People often ponder about the so-called carefree spirit of Tartu (Tartu vaim) that will embolden people to do wild and crazy things like wear second-hand t-shirts, write poetry, or have children out of wedlock in that university city.
But what of the Tallinna vaim, the spirit of the capital? I felt it as soon as I began walking down its avenues today. Suddenly, I realized that I was dressed like a complete slob.
My shirt wasn't tucked in, my comfortable trousers too loose. And how come I wasn't wearing a scarf? Wait a second, why were all these blond mehed and naised wearing scarves in August? It wasn't that cold, was it? Ei, those fellows were wearing scarves out of their own volition for fashion. I was in trendy Tallinn, where people are supposed to look good.
The truth is that in Tartu it has gotten to the point that I could go to the grocery store in my pajamas and few would bat an eye. I'd be standing next to the PhD, brown with muck from the archaeological dig; the wizened alcoholic buying a new brandy; the local mechanic with grease on his overalls. Everyone is into their own thing; that is the Tartu vaim.
But in Tallinn I feel like I stick out like an extra from Easy Rider. Next time I'll make sure to hit the local Monton before I dare to tread across Tammsaare Park.