I still ended up spending most of my day at home, although I was harboring hope to take Sebastian out for lunch. But there were other plans in the make. I felt a bit cheated out on some well deserved quality time with my son as most weekends had been spent on cleaning and admin. That was exactly why I changed my schedule to late week day shifts so I’d have more time in the weekend. But alas… Instead I cooked up lunch and dinner for today and indeed did the last batch of ironing (there’s a lot of wash in this household as you’ve noticed).
At 5 pm, after a quick shower and rudimentary makeup I grabbed the bike and peddled as fast as I could to make it to Intertoys before closing hours. Unfortunately I was too late. Around the corner is another kids store – Mr. Paprika – and luckily the door was still open. But they had closed the till just minutes before. I begged and pleaded if I could pay in cash – for a friend’s book – for Sebastian. Without hesitation, the woman behind the counter went over to the designated section and showed me what was on offer. I decided on one with a monkey on the cover. Not only was it terribly cute, but my cash was limited to 10 euros and thus it was the only one I could get. I found Sebastian outside Viqh playing with Lego that he got earlier. Friends book vs. Lego? – no competition.
We scrambled together the toys that were scattered over a large area and decided on a small restaurant, its name escaping me (Chateau N… something rather). It started off with good conversations until I was made aware (loud and) clear I was a “Zweedse Kut Wijf” (or something in that direction, as it’s Dutch I rarely remember the exact words….meaning; A Swedish cunt).
I of course apologized as it was said rather loud and several customers looked at me. So I simply raised my body somewhat, apologized once more for being Swedish and if it had offended anyone and sat down again. People didn’t say anything but their looks of disapproval at me spoke volume. They were probably right, it wasn’t my finer moment in life. Not that I had talked too loud, or were intoxicated (I had 2 glasses of wine for the evening), perhaps I looked a bit shabbier than I should; newly ironed dress but haphazard makeup and a pair of red shoes maybe did make me look like a tart. The white-trailer-trash that only a country like Sweden could produce. Needless to say the dinner got cut short and I ended up putting Sebastian in bed and later watching a documentary. I must have been asleep by 11 pm.
Tomorrow is another day, and today is that day (I live by that mantra – especially in these times). I am guilty of far worse transgressions than looking like a Swedish hillbilly. In fact my transgressions are so gross and erroneous they would warrant an exceedingly worse reception and punishment than that of yesterday. But of course these people didn’t know of that (luckily).
What it did make me think of – this Sunday morning – is how it must feel to be an outcast. I am nowhere near that, and even if I am I choose to believe in myself and work on the parts I have still to master. But for a moment, that evening provided a glimpse of “you are not welcome, foreigner”. Based on whatever bias that had been instilled. I suppose that is why a national right wing party with a despicable humanitarian ethos gets 12.9% in the last Swedish election and becomes the 3rd largest party. Similar things are happening in the Netherlands with Wilders at the helm.
Lastly on the topic of diversity, is it “their” issues with their “culture” or is it “us either refusing to understand them or perhaps not having the mental capacity to do so?”
Marcus Aurelius, my last words will fall back to you… “An emerald will shine none the less through its worth be not spoken of.”