Have you ever tried to jump a car in Sweden? In -10 degree Celsius weather? In January? Knowing that the heat doesn’t work in your car? I have. Just a few hours ago. And it sucked. A lot.
Let me explain what happens in case you were really curious.
First, you’re going to start cussing. Cursing. Swearing. In any language you find comfortable. I preferred to switch between both Swedish and English. You will be mostly be cursing yourself. Because you are an idiot. And know that you have a crap battery that can’t handle the cold.
Next, you will sit calmly in your car and think. Will you try to lure someone into the parking garage? Will you write a note to your neighbor asking for help? Or will you push the car out of the garage into traffic.
I chose the latter. Which was difficult. Because I have to do some maneuvering to get out of the garage that makes it a little tricky when the car is working. Doing that alone, in neutral was less than exciting.
When you finally get the car outside, after having to fight through a slight uphill battle at the garage door, you will be assaulted by the cold weather. And you will once again curse all the choices you ever made that led you to this point. Again, in the language of your choosing of course.
Finally, you will get close to traffic. At which point you have more choices. Do you run into traffic to try to flag someone down? Do you wait patiently? Remember, this is Sweden. And you are wearing a bright orange beanie and bright orange gloves. Which may or may not scare off the average Swede because of the bright colors.
I chose to wait patiently for a while. I was embracing my Swedishness.
When you lose feeling in your fingers you will get back into your car. You will throw it in neutral and move it a bit closer to the traffic if only to get some blood flowing in your extremities. You will begin to approach every passing car. And finally a lovely girl will stop. And you will be ecstatic. And cold. But mostly ecstatic. She will get out and tell you she has no idea what to do. Luckily, you’ve done this before. A lot. Because you buy cheap cars. You will pull out your jumper cables, fumble about in the below freezing weather. Watch your finger tips go from bright red to a dull white. You will finally attach them to the respective batteries, and fire up the one working car. You will run, literally run, the three feet to your car and turn the key. And quietly do a little jig in the driver’s seat as your car coughs to life.
You will thank the girl profusely. You will ask her to marry you. You will promise her your first born child. You will be forever grateful. Until you realize she lives in your building. That’s just awkward. Come on now. You will both part ways, each happy in a different way.
And now you know what it’s like to jump a car in Sweden. In -10 degree Celsius weather. In January. Knowing that the heat doesn’t work in your car.
The lesson here is a simple one. And one that I learned a couple of years ago from the wise Australian lady in the middle of nowhere on the road to Brisbane. She was right. She told me, and my girlfriend at the time, “You get what you pay for love.” Little did she know how right she was. The hotel room we chose instead of her more expensive hotel room was armed with a can of Raid. For good reason. Cockroaches came out when the lights went out. And that’s not some sexual joke. Insects. La Cucaracha. Cockroaches.
Welcome to Sweden. Where the wise words of Australian women ring true.