Thursday, July 25, 2002

As the world's stockmarkets took a nasty spill, we spent the evening dancing on a volcano, not knowing things were crashing down around us outside.

Well, not dancing exactly, more like having a dinner party on a volcano. A dinner party thrown together at the last minute in honor of two guys from America whom I'd never met before, friends of a great friend of mine who lives in Chicago. The Americans, naturally, provided the news from America; we provided the food, the rioja and the Spanish eau de vie brought by the husband from Spain, and most importantly, the charming Swedish guests.

A., the former model and aspiring producer, ravishing in her little black shawl and impossibly thin spiky heels, told us about the time the animal talker came and talked to the family dog. "Dogs can make jokes," the animal talker had said. "They're very funny sometimes."

We sang silly Swedish drinking toasts.

The Americans were stuck reluctantly defending America. Which is a good thing for us Americans because we rarely have to do it to non-Americans. It toughens us up.

M., the t.v. producer, drank so many whisky glasses of neat white tequila that he couldn't stop talking way too coherently about Israel and Palestine and the power of positive propaganda. He also graciously taught the Americans - including me - a useful Swedish verb that does not translate squarely into tight English, although the concept is simple enough: att olla. It means to touch objects with the tip of one's dick.

Isn't Swedish great?

- by Francis S.

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