Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday, May 31st, 2008:
Swedes and Stripes, and
the kids are alright
in Helsingborg

What I think:

Before I get into this, I'd like to share the end of my African scammer story that I wrote about last week. I'd gotten yet another e-mail after my last, somewhat convoluted, response. It read:

Dear Mr Mark Base,
Please i can't understand you and did not know what you mean by this mail, I ask you for your full informations so that i can give you the bank contact and you are now writeing to me what i don't understand, so please if you cab help send me your contact informations before i can send you the bank contact and the document ok.

Miss Ibrahim

Here was my reply to that:

Dear Miss Ibrahim, 

I'm sorry for any misunderstandings. My understanding was that you understood, but I guess I misunderstood. I can now say that I fully understand your misunderstanding.

Now that we understand each other, maybe you can help me to understand what it is you want from me exactly.

Correct me if I misunderstood but, in your last e-mail to me, you asked me some questions which, to the best of my understanding, I have answered. If you didn't understand the answers, I am sorry. It can be so difficult in this world to make sense of things, and we often lack harmony and understanding. There's no sympathy or trust abounding. I think we both understand that this is most certainly not the Age of Aquarius, if you understand what I mean.

I'm so glad that we now understand each other, and I look forward to hearing from you again, to find out why you have chosen me, a lonely Swiss man with a wife and twelve children, to help you to realise (and understand) the fate that has befallen you with the passing of your beloved Father, amen.

May Jesus live in your heart, and fill it with even more righteous understanding.

Understandingly yours,
Mark Base

Finally, I got "her" final e-mail:

You talk out of senses.How am i sure i have not gotten to a mad someone.
Keep Talking Rubbish Ok.
But do not be mad cos as i see i think soon you will go crazy.

That was that. But I couldn't resist getting the last word in:

I'm not crazy, just ask my camel, Stephen.

All the best in your quest to find the right person to help you.

It has been fun.

Warm and fuzzy regards,

Now on to the main post...

Although I'm certainly not a fashion-conscious guy (I always wear black), I do sometimes notice what other people wear. In Helsingborg.

I went to Hamnkrogen last night to meet up with a friend I hadn't seen for quite a while, and started to people-watch (as I do). It's nice here in Helsingborg, when the sun comes out. People finally decide to come out, shed their big coats, and proudly display their summer-wear.  

I've reported on the socks-and-sandals-as-office-attire thing way back in February '06 (wow, was is that long ago?!), and the show-off-your-underpants craze in February last year (over a year since then?!).

One thing I've always hated is those not-quite-shorts/not-quite-trousers (US/CAN: pants). Those are still around in abundance here. Oh look! Here are some guys with them on now: 
But what I discovered a while ago, and what was very much in evidence yesterday, is that many Swedes like stripes. For example, look at this guy (whom you'll notice is wearing both stripes and those short-trouser things):
Many Swedes will go for the casual v-neck, with a more understated contrast between the stripes:
Others will attempt a slightly more subtle, stylish approach:
Some will go to seemingly great lengths to disguise their affinity with clothing of the lined kind, by trying to camouflage their stripes with intricate patterns:
But they're not fooling us, are they? Oh no. Sorry Love, those are stripes.

This gentleman would probably try to have us believe that his shirt is actually plaid; perhaps his family's own tartan:
Nice try mate, but I'm not buying it. Even though some are going in different directions, you still have multiple sets of parallel lines, a.k.a. stripes. Deal with it.

Something else I noticed, quite by accident, is that the age of the Swede can sometimes be determined by the width of the stripes. Look at this photo:
As you can see, the chap (US/CAN: guy) in the foreground has rather wide stripes. The stripes adorning the upper torso of the man on the right are considerably thinner, while those that the older gentleman on the left is donning are very thin; barely perceptible.

But this is, of course, a grossly exaggerated generalisation (US/CAN: generalization). Have a look at this photo, in which a younger fellow knocks my theory down in one fell swoop:
Yes, he is wearing very thin, subtle stripes. But wait! Look at his hand - he has actually tattooed stripes onto his skin; albeit cleverly disguised as a skeletal hand. This pierced, goateed, tattooed (trust me) trickster is fooling no one with his sly and deceptive tomfoolery. He is a stripe addict.

At this point, six beers later, I decided that it was time to go home and get something to eat.

While walking towards the bus stop, I was absently looking at the photos I had taken, trying to decide how to formulate any hypothesis I may have, umm, formulated... or something. Look, I was a bit tipsy, OK?

While I was approaching, I looked up from the screen on my camera, and noticed a group of teenagers, a couple of whom posed in a silly way, thinking that I was about to take a photo of them.

So I thought, yeah why not?

No sooner did I raise my camera purposefully, letting them know that yes, I am taking a photo, when the lot of them jumped into what appeared to be an incredibly pre-meditated pose, in all of about two seconds flat. Look at this:
I thought that was pretty impressive, but not as impressive as when I walked a bit further, turned, and let them know that I would take another photo. The pose below took (I swear to your favourite deity) no longer than three seconds to strike.Amazing, isn't it? 

(By the way, have you noticed the stripes in the photo?)

I'm not usually into chatting with teenagers, but these kids were a good laugh, keen to practice their English, and an amusing way to kill a few minutes while waiting for the bus. 

Now I have nothing against stripes. If you're into them, more power to you, I say. I'm definitely not stripe-ist in any way (some of my best friends, etc.), but when people try to disguise their obvious obsession with them, it just gets pathetic and sad. Closet stripers need to be hauled from their checked closets, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it.

That's what I think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I just wet my pants. Your replies where so incredibly hilareous!

11:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skeletor's choice of shirt has truly confused me. I'm going to be up all night trying to figure it out.

2:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ränderna går aldrig ur

8:04 pm  
Blogger Ken Albin said...

You just have to love those scams! I occasionally get one that says I won a European lottery of some type. Once I wrote back and requested they take the processing fee out of my winnings and send me the remaining funds. I never heard back from them.

1:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya gotta love the scammers - I've never actually had the energy to follow up on any of my windfalls - so kudos to you! Very funny and most likely very confusing to the person who sent it to you.

I had to go check my closet, no stripes, no plaids either. I don't actually like stripes. Hmmm I wonder if I'd be welcome in Sweden?

4:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking you were famous, but now know it considering the spammer wrote you back. Dang. Impressive. As far as stripes go, another theory is that the older some of us get, the larger, and large stripes only accentuate our largesse. You know. You can't exactly hide the love handles under a wide stripe? I'm just saying...

5:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and nothing about your absolute favorite triangle shirts?!?!

8:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those replies were hilarious.. Hahaha, kudos on the premeditated shots.

3:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely hilarious - I spit my drink all over my laptop!

Too much fun. You would enjoy the telemarketing call this one guy got and recorded:

11:31 am  
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5:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found your blogg and love the way you write! :)

Living in Helsingborg myself, I have to agree that the "in" style of the year are quite telling in this quaint town... the massive love of stripes being one of them. Sad to say I've fallen for it myself turning it into something people expect from me to wear. Considering this, your post is very refreshing!


12:24 am  
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8:05 am  
Blogger AK said...

wow. I too have three horizontal stripes on my left hand and three more on both feet... and multitudes of striped clothing... I'm a stripe addict.

5:51 am  

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