One of my favourite bloggers, Dooce, wrote that it isn’t interesting to write about what you had for lunch. Or actually one of her friends wrote it. But I beg to differ. Today I’m having a roastbeef sandwhich with some kind of butter-tasting cream innit, too little lettuce (but I see that I biologically get quite a lot of lettuce through the cow meat), and very dry bread. Since they started rebuilding the cantina and all the floors in this building, which was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we’ve only had small sandwhiches, dry fruit and the occasional road kill to eat.
We used to have one of the most appraised cantinas in Norwegian scientific circles.
You can’t build an empire without proper food.
This weekend was a thriller.
My good friend Kornelius had to stay over, a homeless n’ hapless gipsy writer, who’d been picked up on the street the same Friday by people who wanted him in a movie. Me and the rising moviestar were ready for a long weekend, a challenge few men could honorably accept, that sailors shun like marriage and syphilis, and no one can survive unscratched.
Friday, it was this event called Culture Night in Oslo, and you could go around and check out things for nothing or next to nothing. And since money was an issue, I had decided I was going for one of the free rides; sightseeing in Oslo’s finest sewers.
Kornelius joined in on the scheme, and we decided to go for the ten o’clock tour, since we figured it would be shorter lines closer to midnight. We downed a couple of beers and went boldly into the coming evening with high hopes of seeing sewer rats, remains of mob killings and albino alligators.
Interestingly, the sewer wandering was as such confined to the red light districts. God, I love those special evenings when you’ll see small families venture in the dark streets, side by side with Nigerian and Eastern European prostitutes and unfaithful family fathers trying to hide themselves under the dashboard.
After seeing a man haggling the price of a threesome with two suspiciously young-looking girls, we spotted a group of twelve people dressed in alarm orange protection suits, with small airsupply tanks hanging loosely over the shoulder. We followed them, since we didn’t know where the starting point of this adventure would be, and when we arrived at their destination we were told that we had to go back to the red light district and look for a dark blue tent with H2O logo all over it. And not any of the other tents in the vicinity, as personal safety wasn’t guaranteed.
But that wasn’t it. There was more.
"You’re not going to get down here tonight, fellas", the big Hell’s Angels kind of guy said to us.
Damn! I thought. He’d somehow seen indications of our prior alcohol intake, a man of clarity, vision, outmost intersocial sensitivity, but a strong will and a kind heart for the children literally walking into the shit one by one as we stood there.
"How come?" I asked, without revealing my desparate paranoia.
"Seeing shit became a lot more popular tonight than we’d dreamed of. We haven’t been able to halve the list of willing participants, and we even doubled the shifts."
Wow! I thought. He’d somehow seen indications of our prior alcohol intake, a man of clarity, vision, – no wait.
"There’s too many of you. We’re gonna arrange a lot more sewerseeings this fall. And if you go back to that tent, you can put your name on a list, and we’ll call you when we’ve got the time."
They were all nice characters. You should’ve seen the people signing up back at the tent when we finally found it. Small, suburban families, unfaithful family fathers, queer bicyclists remarking their quasi intellectual stance on sewage of the century, decadent dental students with bracelets, and last but not least! the young, aspiring women who’d tease you to the gates of hell – or the city sewers – in their screaming orange public sewer maintenance survival suits of Oslo muncipality.
We all felt like one, big family, as we expressed our sincere dedication to spend an hour of our lives together, down there, in the city shit.
Can’t wait. Hope they call me today.
We decided that this was for the best. I’d feel much better walking in shit, I thought, if I was sober and focused. That meant that we would have to make an effort getting really drunk tonight, and Norway saw two merry men debating the choice of path.
The rest of the night was pretty calm, except for an idiotic debate I had with a christian kid whose arguments – we later found – was prewritten shit.. That pisses me off, when I try to build a standing case while drunk.
I guess I got to bed at around four am. I fell asleep longing after a fair haired, femme fatale caressing my inner retinas with her exotic dance to Angel by Massive Attack. Dramatic, dangerously bold, and her own, honest choice of tune. I admire women like that.
Saturday was different.
At the time I got up from bed, two-ish, I received a text-message from my mother asking me whether I would join her and her childhood friend for dinner before the opera. I had, of course, completely forgotten about the opera. Carmen by Bizet.
I accepted the dinner invitation, since the breakfast was still undecided about where it most of all wanted to be. I’d meet them at four at Dinner – the best Chinese restaurant in Oslo.
We agreed that I’d call Kornelius whenever the singers had shut up.
I had the Gongbao chicken, medium strength, a coke and a want for one of the waitresses. Life was good. Chinese food is generally better for stomachs than hard fiber diets, Pakistani kebabs and American hamburgers. And my ol’ gut commended me on my good taste. Just an interesting observation about what I ate that I find highly bloggable.
We discussed my living conditions, international marriages and how sailors are impressed with the civility of East Asian prostitutes when the latter are working in a tightly ran brothel in their respective country (as opposed to eBay sex slaves hidden away in the dark cellars of inferior Norwegian men over fifty).
When the three of us got to the Oslo Opera we were met by people dressed in 16th and 17th century ball costumes. Ah! How refreshing! And me just reading about Louis XIV, Karl the 2nd and kaiser Leopold in Grimberg’s World History. I felt right at home.
What, dear readers, is more charming than a young girl, winking with a flirty smile from behind an eyemask? There was true magic in the air, and even I – dressed in anonymous, black leather – could win the princess’ heart. And honestly, who can resist the temptation I raise by my voluptuous ways? I always pass a mirror twice.
The curtain folded aside, silence and clear-the-throat coughs filled the airtight, old theatre, then the opera started. And I was amused. Bizet’s opening is exactly the same piece they play when Ferrari has won a race in Formula 1. This could only get better.
My mother’s childhood friend is really cool. And besides being cool, she could have been Norway’s finest opera singer had it not been for some misfortunate circumstances and lack of self-esteem way back in the days. She knows Carmen entirely by heart in more than just French. But this was the French version. And even I could hear that they mispronounced or completely failed to pronounce the words, which is quite unsatisfactory. Opera is not only a beautifully dramatic way of using a human being’s oral capacities, there are also lyrics and a story. And when even I can hear it, with my rusty Congo-French, it’s a chink in the armor.
But let me salute Virginia Tola who did a brilliant solo when the humble Micaela tries to find her love in the desolate and dangerous mountains. That was the only part of the performance that really got to me, and I would come to mention it for the rest of the night.
But because of the Opera ball and the people dressed like admirals and queens, princesses and pirates, villains and poetically dark gipsy dukes, the Saturday night couldn’t have started better. I love girls that’d wear a corset for me. And there’s nothing more uplifting than waiting for the pissoar, because some guy in a black armor is having logistical trouble coping with his cape.
The opera finished and I part’d from my hostesses with a grateful memory and great expectations. I knew Kornelius was going to a birthday party of this dude I haven met but don’t really know, so I phoned him to pinpoint his geoposition. We met at the statue facing the cathedral. The party wasn’t due till ‘nother hour at least. While we sat there contemplating, the costume clad came. They were crossing the inner city going for the castle. I was sexually aroused and therefore bitter when the long line of people passed us with torches in their hands, smiles behind the masks, and the emotional uprise of gothic-romantic escapism.
Words like: fantastic! fabulous! adorable! beautiful! exotic! erotic! extraordinary! arousing! ravishing! formed themselves in my mouth like sugar cotton, and were spat out after the women with the joyous spontaneity of the impressed poet.
We downed two fast beers and an espresso at an intimate jazz café.
Then it was about time we joined the merry birthday party.
We got there, an in place, but immediately felt let out from the crowd.
While Kornelius was clearly on the rise, both of us were lagging behind in terms of consciousness. We had too much of it.
We decided that stronger ale — or whisky, preferably — would have to be applied. Decided and done, I spent the next half hour trying to watch the natural wonders of our Indian barmaid without getting caught. It almost worked.
We buzzed around like bees in a hive and only occasionally met at the smokers’ tables. I was deeply into the political perspectives of a female rasta dopehead before the whisky kicked in. At last! the pieces were coming into place. Things began to make sense. And before I knew it, I was half-way drunk. But it didn’t take more than a few hours before the party disintegrated into wandering zombie beerholders with an opinion about string theory. The astronomical string theory. Mentally dismembered members of a loosely united clan. Who were we? What were we doing? Who smoked cannabis in the stalls? Who killed Kennedy? What was the reason for the short queue at the 2nd floor bathroom?
Reason had nothing to do with it.
We left there a bit disappointed we hadn’t left before. The detoriation of an ignited crowd is not very interesting or entertaining when you don’t know any of the people involved. You’re given a pat on the back, or in my case a karate arm wrecker, and wished the best of luck. The very sublime message of «go to hell» is definitely implisit in some cases.
We needed another upswing, the spiritually equivalent of a double Glenfiddich. We headed back to that Irish bar.
We got there about an hour and a half before closing time, live music booming from the inside. We were let in without pay, and I suspected foul play with overtones of extreme personal danger. I was right. The first thing I did was slide like an ice dancer on somebody’s half-digested dinner, into the arms of a strange woman over forty, who smelled like puke and had absolutely no idea what twat it was that couldn’t hold his food.
The band was Scottish; guitarist, crazy percussion and a violinist looking like the old Neil Young. I had a strongbow, but immediately regretted it. I would’ve done better on a Guinness. After they had played the last tune, When we get married, we ducked into the deeper, darker corners of the place, ready for some darts.
I’m not sure if the girl wearing square glasses thought we’d be a danger to the environment when she told us the darts had been stolen, but I was sure that I had studied with her in Cuba 2003. She vigorously denied it. She’d been to Cuba studying in 2004. Was that even possible, I wondered. Two identical girls, the same country, one year in between? A cosmic fissure in space-time continuum, and I politely refrained from requesting sexual services, fearing I would instantly disappear in a universal logic collapse.
I found Kornelius trying to persuade the violinist to teach him how to play the violin. And before we knew it, we were invited to read poetry live at the band’s next session, the coming Wednesday. In Norwegian. Or at least, they wanted some first rate acting on the stage from our rising moviestar.
After the oh too sweet strongbow I had a glass of water, and an idea about VIP’ing the opening hours of this stripjoint that I know of. I never go to striptease bars, but I know that they exist. We didn’t make it tho. The very same fair haired lioness I had dreamt of the night before, just winked at me with fatality; you’re too late.
Instead I got a close encounter with a bucket of veggie pasta way overpriced.
On the way home, some fifty year old ‘man’ tried to persuade us to follow him to his appartment. Just for talking. Or his coming to my place. Just for talking. How about you go fuck yourself, dude, just for talking?
He followed us a couple of blocks making the sound of someone that’s recently been faced with a totally unreasonable perspective. The two of us not willing to fuck him, a primitive lapdog with no grace and more importantly – no indications of being a female human being with all qualities that follow – was a completely unacceptable non-proposition. He truly couldn’t believe it. I’m glad, for his sake, that he didn’t follow us the last two streets. I’ve had it with quote unquote predatory adults who can’t accept I’m not gay.
I don’t blame them, I’m a beautiful man. But gimme a break.
The rest of the night we just had water, too drunk to finish the last beers in the fridge. We spent the last moments watching the bus go back and forth outside my window since the automatic bar wouldn’t automatically raise itself. And the driver had something going on with that bar, unable to see that it’s possible to drive around fixed objects, to the despair of those thirty trapped in the bus going up and down the hill for an hour. We understood he was a brave man, and that it was a matter of honor.