O Pauliina, Pauliina, Wherefore Art Thou Pauliina?

As the day plays out, some answers to the questions will emerge: Will this early burst of energy last into the evening, or will the heat fade into cold embers before the sun sets? Time will tell.

Last night, I went to bed very, very early; before nine. I fell asleep quickly, but woke repeatedly during the late night and early morning hours. Massive confusion accompanied one episode of springing awake deep in the wee hours. I did not know where I was, but for a panicky moment felt certain I must have fallen asleep in a subterranean work room full of metallic furniture and industrial equipment. Somehow, I had curled into a ball and turned sideways on the twin bed. When I opened my eyes, the Hoyer lift and the hospital bed were the only things I could see; and they seemed to be at odd angles so I could not make out what they were. Even after I realized where I was and what was in my line of vision, my heart pounded for a good minute.

Despite several instances of wakefulness, I got up at five. Ignoring my normal routine, I played a few games of Words with Friends, then shaved, showered, and got dressed immediately. From there, I took care of a few dishes I had left unwashed overnight, then cut up a chicken breast, whipped up a lemon/garlic/Dijon marinade, poured it over the cubes of chicken, and put the zip-lock bag in the refrigerator to marinate all day.

My next step was to peel and cut up a mango and a persimmon (gifts from a wonderful couple who, by the power vested in and by me, are hereby sainted for their kindness and generosity), which served as breakfast and will serve as a side for my lemon Dijon chicken this evening. Only then did I make my first cup of coffee. The clock has yet to reach seven. I am ready to go to the hospital to visit my wife. But I may wait a bit. Or I may decide, instead, to go to Lowe’s to buy some LED light fixtures for the workroom behind the garage, before going on to visit my wife. An early burst of energy offers myriad options not so readily available when one arises and proceeds with the day in slow-motion mode.


Matleena Kuusniemi is twenty years younger than I, has two children, and lives with a man who I presume is the father to her children. Those obstacles notwithstanding, I am inappropriately attracted to her. Fortunately for everyone involved, she has no knowledge of the potential for our utterly unseemly engagement. I wonder why we call such connections, when executed beyond the imagination and in the real world, adultery? That word, it seems to me, should mean “of or engaging the act of being an adult.” Consider other words: Forgery. Discovery. Surgery. Upholstery. Embroidery. We don’t turn those words into judgmental labels. Well, except for forgery, I suppose.

I should be upfront about this prospective extramarital affair. Matleena Kuusniemi is a Finnish actress who plays Pauliina Sorjonen in Bordertown. From the very beginning of the series, something about her demeanor appealed to me at the deepest level. I realize, of course, the appeal is based on my attraction to an artificial personality and, quite possibly, an outward appearance that has been altered dramatically for television. Skin tone, hair color, choice of clothing, etc. could alter my perception of her. And her voice may well be affected for television. My assessment of her intellect is based on the way in which she acts her character. For all I know, the actual woman could be a right-wing, fundamentalist-Christian, slow-witted creature whose intelligence competes with bags of rocks for superiority. Yet my judgement of the character I see on television erases all those possibilities. I see Pauliina Sorjonen, not Matleena Kuusniemi. It’s Pauliina Sorjonen I find enormously attractive; I know almost nothing about Matleena Kuusniemi. I think I’m going to break this off. There’s no future in it. I hope she’ll understand.


Speaking of Finnish crime dramas, though, I found a list of 8 Scandinavian Crime Series on Netflix. I am watching or have watched some of them (Borderliner, Bordertown, and Deadwind), but some of them are new to me and must be added to my “must watch” list: Ragnarok, Case, Fallet, Quicksand, Trapped, and Warrior.  Including Ragnarok, that’s nine altogether, or six I have yet to watch. I think the author of the referenced piece was right when she wrote: “While we might think of U.S. television as being overrun by crime shows, they have nothing on the Scandinavians, who seem to do it more, and do it better.”


I’ve allowed time to slip by, unnoticed. It’s approaching 8 a.m., meaning the best, most productive part of the morning has disappeared into the mist of time. I was so productive until I started writing. There’s a lesson in that realization, somewhere.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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