11 January 2012


So this afternoon I'm sitting in waiting room, flipping through a glossy home decor mag. I hear two ladies talking and every few words I also hear, "Sweden.." I glance up. Make eye contact. Smile. Look back down at my mag. Continue flipping.

I don't like waiting rooms. They remind me of all this stuff. But I'm a cool person, so I just read; and again,

"Sweden...." followed by nervous, waiting-room banter laughing and then, "must be the Swedish blood."

I can't help my nosy people self. I glance up again. Make eye contact again. Smile again. Look back down at my mag. Again. I'm bubbling. My heart is pounding. "I'm Norwegian!" I almost exclaim because, you know, Scandinavian is Scandinavian.

And this time, instead of sucking in that hot breath of air that reels just after one heart thump of stage fright to explain that I'm Mexican (also) because I don't look a beat like some hot Latina goddess, I feel a brand new sensation creep across my frontal and occipital lobes. I probably look Norwegian!

But I don't. Exclaim anything, that is. I'm trying to stay tuned in and tuned out simultaneously. It's not all that uncommon to run into every kind of nationality these days. Chances are, if they're not directly emigrated and aren't speaking with an accent, they're probably mutts, too.

I'm way too enthralled anyway. To me, it seems like I could have an "in" if I take advantage of the eye contact, engage in an understanding laughter, as though I have used my non-existing Swedish heritage (actually I have SOME) to define some common behavior that simply "must" be culturally exclusive to the Swedes.

It works! The nice, pretty ladies are laughing, looking my way, and they non-verbally invite me into this world of instant empathy with even brighter smiles and relieved laughing. I smile back. It really worked!

I still have it, oh yeah.

I actually stop reading (or looking at duh purty pitchers, okay?!) and slide my hand on top of the magazine, right over the page, and engage right back.

Laughing with them, as if I completely understood, I raised a finger, as though I were saying "aye" to a motion and in by best sympathetic chuckle said,

"Norwegian here!"

It was total dork move, but did you realize it was the first time in my life that I actually associated myself with my Norwegian roots in a public conversation (or conversation-type exchange) with strangers?

I was very proud of me.

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