Kaupo Meiel: My fiver

Kaupo Meiel.
Kaupo Meiel. Source: Verner Vilgas / ERR

Words have become flesh and ratings morphed into support. The political picture is as clear as it gets for the moment, with no need to look to the universe for signals. But it will change, Kaupo Meiel said in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Late this summer, I discovered that the number five had started stalking me. I kept running into this value that usually takes on a positive connotation in school (as the highest grade – ed.), mainly as a unit of currency.

A pipe broke under my home sink out of the blue. Water squirted out as if from a Peterhof fountain. Luckily, I managed to shut off the water and avoided the worst for myself, the neighbors and the insurance company. Trying to be a man for once in my life, I took it upon myself to replace the broken pipe and headed to my local hardware store, with the broken piece in tow.

I was seen to by an elderly lady who knew more about pipes of all shapes and sizes than I do about the early work of Knut Hamsun and who told me that they not only have the piece of pipe I need but also the doohickey that goes with it. I asked for two sets. It was impossible to pay by card. "How much is that?" I asked the grand old lady of sanitary engineering. "A fiver," came the short answer.

Some time after the pipe incident, I was visiting a handicraft fair the likes of which take place under every other spruce and in the parking lot of every third municipality government building every summer. Local handicraft and preserves are always tempting. Of course, I don't remember what I bought as fun items and tasty pickles bought at fairs tend to make their way into the darkest corners of pantries and bottoms of drawers where they will remain for all time. But I bought a thing and just happened to have a fiver in my back pocket that was incidentally just enough.

One tends to get hungry from time to time, and I prefer to buy from small producers if possible. There is a stall of meat products near the entrance to the local supermarket, and on offer is a delicious elk sausage low on horn content. While a single sausage usually costs six euros, I was made an offer I couldn't refuse: buy two, get one for a fiver.

A few weeks ago, I developed another pipe-related problem at home. As if the coronavirus wasn't enough! This time it required professional intervention and making holes in the wall, taking the pipes apart, replacing the intake valves and closing up the wall again. The work was done quickly and neatly for ten fivers.

The elections period was not free of the magic of five either. My friends and I ran a pool on the local election result, each adding five euros to the pot. Besides, we all know that only parties and election coalitions that got at least 5 percent of votes made it to councils.

It came to a point where asking for the price of things was pointless. I handed over five euros, was handed the goods and both parties were happy. The last time something like that happened to me was when I always glanced at my watch or a clock at exactly 3 p.m.

However, it is probable all those fivers and other fives are quite meaningless. Sometimes a dog is just a dog, as put by Andrei Tarkovski. Not everything needs to have a grand meaning. Sometimes a fiver is just a fiver.

We now have some time to analyze local elections results, and it pays to think back to signs and meanings we relied on to try and forecast them. Some proved useful, others not.

Words have become flesh and ratings morphed into support. The political picture is as clear as it gets for the moment, with no need to look to the universe for signals. But this clarity will pass and a new mystical day full of meaningfully burst pipes, ambiguous elk sausages and fivers will dawn.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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