It’s one of the first days in a new city. I know no one here, which isn’t entirely true, there are some people I know who I think may be out there somewhere, but mostly I haven’t talked to them in years, so I might as well know no one. The newspapers write only about two things: the olympics and the disappearance of some sixteen-year-old girl in Oslo, and I’m entirely incapable of caring about some sixteen-year-old girl in Oslo right now.
Everything here is the world’s northernmost something. The world’s northernmost head shop, which sells drug paraphernalia and pro-legalization t-shirts, is located next door to the local chapter of the IOGT, a temperance organization. The world’s northernmost brewery used to be here, but it moved to a neighboring town. The city’s most distinctive building, a church, is supposed to look like an iceberg, but it reminds me more of the bellows of an accordion. I imagine God reaching down and playing a dansband tune—contrary to popular opinion, the most diabolical music out of Norway is not black metal, but a perverted swing/country inspired genre designed to appeal exclusively to fat middle-aged couples who like to vacation in their camper vans (and my uncle, who is past 60, and to his credit his being a dansband fan is his only character flaw)—just to fuck with me.
I visited the Polar Museum, but I was a bit distracted by the fact that I hadn’t found anywhere permanent to stay—otherwise I might have paused more to admire the exhibits showing how traditional whaling and seal hunting worked. According to Lonely Planet, this museum is one of the worst experiences you could ever have in Scandinavia. “
Note the nasty exploding harpoons outside; the whale didn’t stand much of a chance,” they write. Well, no shit. If the whale stood a chance, it would be cruel. That is why harpoons are designed to be as lethal as possible. I guess the Lonely Planet writer experienced some culture shock upon encountering museum exhibits tailored to one of the few cultures in the world where whaling isn’t just acceptable, but actually normal. I’d probably feel the same if I visited the NRA museum.
The first day after I moved in, I went to the library and sat on the highest floor, people watching. It’s going to be ok, I thought. This place has an excellent library. It’s going to be ok.Aug 10, 2012