Yesterday, I did something in the US to prove a point to Sweden. Surprisingly, Sweden was unaware of my actions. For good reason really, it is a point that is only meaningful to me. And to anyone ever stranded and ignored on the side of the road.
I am looking for new shoes. I bought a pair that I was quite pleased with back in March. I threw them away in June. They tore at the seams and couldn’t handle the slush that was the Swedish spring. Since then I have been using my old beat up tennies. They work well, but they are haggard. And to be honest, I really need a new pair of semi-nice shoes that can be worn with jeans in my new everyday life. It’s because I’m so European and stylish.
I have yet to find them. So yesterday, I went in search of some brown shoes. I stumbled upon a pair I really liked. And realized suddenly that they were the exact same pair I bought back in March. And so I left the store.
Stranded in the parking lot, sitting in an old blue Toyota of sorts was a young man with a dirty moustache. I mean just dirty. Blonde, stringy, with slight curls on the end. The kind of moustache my little brother would be proud of. It was not the moustache that drew me to him though, it was the Toyota. With the hood up. The telltale sign of trouble.
In the last three years I spent way too much time in parking lots, on the sides of roads, in below freezing temperatures, in rain and hail, looking for help with my car. I was turned down when I asked people for help. I was ignored when I asked people for help. I was in Sweden when I asked people for help.
So I asked him if he needed help. I stared at his moustache in amazement as he explained that his battery was dead. He didn’t have any jumper cables but his brother was on the way. Have no fear kind mustachioed one, I have jumper cables. See the above paragraph for why I always carry jumper cables with me. In my car I mean. I don’t actually walk around with them. Although, with my luck with any sort of motorized vehicle, it might not be a bad idea.
A quick attaching of the red and black cables and the Toyota roared to life. He thanked me profusely. Pulled away, and then stopped and yelled one last thank you as his moustache reverberated from the sound waves.
And I realized that I helped him solely because I was so seldom helped. I am not always the most outgoing person. I am more awkward than I care to be. I avoid conflict and potentially new situations. And I essentially just described myself as being Swedish. Except for the part where I helped someone jump their car.
That was mean.
Welcome to Swedish-America. And car trouble.
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