Thursday, August 10, 2006

Do you remember what it's like to be 13?

I realize, looking back on it, that as I shamed my 13-year-old nephew by retelling for the 10th time the story of how he threw up on an amusement park ride, that I've surely forgotten.

I had a grand time with the niece and nephew. They're funny and fun, a bit shy sometimes but not terribly self-conscious on the whole, and they didn't complain once about a single thing.

Then again, we went all out, with touristing around the old town and watching the changing of the guard, a visit to the Modern Art Museum (to assuage their mother, although the revolting Paul McCarthy mechanical pig was worth a good ten minutes of gaping), a ferry trip out to the archipelago and a weekend on an island, a concert, laser tag, fishing for crayfish in the middle of the night, the Stockholm Pride Parade, and lots of shopping and walking and dinners and meeting of various friends. Plus the ill-fated visit to the amusement park, which they didn't seem to hold against me.

But how could I have forgotten what it's like to be 13? It was a horrible year for me. And really, to remain a member of the human race one should be required to remember what it's like to be 13, just to keep one humble and aware of how awfully tender and easily scraped we humans are, in constant need of emotional bandaids.

The Swedish word for the day is nöjesfält. It means amusement park.

- by Francis S.

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