I had a celebrity sighting the other day. I’m not very good at celebrities. Not in the US, and especially not in Sweden. But I enjoy Filip och Fredrik, despite never remembering which is which. They entertain me. Which is really all I ask from people. I’m a simple man. But I saw one of them. The short one. At a café. I did not speak to him; I did not even acknowledge his existence. Essentially, I delved into my inner-Swede. And I was not alone.
Living in the places that I have back in the US doesn’t make for a lot of celebrity sightings. Unless you count the local cow baron millionaire back in Greeley. But I don’t. The closest thing to celebrity in most of the places I have lived were the athletes. And by athletes, I mean student athletes. And it just weirds me out to get too excited about 18-20 year olds who play a game. Even though I do love those games.
Some people though tend to get a bit excited. Not just about athletes, but about celebrity. There’s the classic 13 year old screaming girl. The sneaky autograph hound. The apologetic, I’m your biggest fan. The creepy old man. The creepy old woman. Then there’s the take a glance but ignore. Which is where I come in. And apparently a large number of Swedes in my vicinity at the time.
Not a single person approached him. It was a busy café. In the middle of one of those beautiful Stockholm summer days that convinces tourists that they should move here (always visit in November before you decide to move here. Always. Just trust me.). Part of me was shocked. This is a man who is relatively ubiquitous on TV. But not a single soul said a word. It was quite refreshing really. Mostly because my image of celebrities out on the town tends to be a mob of the 13 year old screaming girl type.
Maybe my reaction to this has something to do with Sweden being small. Or about the US being overly obsessed with celebrity. Maybe it is because he’s a small man and he blended in with his surroundings. Maybe it’s because no one else thinks he’s funny. Or maybe, just maybe, people saw that he was out enjoying a lovely Stockholm summer day and left him the hell alone. I hope so.
Welcome to Sweden. And reticence.
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