Last night we sat up late eating caviar on toast and drinking white wine. Swedes prefer löjrom - whitefish roe, the best coming from Kalix up in the north of Sweden - to Russian beluga caviar. Our neighbor L., the chef, had styled food for a shoot with various caviars and while she'd given away the expensive Russian stuff to the photographer, she had saved the löjrom for us to have together.
We got to talking about self actualization, as we seem always to do with L. and her boyfriend P.
"When I moved to New York," L. said, "I was a bitch and stupid. I was such a perfectionist." She had worked at a renowned restaurant in New York. "They prepped the food way ahead of time on the weekend, and I would come in and say it wasn't good enough and throw it away. And this was to people who'd been working there for three years."
She was all of 21 years old when she had arrived. She had argued with the chef, who is well-known in Sweden because of his restaurant in New York. She had argued with everyone, and no one liked her.
Now, at the ripe old age of 27, she's learned that she was crazy when she was 21.
"I was crazy," she said.
She believes that she had too many unresolved inner conflicts then.
She believes that one of the problems with the world is that people expend too much energy trying to change things they can't change instead of fixing things inside themselves. That they worry about the Palestinians getting a fair deal, or a man getting stoned to death in Nigeria, instead of making their beds in the morning.
The husband wasn't buying this because in fact I make our bed in the morning, not him.
I told L. that I kind of agree with her; and yet it's sometimes hard to say how far our responsibilities to others extend.
And then we ate strawberries, without sugar.
The Swedish word for the day is ansvarig. It means responsible.
- by Francis S.