Parallell cultures

It is a parallell culture ongoing in Stockholm. At Liljeholm square, the women in their long colourful skirts, curly or wavy black hair, sometimes scarfs sometimes not; the women are selling skirts & other details from an Ikea bag. The men, sitting beside are having a heated dialog with each other or on the phone. The women, who at first seemedbto belong to a separate group in their lively banter join in, happy high voices, and engaging. Engaged. Laughing aloud & long. 
And all of the rest of us are on the sidelines, watching silently. Some of us watch curiously, some of us shaking their heads with irritation. Some heads coming close to each other to discuss the spectacle. “Can you see that, we don’t do that in Sweden.”  

It is summer, a nice, warm sunny day. In Stockholm, sunny is not equivalent to warm. So a warm day is more notable than a sunny day. Itbis a nice warm sunny summer. I feel memories of a Berlin summer evening in my stomach. In my soul. There was music playing in Berlin. All sorts of different cultures at the same square at the same time. I remember a summer afternoon in Rome. With beer, wine, pizza & a mixture of languages. Warm people albround going about daily business of looking for fun.  I remember other people with other ways of spending a summer day. And I long to join this parallell culture at Liljeholm square; maybe I can bring the music! And a grill. 

But alas, I just plucked my eye brows & round the mouth with a thread. Trisha, the threading expert said “you can’t be in the sun today. Wait till tomorrow.” So I sit in the sidelines of life & watch.

You are so lucky…

Yesterday, a colleague informed me that I had recruited very competent requirement analysts. “Thanks!” I said happily. She continued to compliment me & said I had such luck to find these two guys. I “flinched”. I swallowed heavily. I straightened my back & stared at my colleague. I smiled at my colleague. My dearest colleague hopes to have the same luck in finding a similar requirement analyst. Luck. Luck she said. Luck.

Since you’all know how the recruitment process looks like, I will not insult you by explaining it. What irks me is the use of the word “luck” as if:

  • I didn’t do all the analysis & preparation before sending out the announcement.
  • I didn’t go through 70-100 CVs to eliminate and select a few that we would call
  • I didn’t prepare a number of specific questions to capture the right personality, competence & potential
  • I didn’t sit through 15 interviews
  • I didn’t sit through more hours of elimination & selection
  • I didn’t disappoint over 70 applicants with “no thanks. We found someone who fits better.”
  • I didn’t plan the onboarding process & make the whole team available for the new recruits for over 3 months to ensure a good understanding of our delivery
  • Etc etc etc

When an achievement is credited to “luck”, luck negates the work that went into the achievement. As if something just happened by the grace of…fate? 

In reality, there is little luck involved in recruitment. There is a little luck, a tiny whiny drop fleck of luck; but not much. There little luck involved in most things. And no one recruits alone. It is a team looking for the right person. It is a months long process. So if luck is all we pin it on, it is expensive luck!

While at it, I have even been told that I am lucky with guys. “Lucky” that the nice kind guys just kinda fall on my lap. As if:

  1. I didn’t go out all those years in youth & meet all those other guys that didn’t work out. There was the one that shouted at me when we went to dinner & I dropped the fork. I was nervous. There was the one who left me stranded 125km from home because I questioned his driving while drunk. There was the one that almost raped me during my periods because he thought I was lying to him. The lisbgoes on & on & on.
  2. I didn’t write that list of all the things I DON’T WANT in my next guy. I didn’t want a guy who thinks reading is boring. I didn’t want the guy who had been to theater, opera or other cultural activities & decided it was boring. O didn’t want a guy who thought Rome & London are samesame because they are both cities. A guy who thought travel was a waste of money he could buy a motorbike or alcohol with. I didn’t want a guy who had ever tested drugs & would try something new if he got the chance. The list goes on & on & on & on
  3. I didn’t write that list of places to go if I want to meet nice kind guys. 
  4. I didn’t ask advice from friends & family who already had met the right kind of guys.

I hope for luck when I buy lotto tickets & find I have no luck. I rely very little on luck but hope that the gods of luck stay close to me in case of an accident. Mostly though, the effort required to accomplish something is more fun than lucky breaks. Stories for the grandchildren.

Good luck all!

The art of loneliness

I read the art of happiness many years ago. Happiness eludes all and becomes a destination instead of a journey. It is one of those books that stay, not the book itself, the ideas shared stay. Like Ann Frank & her diary of life in hiding. Or the story of Mandela’s life. You dont have to read or hear it again. Once you’ve heard it or read it, it stays.

In Stockholm, we seem to chase lonelineless with the same fervour we chase happiness. In the building I live in, we are 6 households. We say hello when we meet in the stairways outside. That’s it. Otherwise we avoid each other. Actively. If we are grilling at the balcony, and our neighbour is grilling at their balcony, we see each other, we smile, wave or say hello, speak shortly about what nice weather it is & then we spend the rest of the time avoiding contact.

Am as guilty as the neighbour.

And then people in apartments sharing a garden and balconies, grilling facing each other; you hear that a neighbour has killed themselves. Or died and remained home, dead for a few weeks & nobody suspected. Or the neighbour hurt the wife/husband, badly.

Why do people spend so much time avoiding each other? Afraid? While inside, we are dying of loneliness. We know we need other people, we need hugs, we need to laugh, we need to talk when we are happy & when we are unhappy. So why do we spend so much energy avoiding each other and searching for loneliness?

Feeling like Leonardo Da Vinci

If you have read Leonardo Da Vinci’s fables, you know this one. Living in the city, or far far away from home can make one think like this. So can ending up in political campaigns designed to make people afraid to help others, afraid to empathise or sympathise with others, afraid to work together with others instead of working against their neighbours. 

To know that a time of greatness, once gone, is gone. It is like youth once gone. Or a death once taken place. A new era of greatness has to be created from the current circumstances without looking back, without doubting, without crushing the weak.

Were bus drivers abused & traumatized as children?

Did their fathers drink too much? Commit suicide? Did their mothers have the victim syndrome? Disappear in religion to ask for God’s help because only he could change her husband.

We bus drivers bullied in high school? Icy cold water at 06:00 am to shock them into waking? Priest touch them a little when they were altar boys?

Sorry catholic church, you saved my life & gave me an education without abusing me. But still, easy target is easy target…

I am wondering because bus drivers, not all, but quite a few, have a tendency, a basic instinct to be mean. I plan my bus ride via journey planner on or the app in my phone. The walk from home to the bus stop takes 2min. This morning, the bus should arrive in 4min & leave in 5min. I have margins. BUT, one minute into my leisure walk, I turn the corner from home, should just take the steps down the pathway, say hello to the old man, Gunnar, our neighbour in the house opposite us. Gunnar is on a wheelchair and sits outside his house in the mornings to catch the morning sun. I can see Gunnar now and both of us start to smile our regular practiced smiles…..

I see the bus driving in, early. I can barely hold my smile at Gunnar, waving like a crazy woman & screaming godmorgon (good morning)!! He waves back with a knowing smile, he has experienced this before? I run down the steps, fly Gunnar’s building & arrive at bus stop 2min before bus is supposed to leave. But bus is leaving! 2min before planned time.

I am waving wildly, I can see that the driver can see me. He can still open the door for me, he is still within the bus stop limits. But, he. Just. Drives. Off. 1 & a half minutes too early.


The next bus comes in 8min. So I get to wait, with more certainty than Europeans have right now. I know the next bus is coming in 8min so all I loose is 10 minutes of my morning.

Who does that?! The planning that goes into the morning routines! everyone knows how it is! So who drives off too early like that unless they were hurt by bad people when they were children & they are trying to payback to the world in their small ways???!

Busy doing nothing and the nothing ruins your life?

First time his telephone was off, I believed him. The power went off and hbroken_heartis battery died. Bad luck. Coincidence. The telephone was off Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Then I got an sms. “Baby, I saw your missed call and sms. The phone died. Will call later. Love. C”

Next time this happened was on his weekend away with his boys. That gnawed at me because I knew his friends. Same said “pling” on my telephone on Sunday afternoon. My suspicions began then. I asked nicely if he was cheating & when he said “babe, how can you think that of me??!” and he cried a little bit, I melted and told myself he couldn’t. He couldn’t. He could never.

A couple of months later, my telephone went off when I was away in Cape town with work. Battery dead. For real and no time to charge. He went bananas. Bonkers. Off the hook. Knots in knickers. How could I “LET” the phone die. And then have the audacity to go out for a drink with my colleagues instead of running back to the hotel to call him?

Me: “babe, it has happened to you twice the last 4 months. You know how it is?!”

C:  “Oh no, don’t try that on me. I know how women are. Some dude took you to his hotel didn’t they? Didn’t they? And you don’t even know them! How can you? Etc”

I hang up.

Next day I panicked that my very first relationship was ending because of a misunderstanding. I decided to fly home on Friday, miss the weekend planned with colleagues. I had to convince C that he was the one. For ever. And ever.

So I booked a ticket and at exactly 17:45, boarded and flew home. I arrived in Nairobi at around midnight, took a taxi to C’s place. Knocked. Knocked. Knocked. Called out his name. Called out “sweetie”. Called out “baby”. For about 10-15 minutes.

His face showed up at the window. Not the door. The window. My heart sunk. It took 3-5 minutes, he opened the door. Looked surprised & started crying. Asked me to wait outside for a minute. 5-10 minutes more. He did not want to embarrass me he said. A girl came out the same door. Crying. “Where shall I go in the middle of the night?” He says “I don’t care, my wife is here now”. We were not married. We would never be married.

I took the girl home with me. He couldn’t take her back in because he wanted to prove to me that he had changed. Immediately. I wanted to go home because I had changed. Forever.

Office party Shenanigans – It finally happened to me!

From this day forward, (there is a before it happened and an after) I will say “I know! disgusting! And it was not even the hotty I wanted grabbing at me!! Hahaha… and trail off”. We all have our eye on the hottest colleague with his Mexican mustache on and a hot poncho hanging on his almost bare wide shoulders and he is dancing to Mexican music and he looks your way every now and then.

I will want to make light of the fact that even all covered up, I looked like an object to someone. Even being educated and compentent doesn’t help. Not even staying quite sober is a redeemer when we become objects. To a drunk eye, I let loose for minute, relaxed, smiled, danced, laughed out loud; and pang! I looked like fun doll a man can grab at and play with. Own for a minute. Take home/ to a hotell for a night.

I will tell the story from the beginning. We have two office parties every year. I haven’t missed one in the three years I have worked in our BI (business intelligence); the parantes is for the IT muggles. I haven’t missed a party because they are so fun! People drink just enough. Most of the fun people dance tills close down. My colleagues and my two bosses are fun people and take this as their training pass. Very seriously!

We have themes every time, last year it was sailing for the summer and fairy tales for the winter. You should have seen Cruella and her tortured little dogs. And the witches were from heaven! Or not. Yeterday was theme Mexico. I asked, “any particular time period of Mecico?” Organizer said “oh no! We didn’t think of that! Just go with whatever you like”

Those are words you can’t say to me. What I like and what is OK are two totally different things. But I am brought up by nuns and I am a decent over 30 woman. So I do keep it together, with a pinch of chilli. The good, the bad and the ugly came flushing to mind. My creative head said “goooo even further back! Mwahahaha…” So I went to Beyond retro and found an antik dress that is falling apart. What’s mexican about my dress? Well, it flowery isn’t it? And the shoulders are off aren’t they! I also found the most fantastic poncho! Fits me nicely and can pass for mexican. 

We had Salsa dancers teaching us Salsa in the beginning of the evening. Just to spice the night. 

We also had a freshman in our midst. I will describe him properly so you don’t mistake him. He is over 35yrs old, so he has definitely been to some office parties before. He is a manager so he should have some sense. He is married and a father of two. But he still drunk too much! He just stood there at 10:30pm swaying, grabbing colleagues who walked or danced by him. ​​There was more dancing than walking. He smiled like a moron when he succeeded to grab properly.

And he tried to grab me! Nobody, and I mean nobody has tried to grab my ass at office parties before. Was it the Salsa? Seeing the Salsa dancers grab each other? Was I hotter than ever before? That could be it! I get hotter with age. I was in total chock when he did. I just stood there and told my twitching right hand “don’t slapp him, dont’t slapp him, don’t slapp him….”. One of my managers, a woman saw my debating with myself, hugged me from the back, I felt it was a woman and relaxed, pulled me back to dancing and went off to get a glass of water for drunk, ass/titts grabbing moron. 

We danced till late after that. I will always have that. I feel that I passed a womanhood rite of passage. It’s right up there with growing titts, getting the monthlies, getting sex for the first time (Screw loosing virginity!) etc When others said “men grab at you when they drink too much at office parties!” I always said  (in the past)” never happened to me!” With disappointment that something is wrong with me. Not pretty enough or something.