So I've been stateside for a little over a week and all is good. But one thing that always catches me by surprise is the gossipy way tha people interact with each other here. Now it may just be where I live (New Jersey is not really known for being high-brow), but everywhere I go it seems that everyone is talking about everyone else.
Yesterday at the swim club I sat next to a man and a woman, mid 30s, who were blaming a mother for her child's drug addiction. The reason? She worked outside the home. Oh, and she bossed her husband around a lot. She just refused to accept her role as a wife. This conversation went on for about 30 minutes, and my jaw just got lower and lower.
Finally I started singing a little song to LO about'get that woman, back in the kitchen, back where she belongs.' They shut up pretty quickly after that.
And so it goes, out at restaurants, with friends, it's just gossip, gossip, gossip. And I'd like to say that most of it is not mean-spirited, but a lot of it is. A lot of it is pointing out where others have gone wrong. Oh and it is best if it is dramatic.
Now it night just be my Swedish friends and family, but the level of gossiping in Sweden is much more muted. Even if people are interested, they pretend to be only mildly so. In cafes I don't hear so much about other people's drug addictions, failed diets and infidelities. It may come across as bait superficial, but I find the gossiping even more so.
I always feel like so much more happens to people in Jersey, but maybe it's just that we make more noise about what's happening?
PS I'm writing this on my phone, so please forgive the mistakes
Start to Work Like a Swede
4 weeks ago