I’ve got teeth on the mind. Well, actually, mine are in my mouth, where they belong. But I think about them. Especially when they hurt. But it’s not those teeth I meant, really. Although I swear by Swedish dentists, and I took my teeth to see one of them yesterday.
What I’ve really been saying and thinking this last week is that Swedes have no teeth (other than those beautiful, well looked after things they chew with). The most recent thing to make me think toothless thoughts was the article in the paper last week, detailing how a listed shop building in Halmstad was stripped of what made it special. And nobody can do a bl**dy thing about it!
It’s like chopping down trees. Once they’re gone they’re gone. In this case the town’s ‘listed buildings person’ discovered the violated shop front and felt sad. So he told the newspaper about it. What he should do is make more fuss, more often and more usefully. It’s not he first time I’ve seen him feeling ‘sad’ in the paper.
Anyway, I was thinking how toothless he and others are, unable to deal with this kind of thing. I was thinking of the bus driver who feebly told the teenage louts to ‘stop it’, and then shrank back and did no more. I’m thinking about all sorts of other people who should be doing things and don’t.
The paper ran an article on the student who had to move because she couldn’t stand the noise all night long from the other students (!). You’ll be relieved to hear that the landlord did nothing. And we are talking big, local authority type landlord, not a private individual.
This is in interesting contrast with my cultural shock when staying with friends who live in flats. I’ve been an exile so long and adopted these dreadful foreign habits until I no longer know what’s proper. I told one host I’d have a shower later, and received a pitying smile. Actually, I’d better shower straight away, as you aren’t allowed to after 11pm. Then there was the other friend who informed me I couldn’t use the toilet in the night. Or at least not flush. My mind immediately turned to number twos…
But all this was put right when I read this morning’s paper. I have found someone with teeth! The guard on a train threw an 11-year-old girl off the train for not having a ticket. The ticket was with an adult, who just happened to have gone to the toilet. (See, toilets again! Nothing but trouble.) The girl spoke hardly any Swedish, so couldn’t explain. Off the train she went.
The police appear to have spent twelve hours searching for her. Luckily she was still alive when found.
I then recalled the guard on my most recent train. He had teeth too. He also used them against a passenger, who also happened to be foreign. And ticketless. And my goodness, but the woman didn’t even have a credit card! I know this because he shouted so loudly at the polite – albeit so foreign – woman.
But in order to be kind to train guards, who I am sure are really lovely people, I will mention the one I encountered in June. I’m afraid it’s to do with toilets again. Neither of the train’s two toilets worked so when the train arrived where we got off, the helpful guard had called ahead and ‘those who need a wee (yes, really) can go to the front of the train (at this point my mind boggled with the unspoken possibilities…) where they will receive help.’ In actual fact, they were guided to the station staff facilities, and if they were lucky the train waited for them.