Julia Quotes in Anxious People
“Since [Julia] got pregnant everything’s become so serious, because parents are always serious and I suppose we’re trying to fit in. Sometimes I don’t think I’m ready for the responsibility—I mean, I think my phone is asking too much of me when it wants me to install an update, and I find myself yelling: ‘You’re suffocating me.’ You can’t shout that at a child. And children have to be updated all the time, because they can kill themselves just crossing the street or eating a peanut! I’ve mislaid my phone three times already today, I don’t know if I’m ready for a human being.”
“There were so many cars there that it took the younger man twenty minutes to get to the part of the garage where we were parked. Roger refused to move the car until he got there. […] [Roger] replied that it didn’t mean he’d change his mind about the economy or fuel taxes or Stockholmers. But then he said that he realized that in the young man’s eyes, Roger must look just like that politician on television […] And Roger didn’t want the man with the beard to think that meant they were all exactly the same.”
“I just wish Roger could feel important again.”
Julia didn’t seem to follow the logic.
“Grandchildren would make him feel important?”
Anna-Lena smiled weakly.
“Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?”
“You’re never more important than you are then.”
“What did you used to do?” the young woman asked.
Anna-Lena filled her lungs, simultaneously hesitant and proud.
“I was an analyst for an industrial company. Well, I suppose I was the senior analyst, really, but I did my best not to be.”
“Senior analyst?” Julia repeated, instantly ashamed of how that sounded.
Anna-Lena saw the surprise in her eyes, but she was used to it and didn’t take offense.
“Ro’s going to be a brilliant mom. She can make any child laugh, just like my mom, because their sense of humor hasn’t developed at all since they were nine.”
“You’re going to be a brilliant mom, too,” Estelle assured her.
“I don’t know. Everything feels such a big deal, and other parents all seem so…funny the whole time. […] I don’t actually like all children. I thought that would change, but I meet my friends’ children now and I still think they’re annoying and have a lousy sense of humor.”
“You don’t have to like all children. Just one. And children don’t need the world’s best parents, just their own parents. To be perfectly honest with you, what they need most of the time is a chauffeur.”
“They fled across the mountains, in the middle of winter, and the children each had to carry a sheet, and if they heard the sound of helicopters they were supposed to lie down in the snow with the sheet over them, so they couldn’t be seen. And their parents would run in different directions, so that if the men in the helicopter started firing, they’d fire at the moving targets. And not at…and I didn’t know what to…”
[…] [Ro’s] parents had taught her during their flight through the mountains that humor is the soul’s last line of defense, and as long as we’re laughing we’re alive, so bad puns and fart jokes were their way of expressing their defiance against despair.
“Yes, let’s have something to eat. This has all turned out to be rather pleasant, hasn’t it, getting to know each other like this? And that’s all thanks to you!” Estelle beamed.
“I’m sure the police won’t shoot you. Not much, anyway,” Anna-Lena said comfortingly.
“Why don’t we all go outside with you? They won’t fire if we all leave at the same time!” Julia insisted.
“There must be a way out, if it’s possible to sneak into a viewing, then it must be possible to sneak out,” Lennart pointed out.
“Let’s all sit down and make a plan!” Roger demanded.
“Sometimes I think that when you live together for a very long time, and have children together, life is a bit like climbing trees. Up and down, up and down, you try to cope with everything, be good, you climb and climb and climb, and you hardly ever see each other along the way. You don’t notice that when you’re young, but everything changes when you have children, and sometimes it feels like you hardly ever see the person you married anymore. You’re parents and teammates, first and foremost, and being married slips down the list of priorities. But you…well, you keep climbing trees, and see each other along the way.”
“This isn’t just an apartment, it’s my home, I don’t want to hand it over to someone who’s just going to be passing through, to make money from it. I want someone who’s going to love living here, like I have. Maybe that’s hard for a young person to understand.”
That wasn’t true. There wasn’t a single person in the apartment who didn’t understand perfectly.