China Diary

Day 99: Got 99 problems but the…

…lovely wife, whom I greatly respect, love and regard highly among the living, ain’t one!

This has been now my 99th day in China, the longest time I’ve been away from Finland, so these kind of thoughts wander in my head, and I wanted to spill them out somewhere. This post is not about filmmaking, so for those looking for stories on set, there are more to come soon!

I had a long discussion yesterday with my wife about how to and to where our lives are headed to. We met each other many years ago when she wrote a story about me to a Finnish newspaper, and started dating two years after that. We got married in 2015, meaning it’s our second year of being legally sharing a bed, which is important in our religion (no, it’s not). We don’t have children together, but both have a child with our exes. Neither of the children live with us, nor do they even live in the same city as us, but visit frequently over weekends and during holidays, and she spends even more time with her kid in Jyväskylä during weeks as well.

She works as a freelance entertainment journalist, so her job is mostly in Helsinki. It’s very rare there’s anything worthwhile to Finnish entertainment media to write about outside of Helsinki, save occasional film festivals, Eurovisions and stuff like that. I have an office in Helsinki, and since the release of Iron Sky I have mostly worked from Helsinki, but much of my work takes me abroad – whether is for prepping and shooting a film, visiting seminars and film festivals or preparing or pitching and negotiating with financiers. If I stay in Finland for a long perioid of time, I get antsy; but not, ironically, because I love to travel (I actually don’t, I find it rather tiresome business that makes very little sense ecologically and economically), but because I’m not very good with routines.

My wife travels with me whenever possible, but there’s only so much to do at the film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, AFM, plus the small ones) once you’ve been there for few years; to paraphrase Max: same shit, different year; also, film shoots tend to be pretty much the same once you get into the roll, and the general truth known to mankind about filmmaking is that visiting the set you don’t work at is as exciting as watching the paint dry.

So, we had this discussion – we’ve had it a few times before – about where do we want to go with this thing of ours. Apart from being married, there’s no technical reason to keep us together; no kids, not even a house together (although looking at today’s couples, it seems owning a house together is a much bigger reason to stay together than the kids). It’s all in the love and lust, which are plentiful, and the world’s most horrible sense of humour we’re sharing in the confines of our home, careful never to let it spill out to the world outside. But truth be told, we both would probably easily find a companion with whom to form a more stable relationship; well, at least she would. My constant traveling and working abroad doesn’t really allow a stable relationship, no matter what.

But for whatever reason, we’ve never found anything wrong with the way things are with us, although any relationship council probably would spot out a thousand things that could go wrong. Living apart a lot, having kids in different cities, to begin with. But since no relationship is a formula that needs the X’s and Y’s in the right place to produce a result of a success, we’ve decided to live ours like it is. Sporadically romantic, frequently apart, often wistful.

But there’s something noble in the missing, something nerve-exposing to the passing of time. It makes sense, more than it should. If applied correctly to a relationship, it can strengthen it; it’s an element you share together, feel together – you become a team fighting the world every single day; it becomes part of the way things are,  a catalyst that enhances emotions rather than surpasses them. It’s alchemy; it can turn a stale reality into an exciting venture. You are no longer at each other’s disposal as much as you want, but the absence makes the expectations stronger, the encounters more electrified and it can become a binding agent that instead of separating you, keeps you even stronger together.

Minä olen kadulla
Näen sinut joka nurkalla
Kahviloiden kassoilla

Asemalla pydähdyn
Katson suurta kelloa
Kuinka monta tuntia
Siihen että tavataan, taas

Siin on helvetisti järkeä
Et on koko ajan ikävä
Helvetisti järkeä

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