An Interview with a German Named Jens

(Originally written February 17, 2011).

I expected him to be Swedish (what with a name like Jens) and by 10:05 I expected him not to show at all. He did, and he wasn't Swedish. Which was a good thing, because I was getting cold standing outside.

We sat in the library in a "talkative" area inside the main entrance where Jens informed me he'd met friends before while someone was giving a presentation to a group who had nothing to do with them. No such presentation took place today. Instead, I removed my hat to expose a blonde head of hair flush with static electricity. Jens also had blond hair, significantly less kempt than mine. And he was goofy looking, but that didn't affect his eye contact.

We talked about Stockholm Jogging Tours, he and his also-not-Swedish but Spanish friend Jose. Jose and Jens, building a business in Sweden. They would also run Stockholm Cycling Tours, but neither of them were runners or cyclists. Instead they are students here in the city, and I didn't recall what they are studying, but it's not running or cycling or business.

I informed Jens that I wanted to work on a freelance basis, and could help them with web content and development as well as the actual cycling and running, since I enjoy both apparently more than they do. They have a network of others like me (oddly and merely coincidentally also German), so they hope to get the business going in earnest once the snow melts, which Jens mistakenly thought was happening a week ago before the city received another foot of the stuff.

Then I went up to the top of the library. It's square from the outside, but laid out in a circular fashion inside, like the points of the compass. N, E and W have wings filled with books and tables with lights on them for viewing these books, and some tables with plugs for laptops and other lights more suited to an office-style desk. I spend a lot of time at this makeshift office, surrounded by the smell of books and other Swedes, if they are sitting across from me. The S side is a staircase.

It's frustrating in public places here because the public restrooms are spotless and delightful. And this means one must pay for them. There is a slot for a ten kronor coin, and a slot for a five kronor coin and I can't figure out why someone would put a ten kronor coin in the slot when five kronor opens the door just as well. It's written right on there in Swedish, but I hasn't yet deciphered it.

I did some web work, checked my email about one hundred and fourteen times and tried to start writing about Panama, which is much harder than I anticipated (part of the reason I’m not writing about Panama right now, but instead listening to The Streets on the couch while it gets gradually darker outside). The subway was crowded on the way home but I sat down anyway and read my book until I got off at T-Centralen to buy my train ticket to Uppsala for tomorrow. I leaves at 9:30 tomorrow morning, but that's not until tomorrow.

Earlier I chatted with Nate this morning on Gmail who gave me his dad's phone number, who I then promptly called to talk about marriage. With Mia. Nate's dad, Pastor Jim, will marry us in the USA this summer one hour before all the guests arrive for the big party, and probably right around the same time that my mom starts freaking out. I have not told her this yet. Mia and Daniela are sitting in the kitchen writing about tourism and I am going to go take a shower.