Everyday life and its problems.
*Note – parts of this post will be in Swedish. I am experimenting with different styles and here want to try on a similar style to that bilingual which Junot Diaz uses in the short story collection, Drown. The reason for this is merely because language is closely linked to self-identification, and having lived abroad for six years and mainly spoken English during the time, some words, concepts or expressions simply cannot be translated. As Bellos (2012) states, there are no equivalences to be found between languages, only matches. Concepts cannot be translated.
I am trying to get used to the common concerns of everyday matters and gain an understanding of what “normal” people talk about in their everyday lives.
When I was home visiting over Christmas last year, I remember just sitting on my brother’s living room floor, closely observing the rest of the three families that were brought together: What are they talking about? I could not understand the topics. They were simple ones, common ones – everyday ones. But they were not on my mind map so I could not comprehend them.
They were talking about lamps, lysrör, biscuits/crackers, bokstavskex för barn, tv kanaler, tv serier… I looked around the room and felt alienated..
This was only the beginning of the realisation that I have lived in my own little protected bubble on the road for as long as I can remember.
Having been home now for almost two months, working a full time job in a grocery store, doing “normal”, everyday life things such as laundry and hoovering on my days off (when not seeing family), I still keep getting surprised about the things people talk about – both at work and outside of work.
I think the first shock came on my lunch break on my very first weekday at work – the other staff members were talking about savings for their pensions.. one of the girls was not many years older than I am.
Wait, are these things I should be thinking about? I started asking myself.. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do in life (although getting closer to 30).
Sometimes people also seem to spend endless minutes on debating little things such as what eggs to buy or what gherkins, smörgåsgurka to buy.. they discuss how and when to water the flowers, rush to the store at a certain hour to not miss the 5 % off. And it is incredibly important to be placed exactly where the doors on the train will match the exit from the platform. In everyday-life in a big city, you just can’t afford wasting even just 10 seconds.
These things do become important when not having other things to focus on.
Most importantly – sadly – is the gossip.. The kind of gossip that is a result of boredom. The kind of gossip we all have heard of. It exists everywhere, no matter where in the world you are, no matter what job you work. People get bored and start talking about one another. It is how they find some kind of fulfilment. We all do, even I do now when I have resided in the same place for over a month. Let’s be honest, it gets interesting when the intrigues escalate and become ever more exaggerated. We all like drama – out of boredom. It adds spices to our otherwise rather mundane daily life.
I hate myself for participating in it too, but it is how we add excitement to our everyday lives. It is a sad truth. Apparently we like knowing about people’s private matters, to such an extent where we feel as if we know them; but we don’t wanna know too much. We don’t wanna get too close, or let them find out too much about ourselves. We only want to be close enough to feel some kind of static and rather shallow connection to the people we see day in and day out.
It’s fascinating how little I know about everyday life. How much I forgot so quickly and easily.
6 years on the road definetely changed my entire being.