Saturday, September 29, 2001

The weekend tastes so sweet after a long week - one of our two main English-language copyeditors was over here so I spent the week running meetings with her and every last damned editor at the office, first here in Stockholm and then down in Lund. This on top of the regular work that then has to be crammed in around the edges, including a session with a fellow invandrare - immigrant/ foreignerwho's only lived in Sweden six months and seems to be in a state of shock for a host of reasons, one of these being the deceptive similarity of Stockholm and its inhabitants to Anglo - U.K., U.S., Australian, Canadian, New Zealand - cultures: they are not the same at all, though they do appear quite similar on the surface, what with the excellent English-speaking skills, the t.v. programs from the U.S. (''The Sopranos'' and ''The West Wing'' and countless others), the music. That he doesn't need to prove himself in the way he's trying to prove himself, that he needs to tone it down in fact because in Sweden it's quite important not to seem to make yourself seem better than anyone else, and in fact its not at all the goal of people to become boss. I also had to make sure he realized that I'm not going to fire him because he's going through some kind of personal crisis and it's affecting his work.

Anyway, that was the week, in small part.

Then, when I arrived back from Lund at Arlanda airport, whisked the copyeditor and her husband into the train, got them checked back into the hotel, went back to the office at 5:30 and sent out some emergency e-mails because I hadn't had time to call a few people while I was down in Lund... after all this, we rushed off to A.'s apartment for dinner, which included S. and her new husband I., the son of Kurdish rebels (though he grew up in Sweden). I, quite rudely, zonked out on the couch shortly after the meal was finished (I blame the red wine), though I did manage to have some chocolate cake and dip into the huge bowl of godis that was put out (and I blame these very same godis and all their little cousins for the fact that S. commented that I seemed to have, ahem, gained a little weight in the general stomach area. I guess I need to get my sad ass to the gym).

Apparently, after I fell asleep, there ensued a huge argument about Israel, complete with namecalling (''you zionist, you'') and threats of making people read Noam Chomsky, all carried on in unfriendly tones and breaking all Swedish etiquette rules that forbid the discussion of politics (I blame this rule for my utter lack of comprehension when it comes to Swedish politics and the seven political parties represented in the Riksdag).

When I woke up, those damned wool trousers I was wearing making me feel extremely itchy and hot, A. said ''Did the shouting wake you up?'' She was very amused when I said no, it was, er, those damned wool trousers.

- by Francis S.

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