torsdag 29 juli 2010

Vilket parti ska jag rösta på?

I går kom röstkortet för Sveriges riksdagsval med posten. Har annars inte röstat sen jag flyttade till USA. När jag kollar på, ser jag att jag har dessa alternativ:

• Aktiv Demokrati - partiet för kontinuerlig direktdemokrati
• Alexander's Lista
• Allianspartiet/Medborgarens röst
• Arbetarepartiet-Socialdemokraterna
• Centerpartiet
• Enhet
• Europeiska Arbetarpartiet-EAP
• Feministiskt initiativ
• Folkpartiet liberalerna
• Frihetliga Rättvisepartiet (FRP)/För ett demokratiskt och ett folkstyrt Europa utan EU-byråkrater
• Frihetspartiet
• Klassiskt liberala partiet
• Kommunistiska förbundet
• Kristdemokraterna
• Landsbygdsdemokraterna
• Miljöpartiet de gröna
• Moderata Samlingspartiet
• Nationaldemokraterna
• Nordisk Union
• Norrländska Samlingspartiet
• Piratpartiet
• Republikanska partiet
• Rikshushållarna
• Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna
• Sjukvårdspartiet
• Skånepartiet
• SPI - Sveriges Pensionärers Intresseparti
• Svenskarnas parti
• Sverigedemokraterna
• Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti (SKP)
• Sveriges Nationella Demokratiska Parti
• Vänsterpartiet

Efter att jag skrotar dom som inte har en chans att nå 4% återstår:

• Arbetarepartiet-Socialdemokraterna
• Centerpartiet
• Folkpartiet liberalerna
• Kristdemokraterna
• Miljöpartiet de gröna
• Moderata Samlingspartiet
• Sverigedemokraterna
• Vänsterpartiet

Förutom att jag inte helt förstår begreppet att rösta på ett parti som inte har en chans, finns det massor av anledningar att skrota dom flesta. Enda undantagen är kanske Norrländska Samlingspartiet och Sveriges Pensionärers Intresseparti.

Sen måste jag slopa SD – tycker helt enkelt inte om rasister; KD – hur kan jag rösta på ett parti som byggts runt en ide om en gubbe uppe i himlen som är ren fantasi?; V, MP och S – enligt Valkompassen håller jag inte med dom om mycket.

Då återstår M, FP, C. Så nu behöver jag hjälp. Tala om för mej varför det ena är bättre än det andra. Du kan ju till och med tala om för mej varför jag ska rösta på nåt av partierna som jag redan slopat. Man kan ju alltid ändra sej!

söndag 4 juli 2010

Gunter Schrumpf, In Memoriam

So in what now seems like another life, I worked in restaurants. In one particular restaurant, I had just started as a waiter, when I was told we had a new back waiter, and he would be working with me. I was actually very happy with the back waiter I had. He was young (not sure why that mattered), strong as a horse, smart, and was great at the front waiter stuff when I was busy. I was introduced to the new guy. He was older than anybody else working there, and a pretty rough life made him look even older. And that terrible smoker’s cough! That’s how I met Gunter Schrumpf. My first impression was not great. But boy was I wrong! And that’s how a great partnership started. Gunter was stronger than a horse, told stories better than anyone I’ve ever met. Well, maybe besides my mother’s uncle Hjalmar. And he could actually read my scribbled orders! And that wasn’t easy. Sometimes I couldn’t read them myself.

Gunter was German, and old enough to remember Germany after the war, when, as a little boy, he would beg American soldiers for candy and cigarettes. I wish they wouldn’t have given him the latter. He went on to the restaurant business, trained in Switzerland, worked in what is now Sun City in South Africa, before moving to the US. He worked in the famous Scandia restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, among others. He married, had a daughter, and then, when his marriage ended, went to Alaska to work in the oil fields. He just wanted to get away. He cooked for the crew, and I can only imagine how he entertained them with his stories, just like he did us.

When he got tired of Alaska, he looked up his old Scandia boss, Rolf Nonnast, who was now G.M of Saddle Peak Lodge, the restaurant where I worked. When Gunter started, he and I used to work the second or third floor, most of the time, since the guys with more seniority worked the main dining room downstairs. It was incredible to watch Gunter load 12, 13, 14 plates with covers on a tray, and then half run up those stairs, seemingly without getting tired. Well, almost. I never carried anything close to that on a tray, and only when I left Saddle Peak, did I understand what a stress those stairs put on one’s knees. As time went by, we worked ourselves down to the best station, downstairs, that would usually get ‘totally slammed’ on weekends, to use a restaurant technical term (which in this case meant that we in the extreme case could get seven tables, with up to 30 or more guests, seated within 5 minutes. That quadruple espresso before the shift was greatly needed. There we worked, making pretty good money (where did it go?), often with Arnulfo, a great busboy, who earned every $ he made (and we were smart enough to know that it paid to give him extra). Those who have worked with me in a call center, can only imagine how I would mess with Gunter or Arnulfo if they got an order wrong, which they almost never did. As time went, I first became maitre d’, and then G.M., so the direct partnership ended, but we certainly didn’t stop working together.

For those who knew Gunter, it’s no secret that his divorce had made him bitter towards his wife, and it translated pretty much to women in general. That is, until he met Lee. We all watched all that bitterness fly out the window. And it was great to see.

When I left Saddle Peak, I didn’t keep in touch with my former colleagues. At least not very much. How do you have time for a social life when you work long hours, and most every evening? I last spoke to Gunter about three years ago, just before I went back from Ohio to Los Angeles, for my son’s high school graduation, and to move the family to Ohio. We talked about getting together, but with all the moving and packing, it just didn’t happen. And it sure didn’t happen after we got settled in Ohio.

Yesterday, as I watched Germany beat the crap out of Argentina in the World Cup, I thought of Gunter. He was a great soccer fan. I have a German book about the World Cup in Sweden in 1958, which he gave me as a gift. Watching the German team totally outplay Maradonna’s guys, I could just see Gunter in front of the TV, cheering like crazy. I gave him a call, but only got the machine, and left a message to call me.

So it is that, today, I was walking around in the market, shopping for our 4th of July BBQ, trying very hard, but not very successfully, to hold it together, as Lee is telling me over the phone, how Gunter succumbed to cancer, two and a half years ago. Those damned cigarettes!

As I'm sitting here writing this about you Gunter, I raise a Scotch in your honor. It was Scotch, wasn't it? And the honor is definitely all mine.

So think about that great person that you lost touch with. A phone call is so easy! You never know when it will be too late.