Latency8 June 2018 permalink
I arrived home late-ish today. 19:30, after a pretty unsuccessful day at the office. The sun is still out, not particularly warm and low in the sky. Golden. I change into my running gear. Shorts and t-shirt. Lie in the couch for another half our, just wallowing in a renewed distaste about the whole endeavour.
20:00. Still golden. I walk to the sidewalk, turn right, and start trotting. The first minute is the same as my commute. A minute later I turn left, turning it into the weekend shopping routine. At the second intersection I turn left again, turning my back on the routine, and my front towards meandering. The houses on these streets are a lot larger, garages fit for two or more cars, and most people would agree the occupant’s wealth must be ill-gotten to some degree. Most foreigners anyway. Each house still tries to pose as an overgrown garden shed, wooden slats reigning supreme over a kingdom of dormers and balconies. Flat-pack chalets, perhaps. I jog on, happily noting that I haven’t had to downshift into a march yet. The houses shift significantly in size, but the plots they rest on less so. They would be considered small by most countries standard, the distance not entirely out of eye contact range.
Gold turns into brass. Everything becomes slightly desaturated, or at least I’m only becoming it aware of it just now. My neighborhood has always seemed to be a movie set “a generic couple of decades ago”, where only the presence of a smartphone or ludicrously expensive baby buggy could betray the it’s modernity. My neighbors have second hand volvo’s, children’s toys that are faded to colours I remember from my youth, and shoddily maintained yards. None of them have bothered to take the antenna’s off their roof. There’s an obsolete wooden electricity pole still standing. Stockholm sometimes has a very strange old-fashioned esthetic in it’s richness, even way past this neighborhood. The old metro carriages have seating upholstery recycled from the Overlook Hotel.
I reached home tired and out of breath, but less than I was hoping to be. My endurance is absolute garbage, but I still have the experience of having been marginally more fit before. But I’m mostly frustrated that there are plenty of interesting and nice roads going further. About half a year ago we had some pretty rough winter weather, which I adore when I have the time to cope with it. That night had 40cm high snow on all the roads, and the wind was strong enough to blow it vertically straight up your nose. I was coming home late, and when I tried to catch my metro connection there was nothing on the board. The radio announcements were all in Swedish, and I couldn’t be bothered to ask anyone what was being said (how Swedish of me :)). Or maybe I was looking for an excuse. I decided to just walk the 4 km home.
My roommates had been giving me shit about my footwear for the past couple of days, as I’ve been going out with just my sneakers. But I remember doing just the same in Berlin, where the problem was ice rather than snow. The trick in snow seemed to be to lift your feet straight up, as not scrape any snow on top of your show. Straight up, forward, down. The route was pretty straightforward, hugging the metro for most of it’s way. A couple of stretches through residential areas. The streets were totally abandoned, no human in sight, nor cars, nor any visible activity in the houses. And I’m obviously really enjoying this. Well enough equipped to not be uncomfortably cold. Snow a lot more enjoyable than rain. Just a completely white wasteland, ripe for exploration, filled with a multitude of generic pizzeria’s and supermarkets, gas stations and slipways.
When I arrive home I grab myself a beer, and sit my ass down on the couch. Just to reconcile myself with being indoors again, I suppose. One of my roommates walks in, relating his adventure getting here from the closest metro stop. My mind is in two parts about informing him, but decides to hold a trump card the next time he gives me shit about my winter shoes. I keep getting into this kind of shit, and I’m still not entirely sure why. I have a tendency to at least make a token effort to what I commit to, and I often push myself by making a commitment I can’t back out of easily. Moving abroad could be an example of this. Tall tales and a desperate scramble to not completely lose face another. Something I should think about more. Or overthink less.
The snow was great. The sound it makes when compacted when I shift my weight. The general lightness of the night when virtually every surface is covered. How everything seems so alien when everything looks so similar. How I can be the only person alive without being lonely. An astronaut in a city of thousands…