I write myself little To Do lists on the phone, post-its and my computer at work, because I always end up forgetting what to do if I see a shiny object. The one I’ve got on my cell now goes like:
– call electricity company
– call the doctor’s office
– buy laptop to the guy who plays guitar
(I’ve been here for what, three or four years, and I still can’t remember what people’s names are. I remember their faces, what they do, what they’ve said and what I think about them. But their names? Thank God there’s a picture gallery on the intranet!)
– monitor problem on boss’ computer
– sort out the 4th floor guy’s virus problems
I don’t know exactly why I put the exclamation mark there, but I think it was to remind myself that my storage was running low. I keep a viable storage there, ’cause I don’t want to put myself in a situation where it’s likely I’ll catch any STDs, like children, just because I didn’t have any. Remember that kids. It’s like Rambo going into action without the knife. At the same time the exclamation marks!!! sort of indicates that "Watch out! There are hordes of ’em comin’ in ‘ere! They’re moving in the ventilation system! AAaah!" Or maybe it sounds like someone with tourette’s. It almost startled me when I flicked through it this evening.
I was going to buy them at the grocery store today, but I was in one of those moods when you just don’t want to buy any condoms. The kind that you are imagining yourself all sorts of embarrasing situations that may hypothetically, though not very likely, arise when you’re standing in line there. I, for one, think it’s a good thing you can buy condoms everywhere, so in the spirit of that freedom I decided to go to a kiosk nearby my home instead. Little more quiet there, less people. It was just one of those days today. Got inside, and the clerk was a Pakistani. I wasn’t surprised. He was Pakistani the last time I went there too. Said what I wanted and pointed to the blue pack, one of two kinds, and it struck me I was lucky they had my brand.
As I always do, I checked the back to see that it wasn’t out of date. Usually I don’t care that much, we all know that the people who set the expiration dates are pretty arrogant, claiming to have some sort of prescience or some profound insight that gives them access to the future. But there’s a slight difference between getting a bad stomach from a bad cheese than getting a kid for the next eighteen years.
The date was all right.
– I’ll have that.
The clerk took it up to inspect what it was I’d been looking at. This is exactly why I didn’t buy them at the grocery store. Then he asked me:
– What were you looking for?
– The expiration date..?
– I thought you were looking for size.. Like, medium.
I wondered why he thought I was a medium and not, like I like to think, a large.
– No. It’s the expiration date. You know, the fluids in there..
My mouth stopped working. I was standing in a kiosk in Little Kariachi, Oslo East, explaining a middle-aged Pakistani why there is an expiration date on condoms. I naturally began to wonder whether there was anything wrong with them, since he himself seemed so sceptical. It was my time to ask an idiot question.
– Have you stored ’em all right?
– Yes, of course
What was he supposed to say? I gave in.
– Okay.. They are sealed pretty tight anyway.
There was an awkward moment of silence.
– Will that be all?
– What do you mean, like, for tonight?
Next time I’ll just go to the grocery store.
The problem with that though, if you count out the problematic moods that I mentioned above, is that I’m still too shaky to buy just condoms. I can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to go into my local store, where I shop food every day, and just buy a pack of condoms. I know everyone working there, and they know me. They know my routine, what I buy, what I eat etc. It’s like they are a part of my everyday household. Buying just a pack of condomes would be like buying just a pack of toilet paper. Everyone knows you’re gonna go straight home to take a shit. And they always keep ’em right by the counter too. There’s no nonchalant way of buying ’em. You can’t accidently buy a pack. You have to stretch for it, pretty obvious, or ask for them.
So instead you have to shop around a little. There was this one time when my storage was low, that I picked up a couple of bananas before going to the counter. I was three steps from getting there when I realized what it would look like, hurled around, got some toilet paper, a bread, some cheese and a carton of orange juice. Phew. I wasn’t gonna make them believe that all I do is laying around having sex all day. No. I eat bread and cheese, and occasionally go to the bathroom too.
But now I got ’em. I’m safe. For a while. Just thought I’d let the whole world know.