|Portrait of Camila Costa in Oil
||A visit to the town of Norberg in Sweden in February 2014
Today I was the invisible man
This morning I was invisible! A neighbor from the same street where Iive looked straight into my eyes at the train station and showed no signs of recognition. Nothing, not even a little nod. We've been neighbors for 19 years now. Also the daughter of a neighbor at the bus stop did exactly the same. I know that grownups are invisible to many teenagers, so maybe that was not surprising after all.
I am on a business trip to Sweden today. There is nothing very special about that. Many people go on business trips so this is normal. As you might know I am a Swede living in the Netherlands for the past 19 years. When you travel by airplane there is a lot of waiting time and after the experience of being invisible I started to think about the idea that I would blog about my trip to Sweden.
The journey started at the bus stop and then continued by an InterCity train from Almere to Schiphol international airport. The train was very full. I came to sit opposite to a lady reading a newspaper and a girl with blue hair and a giant orange backpack. The blue haired girl used three seats. No problem because in the next group of seats there were plenty of spare seats. Then arrived a man who wanted to choose one of the three seats and the blue haired reduced to using two seats. Obviously he had to sit at the lady with bright blue hair even though there were empty chairs a few meters away. I think he fancied ladies with blue hair.
The lady with the newspaper fell asleep, but managed to hold her paper in front of her while sleeping. Now all seats were occupied.
People were reading "free" newspapers. They featured an article about that Muslims wanted to kill a lady starting a wine bar. It felt like this was not the kind of news I urged to read about this morning.
The conductor walked through the cabin not controlling any tickets. A few moments later via intercom, he kindly asked all passengers with heavy bags to use the storage areas for these bags so that more passengers could take a seat. The blue haired lady showed no signs of wanting to comply. Why would she care anyway? Maybe she could not even understand Dutch. The sleepy lady dropped a flyer from her heap of newspapers, but she did not notice. No one really cared. A Monday morning when I was invisible and compliance had gone somewhere else.
The train passed through a landscape with many building projects. Bulldozers and cranes and muddy temporary roads. Among these building sites motorways with traffic jams. The morning transformed from dusk to dull evenly gray with a couple of stains of precipitation.
At Schiphol I went to the departures area. I had only hand luggage so this was going to be a comfortable experience. Kind of. Many people are afraid of flying, but I am not particularly afraid in this respect. My fear is comming too late to the gate. I would be gutted to hear my name being called out "Passenger Jens Malmgren is requested to board immediately at the gate C18" and a while later "Passenger Jens Malmgren, You are delaying the flight, If you don´t board now, we will proceed to remove your luggage" so this is why I am way too early and indeed this did not happen.
I arrive at security and since I got some flight experience I even put my shoes in the bucket. In the situation, however I forget wallet and wrist watch. I'm easily tickled and the security officer is annoyed by me. After two extra controls I am accepted and let out to my belongings spread over five buckets. I realized that my bag was a "special case". "Sir, we need to unpack your bag for extra control, sir". It turns out that I got a good bunch of electronics and my hair gel is confiscated. Duh, it was an expensive hair gel. Oh well, whatever. All my various electronic devices are carefully investigated by the security and my very well packet hand luggage is soon spread over several more buckets. It is as if the content of the bag inflates when exposed to open air and I wonder if I ever is going to get this all into the bag again. A few moments later that also succeeded. I am however not so relaxed anymore.
Now I walk to the gate. There is a shop of electronics on the way. This is the ideal place for me to be. Nevertheless, I am not someone making last minute purchases of electronics. So I take myself away from the electronics shop and continue walking to the gate.
I was early. One hour too early to be exact. That is the moment when I start writing this blog entry. While writing, I can enjoy Dutch people doing Swedish Chef jokes while they for the rest are apparently being all born to avoid to comply with anything while the Swedes around me are having a kind of school trip mode. I take a picture of the airplane. After a while I get so much into the writing that I forget the time and as a result I was completely surprised by the announcement that it was time to get on the airplane. A Boing 737. The more wealthy passengers are queued in the priority queue and I am standing in the economy queue. On the way out to the airplane, I come to stand next to Swedes. They are worried that their iPads are on and already in queue they are turning off their devices. They are laughing and smiling and on the way to their homecountry full of excitement from their school trip for grownups.
The economy class is served chicken egg salad sandwich, coffee and sprite. The bread tastes fine, although it has a penetrating flavor of onion.
I got a seat next to the isle. It is a cheap luxury. At the other side of the isle a woman starts painting her nails. It smells. She manages to paint the nails of one hand before another passenger asks her to stop this activity. This is interesting, what will happen now? She instantly complies. She must be half Swedish. It feels nice that somebody else complained and that I did not have to do this. Now the lady had one painted hand and one unpainted. I understand that this is an awkward situation for a true lady. Actually, without noticing she slips into the toilet doing her other hand.
Then it is time for the second round of cake and coffee. Economy class is spoilt on this flight by KLM, Air France this morning! The coffee tastes good and I am happily writing about how the trip is progressing. The lady with the nails are reading about beauty therapy and the man next to me has a black cap with the text Raiders.
Not only his cap is black. He is having black jeans, black sweater, black, 2 mm long hair and a black beard. When he is not sleeping with the mouth open he plays a stupid game on his black iPhone with broken glass. I am impressed he is not cutting up his fingers on the broken glass. He is stressed about flying. I start thinking that on the ground he is a really cool person. A typical male man from Stockholm. I think he got the right personality to drive a black Audi actually. At this moment though he is not that cool at all. He don't like flying. Worse even, he hates flying.
When I arrive to Arlanda I rent a car. I am going to a small town called Norberg. It is a couple of hours driving. While driving I am listening to the radio to the voices of the people in this country. Swedes. They want to comply. I notice though that in the landscape there is a new disturbing type of landmark. Car wrecks. What is this?
At the end of the day I sit in an almost empty restaurant in Norberg and at a table further away the two other guests of the restaurant are sitting. It is one American and one Swede. They are into the mining business. Drills to be precise. They talk about work. About the market. The American is saying he tries to find relatives in Sweden from grand grand grand parents time. It is lovely hearing them talk about things they care about. They don't notice me. It is as if I was invisible.
I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.
Here on this site I let you see my creations.
I create, that is my hobby.