I am a sweaty man. One of my more attractive qualities really. Which might not say much about my other qualities. But being sweaty and being in Stockholm when the sun is shining and it is humid doesn’t do me well.
And it’s even worse when I’m on the bus. Because until today, every Swedish bus I have ever been on has been lacking one key amenity. Air conditioning. Today though, I sat in the finest bus I have ever seen. And the air conditioning caressed my sweaty face whisking away my beads of perspiration. That last sentence was damn near poetic by the way. Feel free to use it in every day conversation.
It was a good thing though that the bus was air conditioned, because along with being sweaty I am judgmental. Mostly of people. And I do it quickly. Call it my Malcolm Gladwell Blink instinct. And I don’t tolerate stupid people. I just don’t. Maybe because, despite what some might gather from my writing, I don’t consider myself a stupid person.
But regardless of what you think of me, I think we can all agree that there are stupid people in the world. And one was sitting right behind me. At first I thought he was flirting with the older woman sitting next to him, which, to be honest, should have been warning enough about his intelligence level. But it got worse.
She asked him where he was headed. And he forgot. He spent five minutes trying to remember. An actual conversation took place as to why he was on the bus. Where he was going. What he was doing. And it wasn’t one of those scary “oh shit he forgot everything” moments, it was a scary” man that guy is an idiot” moments. Finally, he checked his cell phone. Turns out he was meeting his brother. Apparently family wasn’t at the top of his priorities when a haggard looking old lady with boobs hanging out was sitting next to him.
But my ride just got better. Because I transferred to the subway. And there was a busker on the subway. I don’t know if they are actually considered buskers if they are riding on the subway or if they were sitting at the station, but either way, the man was playing music and asking for money.
As a general rule I don’t give money away to strangers unless they have something unique to offer. Like people promising me a hug for a quarter. This man had music. Which just wasn’t enough for me. Then I started looking him up and down. The man was well dressed. Nice pants, nice shirt, an old, but nice sports jacket. And then I looked at his shoes. Because if I learned one thing in business school it’s that shoes make the man. The man had nicer shoes than me. I’m cheap, but these things were fancy looking.
My first reaction was that to be a beggar dressed better than your beggees seemed like a bad plan. Then I completely changed my mind. This man had balls. Dressing to the nines to go play music on a subway takes a certain amount of testicular fortitude. And I appreciate testicular fortitude. So I gave him the coins in my pocket. A grand total of 2.5 SEK. I can only appreciate testicular fortitude so much.
And finally, just a quick tip. When it is hot and humid and you plan on riding public transportation, there is one rule you should follow above all else. Wear deodorant. I know I sweat, so every morning I wear deodorant. Hell, I even have it in my bag that I carry to work every day. I don’t like it when my nostrils are assaulted.
Welcome to Sweden. And summer public transportation.