March 18, 2012

A post about toilets and garbage

Today is Sunday. 

After a year and so in Sweden I have been Swedified enough to enjoy this day without any human contact. Certainly it is nice to talk with friends over Skype or Facebook, but real contact is too much! You cook, watch a movie or a tv-show, play a game (Black and White 2), clean the room and do a little bit of workout. People are not included! 

But no, not for me, not today.

Last week I agreed to pose in a photo-shoot for a guy from Göteborgs University. Don't ask me why, I have no idea. It was one of those "if you find it interesting we could do it" messages of Facebook sent by a friend. What I basically agreed to, was sitting on a toilet while a 1.90m Swedish guy in a pink hat and sneakers is taking pictures. 

It's really not a big deal. A lot of people said no when he explained them what the "scenography" is. Part of me understands why, but other part doesn't really. Nobody wants you to be naked, nobody is telling you what to do or how to behave, nobody is forcing you to anything. If you are feeling embarrassed by sitting on a toilet, ok - but should I remind you that it is something you do daily? At least couple of times per day. 
I think it was a lot of fun! 
And definitely an experience to tell afterwards:
"You know, while I was in Sweden I went and sat on a toilet for 2 hours while a guy was taking my pictures. And we were cracking jokes about the toilets and other usually inappropriate topics. And I also got to see where they do the real shoots with models. The amount of technology in those rooms and how much in control photographers are with the light and everything - it's almost a science". Doesn't it sound interesting? If so, send him an email to He is looking for more models and it does not matter if you have any experience or how you look or if you are a guy or a girl. Actually, he would prefer guys to answer, it seems girls are more interested in modelling. 

But the reason why I am writing this post today is something else. I don't know if I ever spoke about how clean or not Göteborg is? It is a common topic for some of us internationals and it is definitely a BIG ISSUE during weekends for the city's authorities. 
By my standards Gbg is very clean. The dirtiest it gets is Sunday morning, after all the craziness in Avenyn and other city centers, where drunk people did they "work". But it disappears relatively fast and then everything is shiny and cute till the next Friday/Saturday combo. 

So, back to me. I was on my way to the shoot and decided to play a nice neighbor by throwing out the garbage. It was nothing big, just two bags filled with cans, wine bottles and empty chips packages (pay attention, it is Sunday - the day after partying, which makes chances of throwing empty bottles very high). So I took off to the tram stop, carrying bags with me and thinking that I should be able to dispose them while still on campus. I have to explain here that we have three or four different areas in Olofshöjd where it is possible to throw away your garbage. Going from my home to Chalmers there is one, and there is one going from me to the tram stop. I have thought that the latter one is a better option, given that it is in the direction I should go.

What I did not know is that only the closest station to your place is actually open for you! We all have tags to open these garbage stores and apparently they don't work everywhere. Mind me, I am on a schedule here, so I cannot return to "my" garbage if I am to make it for the tram. No problem, right? I mean, my logic was: from Olofs to the station there are residential buildings and those guys have to throw their garbage somewhere. Right? WRONG!  I have been walking around for maybe 5 minutes, with my dangling bottles and smelly cans of tuna, trying desperately to find a garbage bin big enough. At this moment I already missed my tram and gave up on the idea that I might find a big dumpster. I just wanted a place that would fit these bags. There were some of those ground ones, but they were locked (presumably available only to the households). After another 5 minutes and silent swearing I have decided to go back to Olofs and "my" garbage which I should have used in the first place. For those who don't live in Olofshöjd (or will live here soon enough), this means going approximately 100 steps in one direction and 100 more in another, since housing is situated on a hill. And I live on the top of it! 

With a 15 minutes of being late, I sat finally in my tram and started thinking. Why is it so hard to throw garbage in Sweden? I mean, should I take a number or stand in a queue to do so? Will it make the process easier? Did I woke up a little bit more stupid today and what happened is my fault? Was there a hidden dumpster right around a corner and I didn't have to walk all the way back? What was that man thinking when he saw me trying to open a locked bin? He did look worried that I might actually succeed to throw my garbage into another person's bin. And why are Swedes so concerned about their city getting dirty but they don't put any special attention to the amount of places for disposal of stuff. I was paying attention on my way to the Avenyn and the amount of places you can use is significantly low. Maybe that is how government gets them to recycle? By not allowing them to throw anything? 

I know I am not going to this adventure again any time soon!


Find which one of these toilet pictures is mine hehe. I think I won when it comes to the narcissistic posing in the bathroom. Oh well, what can one do - it is art :) 

Thanks again to Jonn for making this one of the funniest experiences.