Stockholm, October 2016
The trees’ leaves slowly changed from green to yellow-brown gradients and ,at the same time, slowly accumulated in many corners of the city. It wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t really warm and strong winds followed and clothes the people were wearing also changed. Everybody seem to jump to a greyscale combination and so did in a way their faces, with less smiles and one by one the outdoors areas of every single bar and restaurant started to close.
I wasn’t used to such a change of mood due to weather conditions. Back home people will not really change depending on how hot or cold was outside, but this wasn’t home and from the very beginning I applied to come, I knew the closer to the poles you are, the colder the people are too.
By that time I had already made a small group of friends from school. We were a little mix of locals and foreigns who weren’t up to just study the whole time and wanted to live a little our lives outside the typical student venues. We planned to go to a hip terrace at the slaughter district south of the city, since due to weather conditions would be closed soon. A friend and I thought it would be a good idea to have some drinks at a park nearby, the closer to the metro the better. We walked up Götgatan and sat down in a small park called Björnsträdgården. It had concrete stairs to people sit down in front of a nice green area with a playground and a skatepark in the background. Seemed like a pretty normal spot for people to gather!
We contacted our local friends, who were a little confused as why we decided to drink in such a place, but still the agreed to come. We didn’t really understand why they were so confused about that, why should we worry about it. Later on we were bothered by junkies asking for beer, gypsies asking for money, the girls catcalled by young North African migrants and some other weird people walking around. We moved quickly as soon my friends came. That small situation kept me thinking for a while as how in that part of town, which for me seemed to be quite decent turned into such a place as soon as the sun started to go down.
Wasn’t that I really didn’t new my neighborhood as good as I thought, but somehow it made those invisible visible to my eyes as I walked every day to the metro. It somehow gave a depressing vibe to the surroundings, but somehow people ignored it. It was somehow interesting to see how the hip and pretty coexisted with the misfits, like if every time they ran into each other they were in different dimensions and those pretty blondes wearing channel blocked from their reality the gypsy girl asking for money. There were and weren’t there and through the pass of days they became invisible to me to, like their own existence was a glitch and their pain and suffering was just far beyond our world to actually care.
Everybody kept walking with their headphones and their thoughts, everybody passed by without looking and in a metaphysical sense they were just a shadow of something we know what it is, but at the same time we pretend we don’t know.
Later that year the city invested in a new lighting system to cover the whole area where we sat for the first time. Slowly they weren’t there any more as the community service officers started to appear more often. Their spots were no more and their suffering was retired to somewhere else, somewhere were nobody can see, where it isn’t unpleasant to the eye and people can concentrate a little more in their instagram notifications and their tinder dates and not in the sound made by some coins in a Pressbyrån coffee cup.