Saturday, July 25, 2009

You probably think this blog is about you, don't you?

He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
©1965 Lennon-McCartney, Nowhere Man
"You'll meet people," my friends said, before I left for my Swedish trip. I was a little anxious about traveling alone.

Well it was day 8 and I hadn't met anyone to speak of. I'd had a short conversation with a German couple on a boat trip to the island of Birka, and I'd chatted briefly with an English couple one night at dinner at the hotel. But I hadn't actually socialized with anyone.

I'd just got back from a walk around Södermalm and was having a quiet drink in the residential section of the hotel's bar when a woman spoke to me. "Hello," she said "please come and join us. We are sitting at the front." Yes, I was - meeting someone - my friends had been right. And so I agreed and trotted off to sit with the woman and her friends in the open bar.

The woman who had invited me to the group had startling cornflower blue eyes and was about my age. She introduced me to three fellow Swedes - a couple and her own male "friend". I sat down next to the female of the other couple. Her eyes were cat-like green.

After I told them where I was from and Green Eyes and her partner had had their bit of fun mimicking (badly) the Australian accent, and asking me about "The Beach", we were busy making polite conversation, when green-eyes hissed at me, "SHE (pointing at Blue Eyes) met HIM (pointing at Friend-of-Blue-Eyes) in a CHAT ROOM!" Peals of scornful Green Eyes laughter.

"Oh," I said. She then raised her voice several decibels and said, "Please change your name. I can't remember it. Please change your name to something I can remember!"

"No," I said.

From there things started to deteriorate. Blue Eyes and her friend decided to leave, and while I was sitting there trying to think up a way to extricate myself, Partner-of-Green-Eyes started attacking me verbally. "So you are Australian. You have BEACH HaHa. And why you here in Sweden? Why you feel NEED to come here. Hey hey?"

I stared at him.

Green Eyes started to cry. "Why are you saying this?" she asked him. And to me, "I have known this man twenty years and NEVER has he spoken like this, Jane."

"The name's Kate," I replied.

"I am lonely man, I have friends but I am lonely man," Partner-of-Green Eyes was bleating.

I as thinking that at least it was getting Bergman-esk, when Green Eyes piped up, "We KNOW you are lonely man but she, this woman, er, her name I never know, didn't make you lonely. It isn't her fault! This is a DISGRACE to Sweden! Apologise to Claire"

I decided not to argue, and to just be Claire, and was sitting quietly when Partner-of-Green Eyes stood up and said he was paying for the wine. It was then I realized that his outburst had coincided with the other couple leaving. Perhaps they had stiffed him with the bill.

So I offered to chip in - I'd had one drink from a bottle of rosé. Partner-of-Green-Eyes snatched the notes from my hand and sneered, "That is cheapest drink you ever had. Australia! BEACHES! Ja you have BEACHES! So good HaHa!"

Green Eyes resumed her sobbing. I got up to go. "Claire is leaving," I told them.

Before I left I took a photo of Partner-of-Green-Eyes, just so I'd know I didn't imagine this bizarre scene. I looked at it just now, and he's clearly there but his head is obscured by part of an ornamental tree.

Claire is disappointed!


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Very sad Claire (ooops Kate) :-)

Hope one day you come visit China. Enjoy the rest of your trip


Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
I´m smiling..and I´m sorry for the incident. I think they had drink to much. My friend and I start to go and then I said..We forgett to pai so we get back and pay our billing. The personal in hotel laugh and say thank you. After this I went home along of course, haha...

I give you a hugh and I hope your trip to NY has been nice.


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