Stockholm.

by theappliedprocess

I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock saying it was 8:31 a.m. I hit the snooze button and started to doze off when I realized I never changed the time on my clock from GMT to Parisian time. It was actually an hour later. Fuck my plans of carefully packing, taking a shower, and catching a train to Orly, I was an hour late. I briefly thought “fuck it! I can skip my next stop and just go straight to London in a couple days”. I always seem to have this thoughts a couple hours before I have to board a plane/train/bus. I called the concierge and asked for a cab ASAP. I started meticulously shoving everything in my bag, got dressed, and sipped some water, the out the door I went. I was sure I’d forgotten something, but as long as I had my wallet, my iPad, and my passport, everything else is easily replaceable or easily forgettable.

The cab had been waiting for 11€’s worth. Thirty-four more euros later I was at the airport. I checked in with enough time to do absolutely nothing but run to the gate. I boarded the plane and off we went. The flight had a lay over, I had to switch planes at Bergen (which I later discovered was in Norway). My connection was quite pleasant as the next vessel had free mile high wifi. I grindrd 3000 feet above ground, but of course there was no one. Norwegian Air had employed an all female flight attendant team.

I landed at Arlanda at about 15h and texted my friend ‘Thunder’. She was gonna be busy for another two hours so I said I’d waste time at the airport. I got some nasty pizza, wrote on the blog, facebook’d, and grindr’d, of course. At 5 pm I got on the express train to Stockholm city. As instructed, I then took the metro to my friend’s stop where she’d be waiting for my arrival. We walked a few blocks to her place and started our very lovely evening. We drank wine, smoked cigarettes and caught up. She made some lentils for dinner, we had some more wine, and smoked some more cigarettes. I told her about the blog. She suggested I read her an entry, and she’d play me a song. She is an unbelievably talented musician. I’m not being biased here, I’m just being honest. She also speaks 4+ languages (I forget the exact number), and she’s very bright, and well traveled. But enough about her good attributes here, she’s not perfect. For instance, she doesn’t own an iPod or any sort of mac product, and she’s not on Facebook. Ha.

The night was almost perfect. It was exactly what I needed (except for the iPod situation. I, of course, had forgotten to pack my charger and had left it in Paris and my worldwide web addiction was cursing my forgetful self for depriving me of a fully charged iPad). I don’t see her that often, we write emails every now and then, but due to her credo, I am not constantly updated of her life through Facebook, nor is she of mine. She didn’t know I had a massive beard. I didn’t know she was moving to the south of Sweden.

I like the connection we have. She understands to some degree my fucked up world view, and I understand hers. More wine. More cigarettes. Bed.

The next morning we had a quick breakfast, I finalized my plans with my other Svensk friends, updated my blog, and left her apartment. It was refreshingly nice to see her and even more refreshingly nice to spend some time in ‘medieval’ (as she put it) Sweden, with no sight of iPods, and no Facebook. It’s easy to forget how dependent and attached we are to these things.

I met up with ‘Titi’ at the train station. We walked over to ‘Mr. American Gothic’s’ “if I lived in Sweden I’d want to live in a place like this” penthouse apartment. It was really nice to see both of them again, especially since last time it was under work conditions, and this time it was just for fun. And fun it was. We chit chatted a bit and promptly left his apartment for some sushi in the park and drinks. Sadly, the weather, which I was loving, was not conventionally favourable for lunch at the park, so we went back to his’ and ate and drank there.

We decided we’d go shopping. They took me to a department store where I scored a pair of Thom Browne swim trunks. We made several pit stops along the day at different bars to refuel our buzz. It reminded me of our time in New York.

We walked back to his, and drank some more. They played card games, I fed my social networking addiction. It was time for bed and so me and ‘Titi’ left to her apartment, as it was decided by them I should do. Her apartment was not too far just across the ‘river’ (sea). They kept correcting me when I referred to the large bodies of water as rivers since, apparently, unlike most other European cities, Stockholm lacks rivers.

Unlike the previous night, this one was far from pleasant. It had nothing to do with my hosts. I barely slept two hours. I had a few crippling anxiety attacks. Nothing unusual, of course, but they’re never fun.

The next day I somehow managed to lift open my eyelids despite how tired I was. Me and ‘Titi’ had a typical Swedish breakfast, as I was quickly learning this was what Sweds usually have before noon. We made plans with ‘Mr. A.G.’ to maybe go to Fotografiska (the photo museum) to watch a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. We were late. We took a boat to the other side of this river/sea that divided their respective apartments. We briefly stopped at a couple local stores. We finally got to ‘Mr. A.G.’s’. More drinks. No museum. Instead, I’d decided I wanted to shave my beard and make a video out of it. We walked across the street to buy some clippers, and then a few blocks away to buy alcohol. Champagne bottle in one had, cigarettes in the other, and shirtless I was ready to be rid of my hair. ‘Mr. A.G.’ wore a leather blazes as he shaved my hair. I’ll eventually post the video online. I’m sure a few cliche gay men will wet themselves over it. I showered and nervously headed to a blind date ‘Titi’ had set up for me.

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