Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The heart of the city is the most desirable place to live in Stockholm. Which is unlike most cities in the States. Bereft of a middle-class, the typical American city is filled mostly with the poor, plus a smattering of bohemian-types with no children, a few odd rich people and a bunch of gay men. America just doesn't seem to care much about its cities, with huge chunks of urban America left to rot. So, it's nice to live in a place where people think the city is just great. I rarely cross the city lines.

But every so often, I have no choice. Such as this evening, when I had a work function which entailed venturing into the far reaches of Stockholm, a good 15 kilometers from town.

What was so disturbing was not the distance, but that the house I ended up at seemed to fit some bizarre Swedish version of the American dream of a house in the suburbs, complete with two-car garage, a lawn as carefully manicured as the fingernails of Miss America, and a flagpole with one of those long thin triangular Swedish flags.

Have I completely misread the Swedes and what they think is important?

Worse, is this what people really want, the world over, a house with a two-car garage in the suburbs?

I fear that I'm a terrible snob. I sound like a college sophomore.

The Swedish word for the day is kinkig. It means difficult to please.

- by Francis S.

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