Friday, September 24, 2004

A little lesson in sauna etiquette for all you non-Finns.

Yesterday, I was victim of the ultimate breach of sauna etiquette. Although it appeared to be accidental, a man farted in the sauna at my gym yesterday afternoon while I was enjoying some nice post-workout relaxation. But first, let's go back in time about thirty-five years or so....
When I was just The Little Finn, I once made a serious error in judgment by letting out a little toot while I was in the family sauna with my father. It was the first time, and it would be the last time, that I ever committed this Finnish faux pas. I wouldn't say that my dad became enraged, but I did detect a incredibly deep annoyance/disgust that came deep from his inner core. Yes, the sauna fart was (and is) high on his list of most hated things. I remember receiving a rather short, but stern, lecture regarding that farting in a sauna is something that just is NOT done,...and that I would have to leave the sacred Finnish enclave immediately!
Fast forward to September 23, 2004. There I was, sitting in the sauna minding my own business, and in came a stately looking Swiss gentleman of approximately 60-65 years old. First, he greeted the five or six people in the sauna with a polite gr├╝etzi (I guess the Swiss feel that this is appropriate sauna protocol). Then, he spread out his large bath towel (one of the many rules posted on the sauna door) on the upper bench, and when he started to recline on the bench......rrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIPPP!!!!!!! I thought the sauna was going to explode. I mean, that one is probably still wafting down the Rhein River toward Rotterdam as I write. Since I felt that my German skills were not good enough to begin lecturing him, my only recourse was to grab my towels...and run for my life! There was no way I was sticking around for the aftermath of that one. And, since I was the only person high-tailing it out of there, I realized in an instant that I was definitely the only Finn in the sauna at the time, and that those left behind had no idea what their fate had in store for them. So, without looking back, I headed straight toward the reflexology pool and tried to regroup so that the day wouldn't be a total loss.
I've decided to stay home from the gym today, and I'm not heading back until Monday. I figure that four days should be sufficient time to let the stale odor of veal sausage and raclette cheese dissipate. As I said before, printed on the sauna door in German are all sorts of rules (i.e. quiet, no sweat on the wood, etc., etc.) If you ask me, they need to add one more.

1 comment:

Santari Santari said...

Your sauna story reminds me of two things.

First was up in Beaver Lake, just west of Sudbury, at mummu's farm. The sauna was on the shore of the Vermillion River and it looked about just as old with its steel drum laid out on it side and river rocks on top. Anyway, with my brothers and cousins we use to commit the other unpardonable sauna sin (I'm sure you know what it is also) of pissing on the stones. We never really caught hell because since we were just snotty nosed Finn kids we went to the sauna first, a long while before our fathers came down to sweat out their Labatts 50. So as a kid I desacrated the sauna - a rite of passage in my books. Of course I stopped doing that after the first "Voi Yesu Saatana....!"The second thng is what a Russian friend told me his father said about the German soldiers in WWII. They farted. Apparently the Soviet soldier did not toot their own horns, as it were. As my friend's father marched into Berlin he and his comrades were offended my the malordourous fuming of the captured German soldiers - go figure. I always regarded this story as a bit of partisan tearing downing of a defeated enemy, but your story perhaps lends a bit of credance to the old Soviet complaint about the uncouth Germans.