Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Not-Obessions Confessions

Yes, this is really happening.  I haven't done an obsessions post in a while- not that I don't have a whole litany of music, books, stuff, that I could prattle on about.  But instead I'd like to take a wander through the things that I am currently not loving.  For serious, not loving.

Let's start with old Norwegian men on bikes.

Calm down and lemme 'splain.  My wee little dog has a problem with bikes.  Not that he hates them, he just wants to eat them.  And not that he wants to eat the persons pedaling, no- he wants to eat the bike itself.

So. When Henry and I go for walks around town- around a town where there are many many people on bikes- it's more of an exercise in mind-reading, anticipation, situational awareness, agility, and strength than an exercise in actual walking.  If I see a bike approaching, I can corral the dog to the side of the path and hush him, tell him no, generally try to control him. Which is not easy with a 50 pound blond fur bomb.

And that's when the magic happens, because the charming old Norwegian men, on their charming Norwegian bikes, will slow down.  Yep, they see me with this dog who could qualify as his own circus act, each of us struggling against the other… and they slow down.  To watch.  Yes. Yes, old Norwegian men, that is exactly what I want you to do- slow down to watch the madness that is my dog unfold and prolong his outrageous desperation to eat your vehicle.  Do that.  I really really dig it when you do.

Next up- old Norwegian men in bars.  Especially the super drunk ones. Especially the super drunk ones who think that it's okay to refer to my partner as my "daddy" while manhandling me, grabbing my arm and jerking me around to face him while he's breathing liquid death into my face.  Actually, guy, it's not okay.  And you know what else- that's MY ass that you're grabbing thankyouverymuch, and if you do it again you're going to find a tactically placed knee in your general groin area. Private forking property, buddy.

Or should I say Grandpa?

This book.  Sort of instills in me the simultaneous desire to vomit and weep.  How did this happen? How did the first three happen?!?

I definitely don't love the people who open doors while talking to, and looking at, the people behind them.  Look where you are going, folks, there might just be a girl with a dog… directly in your path.  If I had a dollar for the number of times I've been slammed into by a glass door- only to be given an affronted look by the person who slammed it into me- in the past several weeks, I wouldn't be considering a life of crime to solve my financial woes.

This song.  It was getting nonstop airtime when I left the States a little over a month ago.  It is now getting nonstop airtime in Norway.  I literally cannot escape it. (Also- note here that it's definitely part of the 50 Shades soundtrack).

I'd bring up the apparently never-ending winter, but I think that's pushing it.  I suppose I should have anticipated that when I decided to move to just shy of the Arctic Circle.  And I probably should have packed more warm clothing.  And fewer dresses.

And for now, until next time, that's all dear ones.  Be good on this Summer (laughable) Solstice and this Father's Day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The View from Across

There is this one view, outside of the apartment.  This one view that... no matter how many times I glance at it, no matter how long I stare at it, I still can't quite believe in it.

I can't capture it on film (believe me I have tried), I can't photo document it (see below for a pathetic attempt), I can't begin to describe it even with all of the words at my disposal- because I just don't believe that it's actually, truly, terrifyingly there.

I don't get how it exists.  My eyes tell me it exists, but I don't understand it and I think my eyes might be lying.

The view?

On good days- days like today that are clear and sunny and the sky is such a bright blue that it's almost white- you can look across the water and see the mountains that bolster either side of our harbor.  But then, it's not just seeing the mountains that has me baffled and dumbstruck. Oh no, you look across that water and it's like you witness the passage of time in that view, in this view.  It is literally like watching billions of years- eons, eras, moments, monuments, minutes- happen in an instant.  The effect of every thrust of the earth's plates and every carving, fluid push of the ocean's waves- right there, right in front of you, me.

It's an impossible thing to take in, and yet I do almost every day.

On foggy, slightly evil and rainy days- every other day other than today- that view is still there, just hiding.  Those mountains are still present behind the clouds, ominous in a way that God or the Devil might be to those who believe.  Those mountains are hiding, but they are very much self-aware and very much alive in the cloudy ether.  Not hiding, perhaps, so much as waiting or biding.  They are steady, so still, yet pull at the marrow of my bones with such a wrenching force that even though I stand there captivated and somewhat subdued, I am utterly overcome with the desire to move toward them.  To be a part of them.

The mountains roll back against the sky for… ever.  One leads to another leads to another and they just don't stop, they never stop…

I think that's what really gets to me- the immensity and endlessness of the mountains- becoming increasingly more blue and shadowed until they match that sky I mentioned earlier and then slowly begin to fade into it.

It is. Unbelievable.

You've just got to trust me on this one, dear hearts.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On (In)Dependence

There are any number of things at which I suck.  In fact, my failures, misdeeds, malfunctions far outnumber my talents.

Like, light years far...

It's actually a little disconcerting.

At any rate, lately I've been counting my fatal flaws, my faults, my issues- the things that make me, much to my chagrin, me.  It is very hard NOT to self-examine and try to relocate yourself within yourself when you've just made a major life change.  In fact it sort of makes sense.  You've done this thing, you've made this monumental decision, and you've followed through even in the face of fear and ad nauseum worry.  Of course you take the time to sit back, take stock, and sort it out- which is considerably headier after the fact rather than when you are in the thick of it, running around making phone calls to the USDA and trying to track down tape-worm treatments and trying to slip in a phone call to foreign authorities every few days.

It's hard not to self-examine when you are essentially existing at the whim of the aforementioned foreign authorities.

I find myself now talking to new people, making small talk.  Hell, I find myself talking to myself, or my dog for that matter, making small talk.  But I hear myself say things like… 'I suck at being sick' (which I do).  'I suck at sitting still' (which I definitely do).  'I really suck at asking for help' (which I really really do).

I don't know if it's a flaw, a fault, a fissure waiting to crack into a canyon- but I'm not a dependent person.  Not even a little.  See all of the above?  All of those 'sucks' stem from the fact that I SUCK at depending on people, on anyone but myself.  Of course there is a lot of psychology behind that statement- but it's about as base and true as I can get.  I literally make contingency plans for everything because I'm so convinced and so sure that I will have to hack out whatever situation on my own. (This, by the way, has nothing to do with a weird or unloving childhood.  My parents are rocks, they are the strongest, most challenging and cherished people in my life.  They are about the only ones who can manage to take care of me when I really need it).

When I'm sick I don't act like it because that would entail me actually letting someone else take my reins for a moment while I collapse.  When I am still I am maddeningly fidgety because I'm not doing things.  I'm not accomplishing things.  I'm not making things happen.  I'm wasting… myself.  Asking for help?  That necessitates relying on someone else to step up and, indeed, help.  Which is when my jacked-up, hard-wired-to-be-hard, brain misfires.  I can't do it.  I can't do it.  I can't do it.

Not to mention that asking for help, sitting still, getting sick- all of those things, to me, means forfeit.  They mean defeat- they mean that I am letting someone else come in and clean my house- my house that I made into a mad one- my house that I built, my bed that I made.  How can I do that?  How can I ever let go of the mistakes, the misfortunes, the bad decisions that I made and let someone else… share them?

So here I am, 30 years and tens of thousand of miles later.  Still ferociously, feverishly, frustratingly independent but having to swallow that ferocity and fever and frustration for maybe the first, most significant time- so that I can make my decisions and my passions and my hopes work.  I have dropped the mantle of stubborn solitude and reached out.

Because one of the things that I do do well… is learn from my mistakes.

And until Next Time…

Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, here we come.