I sat by the window on the bus and kept my camera close to my body, in case someone wanted to sit next to me. Someone did. An older gentleman (say, around 80 years old) parked his butt next to mine. He said that he chose this seat because I was so slim.
I think he said that, in any case. Because, after some initial confusion (Strange dialect. Does.not.compute.), I realised he was speaking Danish.
For those of you who aren't native Swedish speakers, Danish is nothing like Swedish. You know the Swedish chef in the Muppet Show? That's how Danes sound to a Swede. During the 20-minute trip into the city centre, this particular Dane proceeded to talk to me non-stop about his destination (?), his wife (?), his work (?) and banks (?). I got a word here and there (I think he might have said something about ABBA? Why would an 80-year old man be talking to me about ABBA?), which he interjected with the occasional slap on my thigh with the back of his hand (like we were fellow conspirators, or something) and staring at my chest. I nodded, smiling at what seemed like the appropriate times and frowning when he did, but understood nothing. And my deception would have worked perfectly, had he not suddenly turned the tables and asked me a question, interrupting my daydreaming of being anywhere else on the planet other than on this bus:
- Do you snork? he asked.
- Do you snork? he repeated.
- I'm sorry, are you asking me if I work?
- No, no! he said, obviously exasperated. Do you SNORK??
- (Brain working furiously to rearrange sounds into letters, letters into words, words into sentences and then translating the sentences into meaning, eyes darting at the exit of the bus, considering throwing myself off the moving bus to save myself from the embarrassment the revelation that I don't understand him would bring, thankfully getting it just before they had to pull me out from under a tram:) No, no. I don't SMOKE.
I was starting to get really warm by that point. I was sitting by the window, like I said, and couldn't get up or interject any comments of my own into this one-sided conversation. I was trapped. Cornered. Doomed to listen to this otherwise very sympathetic old man talking gibberish until it was time for him to get off the bus.
His stop came up before mine. He got up pretty quickly for a man his age and moved to the exit, without so much as saying goodbye. I felt wounded. Had he not felt the obvious connection we had gotten during those precious 20 minutes? The chemistry? Did that moment of sharing mean nothing to him?
I then met my friend S in town to snap some photos of the city. Kind of like a project, before we move. Uninspired though as I might have felt, I still came home with lots of photos. Some of them were even good enough to present here. Hope you like them. If you don't, my new-found Danish friend will explain to you why you should.