I had a moment yesterday when I felt as if I could see things from the perspective of a native Stockholmare and I was extremely pleased. I felt as a part of them. A part of the cool kids. Then again, I'm not sure I'm supposed to want to be a typical Stockholmare. Not that I really know what a 'typical Stockholmare' is exactly, I just know I'm not supposed to want be one. Something about Stockholm vs. Göteborg and Jönköping being on the Göteborg side. I can't remember the exact reasons but there's rarely much logic to my thinking anyway.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was on the escalator going up from the train station up to school. I was in a hurry to get to class so I was quickly walking up the escalator. On the left side obviously, I'm not completely behind the bobber (jag är ju inte heeeelt bakom flötet liksom- a Swedish saying, that definitely sounds less stupid in Swedish, well, slightly less stupid at least). You see, I was warned about this when I moved here. One does not simply stand on the left side of the escalator! You just don't. That area is reserved for people who want to walk up the moving escalator. It creates order. You stand on the right side if you're standing still and happy with the pace provided.
I was walking up the escalator on the left side passing people who were standing still. On the right side. Then all of a sudden I see the forbidden. A few steps above me I see a man standing still on the LEFT side. I repeat. He was not moving. He was standing s-t-i-l-l. ON THE LEFT SIDE!!!
I could feel and clearly see the irritation and confusion this caused. Everyone noticed. Every person having to zigzag past him as they made their way up the escalator. Even the people standing a few steps down or up on the right side of the escalator glanced at him. "How dare he?! Who is this uninformed person who obviously doesn't know the unspoken rules of the escalators in Stockholm?! Completely disrupting the order of things. If people always did whatever they wanted we'd have anarchy. Is that what you want? Huh??"
For a second I was annoyed as I made my way around him. Then it made me smile. People need a wake up call from time to time to remember that things are different in other places. Not all Swedish cities are the same. In some cities people actually just stand still on the escalator, waiting until it reaches the next floor. I know, hard to imagine.
Then my smile grew bigger, realizing I might be on my way to become a Stockholmare after all.
This is me a few months ago while visiting Stockholm, it's pretty obvious I was an outsider as I'm standing a tad too far on the left side. Not quite as organized as the people in front of me. They take these things seriously over here you know.