I was walking from the subway to work this morning, after my last lecture on Habermas’ discourse ethics, and compared to Oslo’s overally incompetent weather I’d say it was a full-scale blizzard. In Northern Norway a blizzard is one mother of a storm, the small grains of snow and hail eating away your flesh layer by layer, if you’re not smart enough to grant Nature the upper hand and stay inside, preferrably inside your fireplace.
But this was an Oslo blizzard, and Oslo weather is more annoying than penetrating.
An annoyance can raise quite a havoc though.
I pulled my trusty James Dean leather jacket closer around me, and hunched my way through the buissy streets of Grønnland. In addition to the whipping flakes of snow that caused my exposed skin to blush in hot redness, there was a sublime chill implicitly underlying the scene.
Norwegians are the most asocial people in the world. It’s because of the weather.
So I didn’t notice many of those I happened to pass by. They were like me, dark shadows in the raging white fog that somehow represented the closing gap between you and the warmer inside of your destination. That was until I crossed the road over to 7-11 and was half-way from the subway to my workplace. A muslim mother engulfed in her culturally revealing outfit was pushing a baby buggy carrying a small critter warmly tucked in white fur and blankets.
I happened to notice this, because the mother, in pain as I was, was looking steadfastly and hard at her offspring. A sound hardly suitable for the weather formed an audiable sphere around the three of us, and I realized that it came from the baby. I shot a glance in under the retractable roof.
The baby was laughing.
It had its eyes on its struggling mother, it’s body neatly tucked in hot, warm safety where it knew it would reside forever, and it laughed. It didn’t laugh because it was so comfortable, because it was trying to say "cheer up, mum, we’re home soon", and it didn’t laugh to spread joy and reassurance. The small devil laughed out of the pure observation of us struggling in the blizzard. It laughed not with us, or for us, it laughed at us.
It was the laughter of a would-be dictator, a muhaha of the evil emperor, it was the purest form of gleeful egoism I had seen all day. And that from an ‘innocent’ little creature.
I shook my head, fastened my pace, and thanked the gods for not being a parent.