No, no, no. It isn’t possible in Sweden. We have a taste of spring today and it is wonderful! I woke up with sunrays in our bedroom, pretty early to be a sunday. After the breakfast, I took myself out for a run. I spent the whole afternoon after on our balcony, half reading half sleeping in the sun. Good therapy for the soul!
There was a lots of people walking in the woods today. A funny game to make in Sweden is to say Hi to everyone you meet in the woods. It works if you are running and even walking, or even sitting on a stone somewhere. My approximation is that you get an answer almost… 10% of the time. Swedes in the woods at least here in Linköping, this pretentious fifth city of Sweden – come on, with 150 000 inhabitants, you are to compare to the more-than-200th city of India (the statistics stop at 200…). Sorry for the disgression.- My point was: people walking in the woods here thinks they are walking in Stureplan: you just say Hi to people that look like you. Useless to say that I don’t meet a lots of people looking like me after 16km: red in the face, shitty on the feet and breathing as if I was running for my life.
This morning, I met some older couple, walking. If you go in their direction, they almost all the time look angry at you. I don’t get why. When you say a loud Hello (don’t expect them to say it first, never!), then you can get a smile and a Hi back. But you need to load your own Hello with a big smile and some happy power in your voice.
I also met some other runners. Fast runners coming from behind scare me. No, not that I am afraid of people, it is just that often, I don’t hear them running in my back and they run by and I suddently see them and shout a little, like a little mouse but say Hello directly. These people often smile at my little mouse shout and say hello back and most of the time, ask how it is. Pretty gentle contact. It is a whole other story with ambitious runners, no matter if they are running in group (most of the time of two people) or alone. Most of them don’t say Hello. Never (at least not in Linköping). They are way too much worried about how they look, or worse, how faster than you they are running and if they are more silent with their breathing. These runners feel that another runner in the wood is a concurrent, someone to beat. To reply at a Hello would be declaring peace after this undeclared war. Because honestly, I don’t give a sh** if they are faster than me. My goal is to survive the half marathon of Linköping in june and this morning, it was also to meet the spring. So bring it on, run by me and say Hello!
A strange moment this morning was when I saw my first butterfly of the year. It was really unapropriate for him to fly around, just in this part of the wood where ice and snow were still covering the soil. The butterfly was so yellow that it was like a flash from nowhere, a flash of spring to give some hope. I had to stop and admire him, flying randomly around. It was so beautiful! At this very moment, a woman, around 35-40 years old I guess, came on the path, running. She wore the running clothes of this new season 15 and she was pretty red in the face (well, who isn’t?). I said Hello to her and she did not reply. She looked at me as if I was sick in my head, just because I was staying there, looking at something she couldn’t see (The one who doesn’t stop to watch the first butterfly of the year is not human!). I was about to tell her that the butterfly was spreading hope but I just didn’t. Her angry look at me paralized my tongue and I kept this butterfly secret for myself.
Maybe this whole post was just a reflection of my own predjudices but I swear that I always say Hello when I meet someone in the wood. This is how I was raised, in a little village in France, and I like the thought of seeing other people around. We are not really walking alone on this earth. Of course, I have to write that it is not like that everywhere in Sweden either. I have been to dozen of places, mostly on the country side, where people talk to each other, even in the woods. But this is not the strongest quality of inhabitants of Linköping. Time for a change! Help me to fight this lack if manner and from now on, say Hello to everyone, absolutely everyone you meet in the woods! And put it a smile, you will be rewarded!