After a second week in Glasgow I can state a fact: Glaswegians are nice, helpful, warm-hearted people! Wherever I go I meet people who want to help a confused little creature from the North of Sweden, like myself. It can be about finding a way through the city centre, packing the bags at the food store, or getting a library card activated. Ok, that’s what you’d expect of people everywhere, you think. But when people come up to you of their own volition, without you even asking for guidance – that is different. And when people start chatting with you spontaneously in front of a painting in the museum -that is different. When they don’t seem to mind you having to ask “pardon”, three times in a row because certain varieties of the Scottish accent are still hard for you to understand – now that is different. Not to mention the fact that women (generally those over 45) address you by saying “dear” and “love”!
It makes me think of sociologist and cultural theorist Georg Simmel’s canonical text Metropolis and Mental Life from 1903, in which he explored the idea that urban life (in his case Berlin) involved a de-sensitized, blasé attitude, caused by an overload of sensory inputs and incessant change. This description is quite the opposite of how I perceive Glaswegians. People really “see” you and treat you as a friend, almost as if you had come to a small village where everybody knows everybody. Kind of interesting.