Saturday, February 09, 2002

The week that was, was too much. And it's given me a hangover.

On Tuesday we had a colleague of the husband's - the divorcée - over for dinner. After an unpleasant meeting at work, I rounded off the day with beers with fellow managers and we sat and bitched and laughed. Then I ran home and frantically whipped up something out of thin air, and the divorcée was an hour late and arrived while the husband was downstairs yakking it up with the neighbors and I was stuck entertaining her. She's a little tightly wound, the divorcée, and she has the thickest of Skånska accents. I'm lucky to understand a quarter of what she says. It was not my favorite kind of entertaining.

On Wednesday, the husband had a board meeting in our dining room from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. I sat in the living room eating sushi while the fashionistas smoked pack after pack of cigarettes, drank wine and came to not a single conclusion about anything. At least I didn't have to participate, well, not much anyway - they did haul me in from time to time to ask my opinion about this or that, but only if it had nothing to do with fashion.

On Thursday, we had another one of those damned 30th birthday parties to go to. I ask you, what kind of person has a Thursday night bash for eighty people at some new club, complete with booze and buffet and the Swedish equivalent of a Broadway star live on stage belting out song after song (but doing a great job at it with no irony lost on the guests, who loved watching one gay man singing "No Woman No Cry" to another gay man)? It was fun, but please, not on a Thursday. I'm still recovering from all the cigarettes I smoked.

Then Friday came, the day I was dreading. Because I had to have five one-on-one meetings in Swedish with the five people for whom I am their new boss (there must be a less awkward way of writing that, I'm just too damned lazy to bother to fix it). So Friday morning I walked down the island of Södermalm, and took a ferry over to the other side of the channel at Hammarby. I walked into the office where my new employees are working. I went to the meetings and all was well and good. But it made my head hurt, and I had no time for lunch. I took the ferry back and on the way the husband called. He was at the neighbors, chatting it up. And silently, I cursed him because I just wanted one night to call our own.

But it all came out in the wash. We ended up with the neighbors and our friend M. the television producer, eating dreadful Swedish food, husmanskost - food of the people is how I translate it in my head: Macaroni in white sauce (no cheese, that would add too much flavor) and falukorv, a sausage that resembles an oversized and obscene hotdog both in looks and taste. It was satisfying. And we inadvertantly put on a little show for the neighbor across the way, who had earlier commented obliquely to the husband about our parties with people rolling, er, cigarettes. I wonder what she thinks of the part when we got out the handcuffs - the real thing! - and the 10 different pairs of glasses the husband and I own.

But oh, I need to recover from it all.

The Swedish word for the day is äntligen ensam. It means alone at last.

- by Francis S.

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