Thursday, August 22, 2002

When we stepped into the movie theater, instead of sitting in the seats designated on our tickets, we sat close to the seats designated on our tickets. There were only three other people in the theater, so what difference could it make?

Soon enough, there were 10 more people, and then fifteen. And of course the girl in the ticket booth had chosen to cram everyone into three rows. Before we knew it, around us hovered a group of twenty-somethings all confused and knocking into each other's knees. An angry Danish boy glared at us, and my friend Å. had to explain in a guilty voice and a heavy Jönköping accent that, in fact, we weren't in the proper seats. The Dane grumbled a bit, and Å. grumbled a bit, but eventually everyone managed to settle down a bit indignantly in their wrong seats, and the movie began.

The idea of having reserved seats at a movie theater is a bit odd for us Americans. I suppose we don't have reserved seats because it's undemocratic or something. And we certainly don't have different prices for different seats, depending on where one is seated. Something that is not done in Sweden either, although it makes sense to me.

But why on earth did the girl in the ticket booth have to put everyone all up in each other's personal space like that?

"They only have to clean up three rows that way," Å. said.

So I was so tempted to leave my empty popcorn box and paper cup on the floor in front of my seat. But I was brainwashed by the pre-movie clip of the movie usher in full movie-usher regalia with a big old white guy over his knees, spanking him for not cleaning up after himself in the theater. I cleaned up after myself.

I am, indeed, such a good Swede.

The Swedish phrase for the day is personutveckling. It means personal development.

- by Francis S.

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