Look, there he is. His hair flowing in the air, or at least the half mullet that’s sticking out from underneath his baseball cap, as he rolls down the hill on his Persian green bike, a Peugeot. He’s on his way to … well, nowhere to be honest. He just hopped on his bike and rode around for a while, and here he is now, a walkman clipped to the waist of his shorts, listening to music and taking in a perfect summer’s day. Just as comes to the edge of town and rides by the car dealership he’ll buy his first car from a couple of years later, he hears computer making beeps and bleeps.
He puts his hands back on the handlebar and turns up the volume. He’s never really listened to the song before.
“Good evening. This is the intergalactic operator. Can I help you?” “Yes. I’m trying to reach flight commander P.R. Johnson, on Mars, flight 2-4-7”
Her name was Gladys. Must’ve been. Well, one hundred percent it would’ve been if she’d been a character in a book. An American book. From the seventies, maybe. Come on, man, that was prejudiced. Maybe even racist?
Racist? Puh-lease. How could it be racist when she was a white woman and I’m a white man.
Fine, it was a little … rude. And probably – what’s the word – “namist”? Slapping a name on to a person who I knew nothing about, except for what I saw right in front of me, and then thinking the name is a catch-all for everything. And what’s in a name? Not all Gladyses are the same. (Gladysi?)
He lay on his bed in the darkness, unable to sleep, and for that, he was angry at himself. He knew had to get some sleep and if there was one thing, one personality trait he took pride in, it was his ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
It was such a cliché, too. That he couldn’t fall asleep on the night before the big exam. It had nothing to do with that. He knew there was no need for him to be nervous about the exam, and he wasn’t, he really wasn’t.
The biggest thing about Christmas has always been the Christmas break. First, there were the school days and the break that was weeks long, that sometimes felt almost too long.
Then, in the university, it was suddenly even longer, with the lectures ending in early December so, with careful planning, I could take off to my parents’ by mid-December the latest, after my last exam, and then return in mid-January.
Every time somebody in Wife’s family gets a present that is shaped like a box, just after s/he has torn the wrapping paper off it but before s/he opens the actual box, somebody will say, “oooh, did somebody pull a mormor?”
Mormor is Swedish for maternal grandmother, and pulling a mormor is a reference to the fact that Wife’s mormor often gave presents that were packed inside boxes that were just the right size for the purpose, but wasn’t the box in which the actual present came. For example, cookie cutter may have been in a razor box, creating confusion and hilarity.
Believe or not, I love Xmas shopping. I mean, I may moan about the stress and I may get angry at other people in the stores, but I like to go out and buy stuff to others. Also, believe it or not, I’m great at it.
Because I like buying presents to others, I often seem to get pretty good presents, which obviously raises the bar for the next year, but with a little bit of luck, I seem to stumble on nice presents every year.
Except this year, but then again, I say that every year.