Diary of a Baltic exile- The roaring twenties

  • 2004-03-04
I was at a launch party for a new CD by some awful Latvian group the other night, when I ended up talking to a group of Latvians.

One by one I asked them what they did. First up was a record company executive. I guessed he was about 30 years old. "How old are you?" I asked. "Twenty," he replied. I almost dropped my plastic glass of wine in shock. Then there were two radio DJs. I asked how old they were. The first said that she was 20, the second that she was 21.
My God do I feel old in Latvia. The country's population seems to be stuck in a 20-something time warp. The 1980s must have been a seriously sexually charged time in this country, since just about every other person I meet is in their early twenties.
And they're not only young, but they all seem so totally together. It's disgusting. The average "successful" 20-something in Riga lives something like this. He/she/it is studying for either a degree or a Master's (invariably in law, economics or culture management). He/she/it is working in a job that has an absurdly impressive and hyperbolic sounding title (even if the lats don't quite tally up). And he/she/it also manages to squeeze a hectic social life into their schedules in between their obligatory gym visits.
It doesn't seem right to be so sensible, so young. Personally, I blame the parents.
It breaks my heart to see these nice young people in such serious, single-minded pursuit of a nonexistent "lifestyle." It's a wonder they even have time to think about what they're doing, they're so busy just doing it.
Anyway, to get back to the party. So as I threw back the free wine and was ready to make a night of it (it was a Tuesday I think), everyone began slowly disappearing. At last the two lovely radio DJs made their excuses and told me they had to be getting home. "Ah, you're on air early?" I said. No, no, no. They just wanted to get an early night.
It is my experience of Latvians that they actually tend to get more radical as they grow older. So let all the 20-somethings get on with busily constructing their ideal lives and bring on the pensioners.