Cravings from the almost perfect country. A letter from abroad from Fergal O’Byrne

No. Not Tayto, Guinness or fecking Riverdance ringing out your arse. Craving for people. The way people talk and react. The blatant fibbing and feigned optimism. I do miss it so. Here in the wonderment of the wonderful wonderful wonderful Copenhagen – where almost perfect people wander around precisely two metres apart, where the queues in the Fakta, IRMA and Netto (think Aldi, Superquinn [I know, I know, I know … let me have my memories] and Tesco) are orderly and neat.

The Danes don’t hoard. Why should they? It is not logical. The PM told them there would be food. So, they believe her. She is trustworthy. She is a Dane. There is food. There is enough toilet paper to swathe the entire population in, ten times over. Seriously. Someone measured it. There was a study. Government funds were used for the study. And citizens here gathered to listen to the findings of the report; they nodded and acquiesced at the relevant junctures of the presentation and knew, on leaving the vidcast that all would be well. The bottoms of Denmark are covered.

In the bakeries there is that polite nod when you keep the requisite two metres from the next customer. There is blue masking tape on the floor but no one here needs it. They know what two metres is. They know exactly. I miss Irish people grappling with dimensions. It is just not our thing. I remember fondly my wife knowing that our Dublin flat was 91 square metres. My Irish friends all nodding sagely, having no idea what that might mean, in actuality, but well understanding it probably alluded to a bedroom, bathroom and Tardis-like kitchen for 1,200 bucks a month.

Danes all talk to each about how many square meters of space they live it. Every thing is measured. They (well, their Scandi-joined-at-the-hips brethren, the Swedes) invented IKEA. I have cravings for a time before IKEA. I hate it. I always have. Cut and paste apartments all looking the same. It is the bad Matrix. Danes do not like it when I say that but this is so unless there is a .dk clone I’m fine. No Dane will read this and if they miraculously do I will claim I was suffering from Cravings Syndrome. Cravings for things back home. They will nod sagely and forgive me my transgressions. In the name of the father, the son and the whitebread toast.

Cravings. I miss the conversations. “This fecking corona will be the death of us”. It will not. “This fecking corona will have the country ruined”. It will not. “This is worse than the Spanish flu”. It is not. They will say these. They will even, kinda, mean it. I miss that. “Things are very bad.” Yes, that bit is true. “The fecking pubs are closed.” Things are very bad.

No one here says things like that even though they have above 150 political parties all vying for the same central, nice, middle of the road, steady as she goes, down with that sort of thing electorate. Nah, they are not that perfect. There are shades and hues and tints of colour. You can have any politics here so long as it is beige. Except for the Folke Partie (think Nazis but with better Danish). They only get about 5% and seem weirdly apologetic about getting that much. This country is not perfect after all. Well, almost.

Send Tayto gift boxes to the address below.


Check out Fergal’s link on IMDB.

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