Jun 21 2005

Happy Summer Solstice!

The latest in the never-ending string of ironies that is woven through (and occasionaly “tangled up” in) my life is that I actually have to get up earlier for work just as my annual “sleepless season” is hitting its zenith. (How’s that for poetic license?!)

This is because, as I mentioned in an earlier entry, the Oresund train that I normally take to work (at 7:37 a.m.) has recently been switched to a local commuter train. This is a problem because the commuter trains are smaller with hideous purple seating that’s very cramped when the train is full (which it always is during the morning rush hour). The cars are poorly ventilated (just what you want in the heat of the summer) and very noisy, so that people have to practically shout when talking to each other.  Worst of all, there is no “Quiet Car”, which I have come to depend on far more than I wish.

Okay, that’s not strictly true … there is usually a small, semi-isolated section of one car on the commuter trains that is “designated” to be both quiet and free from strong cologne (though in my opinion, overly aggressive cologne use is NOT a problem in this country), but it’s kind of pointless since the train itself is shaking and rattling so much anyway. Plus the quiet section is not very clearly marked and people often don’t even realize that they’re in it until someone (usually me, because 90% of Swedes prefer to just roll their eyes at rule-breakers) interrupts the conversation to point it out.

Now I have no idea why the local transportation authority decided to switch this particular train. Some might argue reasonably that there are fewer people working in the summer months (courtesy of Sweden’s generous vacation policy for pretty much everyone) and therefore they don’t need to use the larger Oresund trains on this particular route. But the number of travellers doesn’t actually decrease because of an annual summer card promotion that gives folks unlimited travel for 25 days anywhere in Skåne for a very good price.  This means there are tons of kids and retirees and folks on vacation on the trains at all hours of the day…including the morning rush hour.

So, in order to avoid a 40 minute trip on a commuter train where I can’t rest, can’t work and often can’t read because of all the swaying and rolling, I’m hauling my already sleep-deprived carcass out of bed even earlier so I can take an Oresund train at 7:08 a.m. This train is also packed with summer travellers headed up to Gothenburg (usually carrying large pieces of luggage), but at least the seats are comfortable and there is a chance of snagging a seat in a real Quiet Car. And of course there is the added bonus of getting to go home a little earlier in the afternoon, too.

Fortunately, today is the Summer Solstice (even though Sweden won’t celebrate it until Friday evening) which means that starting tomorrow, the amount of time that there is visible daylight (currently 19 hours and 32 minutes) will start decreasing. At this point I figure I’m only a scant five weeks away from a decent night’s sleep!


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Feed my ego!

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