God Morgon (is Swedish for Good Morning and it's pronounced Go Moron)
When my ex-brother-in-law (which is a term I need to retire, you know, 'cause he didn't divorce me and he's AJ's uncle, so he's still family; I'll take suggestions) walked into my apartment last night, his first words were, "Of course."
He was referring to the A's-Dodgers game on the TV, because, though we've not spent ample time together over the last nine years, my A's obsession is well-known. Once, when we were in Sweden, I politely asked if we could go into town--we were at a cabin on the archipelago without internet access--to find out a score. This was in 2002, shortly after the A's record 20-game win streak came to a halt and the score in question was the opener of a four-game set against the Angels, then fighting for the AL West lead.
He drove me in, twenty minute trip, and we finagled a computer at a local gas station. They won. Tim Hudson with the honors.
You know, I briefly considered "Hudson" as a name for AJ?
Anyways...Niklas is in town for the nuptials and we decided to go out one night and catch up. He's a good guy, plenty smart, and a lot of fun to hang out with. From the outside, you may think this meeting would have some awkward aspects, but that's not the case at all. Though we did touch on some of the delicate subject matter surrounding X, it was all good and agreeable. Mostly, we talked sports and politics and sub-prime mortgages and the time I dropped my pants at his motorcycle club in Sweden.
For future reference, Wednesday night is Country Night at my local watering hole. I did not know this. But it wasn't half bad. The band was stellar and mixed in some actual songs amongst the "My Dog Died and My Old Lady Stole My Truck" standards, including a splendid version of "Sultans of Swing," one of my all-time favorite cuts. The bartendress calling everyone "Pardner" was just icing on the cake.
Like any human being with an accent, Niklas drew the attention of some of the locals, like Mike, who reminded me of my Uncle Curt and who didn't believe a Swede existed without blond hair. Big fan of the fist bump, Mike, but entertaining in his way. Some kids overheard and wanted to know about the chicks in Sweden (everything you've heard is true and you should especially know that Swedish women have flawless skin) and we ended up telling them about the time I dropped my pants at his motorcycle club in Sweden.
There was really no catalyst for me doing that, standing pantsless in the middle of the dance floor. I was just hammered, mostly because a guy who claimed Sonny Barger as a personal hero, a guy who quietly stared at me, mencingly, I thought, for three hours, a guy with narrative scars running all over his face, finally walked over, loomed over me like some Norse God, and said, "Come, we have cognac." There was no question I went, and some four cognacs later, on top of all the beer--with weird names like "Falcon"--he and I were compadres. Though he later asked me to put my pants back on.
Niklas is enjoying his stay, has taken the kids to Hollywood and Disneyland, and on days where nothing is planned, sits out on the porch and plays online poker. He was surprised to find out the Pens beat the Wings, the latter being largely populated by Swedes, making them a favorite in the home country. He humorously described how he asked everyone at X's place who won Game 7 (he was on a flight while it was going on) and nobody knew.
We talked about AJ. He said both he and his wife think he looks just like me. I don't really see it. He's a step-dad, you know, to my ex-niece and nephew, and he was adamant. Assuring me. No matter how much those kids love him, how much he does with them, he'll never be on that higher plane, he'll never be Dad.
I woke up with a raging headache this morning. People my age should not be drinking on a Wednesday. For family, you make exceptions.