Friday, November 15, 2013

mediocrity with a dose of rudeness thrown in or just another friday in denmark

i know i've said it before, but it can be challenging dealing with the rudeness of danes in public spaces. they may be the world's happiest people, but you sure can't see it on them and they are, to all appearances, not even remotely interested in making sure those around them are happy too. especially on a friday afternoon. they all go into what i like to think of as their solipsism bubble and they close out any and all evidence that other humans, especially those they don't know, exist. i ran into several instances of it just today. but i shouldn't be surprised, because it is friday.

first encounter - i was pulling into a parking spot at the mall (i was there to pick up sabin's repaired new iPhone 4S, which was in for repairs) and there was someone pulling into the spot directly in front of me, so we were coming towards each other. and she just kept coming, to pull through into MY spot so that she was facing outwards. she was so aggressive about it, that although i was halfway in and had a perfect right to the spot, i actually backed up and let her do it. she didn't even wave or smile at me. and she wouldn't look me in the eye when i tried to give her a sarcastic thumbs up. she refused steadfastly to acknowledge my existence. it was all about her. happily, i was in a good place, so i shrugged it off and didn't let it ruin my day. i'm not always able to do that. it helped that she resembled a cow clad in a ratty-looking sheepskin vest.

second encounter - in a parking lot (the friday solipsism bubble is especially prevalent in parking lots) beside the bank. i had parked my car and was walking towards the bank when i had to suddenly stop because a car came roaring in from the road and, inches from my toes and nose, whipped into a parking spot that was to my left. as if i wasn't there. which, in the eyes of the woman driving, i wasn't, since we hadn't met one another before. because when you're in the danish solipsism bubble, people you didn't go to kindergarten with very conveniently don't exist.

this is the jerk from the third encounter, license plate and all.
i wish i'd had the foresight to photograph the jerk from the first one.
third encounter - in front of the child's school, there is parking, as you might imagine. you normally pull in nose first, front bumper of the car up to the curb. but there was a parent in a station wagon, at the "rush hour" for afternoon pickup, parallel parked there, across three spots and effectively blocking 5 in total, because it wasn't possible to park in front or behind. she was chatting away on the telephone, blissfully oblivious to the other parents who also needed to park. as if she were the only one in the world. solipsism. egotistical self-absorption.

but even before these parking lot encounters, i was feeling grumpy towards danish culture. in the form of two emails from the leadership of our local school.

in the first, the principal at the school took 374 words (i know this because i copy/pasted the email into pages so i could see a word count) to vaguely inform about something vague, at a long distance, through a fog. and i still have no idea what she was talking about, as it was filled with jargon, smoke and mirrors. reading the email was like stumbling into a theatre halfway through the movie and trying to figure out the plot. and i couldn't. and it was not because my danish is bad. it was because it utterly lacked communication skills. makes me wonder what they're teaching my child about writing and clear communication.

in the second, the superintendent (the who did such a good job (insert sarcasm font* here) of handling the whole bullying topic in recent weeks), sent us a mail with a new alcohol policy. i can appreciate that the school wants an alcohol policy, but the mail opened with the words, "Med udgangspunkt i at vi som skole altid skal tage udgangspunkt i den svageste part..." which translates as, "with a basis in the fact that we as a school must always have a basis in the weakest link..." because yes, that's what you want to hear from your school, that they cater to the lowest common denominator and see it as their mission. and even better when it's inelegantly written. again, are they passing these writing "skills" on to our children? *weep*

i am feeling a little tired of mediocrity handed my way with a dose of rudeness. some days it's easier to handle than others. today wasn't one of those days.

* which one is the sarcasm font, by the way?


Ariadne said...

Will you feel better if I tell you that I thought you were describing the Greeks and their parking behaviour?AriadnefromGreece!

Unknown said...

Damn, we need to talk!

2 hints:

1. "Fuck" or "Fucked" are overly popular words because it describes what we are ..

2. Recent elections in Washington State ... there was about 26% voter turnout.

Spilling Ink said...

If it only stopped there....

Here in Oz it's not so much the Aussies out there on the streets and in the shops, they're mostly OK, but it's in the workplace, in the corporate towers of this city (country?) that the "Danish solipsism bubble" has become so prevalent that I spend my days clamping my jaws shut until they ache to prevent myself from screaming out loud.


You know what I mean (feel), I"m sure - I know what you mean (feel).

Molly said...

That parking lot shit, if that happens here in SA people bang on windows and scream - and that's the nice people. The not so nice people could take a baseball bat to your car, and maybe to you (true story). Road rage is a real and terrifying problem here, and as much as there's no way I'd condone the violence, maybe there's something to be said for having it out ... at least we're acknowledging each other's existence right?