I was adding to a comment thread with elaine4queen just now about a lovely photo she took from her train window while returning from the vicinity of Ely, a place I fantasized about as a cathedral-loving teenager, and remembered, in the course of confessing my young, male eccentricities, that I spent much of my time at Queen Anne School in the throes of an unrequited crush on Finland. And then I remembered that I'd actually written about that crush in what is probably the cheekiest review I will ever write:
I'll be honest with you. I didn't even try to listen to this record objectively. You know how some people have a thing for girls with naturally curly red hair or boys who wax their body with wood glue? I feel the same way about Finland. As a teenager, I spent hour after hour memorizing a map of that small, cold land. I fondled Finnish glassware at Bloomingdale's. I even developed a secondary fixation on the Hungarian diaspora, because Hungarian and Finnish are distantly related tongues. Once, while travelling in Germany, I had the good fortune of spending several hours next to a beautiful Finnish maid. I was sure I would derive some sexual pay-off from the coincidence. But instead of melting in my arms, she decided I was a freak. And to think I believed that reciting the names of 50 Finnish municipalities would make her wetter than a tumbler full of Finlandia!
The best thing about this paragraph is that it is all true. Well, almost. I think I had named 38 Finnish muncipalities before the lovely lass decided to sit somewhere else on our long Youth For Understanding bus ride to Berlin. She had a point, though. As I'm writing this, I'm recalling instances when I ran into European travelers who were really into some aspect of American culture and eagerly sought to prove their love to me. Generally, these individuals gave me the shivers. But I suppose I wouldn't have minded having them for pen pals.