I had to stop by Vinmonopolet before work today to get a bottle of wine for a friend who’s celebrating her birthday tomorrow. I went to the nearest place, at Oslo City, which is just the kind of place I’d rather avoid any time at the day any time at week. There’s too many people in too little space. Everyone else has money and fancy clothes and you don’t. You come in alone, and they are always cliques. People eating fancy Italian icecream (yum!) from small plastic cups looks at you with defience, indifference or zoological interest. There’s no relaxing.
There’s something fundamentally wrong about shopping centers.
Something philosophically wrong.
I know what it is.
At shopping centers, you’re not a person. You don’t have any integrity, you’re worthless, and you have no rights except the money in your wallet. If you haven’t come here to buy anything or look at thing to buy later, you’re not welcome. That’s it. You’re a consumer. But since I had promised to buy the wine and feared going there on a Saturday afternoon would be the end of me, I went in there anyway.
Vinmonolopet is luckily at the basement floor, meaning I could avoid the hassle of the other floors with their fancy-dress shops and everything. I was pointed to a row of small lockers where they wanted you to put your bag in so you couldn’t steal anything. That’s nice. You’re allowed to buy drinks here, give us your money, but we know that you’re a thief, so don’t try anything. Cute. For a moment I considered to tell the girl a lie and say that they were out of wine.
Not bloody likely, I reminded myself, and went for a locker. It required a 10 NOK coin. Which I didn’t have. Did I have to get in line at the kiosk behind me to get some change? I was supposed to be at work soon! (Actually, a couple of hours ago, but let’s not be picky.) I moved away so that some teenage girls could place their pink Miss Sixty bags in there.
In front of the kiosk I took out my wallet and inspected the contents.
A man coming from Vinmonopolet, a fiftyish totally normal person, stepped right in front of me and looked at my wallet. He was standing really close to me. I couldn’t find any coins to change. He was giving me and my wallet the look a father would give his fumbling son. I looked him straight in the eyes with my best What-the-fuck-do-you-want-you-crazy-bastard look. He totally psyched me out. If it had been a crackhead or a beggar I’d dealt with the situation easily. I’m used to people like that. But this was a totally normal guy obviously contemplating taking my wallet and running away with it. He looked like anyone’s grandpa. At the same time he gave me this eerie feeling that that was not what he actually wanted to do. So what the fuck did he want?
I couldn’t stand the pressure and just gave up the whole coinage adventure, and went straight into the Vinmonopolet with my backpack on. Nobody said anything. I noticed that some ladies (who had probably put their groceries in the lockers) were holding onto their purses, and decided I would proclaim the "sexist oppression chewbacca defence" if apprehended by a snotty clerk.
When I finally found the wine, the Italian white MASI, there were two kinds.
When you’re in a hurry, diversity is not a good thing.
And I was even too late for being in a hurry.
Both Soave, whatever that means, one from 2003 and one classico from 2004. How could the classico be from 2004, when there was an older wine present which wasn’t? ‘Classic’ means timeless. A ‘classic’ MASI would’ve been contemplated by the gods before the existence of man, and would continue to exist even after we’ve nuked ourselves outta here. And here I was, clearly reading that this classico was from 2004, while the new MASI was from 2003. Had I accidentally walked into a different space-time continuum when I got up from bed this morning? I didn’t think so. If it had been anything of the sort, those teenage girls by the lockers would’ve been naked and serving me champagne from their tits. I looked around for help, naked girls or a short way out of here.
One presented itself.
I just had to pick one of the two, hope it was the right one, pay and leave.
I took the 2004 classico, since it was brightest and apparently had a more taste of apple. Since it was a girl, I confessed that my prejudice about girls and taste would be that she would like the one tasting more apple. Wtf? Apple-wine? What’s next? Grapes? I payed the man in the counter, with an evil stare of making me go through this hell, and got on my way to work.
I got there in time for lunch. For some reason we were having cake. I was at a loss yet again. For other people this was lunch, for me it was breakfast, but in any case there should be slices of bread here and not a freaggin mousse cake. It tasted good, though. I looked around for naked women and the champagne, but there was none. Slowly I came to terms with not knowing anything about anything going on, and decided to keep my head down and just follow the flow. Now I’ve got a couple of hours left of this miserable week before I can begin celebrating the weekend properly.
At least when you’re drunk, everything is normal. See you next week!