Stockholm is Smokin’

Sweden, we need to talk.

I came to you with great expectations and left feeling conflicted and deceived.

The rest of the world has built up this image of you being all sexy and beautiful and stuff. We fantasize about this blonde haired, blue-eyed colony of sexy sauna dwellers, engaged in 24 hour erotic community massages, but in real life… not so much.

Speaking of Swedes being beautiful, where did that myth start? A lot of you are really strange looking, all pointy and albino-ish and stuff. I mean, with the exception of Alexander (we’re on a first-name basis now), and our creepishly gorgeous family that is.

Seriously.

This family is so good looking it’s weird. I hate to brag but there is not one single unattractive person in it. It’s unnerving really. You can’t spend to much time with them or it fucks with your head.

We’re all sitting around talking about politics, anger management and Greek Spinach and all I can think about is how beautiful everyone sitting around the table is and how to get out of the room without accidentally mounting somebody.

You’re thinking I need mental help right now, and I do, but if you knew these people you’d understand…

But Swedes in general really aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Sure, you’re nice and polite and pleasant and stuff but so quiet and held-back.

While we were there a bus driver refused to advance because people (my people) were talking too loud on the bus.

Really?

And the whole minding your own business thing. What’s that about? Where’s your sense of community?

At the beach, I saw a mother with her two kids, about 4 and 7 years old. The kids where smashing full bottles of beer over a rock and NOBODY was saying ANYTHING!

Finally after a while, somebody walked over to the kids and took the beer away (without saying a word – of course) and the mother just sat there saying and doing absolutely NOTHING.

I felt like I was on one of those stupid “What Would You Do” reality shows.

On a crowded bus downtown, we were being tossed and tussled all over the place and one of the kids shouted, pointing at a local in his seat,

“I bet I could sit in this man’s lap and he wouldn’t say a word!”

The man in question started intently out the window and pretended not to hear us.

Okay, so you apparently have better social services, school is free, and the weather there is blissfully mild but being all weird about upholding your image has got to get to you at some point right?

How do you cope? I mean, besides being raging alcoholics. Yeah. I couldn’t help noticing that you drink a lot. A LOT. Like, almost as much as us Québecers. Not cool.

One Swede told me that you guys are all sexually free and stuff, sleeping with each others friends and cousins and ex-boyfriends and pets what-have-you…

But another one of your people told me that it’s impossible to tell if a Swedish guy is into you because they don’t flirt or anything. They just kind of stand near you or something.

So… I’m not sure how that sex thing happens if you are too socially repressed to smile at strangers, much less talk to them.

Don’t be mad at me! I’m just trying to understand you. There are so many things I do love about you, like…

Your giant capers:

So good.

But if we’re going to make this work I need to understand how you work. How you do.

I have to say, while we’re being honest with each other, I was also surprised by how much you smoke.

I kind of expected a bunch of image conscious conservatives like yourselves to at least smoke in the comfort of your own private and immaculately decorated homes.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this Star Trek Window into your souls at the Stockholm airport:

Are you sure you don’t want to install some IKEA blinds or something?

Dirty. Dirty blonde people.

Anyhoooo…


I’m home now. Home to the debilitating heat, paralyzing humidity and general filth of Montréal.

Where where people start smoking the day after baptism and flick their ashes into the produce at the grocery store and toss their cigarette butts into the piles of dog shit that litters the sidewalks.

Where where people scream and swear at you in the street because nobody minds their own business about anything ever.

And I miss you. I miss your quiet. I miss your discretion. I miss your blissfully mild weather, your pointy little blonde faces, your trees and flowers and your giant capers.

Jennifer June

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