water. I have a vivid imagination… but I was sure that kind of thing had already happened to someone, somewhere. It wasn’t that far-fetched.
I sighed. Getting annoyed at things no one else seemed bothered about was surely part of aging, wasn’t it?
I had succumbed and gone swimming in the Baltic Sea, despite knowing it was polluted and toxic and blogging about how disgusting it was. And there I was, swimming in it, against my principles. The water was yellowish-green and I couldn’t see my toes.
There was a website which reported toxic algae levels on tested beaches, and this particular island had been cleared for the day. The algae floats moved around, so daily checking was necessary to plan which beach to head to. Usually only a couple of beaches a day got the green light, and people flocked to those places.
But, back on the shore there was some drama about to happen. A tiny, fluffy chick was running about, looking wingless, lost, and helpless. It was spotted and cute, and it took me a while to figure out it was a seagull chick, since it bore absolutely no resemblance to its mother.
Mama seagull was there too, calling to her baby frantically and, finally, the fluffy chick managed to wobble its way to its mother. A happy reunion. Until…
…a girl wearing floaties arrived. She had pigtails and was maybe 6 years old.
The floaties signalled to me that she couldn’t yet swim properly and so I assumed her parents would be keeping a close eye on her at all times – but as I watched the situation unfold, her parents were strikingly absent.
You see, the little girl started chasing the little chick, and the little chick quickly got flustered and ran in a different direction from its mom. Further and further away it kept going, like a blind mouse.
The girl chased and chased the chick, and the chick ran in circles, screaking a panicked screak. The seagull mom screaked a louder panicked screak, and started flying in circles above the child and chick.
I was in the water observing this, still swimming, and hubby was watching our kids further along the shoreline. All the while, I was waiting for the girl’s parents to intervene, or maybe for some other parents or grown-ups on the beach to tell the six-year-old to leave the poor bird alone. But nothing happened. The Finnish code “say nothing, mind your own business, don’t talk to strangers” was in full swing amongst the cool young hipster parents crowding the beach.
Maybe I should add, as a sort of footnote, that over here, it’s not culturally okay to say something in a scolding or educational tone to someone else’s child, but I thought this situation would’ve made a perfect exception. I was disappointed they all let the girl chase the poor chick, so confused and innocently fluffy.
The three disappeared behind a rock and I’m not sure what happened then. Maybe I should have swam back and told her myself.
Coming back home on the ferry, Covid seemed like yesterday’s news as the boat was crammed full, and loud groups of young drunk people skipped the line. No one confronted them, and I didn’t either.
Seeing how some people had managed to skip the long line seemed to give permission for total anarchy and even more people started emerging left and right, ignoring those who had politely awaited their turn. The line-skippers shoved their sweaty, cigarette-smelling bodies in through the narrow entrance to the boat, and the crew member clicked away on her passenger counter. 100, and all aboard, off we went.
After a long search for somewhere swimmable, I finally made it into the water. But it left me with mixed feelings.