Picture the scene: You’re sitting in a shopping-centre food court, enjoying a coffee which has cost you everything you earned yesterday, and there’s a small child – say 4 or 5 years old – running around the tables. His mother sits close by wearing a thousand-yard stare as she tunes out the screams of her child which blow back the hair of the closer diners and cause even the guy listening to his iPod on full blast to look around for the fire-exit. You ignore the impact tremors rippling through your coffee as you watch this hapless kiddie running at full steam toward the swags of 3-foot high chain which separate the diners from the shoppers. You are a good person, but your parental good-will extends no further than a slight wince as you watch the poor little child wheeled-over by the chain, like a seven stone weakling being clothes-lined by a seven foot WWF champion, and you return to your expensive beverage.
How do you suppose it is that you could see what was going to happen there but the child could not?
The answer is, quite simply, experience. When you have done something, or, more specifically in my case, done something wrong often enough, you learn to predict what is likely to go awry in a certain situation. I am not a mind-reader. I cannot predict the future. My advice is usually quite poor. I have simply screwed up often enough to be able to predict the exact moment when something is likely to go BOOM! and I have the scars to prove it.
In relationships, this can lead to insecurity and an unhealthy feeling that everything is going to go wrong, simply because it has done so many times before. But, as my better-half quite rightly points out “It only has to go right once.” and “If it hadn’t gone wrong so many times before, you wouldn’t be sitting in front of me now.” She’s usually right about the big stuff.
So… now I invite you to try and predict the outcome of a certain event using only what information I give you, and your own experience.
1. The Swedish Flowerpot and I had not seen one-another for over a month, and were desperate to spend every single second together that we could possibly squeeze out of my latest visit.
2. We had already screwed up the initial flight booking, leading to a lot of extra expense and the loss of almost a whole day with one-another.
3. We had agreed to meet at Stockholm central terminal rather than at the airport, because meeting at the airport would mean her having to be up at 5am.
4. I had, 2 months previously, taken her completely by surprise by collaborating with her friends and family to turn up in Sweden entirely unexpectedly.
5. She had missed the opportunity to turn up unexpectedly on my doorstep, exactly one week earlier.
6. The Flowerpot and I had already agreed that if I landed early I should run like hell once off the plane, in order to make the earlier flight-bus and so see one-another 30 minutes sooner.
7. Ryanair flights to Stockholm almost always land 15-20 minutes earlier than scheduled.
8. Skavsta is a very small airport with only two exits.
9. Amki is very good at hiding, and apparently very much better at lying than I had given her credit for.
10. She was really keen to surprise me.
11. I was really keen to make the earlier bus!
So… any guesses?
What actually happened was that I ended up waiting outside the flight-bus terminal in Stockholm, for my girlfriend, who lives in Stockholm, to arrive on a flight-bus from the airport!
Otherwise, my visit thus far has been almost without incident. Now… that’s a pretty goddamn big “almost”, but I am not going to explain in this post, for reasons which I hope will become obvious when an explanation is finally forthcoming.
Swedish mid-summer celebrations were interesting, fun, eye-opening, and ultimately life-changing. In the last few days I have had the chance to see where my sweetheart grew up… met a human-being who has less hair, and fewer days on Earth than most of the things growing in cups by Farnsworth’s kitchen sink… and to watch, with Swedes, from an Irish pub in Stockholm, as England were dismissed from Euro 2012 in what has become the usual fashion; a penalty shoot-out.
As Richard’s wedding draws closer and closer, I am forced to contemplate my speech, and the only other responsibility his bride-to-be has seen fit to trust me with: Turning up! Let it never be said that I don’t engender trust.
Other news will be along very shortly, but not until I think you guys can be trusted with the information. In the meantime, here’s a photo of what I am assured is a fairly typical Swedish mid-summer festival.
Until next time… take care, and don’t bend over for the soap.