The things you can learn in under 20 minutes

We were out and about when Paxlet was ready for his snack. I saw a bench that was being vacated by two drunks and pondered whether I could safely* feed Paxlet his afternoon snack. I decided the bench was good, as I could sit in the sun and Paxlet could be sheltered by his stroller, but still enjoy the warmth. We hadn’t been sitting there more than a couple of minutes when we were joined by a(n obvious professional drunk) lady. Almost from the instant she sat down, she started talking to us. Her first words were asking if Paxlet is a boy or girl. Then she asked his age and uttered some other things about his age I don’t remember. She then told me/us that she doesn’t have any kids of her own. (I have to admit, I did briefly wonder if she suffered from infertility too.) As she seemed harmless enough, wasn’t smoking and didn’t stink (I know that’s rude, but it’s also true), I decided we could continue to stay where we were for the moment.

In those 15 or so minutes that Paxlet and I sat there, I learned more than I needed to know about this lady. Her name is Pamela P-something-niemi and she is 62 years old. She has a man (boyfriend or husband, I don’t know as the way she said it in Finnish wasn’t clear) and she likes the Finnish pop singer Paula Koivuniemi. She is a self-admitted drunk and a schizophrenic. When she was younger, she lived in Sweden and her good friend at that time met an American guy, followed him back to the states, got married and had two kids. She wasn’t adventurous enough to move farther away from home (Finland) and moved back here when her dad died in the 80s. Her dad fought in the Finnish-Russian war. She’s from the country side (hicks, you might call them) and as many people say, country bumpkins are slow and dimwitted. (To which I replied, “people are just different” as I didn’t want to judge and name call. She loved my words and repeated it a few times and told me how kind I am.) Pamela is one of 5 siblings: 3 boys, two girls. All of her siblings have kids and I don’t remember which ones had which gender of kids. She’s the only one like this (a drunk/schizo) in her family. Her cousin died last fall, of what I don’t remember. She was a nurse, but can’t practice anymore because of her rheumatism, drinking and schizophrenia.

I am sure there are more tidbits I learned about her life in that short time. Thinking back on it, she was probably just lonely or drunk. Or both. If you’re ever in my neck of the woods and need something to do, I know a nice little place where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about complete strangers in less than 20 minutes.

*I’ve never had any issues or felt threatened by the drunks in this area of town. I just mean ‘safely’ as in would they leave us alone or would we have visitors while sitting there.