Saturday, February 25, 2006

Meet the Neighbors

Cold Feet has certainly had her fair share of adventures after daring to navigate the treacherous Stockholm housing market. But although I have moved around a lot, I have yet to experience much of anything regarding my Swedish neighbors, with the exception of utter anonymity and quite possibly the communal Christmas tree, although I became better aquainted with the tree itself than I did with any of my neighbors, especially after adding my own decoration to his boughs.

That is, until this morning.

At around ten minutes to noon (which is the equivalent of 3 am in the morning, according to my internal clock), there was a loud banging on the door. Still groggy, and not dressed (at all, really), I staggered around the apartment to find my bathrobe, tripping over Ullrick, and nearly landing face first into the couch.

The only reason I answered the door at all was that there was a chance that the Cat Lady was going to deliver a kitten for me to take care of for a few days. Much to my dismay, instead of the Cat Lady and a fluffy kitten, I discovered a surly-looking middle-aged Swedish man standing outside my door.

The man pointed angrily to the bag of trash I had set outside the door. I'm not quite sure exactly what he said, but I got the gist of it. "But, I am sick," I stammered in Swedish, not really wanting to launch into a lengthy discussion of the perils of having a curious kitten who likes to knock over and investigate bags of garbage not to mention the utter strain of having to pick up aforementioned knocked over garbage bag while one is trying to recover from the Mongolian death cold.

"It doesn't matter if you are sick. It's only another ten steps to the garbage chute," came the curt reply.

Once again, pretty sure that both he and I would rather skip the explanation about why the ten steps to the garbage chute really were too far when I was sick, having mainly to do with what I considered to be too big of a hassle to actually bother getting dressed to go those ten steps while I was suffering from the Mongolian death cold, never mind the fact that the majority of the aforementioned "garbage" was actually just plastic containers and newspapers that I actually intended to carry two blocks (as opposed to "just ten steps") to the recycling center.

"I am sick," I repeated, while closing the door, restraining myself from slamming it in his face.

This is an example of what I call passive-aggression suprême. (And yes, that did deserve to be emphasized with an accent circonflexe.) A neighbor whom I have never met, and will likely never see again, deemed a small bag of recyclable materials (that emited NO foul odors, by the way) outside of my door so disturbing that it warranted pounding angrily on my door, after it had been there for less than 12 hours. This is the same type of person who leaves an angry note in the laundry room because the person before them had neglected to clean out the dryer filter (which, by the way, was probably because he/she had already done it once because the person before him/her had neglected to do it, and so on and so forth). Never mind that it takes ten times as long to go back up to your apartment, find the pen and paper, compose the angry note, and then go back down to the laundry room to affix it to the affronting machine then it would have taken to just brush your hand over the damn dryer filter in the first place.

I am sick. Leave me alone.


Anonymous m said...

Laundry room note-people never leave their apt w/o pen and paper, just in case.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Stefan Geens said...

It sounds to me like you're getting better.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are som fine observations on Swedes and lint filters on How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Herring:

"[---]Anyone who has ever lived in a Swedish flat knows where the final judgement will be handed down - in the laundry room. In front of the drier. For this is where sinners are revealed. It takes about 30 seconds for your doom to be sealed.

Swedish morality is simple and direct on this point: a good person cleans the lint filter on the drier. The filter collects lint from the clothing in the drier. Lint is like our old sins - a grey, diffuse, unappetising tangle. The only difference is that sins are caught by the filter of conscience. Lint is caught by the lint filter.[---]"

Follow the above link for the rest of the story.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be honest, I have to side with the angry neighbor on this one. "Mongolian Death Cold" or not, you can make it ten more steps and even deoderized garbage isn't a pleasant thing to have in public space.

Get well soon all the same.


2:16 PM  
Anonymous thomas wicker said...

Gotta side with you. Non-odiferous refuse, particularly of the recyclable type, can wait a bit.

Though, with, um, "interesting" neighbors like that, you might want to see about finding a way to sort recyclables into something kitty-proof and then taking the rest the "ten steps", if only to prevent overzealous neighbors from deciding that they are the law.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say, invest in a cattle prod.

Or a Taser.


1:27 AM  

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