Notes från Sverige
On my trip there last week, I got a hair.
"Jag har en liten mjulkglas och en mellen mjulkglas," I asked the ice cream vendor; a small softy for my youngest, a medium one for me. I had stalled in the line, waiting until it was only we two and another couple left standing there. Only then had I made my simple request.
"XODRO eller SODIFL," she said in reply. "Something" or "something else" she wanted to know. She stared at me. I stared at her, hoping that somehow I could put it into context. Yet she did not point to a descriptive picture and the words she had said had long past escaped my cauliflower ears.
"Ohh, I don't know," I finally admitted, mostly frustrated that such a simple transaction would lay me low.
"Cone or cup?"
Jeepers. I mean, "cup" is "kopp." How could I not hear that? Well, actually, I know why. Because when I heard her first say "strut" for "cone" and I did not know what that meant, my brain did what it does best: it turns word analysis to tie dye.
But that is not the entire picture. Imagine what must have gone through her mind as I stood there clueless as to what she wanted to know. It is Sweden. I am blond. My daughter is blond. I spoke in Swedish. I was not wearing a loud track suit, ugly walking shoes and fanny pack, thrusting dollars into her hands insisting, "You take Amurcan money, dontcha?" When she asked me a simple question and my eyes searched hers as if I were begging for mercy on my soul, she must have wondered, "What? For crying out loud. What I am doing with my life serving these nitwits?" Certainly she did not think I did not understand her. So what was she thinking? After she left to fill my order, I began pounding my head agains the counter, uttering, "I am such a loser, such a loser." My youngest just stared.
The French referendum on the ratification of a new EU constitution headlined the news during the week, and yesterday's thumbs down result is analysed in the BBC article here. My husband put it more susinctly: The Polish Plumber Fear. The working class imagines a France where a plumber from Poland will come over and fix water leaks in Parisian flats at 1/6 the hourly rate.
Not much has really changed from nursery school. It is hard to share.
To come: Bad TV and Prayer.
But first, I must unpack.