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> blog post Bittersweet stories from eskilstuna: part one

Bittersweet stories from eskilstuna: part one
Sat, 10 Sep 2005 09:25:52

Grrlfrnd and me just completed a successful moving operation to an apartment a block from our old house. I was assigned a cleanup operation: returning the keys to one of those carts that you hang behind your car to the appropriate institution.

Because grrlfrnd is a member of this or that union she could get the cart for free. To which institution i had to go i still have no clue of. I have long since given up on detangling the Swedish institutions and their functions. In Sweden you go to the bank to get your id-card, you go to the language school to get a job in industry and you go to the union for free carts to hang behind your car. Basically none of them work.

(Well, actually they do work, but unfortunately they don't work well. An intricate system of rules and regulations means that the services of different institutions are mutually exclusive. I for example want a nice job. The problem is that no one wants to hire me, because i don't speak Swedish. Because i already have worked a bit i am probably allowed some money from the state. I would like to go to the free language school SFI, Swedish for Invaders. And i can. I had a talk with a guy there and i can begin in October. However according to the rules of the money giving institution I'm not allowed money when i am studying. So i have two options: get my money and stay stupid in Sweden or learn Swedish and go back to Holland. Which would you choose? (you don't have to feel sorry for me because today i got a call from my former employer that i can start making cakes again in two weeks, but you got the point right: In Sweden bureaucracy a.k.a. making citizens crazy, is a form art).)

Back to the keys of the cart. I had to bring them back before half past seven in the morning; on time before the next in need of a cart to hang behind your car. I was five minutes early and could just see a woman entering the door that i should enter myself. On trying to open this door i discovered it was closed. Next to it i found one of those keypads that will unlock the door if you know the right code, but no bell, no sign of which organization was behind that door. No opening hours, no nothing. Yes there was a letter box which would fit the little purse in which the mysterious organization handed out the keys, but no text on the shiny black letter box to indicate that this was the right thing to do. Arghhhh, i saw the woman enter the door. There were people in there, probably laughing their heads of peering behind the curtains, but i left my battering ram at home. I tried five different key combinations on the keypad, but after some quick calculations i came to the conclusion that it wasn't the right method to hack the door.

Then a car stopped next to the door and a woman got out. My initial hope of saviour was quickly crushed when i saw she carried a little bag identical to mine. After some door-pushing and letter box opening her eyes, thick with sleep, turned annoyed. I tried to discuss with her about a solution but her speech center and logical circuits were still a bit off center that morning. So i walked around the building to ask help from the woman in the cafeteria, who probably had access to the door. I asked her if she could open it, but she insisted that it was open. She hadn't actually tried but she had worked it out in her mind.

There was no arguing with her so i went back to the closed door. Just then there arrived another woman. The first one asked her how the blasted door could be closed and from the top of her head the second woman came up with the theory that the door would be opened at half past eight. Even though it was clear that she just invented this rule herself, she drove her point across like this was a rule of god himself. Meanwhile the woman from the cafeteria decided to bring the world up to date with her logic and unlocked the door from the inside. As me and the key-return-woman climbed the stairs to return our keys she said something to me with the honesty of sleepy-morning-mode, from the bottom of her heart, from her toes, catching momentum while it moved up and got extra vibrations from all the truth and frustration genes in every cell it passed that when she said it the force of the statement swept me off my feet and left me tumbling down the stairs:

"I hate the system"


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