Damnation. The husband and I have another Swedish 30th birthday party extravaganza to attend. At least we don't have to pay 500 crowns just to attend, which is the usual arrangement for these things. And, it's only a sit-down dinner for 80 people somewhere out in Lidingö, in the near suburbs.
The last 30th birthday party we went to was 500 kilometers away and we had to stay at an expensive hotel with a hundred other partygoers. Worse, after I had gone up to bed - I can't keep up with the Swedes when it comes to vodka tonics and bottomless bottles of red wine and I hate the way that once you're married, Swedish etiquette dictates that you can't sit together and I always end up next to some 75-year-old widow who lived in New Jersey sometime in the '60s and has all sorts of frightening anecdotes about America - the husband had gotten into a big row at 4 a.m. with one of the birthday boy's friends who had made a drunken speech that included a phrase along the lines of "we used to be tough when we were young but now we go out and eat shrimp and act all gay." The husband was very displeased at the implication that there is something wrong with eating shrimp and with being gay. Apparently, when he pointed this out to the inebriated speechgiver, things heated up a bit followed by a calamitous chill that stopped the festivities cold.
The next morning, there was an air of discomfort everywhere, stinking up the place. But I was happy, and very proud of the husband.
The Swedish word for the day is hård. It means tough.
- by Francis S.