INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for Sweden

وقت القيلولة — Nap Time

There used to be a top Swede in everything, my Swedish colleague tells me. Now all they’ve got is fish, meatballs and IKEA. And when even IKEA can’t help me out, I know I’m in trouble.

My bed is a size not recognized by the world of IKEA foam mattress pads all christened with names of nonexistent Swedish sultans — Sultan Tafjord, Sultan Tårsta… So I turn to the Middle Eastern chain “Home Centre” in the hopes that they sell padding that does not have to be removed from its packaging and cut with scissors before using. Bad move.

It’s often hard here to find exactly what you’re looking for — a positive mall attitude requires a kind of vagueness far from the model number, “compare items” culture of American shopping. So I couldn’t find a perfect 100 Watt converter and the metal box they gave me gives out serious electric shocks when touched. But hey, now my TV works.

Even getting a haircut is a total free-for-all. The South Asian coiffeur told me what I wanted, explaining that it was “style”. I tried to argue, admitting that I wanted something stupid, and finally touching on one excuse that worked: “America. I’m from America.” He gave me a look: Okay, I’ll cut it, but it’s gonna look like shit. You asked for it.

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