Off to the Socialist Bureau

As many have learned, especially in the US, Sweden is much different than fun and freedom loving America. So I gritted my teeth and prepared for the worst. Today I had to enroll in the Swedish social system — declare my presence so I could be taxed, beg for the right to see a doctor, and receive my official number. Clearly this would be an all-day affair.

A half-hour trip to the local big city, Norrköping, navigating the rules of the road by signs with no words, in a country that must be the king of roundabouts.

We entered the main office to be greeted by a smartly dressed woman wearing a yellow beauty pageant sash. I think she won the Fråga Mig! contest. That is what the sash said. I later learned that meant “Ask Me!”. This was suspicious. A government employee inviting people to talk to them – just not natural.

We picked up our queue number, filled out a basic form, and within minutes were sitting in front of a guy wearing a form-fitting Swedish sailing jersey #77, who looked like he belonged in a Calvin Kline advertisement. We asked where and how many offices we had to visit to get this done and now I knew this “Russki-lite” was out to dupe us. He wanted us to believe he was the only one we needed to talk with because they designed the process to be a one-stop shop. How gullible do they think we are?

Tax Office

Then within a half-hour from walking into the office he pronounced us finished. My wife was completely done because she was only activating her previous status, my paperwork would arrive in the mail.

I knew they were setting me up for, “Show us your papers!”.