I have not paid for a café latte in ages, and yet here I am. I was told this is the hippest place in Stockholm, and I think I’ve made it decidedly less-so coming in here with my puffy coat on. I look a fool.
I passed a girl on the sidewalk just outside who was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt. It was loose fitting with a wide collar, and I could see a grey v-neck undershirt sitting close to her shoulders. She had black hair and white skin, was entirely too thin and had the worn-down, washed-out look of someone sauntering home after a night spent too late at the bar. Except it was 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday. It was too cold to be outside without a jacket. I tried to get a good view of her without actually looking. She intimidated me. She was smoking a cigarette.
The two girls behind me right now talking Swedish also intimidate me. One is moving furniture around in the little upstairs alcove where I’m sitting (on an old leather sofa). The other is on the steps, and I cannot see her. This place intimidates me. I don’t belong here, the bastion of hipster fashion in the middle of the city (and literally downstairs from our new apartment in this posh part of town). It’s called “grandpa’s” with a lowercase “g.” They sell new clothing and accessories that are supposed to look vintage (as well as a USB-enabled turntable, to play your vinyl through the computer…?). Hence the name. I thought it was clever.
I ordered my latte extra hot, and felt better about myself after getting a good look at the customer in line in front of me…he had on an even more hideous puffy coat with floppy jeans and old running shoes. I was definitely above him on the hipster hierarchy. But the latte wasn’t extra hot, and never is here in Sweden for some reason. What with the freaking cold weather you’d think they’d like their coffee hot, but apparently not as hot as me.
Today is my day off, my sick day. I was up half the night coughing up pieces of my lung, and was convinced as I fell asleep that I had pneumonia and would wind up in the hospital today. I don’t often get sick, real sick, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to feel. I think I have a fever and I think my cough is bronchitis because it feels like it’s emanating from my freaking soul, and my snot is green and crusty in the morning so I am probably fine. But what if it is pneumonia? Or meningitis or something? How the heck would I know? What do normal folk feel like when they’re sick? Is it really this lame? Am I just a big sissy for laying on the couch all day? Or should I go to the hospital? I won’t go to the hospital. I am probably fine.