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Diary of an Awake Human Being
By Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
This will leave you perplexed: the writing of Sweden's prime minister at the age of 28, when he was chairman of Sweden's conservative youth movement, and had already been a minister of parliament for two years. This is Fredrik Reinfeldt's portrait of his ideal citizen, his version of the Übermensch.
Sweden's population is only 8-9 million. Think the damage he'd do to a bigger country.
Note that this translation tries to be fully accurate to the original as much as possible. It can't be stressed enough that the original is extraordinarily poor writing of nearly hopelessly confused and unclear thinking. The perplexity when reading the original should be felt in the translation as well.
This, the third chapter of Reinfeldt's 1993 book 'The Sleeping People', is cringeworthy, as is the entire book. The book - actually not so much a book as a pamphlet - is impossible to find today, having mysteriously disappeared from libraries and not having been reprinted for Reinfeldt's political ascendancy.
Reinfeldt's evidently embarrassed by it, and he should be. But the book gives the reader a unique insight into how Reinfeldt's mind really works (or doesn't).
I woke before my alarm again. It's become something of a game. I get ready for the alarm clock to ring. When the alarm sounds, I turn it off directly and I'm in the shower in under ten seconds. A bit childish perhaps, but a good start to the day.
I didn't do my regular morning jog today, I've decided to cut down a bit on my running. I spoke with Camilla about playing badminton two mornings a week instead. I'd also like to take my mother to the gym. She has to exercise more. She really wants to, I just have to nag her a bit.
I rang grandpa about yesterday night's movie. I agreed with him, after sleeping on it, that I also thought it was right of Sara to leave her husband. He probably wouldn't respect her independence in the future either, despite all his promises. I praised grandpa for being so wise. It's said that many older folks are old fashioned, but not grandpa. He has interesting views on everything. We agreed to go to the cinema again next week, it's my turn to pick a movie. This works well, us choosing our own films every other week. I've seen many movies I wouldn't otherwise have seen, and I've actually liked many of them.
Next time I'm going to take him to see a real teenager movie, with love issues and everything. I think it'll be fun for him. It's good we can spend so much time together, he's been so lonely since grandma passed away.
I had the new whole wheat bread for breakfast with my porridge. I've been better at eating properly in the mornings. It makes my stomach feel better. I don't want to be a health freak, but considering all the coffee I drink, it's good to start a bit slower in the morning. I browsed through the morning paper. I read an article about housing for young people. You can't have special housing just because you're young. Housing quality varies, but it shouldn't be reserved for different age groups. The author of the article seemed to feel mostly the same.
On the international pages there was a new article about Spain and the EU. After having met Carlos and Maria in Madrid when I was traveling on Eurorail last summer, I've decided to read everything about Spain. The article was about the people of Spain wanting the EU to continue helping Spain build their road system. They've already received a lot of money, but it's obvious they're a lot poorer than we thought. In Spain one can't say they're part of a rich man's club. We saw a lot that needed to be done, but there is no money. It must be terrible to be so dependent on tourists as they are down there. Think about all the Swedes who go there and buy summer houses in the best areas. Swedish colonies. The Swedes only want a bit of sunshine, but I think it's strange that the Spaniards don't react more about the Swedes than they do. They're just too dependent on the revenues of tourism, very simply.
I paged through to the sport section. Stockholm football club Djurgården won again. It seems to have been a rather fun match. I rang my sister to check what she's doing next Sunday, Peter would take the baby so she can come along. Really cool! Djurgården are meeting Brynäs in their next match. I wrote in my notebook that I'd gamble $5 on the match. Sometimes it's fun to gamble. And it makes watching the matches all the more fun. I tossed the paper in the recycling bin and remembered that the recycling was being picked up this morning. I wrapped up the last pile of papers and carried the paper bags down to the entrance.
On the way to the bus I tossed my glass bottles and a couple of glasses that broke last weekend into the green glass recycling igloo. I also had time to post three letters before the bus arrived. It was a letter to grandma where I thanked her for the $10. She's so much fun, she thinks $10 is a lot of money. That's what happens when you get older - it gets harder to know the value of money. I wrote that I planned to use the $10 to buy food for a dinner for her and myself next week. I asked her to get back to me with a day that was appropriate. We have so much to talk about.
She'd of course tell me about grandpa's latest adventures, as when he recently went out into the orchard and dug up grandma's tulips as they were sucking oxygen from the weeds, as he explained afterward. He's getting a bit senile. I thought I'd tell grandma of my plans to try to study in Paris for a semester next year. It'll be interesting to hear what she thinks. My French is terrible, and perhaps it's time to do something about it.
The second letter was to Maria in Madrid. I found out some stuff about Roxette for her, she likes their music so much. I translated some magazine articles about them into English for her. The last letter was a letter to the editor of Expressen, I've got annoyed at all the people who don't tidy up after their dogs in the park. There are a lot of children playing in the park, and they can fall into all the dog poop that's there. There are actually excellent dog latrines that the owners can use. Some of them do it in a good way but not nearly all of them.
I got up out of my seat for an elderly lady on the bus. It's always just as much fun to see their surprise and appreciation when I, as a young person, give them my seat on the bus. Sometimes you get caustic remarks, but that's rare. I hope they come out with electric buses soon. The so-called environmentally friendly buses smell terrible. They can never be environmentally friendly. It'd be good if they could use electric buses instead. With more environmentally friendly vehicles, many of the issues with pollution and the dirt that results from car traffic would soon disappear.
I was at work by 7:45. I think it's important that I am punctual in the mornings. If I took the later bus, I'd have arrived at five past, but if I start at 8:00 then I think that should be respected. I didn't have a lot to do today. We got out the information about the autumn product line already last Friday. The customers will probably not ring with questions for a few days yet. We used the opportunity to clean out our supply room. Grandma rang to ask if I'd got the $10. I thanked her and told her I'd just sent her a letter. I told grandma that we'd speak later tonight. I don't want to have extended conversations with grandma when I'm at work.
My lunch was the salad I'd brought along. That gave me time to rush out to buy things for the coming winter. Last winter I hadn't had anything to wear underneath my jeans, and I got the sniffles several times. I'd be more careful this coming winter. Johan rang and asked if I'd be coming to the photo lab after work to help develop his new Stockholm pictures. He'd been given an assignment by some magazine to wander about in Stockholm and take photos with a connection to the 1960s. Likely because the 1960s were trendy. I'm trying to learn how to develop film myself.
We kept clearing out the supply room after lunch. I took the opportunity to ask Lena how she was doing. It was obvious she wasn't happy at this job. She'd become quieter and quieter and she snapped at people sometimes when they asked her questions. She said she was off balance and she was going through a difficult time with her guy. He drank too much, above all at the weekend. He got violent when he was drunk, and now Lena is trying to get him to stop drinking. I admitted my own experience was limited as regards that kind of situation, but told her I'd always be happy to listen if she wanted to talk. I think that made Lena happy. She got a bit perkier again after we'd spoken.
I wasn't to meet Johan in the lab until seven o'clock. So I had time to go to the food store to buy that environmentally friendly washing detergent I'd read about. I think it's important that everyone does what they can to help our environment.
I thought about Lena. The party I was at last Saturday was pretty wild. I can understand Lena's situation. I was molested by a creep who thought all he had to do was whisper things in my ear. What do guys think actually. He smelled like a distillery and I got rid of him really fast. He looked genuinely surprised. Are there really girls who fall for jerks like that?
I was really furious with Håkan who, after having a few drinks, wanted to get into town and get some bud. I told him I don't want to be with him anymore if he doesn't stop his use of all forms of drugs. He gets annoyed with me when I tell him that. But several times he's come to me afterwards when he's sober and thanked me for reacting like that. It's important to not accept someone starting to talk about it being acceptable to use drugs. A lot of guys talk like that to make themselves seem important.
The party could have got out of control. Claes was drunk as usual. It's good we can party at his house all the time, but when he's always drinking too much, it's easy for others to do the same and behave poorly. Eva and I stopped a few creeps in the door who'd come from the other side of town after hearing about our party. I wasn't completely sober myself, but not so drunk that I didn't know what I was going. And I got home by two in the morning. I felt pretty OK the morning after. Mummy and I were to go shopping, so it was best to not appear too tired.
When I got home, my father had rung. He and mummy were going to rent a sailboat next summer and they wanted me to go sailing with them for a few days. I can go along with a few days, but I don't think I can put up with it. Daddy always has to impress everyone with his knowing the names of everything on the boat. That gets wearisome after a while.
My book on the Spanish history had arrived. I couldn't pick it up today from the post office. History wasn't my best subject in school, but my motivation changed after meeting Spanish friends. It's a lot more fun to read about Spanish history when it's not mandatory.
I got a reminder to pay the rent. I cursed a bit at the private giro I use. Sure it's great you can pay your bills right in the post box, but a lot of times they drag on the bills at the end of the month. Which led to me now getting a reminder, despite my getting to the postal giro a couple of days before the end of the month. Once I sent in my bills four days before the end of the month like the bank wanted so they'd be paid by the end of the month. But then they withdrew the money already the following day and I didn't have enough money in my account. It's very frustrating. I get just as nervous at the end of every month, worried my private giro won't work. But on the other hand I don't want to go to the post to pay my bills, it gets so expensive.
When I got to Johan's place, he showed me how to develop black and while photos. He really has an incredible ability to capture different kinds of environments with his pictures. He tells me that he can sometimes walk about for several days with his camera, waiting for the right moment. It must be great to be so interested in something like Johan is with photography. Better still if you can work with something that you find interesting. To be able to do that, you have to be good at what you're doing. Johan could easily make a living as a photographer. I wish I could, in an equally natural way, figure out what I wanted to do.
We had a beer together when the pictures were developed. He told me he's going to start a photo club with other young photographers like himself. He was going to try to organise an exhibit with their work. I promised to go with him into town some night to find suggestions for new environments he could photograph. Back home again I lazily watched one of those American soap operas. I was a bit lonely. I'm active for the most part so I don't have a lot of time to reflect that I'm living alone, but in the evenings right before I go to bed, then I feel it. It's been a while since I had a boyfriend. You can't find them on order and in all honesty I've not been doing much to get one either. Of course I don't want a boyfriend only because I don't want to be lonely, but of course the company, and having someone to share the day's experiences with means a lot.
Are we young people worse at keeping together? I thought about that a bit. Earlier when I lived with Paula, I mostly thought she was in the way, and we've been best friends a long time. I always felt like I had to adapt to her, sometimes I wish that I didn't have to. But we had fun too. Sometimes we'd sit up late at night and talk about boys, school, and travel. We continued our discussion on our views on casual relationships. Paula didn't think it mattered if one had a few brief adventures, I myself was a lot more sceptical. We both exaggerated our opinions, just to keep the discussion going.
When we moved apart, it felt like a liberation. Maybe it'd be different with a boyfriend? I don't think so. It's probably the same type of feelings. Your partner feels like he's in the way a lot of the time, but you still have a lot of fun together. And love helps us get past some of the differences. What missing the most is that we're so quick to shift responsibility to the partner or friend we live with when something goes wrong or when there's a row. I wasn't totally innocent when Paula and I lived together. I told her how I wanted things to work in the flat, how clean it was to be, how we'd take care of the wash, and when we'd eat. Then I was irritated when Paula had her own opinions about how she thought things should work. I wasn't really aware of this when we lived together, but when I think about it now, it strikes me that we ended up in many unneeded disputes because of our lack of respect for each other. I think I'll ring Paula tomorrow and ask her if she's been thinking the same thing.
It must be even worse for Janne who's living in a commune. He's told me it's really rough sometimes. Everyone pretends that everything is working, but at the end of the day, Janne thinks he's the one who has to organise and take responsibility for everything. I wouldn't want to live in a commune. I got stressed out simply spending a night with Janne.
I pushed my thoughts to the side and rang sis. Peter would be home late again. She thinks it's trying with him working so much, she understands at the same time that he needs to do it if he wants the sales manager position. If you want more responsibility, you have to work harder. When the baby cried at times it wasn't as easy to argue convincingly, sis said. She tried to stay active and work out and read the papers, even though she's at home. She needs to discipline herself, the baby takes all of her time and when baby finally falls asleep, sis only wants to sleep too. I promised to pop in more often. Baby is growing so fast, you can see how much from week to week. Sis needs someone to talk to in the daytime. I usually play with baby so sis has the time to take a hot bath for a few moments of relaxation.
We talked a long time, about everything. We usually do that when she's home alone and Peter is working late. In the end I told her I had to get to bed and I hung up. My last thoughts went to my dear diary. I write too much every day, but I've got the idea that my children, if I have any, might think it's good to see what their old mother was thinking when she was young. It might help to know that mummy already thought the same things if they get worried sometimes. Most things repeat themselves.
From 'The Sleeping People' by Fredrik Reinfeldt, printed 1993 by Rätt Blankett & Trycksaksproduktion AB, ISBN 91-86194-10-0 (out of print)