Slaves of habits
Text: Liisa Kuittinen
Translation: Leena Rajamäki
When I and my best friend Sanna were on the fourth grade, we went to the movies just the two of us for the first time. For the movies! Just the two of us!
After this going to the movies meant just one certain thing for me. You went to the movies with Sanna. You went to the movies by bus, and the first thing you did when you reached the city was that you bought the tickets.
After you had bought the tickets you had time for a Big Mac Meal in McDonald's. It had just arrived to Helsinki and a hamburger meal was a special treat. We had never heard of supranational companies, or people who were against globalisation, and so we munched our burgers happily.
We were careful about our traditions and everything was supposed to go according to plan. In the movie theatre we sat in a certain order (Sanna on my right-hand side), and we always had to fold our jackets in a certain way. We had a regular table in a certain McDonald's in Helsinki and we had to sit in it no matter what.
There were no exceptions.
Going to the movies was something very exceptional and rare for a long time. Therefore it was important that everything was done in the right way according to the tradition. Going to the movies was not just going to the movies, it was a The Holy Occasion. God help them, if someone should have tried to sabotage our marching order, or tried to stop us eating hamburgers sitting in our regular table before the movie.
Probably our movie experience would have been totally ruined. This is wrong! Call the child welfare office, we would have demanded self-importantly.
Since those days there is a McDonald's at every street corner, and I think that the smile of Ronald McDonald has faded. Going to the movies has become just a regular way of spending free-time.
One memory that remains is a short marking in my Garfield calendar from fifth grade: "Sanna and I went to the movies to see She-Devil. It was really good. We also ate in McDonald's." (3 March 1990)
Festival News, Friday 5 March 2004