Posts Tagged ‘random’

Taking full responsibility

March 31, 2009

This morning I was lifting a sweater off a kitchen chair, and knocked a glass to the floor and broke it. My son called out in Swedish from the bedroom, “I’m sorry!” I said, “No, I broke it, it’s not your fault.” Then he was standing next to me there in the kitchen, saying, “No, both of us! Both!” I let him take the blame along with me. It was easier that way.

At preschool I lifted him out of his stroller, and he was immediately surrounded by three boys who pulled him into a huddle and clapped him on the back like he had just scored a goal. Then these  munchins in snowsuits ran off for the far side of the playground, their faces smiling and arms flapping.

Spring is here today. Spring in Sweden comes like an abusive spouse bearing chocolates and roses. I cower at all this sunshine, wanting to be glad for it, but not trusting it. This Swedish part of my brain, this part I do not want, tells me that by the time I finally do start trusting the weather, in July or August, it will change on me again. Today I will try to find my inner Californian, the one so sure about the sun. He’s much better to be around.


Has been drinking and is getting sentimental watching “Miami Ink”

November 16, 2008

Yes, I am now mixing Facebook status updates and WordPress titles. Such is life.

More than a year ago I was riding the commuter train between Uppsala and Upplands Väsby, with my son in his stroller, and across from me an Italian guy said, “So, how is your little champion doing?” I immediately liked him for calling my son a “little champion.” And today he and his wife and two kids came over to my place for tacos, drinks, candy and general hanging out.

I like this about life: one comment on a train a year and a half ago results in friendship, kids playing together, and people from three different countries eating tacos at a table in Sweden as the snow comes down outside. It makes all the internationalism a little more bearable. Though tacos and alcohol always make things a little more bearable.

I love my son, right now, pushing his plastic bus around the coffee table. I love kids hitting each other and crying one moment, and the next moment sneaking out to the staircase in pirate hats. Nothing will ever get better than that.

On a train in the second person

November 6, 2008

The second person frees us. The intimate but distancing “you.”

You sit on a train speeding back to Stockholm, buzzing on two beers and frustrated over your mobile broadband’s refusal to connect.

You download a video on yoga, and clicking through it you come upon a man in the full lotus hopping around on his back. You smile over the idea of achieving flexibility, mental calm and humility through advanced silliness.

You think of your bed, waiting for you, and the sheets and clothes that need washing, and the hot black coffee you will make for yourself in the morning.

You think of life, of the clap of shoe heels on train aisle linoleum.

You get giddy thinking about Obama, feeling more hopeful about the U.S. than you have in your whole life.

 You add “Obama” to the dictionary of your cell phone when texting a friend.

You tilt your head back and hear train wheels rolling, and you want more beer and Swedish snus.

You think of the train as a long tube creating the illusion of “inside” when all along you are outside.

You feel your deadlines swirling about you, curving around your head and shoulders, held off by the heat of the beer and day-end tiredness.

You feel yourself using too many words.

You blink. You exhale.

You plan your next urination as one does in public: a calculation of need, distances and future availability of toilets.