Last night I was out on the town. And by out on the town I went to dinner and grabbed a drink with a friend. I was home before 10. I am a rebel without a cause.
But the ride home on good old SL presented me with a new experience. A very aggravated train conductor. Now, the train conductors in Sweden tend to be heard but not seen. And not even seen unless you are late for the train. They hide in their little compartments at the front and back of each train. They pop out at the stops to make sure no one has a leg stuck in the door. Other than that, you don’t see them. You only hear them if they want to make an announcement.
Usually they stick to the basics. Se upp för dörrarna, dörrarna stängs. The British version being, Mind the Gap. Perhaps they’ll come on to tell you that they are running behind because of leaves on the tracks. Because once again, Mother Nature and her never ending cycle of decay during the autumnal months has caught SL off guard once again. Or maybe it’s December and SL was surprised by the snow. Because living near the Arctic Circle would suggest that snow in December is an anomaly. And sometimes maybe they just want to get something off their chest.
And last night, the train conductor wanted to do just that. An announcement to clear the air. One that seemed to suggest she was at the end of her shift. And her rope for that matter.
Because as we waited a bit longer than usual at a stop, the distant crackling voice of a conductor came over the loudspeakers. Var snäll och släpp dörrarna. Pucko.
The first part isn’t so strange. Kind of polite in that Swedish way. Please let go of the doors. Because the doors can be held open. Which means the train can’t leave. It’s obnoxious when you have somewhere to be. But when you’re in no big hurry, it’s dealable. Which sounds like a word. Kind of.
Anyway, it was that final word that caught my attention. Pucko. Freak. Idiot. It’s also a delicious chocolate milk drink sold here in Sweden. One which another former Coloradoan has adopted down in Lund.
The train conductor said what everyone else was probably thinking. Clearly the person doing this was a delicious chocolate milk drink. Or a freak and idiot. I loved it. It was a beautiful display of passive aggressiveness. Mostly because of the politeness that preceded the insult.
But whoever was holding the door let it go. And we were on our way. And we didn’t get held up at any more stops after that. She did her job. And she did it well.
Welcome to Sweden.