I hate endings. I am supposed to be a mature man, but still I have difficulties handling such trivialities as coming to the end of a great book. Hamsun’s “Sult” was the worst. Same thing with a smashing tv series. God, how I hated when “The Wire” came to an end – had to start watching it again within a couple of months, and even the last day of school/work before summervacation was also painful on an utterly ludicrous level.
Leaving Rinkeby after almost eleven years was no exception to my separation anxiety phenomenon. The yellow kiosk, the grill, the bowling alley where I scored 199, all the green areas in the surroundings, and most of all, my neighbour at the same floor.
I had a brief chat with him the last day before leaving the keys to the landlord and we agreed upon the fact that even if Rinkeby may be a shithole in many respects, it still has something that most other places lack – balls, mojo, fuego. I got called “Deutschland” once just outside the video store by a group of smiling guys. “Raus,” I replied, waiving with a vhs copy of American Psycho in front of them and we laughed together.
Sometimes that mojo means that a friend might contact you after a Sunday afternoon machine gun execution in “Byn”(the village), and other times it means that you want to put up some invisible steel wires across the cycle paths when you can’t sleep due to the fuckers who drive their small motorcycles 24/7 in high speed (and sometimes on speed) from May until September, or that you wonder how your coming fiancé (we are married now, so I kind of guess I handled that incident well) will take it when two cars start burning outside the bedroom window the first evening she visited my place, or that you tremble in fury at 3.30 a.m when Monday morning is coming up and a neighbour is turning the music ON. No, that was not you, Kenny.
Since I had more than three months to prepare my relocation, and I have been moving at least fifteen times, you might think that this ugly dog ought to be having the Master Class-certificate in this segment of human behaviour, but regretfully I am as squirrel-like as my late father, and as time optimistic as my brother, and as unpractical as my late uncle. Furthermore I pack the boxes like I would have a troop of weightlifters coming around to assist me. You know, a big box completely filled with vinyl. Clever man. And as you probably understand, I didn’t even make the reservation of a big van until two days before I needed to use it. Sorry, one and a half day before.
The night before moving I was supposed to clear away and/or sort all the papers and stuff, but instead I sat on the memory lane until I realised that I not only had a lot of things that needed to be packed and moved, but that I also had crosstrainer in my guest room. Sorry, a fucking HUGE crosstrainer, weighing 97 kg. When I looked at it, I suddenly came to the quite Supertramp logical conclusion that there was no chance at all that I was going to be able of carrying that thing to the van (4 stairs) and neither from the van to the new apartment (3 stairs). So I submitted a quote at 11 p.m, asking for help the day after. Mr Long-Term Planner. Mr Soon-to-be-elected-mayor-of-Mensa. Hard to believe that I have planned advanced laboratory and field studies. It’s a riot that I actually have scored 137 on the Stanford-Binet scale, and 132 on the Wechsler scale. IQ means zilch.
At 3.45 a.m I finally made it to bed, finding myself awake at 5 a.m, due to the fierce sunbeams shining straight to my face. I placed a pillowcase around my head, and dove under the quilt to try and protect me from the aggressive sunlight, and managed to sleep until 7 a.m. I should have predicted this and used the D’Onofrio trick, namely to dive under two quilts, one pillow, one t-shirt, and finally use the underwear as lightblocker. I still don’t know if he used his clean underwear in pursuing his goal to keep the sunlight away from his suffering retina.
Well, the short sleep with the early awakening gave me some extra hours to do what I was supposed to do – clearing, packing, and cleaning. Clearing, packing, and cleaning. The short sleep also made my patience very much distant. Distant as New Year’s promises around Easter. I sat in bed, going through all papers, old photographs, old notes, some fantastic sketches made long, long ago by Maria-Belén and by Peter. I sat in bed, swearing at my slow sorting, humming David Sylvian songs and quotes from “Blue Velvet”. “Pabst blue ribbon!”
Hours later I have received a couple of answers to my request for a quote aboute getting the crosstrainer and the sofa moved to Märsta. I called a Russian guy who gave me his offer, and I made sure to ask for a fixed price, due to one comment about his company on the site. Fixed price it was, and I realised that I needed to pick Miikka up to drive and fetch the lorry from OKQ8. And my Finnish friend did not answer the phone when I tried and call him to say that I was on my way. Can you hear my scream on the back of the house he lives in? Fortunately, he did, while he was updating his Desire. “MIIIIIIIIKKKKKKKA!”
Anyway, eating breakfast at the counter of OKQ8, me and Miikka gave each other that look. That look that said “We will be done in no time.” The kind of look that gave us both loads of courage. The high-five-look. The we-are-the-champions-look, In advance. Put “Enter Sandman” on, and we will bring you night and day. And with the lorry keys we went out the the biggest lorry you could drive with a regular driver’s license. Miikka three steps ahead of me. Three steps ahead, he stopped, and said “Hmm, Jens, you better come here,” with his beautiful Finnish accent. On my mind I could imagine a big scratch on the side of the lorry. But instead: Flat. Fucking. Tire. Back inside, eating some candy, and feeling a little bit less courageous than five minutes ago, due to the fact that they did not have any other lorries available in that size. There was always the opportunity to rent a smaller version, and a quick calculation made me realize that it would lead to at least two, maybe even three more rounds between Byn and Märsta than with the biggest lorry.
At least I got an exceptionally decent discount by the clerk. Thanks! We took off, laughing silently, knowing that this would not be a gas at all. This would be like voluntarily being transfered back in time to Normandie minutes before D-day. Yes, I am perhaps an exaggerating kind of man.
Seven and a half hours later I decided to call the Russian about where the guys were. “On their way. They will be at your place reeeeeally soon.” “Great,” I thought. Cпасибо. One and a half hour later, two guys arrived, and I thought that it was good that I wasn’t too prejudiced about the guys being guys. What I regret heavily is that I didn’t take some pictures when the tall, thin guy, and the shorter, more bulkily built man saw the crosstrainer while the shorter man asked how much it weighed. “97 kg”. “You have to pay extra.” “No, I got it in writing, and confirmed by your oligarch, sorry, your boss by phone that I only need to pay a fixed price, and I told him twice about the weight.” His eyes were like bullet ants, trying to bite my fingers, my chest, and my throat.
To see them try and disassemble the crosstrainer a bit, sweating gallons, and refusing to use the fantastic, strong, lifting belts while carrying it to the elevator was so surprising that I couldn’t even comment upon it. But they managed to get the piece inside the elevator, down the stairs, and into their large truck, and they managed to get the sofa in there as well. I sighed looking at the large amounts that still needed to be taken care of in the apartment, but now it was time to take the first turn to Märsta. The first out of three. Four, if I count one trip to Miikkas place later in the night.
Before the last turn, me and Miikka lied down for five minutes. If he would have given me a gun at that moment, I would have killed myself instantly. When we five minutes later started to carry the stuff out to the lorry again it had started to rain, and it was Inland Empire dark, and a couple of punters hung beside the car, looking at the car, looking at us. Since I knew the mentality of blokes from Byn at this time, I just looked them straight into the eyes and threw out a decisive “Hi, how are you”. I almost wanted to ask them if they could help me out. Maybe by driving the car straight into the ocean.
And at 4.30 a.m we sat down at the kitchen table in Märsta, eating a sandwich, and I asked him if he wanted to be my best man during the coming wedding and I realised that we still hadn’t emptied the lorry. It just had to wait until the morning after. Sorry, the early morning after.
Staggering out in the early morning to the parking lot we went. Miikka was limping, and I looked like a crazy, bearded Finnish guy I once met in Frihamnen when I was trying to make it home to Vasastan from Södermalm. Go figure. I looked like an insoluble equation screamed out in sanskrit, pasted onto a wet cave wall from an episode of “Life”. How could this man have a girlfriend, I thought and laughed. How could this man have a passport?
And throughout the day I kept the scene from the kitchen table at 4.30 a.m on repeat. We had been sitting there like MacReady and Childs from the final scene of Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Sitting there in Antarctica, looking at each other, breathing, breathing, breathing. And not until 18 years later did my uncle Shrek tell me that you could not see any breath from one of them. A truth that made me feel like my entire childhood had been stolen from me. How could I have missed it? I had watched it at least six times and missed it. A truth that made me feel like two Russians in front of a 97 kg crosstrainer in a three room apartment in Rinkeby in the summer of 2011 wondering what the hell they were doing there.