The other day I was walking up the hill by the road taking photos of trees, bending down now and then trying different angles to catch the feeling of the light and the snow. A passing car beeped at me, rather aggressively I thought a the time. I looked up to see what it was about, and saw the driver pointing at me and the road as he drove past. It took me a few seconds to remember I was in Kiruna. It turns out he wanted to let me know I’d dropped a glove.
You can have these rather surprising experiences in Kiruna. As if the isolation of the place demands a cooperative spirit, a kind of caring for other people that is hard to find in bigger, more connected places.
A young man goes into a garage shop and buys a sausage in bread and a sweet bottled drink. The next day he goes there and buys it again. And the following day he comes in again.
We’re in the shop at the time and hear the sales assistant refuse to sell it to him.
‘This is the third day you’ve come in here for that sort of food,’ she says, turning to serve someone else. ‘Now go and get yourself a decent meal somewhere else’.
So he does.