Lasse behind the pillar, sociable croissants and Vanessa Paradis

"Mama Shelter", "breakfast"
Nutritive empty space

Sunny 15 degrees in Paris this morning!

Mama Shelter can only be recommended to those coming from countries with a rich breakfast culture. Lots of fruit, cheese, juices and even sourdough bread. Love it.

In France and Italy, days often kick off with a compelling mixture of sugar and wheat – which reliably makes me feel like a piece of wobbly pizza dough.

Not at Mama Shelter. But something else happened this morning, and it made me realize how much I have gotten used to the Swedish way of doing things. I mean: the fact that I even noticed!

The breakfast restaurant was almost entirely empty when I settled down with my orange juice. At least 27 empty tables. At least.

Where does the french guy drop his newspaper, computer bag, phone, pack of cigarettes? Right next to me! Which was nice because I got a bit of an overview over the issues a french key account manager solves on a friday morning. He obviously had a meeting with the Paris headquarter coming up and the person on the other side of the phone was not amused. Or maybe it was just a normal morning chat – hard to tell sometimes.

In Sweden however, the guy (would first of all not have had cigarettes next to his croissant) had chosen the table on the other side of the room. Far away in the corner. If possible he had made sure there was a pillar between us, to avoid unnecessary viewshafts. On his way to the buffet, Lasse (let’s call him that) would have walked along the walls to not disturb me.

(On that note: I don’t know why for Swedes it is a precondition that people disturb other people. Only when they are really good friends they don’t – as long as it is not sunday morning)

My french guy looked for company. Human beings are herd animals. He was probably looking for another persons warmth, aura, consciousness, cereal bowl. Because our genes tell us that survival is tough when alone.

What happened up North? Anyone?

PS: I also woke up with this song in my head – for the first time since 1988

– and then she took off that sweater and married Johnny Depp.


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