As I get older, I am more concerned about feeling comfortable and relaxed and less concerned about how I appear while rushing to get things done. I guess you could say that, over time, I’ve become hyggeligt-I like to stay in, get cozy, and feel content. When I do go out, it is usually for a quick trip here and there to pick up a few items that I desperately need. During one of my recent trips I ran into who I thought was my nemesis-the Stepford wife-and it got me thinking.
I was first introduced to Stepford wives while watching the 1975 thriller in which men created the woman of their dreams-a wife who was submissive, dressed matronly, and like June Cleaver, cooked, cleaned, and took care of the Beav. On occasion, I see one of the wives out in public-perhaps doing a reading at church.
My most recent encounter with one of dream wives took place as I rushed through the store one Saturday afternoon. Her clothes were impeccably pressed, her hair was perfectly colored and styled, and her makeup was flawless. I was impressed that she never looked down at a my stretch pants, which are really my hyggebuskers and not meant to be worn in public, or up at the ragged baseball cap I was wearing to cover my unruly gray-streaked hair. Instead, with a lifeless glint in her eye, she stared through my makeup-less face as she robotically pushed a small shopping cart down the aisle. Interestingly, a big red book about Alaska was the only item in her cart. “Must be planning a trip out of Stepford,” I thought.
Later in my 10-minute shopping spree I noticed a perfect, porcelain-like, well-manicured hand reach in and lift an item from the same shelf where I was shopping. Funny how I can be shopping for a hammer at 3AM and the only other person in the store will be right there, also shopping for a hammer. Anyway, as I looked at those hands I thought, “Wow, look at her skin and nails. Who has time to manage all that?” After a quick look down at my own wrinkled paws, unpainted nails, and jagged cuticles, I put my head down and off I went. I kept looking back to see if she was following me-perhaps to retrieve me for a visit to the men’s club. Instead, obviously enamored by my beauty, she just stood there, staring through me and with that big red book about Alaska still in her cart.
After gathering all my essentials, I waited for my turn to check out. This is always the worst part of my trip-it often makes it less un-quick and keeps me from hyggestund, or my moment of hygge, longer than I like. As I waited, I noticed that customers had to navigate around a shopping cart resting perpendicular to the checkout counter. It was as if someone had malfunctioned, lost their way, and rammed into the side of the counter as way to stop forward progress. The only time I ram my cart into the side of the counter is if the store sold out of the $9.99 stretch pants and baseball hats I saw in the weekly flyer, or if the person in front of me got the last order of fried chicken I wanted for dinner. As I got closer, I looked down into the cart and there is was-the large red book about Alaska. But she was nowhere in sight. She left without her stuff. What about your trip?
And so here is my thought. She looked perfect, but she malfunctioned, just like in the movie. I, on the other hand, comfortably shopped and proved that the antithesis of the perfect wife can get it all done. She spent a few days in the repair shop. I, on the other hand, went back home, lit a few candles, and sat in my hyggekrog while eating a bowlful of fried chicken. And, I didn’t have to take care of the Beav. So who’s the nemesis now?