Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Topic (why people shouldn't eavesdrop)

Topic - noun

1. a subject of conversation or discussion: to provide a topic for discussion.
2. the subject or theme of a discourse or of one of its parts.
3. Rhetoric, Logic. a general field of considerations from which arguments can be drawn.  

Me: I think it would be an interesting experiment for us to kidnap a child and raise it together
Santa: Really?
Me: Yes, there's just no way that child could turn out good
Santa: Because of the biological parents, of course.
Me: Obviously. It would be just our luck to pick the worst child in the universe. Oh, look at her! She's adorable!

A stroller with a cute little girl is pushed by. Right as she passes us, the girl does her best The Omen impression. She stares at us as if she is cursing our souls. 

Santa: That... was creepy.
Me: I thought you liked the wicked?
Santa: Wicked people. Wicked children I just can't abide.
Me: Oh, look! It would be perfect timing too, there's a sale on diapers!
Santa: What if the child is too old for diapers?
Me: I feel we've done a poor job in kidnapping a child if we end up with a sulky 19 year old in the back seat! It has to be a young impressionable child. One we can mould to fit our image.
Santa: Yes, that would be better.
Me: Plus, a 19 year old would be all grumpy and do the wrong things.
Santa: I would teach him to smoke, so he could get a job, and buy me cigarettes
Me: That makes sense. Wait, when did you learn to drive?
Santa: What?
Me: The teenager, it's in the back seat.
Santa: I can do a great many thing if I need to.

Somewhere during this part of the dialogue, a woman walked in behind us. 

Me: It would save an awful lot of money though, abducting a teenager. We wouldn't even have to let him live at home.
Santa: We'll arrange some sort of family drama, and kick him out after the first day.
Me: Hm... but how do we stop him from returning to the birth parents? Will we kill them or just take him far far away?
Santa: I think it's better that you don't know.

Her expression as she passed us is the reason why people shouldn't eavesdrop. I felt like running after her and say "this isn't real, we were just playing with the idea of kidnapping a toddler," but she walked really fast, and I was carrying groceries. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rude (I'm a cinema vigilante)

rude - adjective

1.discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way
2.without culture, learning, or refinement
3.rough in manners or behaviour; unmannerly; uncouth.                                                          

I went to the movies today. I saw Cloud Atlas, which was entertaining and beautiful and a quite all right way to pass a few hours. Towards the end, I threw a sweet at the guy next to me. Hard.

Going to the movies has been one of my favourite activities since I was a child. Back then it was something special, a reward or designated treat. Later it became a way to treat myself and find inspiration. Now it's a social, inspiring, entertaining and peaceful thing to do. But I used to have a problem... a problem that just might be resurfacing. I used to think that someone, anyone, should make sure that no one in the audience disturbed the movie experience for the people around them... and that someone usually had to be me. I admit I've lied, schemed and littered to make it happen. And I take no pride in my actions (at least not very much). Most of them can be attributed to youthful indiscretion and delusions of grandeur. At least until tonight.

Example time:

1. I invented the "Civilian Cinema Guards" 
This started when I was about 17. I sat behind two boys, a few years younger than me, and they were being absolutely obnoxious. I'm not saying what I did was right, but what they did was worse. They were loud, commenting on everything that happened, laughing loud at emotional scenes, texting... at least I think this is what they did. I honestly can't remember. But they were annoying. And they were not just annoying to me. They kept going. Much like villains in the movies, who are pushed and pushed and pushed until they finally snap, I was pushed and pushed and pushed... until they awoken the Flickster (my cinema vigelante super hero personality).

Flickster very quietly stood up and leaned over in between them. She said: "Hi, my name is Amelia, and I'm a civilian movie guard here. If you don't quiet down right now, I'll have to ask you to leave."

And so they did. They shut up right away. Two terrified boys, probably a little younger than I had first thought, sat quiet as mice and watched the movie. The problem was solved, and the Flickster was unleashed upon the world.

The Flickster, armed with a CCG-badge and a box of popcorn.

2. The Flickster threw an entire group of teenagers out of a movie theatre. 
The CCG-scheme worked quite well, and every now and then the Flickster would make an appearance. Always to younger people, and only if they annoyed more people than me. The Flickster grew stronger and smarter, and I could no longer contain and control her... I'm ashamed to admit: I didn't even try.

One or two years later I sat (embarrassingly far) behind a group of teens, who did everything the Flickster hated. They shouted, they threw popcorn, they were kicking the seats in front of them, and as this all took place in Norway and the group was tough-looking, no one said a word. Until the Flickster snapped. Quickly and efficiently she climbed over the seats between us... the theatre wasn't even half full, and yet she was enraged. This group was young (about 14-15), but not stupid, so I felt I would need a little extra ammunition. From my wallet I had, quite unconsciously, pulled my library card.

The Flickster held it up in front of them, and said:
"I'm a civilian cinema guard here, and I've received so many complaints about you that I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave, right away." A second went by, two, three, I didn't move, I didn't flinch. And then they left. They just stood up and went away. 9 kids left the seats they had paid for, and walked away. Albeit, yelling "this movie sucks anyway," but they still left. People in the audience were happy, but the friends I was there with were not amused.

I understood. She was out of control. The Flickster could have gotten me into serious trouble. She could have gotten my friends into trouble. The past few years she had been a good companion, but she was growing too fast and going too far. She would have to be put down. Subdued. Locked away somewhere safe.

I had just thrown people (quite a lot of people!) out of the cinema... Thrown them out.
Not only had I been impersonating a person of authority, I had used my fake authority to manipulate the world around me. It hit me that the Flickster might not be entirely good. I had thought she was a superhero, but maybe she was a villain... I had to reel her in.

3. I threw popcorn at a posh lady, because she was talking on her mobile mid film. 
Months later, a phone was ringing a few rows behind me.  I managed to keep the She-Flick down, and wasn't even all that annoyed. The person, a beautiful, blonde woman in her 40s, the type who's got perfect fingernails, perfect hair and whose clothes don't even crease (she might have been a witch), decided to answer her phone instead of turning it of. Even then I kept the FlicksterFemale down, expecting the woman to say "I'm sorry, I'm in the movies, call you later" or "hold on, I'll just leave the theatre" or a variation over the theme. But she didn't. She started talking. And she was commenting on the movie, retelling the plot, even spoiling things she knew would happen... and I couldn't keep the vigilante  quiet any longer.

I turned around and started throwing popcorn, one at a time, at the lady. Slowly, and while facing her 100%.
When the initial bafflement had subsided, she said "what on earth are you doing?" (I might point out that she was still talking on her phone, and told the person on the other end that she was being thrown popcorn at).
Flickster answered: You come from a place where it's polite to chat on the phone while you're at the cinema, I'm from a place where it's polite to throw popcorn at people. If you wish, we can both give in and follow the  rules of normal society.

She was offended, but agreed. Two strangers patted me on the back. That acted much like a drug for the Flickster, and for a while I struggled to put her back in her cage. I managed it at last, and she's been quiet for years, except for the occasional popcorn throwing. And then today happened.

4. I threw a sweet at the guy next to me. Hard. 
Suddenly and out of the blue, the Flickster made an appearance today. The guys next to me were chatting and laughing. And to be fair, they weren't incredibly loud, and I doubt they annoyed more than 3-4 people. I didn't think too much about them, I wasn't particularly annoyed, but out of the blue I found my self throwing a sweet at them. The Flicksterium was back, and she enjoyed it. She was lured out during a quiet and very sad scene, where the boys were joking and laughing, louder than they had before.

The SMACK as the sour candy hit the guy next to me, flat in the face, sent a shiver down my spine. Also because I noticed how much smarter Flicksterella has become since the last time she was on the lose. I kept staring at the screen, chewing my own candy, looking innocent and spellbound by the movie. He was 98% I had done it on purpose. But he couldn't be sure. Not really. Maybe I just didn't like the sweet and had carelessly thrown it aside? Maybe it was the guy on the other side of me, whom I had been feeding sweets all through the movie? He couldn't know. And Flicksteria rejoyced.

They didn't confront me. They quieted down quite a bit, and the guy seemed mostly shocked by the event, and laughed about it several times. He even held on to the sweet for a while. Because he couldn't really know. And Flicksterina had a great time thinking up excuses she would use if confronted (oh, I'm sorry, I thought since it's okay for you to be a bastard and talk through the movie, that it would be okay for me to be a bitch and throw candy at you) and enjoying the fact that Santa, the friend I was with, found it more fun than horrifying.

I promise I will get her under control again. I know this is no way to behave. Throwing sweets at people in stead of politely asking the person to be quiet... Childish, I know. I'll get her back behind bars.

But until I do, know that she is out there, making the movie experience a little quieter, or a little more eventful , a little nicer and a little funnier. And she's doing it for you.

You're welcome. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


shopping - noun

1. the act of a person who shops.
2. the facilities or merchandise available to those who shop        

My mum is in England, and we're enjoying London. Good food, nice hotel, musical tonight. Today, we've been shopping, and the following facts have become obvious to me:

a) I can only go into so many stores, before the next one needs to be a book store. 
If I ignore this simple rule, I get tired. Then I get grumpy. And to cheer myself up, I start making flash-faces at people, (make a face real quick, go back to normal and then pretend like nothing happened), just to see how they'll react. When that loses its charm, no... who are we kidding, that never loses its charm. But when I'm too tired and annoyed to care about charm, I start singing out loud, and when that isn't good enough I go absolutely quiet until I'm fed, hugged or brought to a book store.

b) Politeness is a dying art form and shoppers are horrible people.
It is my theory that shoppers must all be using shopping as a way to escape the bad conscience that inveterately follows from being such a horrible person, which most shoppers are. Vicious..no... evil circle right there.

c) Handbags and shoes seem to have the ability to intoxicate some people.

d) I don't care that much about handbags or shoes. 
I tried on a pair of shoes. They didn't fit. The lovely lady in the store checked to see if they had that pair in my size, and when she couldn't produce them she seemed to expect a slap, or that I would break down in tears, or at least yell a little, but I was like "They're only shoes," and she was like "I don't follow," and I shrugged and looked for a book store, but I couldn't find any for a very long time, because there were only shoes and bags and clothes everywhere.

e) I hate shopping

In other news, I'm seeing Wicked for the first time tonight. Will be awesomelicious! 

Year (A birthday's lament)

year - noun

1. a period of 365 or 366 days, in the Gregorian calendar, divided into 12 calendar months, now reckoned as beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31
2. a period of approximately the same length in other calendars.
3. a space of 12 calendar months calculated from any point

Happy Birthday to me! To celebrate my 27th year, I've picked out 27 moments in my life that have been significant. The first ones are in a somewhat chronologically but around #12 I was getting bored, so I mixed them from there.  They're not the most significant moments by any measure. Some are funny, some are sad, some are strange, some are boring.

#1 My first memory
The very first thing I can remember is peeking out under a white plastic bucket and seeing the tips of my father's going-out-into-the-muddy-field-or-wild-forest-to-fix-something-wellies. I remember being aware of something weird floating in front of me. I now realise it was my nose. This has not shaped my relationship to wellies, buckets or noses, but it does seem like an awfully early time to start contemplating vision. Guessing I was around 1.

#2. Learning to read
I remember very clearly the first time I ever read a word. I remember the light bulb flicking on in my head as I discovered that the sounds matched up, and created a recognizable word. A word I could understand. I was about 3 1/2 years old, and the first word I read was HURRA (Norwegian for Hurray!). It was in a book about the body, and on a drawing of a woman giving birth with a guy (the father, I hope) holding a poster saying "Hurra!". My husband will not like having to hold a poster like that, but I feel it's necessary to keep my perception of how life works intact. Also because maybe, just maybe, we can teach our kids how to read while traumatising them at the same time.

#3 I remember hugging my grandparent's dog, thinking he could read my mind if I didn't breathe.
Why I couldn't breathe I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it worked.

#4 Talking teddy bear
I've addressed this before. I had a purple teddy bear. One day it talked to me. I could hear it clearly and I saw it move. Although I was just four years old, I had sense enough do doubt my experience, so I ran to my mum. When I got there, I was afraid it was an "only children can hear it" type thing. I ran back into my room... only to discover she had fallen silent forever. I somehow felt guilty for doubting her in the first place, and it's only a few years (don't judge, it's my birthday) since the last time I tried to quietly ask if she had forgiven me yet.

#5 I made all the kids in my kindergarten who weren't baptised play separated from us baptised kids once.
This still haunts me as the beginnings of a psychopathic serial killer.

#6 First piano lesson
I remember being about 6 years old and super nervous, and so surprised at how easy it was when someone just explained what all the black dots meant.

#7 First real text
I remember the first time I wrote something that had my teachers and my parents stop and listen to me, That's when I realised words were my preferred tools for taking over the world, and that I wanted to take over the world. One of them is still true.

#8 I chose my middle name (Amelia) because I thought I was an elf/fairy (Norwegian alv) and if I found my elven name "they" would come find me. I was a strange child. I was also obsessed with Amelia Earhart, the ideas must have been linked.

#9 Got a painting nominated in a national art competition for youth. It gave me a confidence I quickly lost, but it was nice at the time.

#10 First time I had a leading role in a play/musical, I was 12 years old and sure I would be on stage forever.

#11 First time I saw a big stage production of a musical abroad I couldn't sleep the following night because I was shivering with the excitement.

#12 The last night of the show my class put up when I was 15, they gave me flowers. I still have them. 

#13 My very first pay check 
I started working in a hairdresser's when I was 13. The very first pay check I got, that wasn't limited in any way I got when I was about 15. I spent it all on buying about 8 kg of mixed wrapped candy, a whole lot of fabric and had my mum make me a clown costume. It was a clown costume for a white faced but happy clown. I clearly didn't understand clowning rules. I went to Oslo and handed out candy as if there was no tomorrow. This was 2001, there was Anthrax scares going on, but I still managed to hand out my 8 kg of candy in about 4 hours. I have a picture from that day, I look insanely happy and terrifying.

#14 First time I calmed myself down from an anxiety attack I knew I would be all right in the future 

#15 Getting a computer with internet in my room changed my life, literally, over night.
Seriously. It took one night. Friendships, new geeky hobbies, music, dreams, plans - they were all there. I had a long period where I practically didn't sleep, but lived my "real life" at night.

#16 Dropping out of High School and moving across the country to a new town is the scariest, most idiotic and best thing I've ever done.

#17 The first time I looked at the night sky in 5 years (!), was the most horrible and wonderful feeling. I hadn't looked up in 5 years because my first anxiety attack was triggered by an asteroid film, but at that moment, when the stars were all "welcome back, dude!" and I was all "Thanks, stars!," on my knees in amazement, I decided never to let fear stop me from doing something again. Which has gotten me in all sorts of trouble since.

#18 The first time I was attempted mugged, I gave the thief a lecture that was so harsh and cold he ran away. 

#19 When my sister, my mum and I went to Prague for our first "girls' trip", it was the beginning of a love affair with Prague that I hope never will pass. Oh Prague, I want to be in you.

#20 Snorkeling on Iceland, in a dry-suit that was too small, with two left gloves and one boot that didn't fit, is the only time I've thought I was going to die. The pride I felt in keeping my head clear, holding the panic away, focusing on one thing at a time, being all "you're not gonna kill me ice cold water!" and "shut up Mr. Panic, you're not being helpful!", is unmatched by any other pride I've felt. And I've been proud.

#21 For my grandfather's 95th birthday I wrote a poem, and I read aloud. My father's face when I was done  is something I will never forget.

#22 My trip to Italy. 
a) I had never done yoga
b) I was extremely scared of flying
c) I had never gone anywhere alone
d) I didn't speak Italian
I cried and clung to my father at the airport, much like a child but larger and louder. When I got to Casperia, the tiny place where I ended up staying at a yoga retreat, I was so overwhelmed I could hardly speak. It is one of the best things I've ever done, but in retrospect I have no idea how it happened. My father and I agree that it's perhaps unnecessary to break quite as many barriers at the same time. And if one does, one should perhaps wait to tell ones father until one gets back...

#23 My trip to Morocco was awesome. Enough said.

#24 Getting married
It shouldn't have changed anything, it really shouldn't. We had already lived together for years, and I had known for a long time that he was the one. But getting married changed everything.

Somehow, knowing that the person you're married to chose to marry you, even though you're horrible at taking the trash out, your body isn't perfect, your voice gets super squeaky when you're annoyed, and you tend to hide in weird placed to scare your better half, then forget what you're doing and get super annoyed when he scares you by accident, it really takes some of the pressure of. It just does.

#25 Going back to school 
I love being a student. I take a perverse pleasure in grammar, linguistics, reading, writing, learning, getting up early and being under constant stress. Smart move!

#26 Going abroad to study
Hard. Wonderful. Brilliant. Social. Scary. Angsty. Lonely. Lovely. There aren't enough adjectives in the world.

#27 Finishing my first novel
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) changed everything. Inside and outside. I've finished my first novel, I'm editing my first novel, I love my first novel, I laugh when I read my first novel. This is good. This is really good.

So! People in the blogosphere. I can see you stopping by. Leave a comment and tell me about one of your moments?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Annoyance (a love story)

Annoyance - noun
1. a person or thing that annoys; nuisance.         
2. an act or instance of annoying.
3. the feeling of being annoyed.

Valentine's Day is here again. This year, Valentine's in a country that actually cares about Valentine's. And with it comes the sole time of the year where me being married separates me from my group of friend. As if I was a carrier of some rare form of leprosy, a form that would destroy every chance my single friend ever had to live happily ever after, I'm shunned, abandoned and left to fend for my self for 24 hours. If they can't find a date, they click up in twos, dating each other so they won't be alone. And more importantly: so they will not have to spend Valentine's without at least the hypothetical prospect of the date leading on to something else.  Hanging out with a married person on Valentine's labels you. It labels you doomed.

Which is fine, because I have a lot of work to do anyway, and Die Hard 5 runs at the theater, and, oh yeah, I'm already married. A small miracle in itself, when I come to think about it.

I don't know what went through my husband's head when he decided that I would be his girlfriend. Because that's what happened, he decided. I made it very clear that we would never become more than just friends, but he was super stubborn, which I suppose is a good thing, because I was clearly wrong. And that was the last time.

Which is part of the reason he deserves a standing ovation for staying in this marriage, even though every plan he (inevitably must have) had to change me, has failed miserably. For other men, who might end up in my husband's situation, (that is, not married to me specifically, that would be weird and impractical, oh, and illegal, but married to people with a different approach to life)  I have put together a survival guide. Some quick and easy tips to get through the magical world of marriage, without too many scars.

The second my husband realized he hadn't thought this through.
If that face doesn't serve as a warning, really, there's not that much I can do for you.
There's also a lesson to be learned about being vigilant here. Look out for aunts with cameras. 

1. Accept that you might have different energy levels in the morning.

My husband gets up to work really early. Way earlier than any time of day I'm willing to acknowledge as "day" at all. As a result, he often also goes to bed before me. In our last apartment we  had a mezzanine we used for storage only. It was in "my office," a cluttered overfilled room of wonder, where magic happened, and things disappeared.

One morning hubby woke me up, and he was being uncharming and loud.
He: Where are my shoes? *angry*
Me: W...what?*charmingly drowsy*
He: My shoes! Where are they?
Me: Half of them are in the hallway
He: Yes. I know that, *more grumpy than what was called for,* where's the other half?
Me: The left shoes joined the resistance, they're hiding in the heights, plotting guerrilla warfare.
He: What??
Me: Shush! It's too early, I need to sleep.
He: I need my shoes!
Me: They need their freedom!
He: I'll miss my buss!
Me: Take it up with them when you find them, warfare shouldn't target civilians.

He then ran off for a while, and as if "hiding in the heights" wasn't an obvious hint, he spent a full two minutes running around before he located the shoes.

He: I'm leaving now, and MAYBE I'll catch my bus.
Me: Where's my good bye kiss? *obviously willing to forgive the early, angry wake up*
Door: SLAM!
Me: Shut up door.

In retrospect I realize my mistake was not forcing the shoes to leave a note.

2. When your wife is sick, everything is your job. Everything.

This point should possibly be named: Don't go out stronger in the beginning of a relationship than you're willing to keep up. But I think the original title sends a stronger message.

Before we were a couple, my husband and I were new but very close friends. This was a huge benefit for me, because I didn't really know anyone else in the strange and ice cold town I had moved into. I was broke, and I got pneumonia. If you are the only friend of a girl raving with fever fantasies and stuck in a strange new world, you have a brilliant opportunity to show how much of a good guy you are. Hubby seized that opportunity.

In a lucid moment I texted him the horrible truth of my predicament and asked him, very politely, to come around with some Paracetamol and dinner. I felt awful, because I had only really known him for a few weeks, but I knew he was a good guy, and promised myself to make it up to him, later. When the walls were no longer oozing and the couch no longer had a tail.

When he arrived I was sleeping on the feline couch, buried in tissues and surrounded by clutter. So he tidied up. He did the dishes. He detailed the couch (might have been the Paracetamol he brought), and made dinner ready on the stove. I woke up to niceness, dinner, a magazine, a box of grapes and a note to call if I needed anything else.

I did make it up to him, though. I married him 4  years later.
I couldn't find a romantic picture of me being sick right now, so I included a picture of Professor Umbridge's office.
It's all pink and fluffy. (Picture by Tamara Deutsch)
 3. Think it through before you make conditions.

I really wanted a cat, my husband didn't. He has known me for long enough to know that if he deny me anything I'll look like a tortured puppy, and he'll feel bad until he either gives in or gets angry, and I don't like him when he's angry, and then I might cry, and he'll be all "I'm sorry," and I'll be all "Can I have a cat?" and he'll go all Hulk, but he looks ridiculous in those blue ripped jeans, so we'll both be worse off than when we started. Therefore he makes conditions instead. He learned a few things about making proper conditions, during the whole cat debacle.

His first condition was disguised as sense.
He said: We're only renting this place, you'll have to wait until we get a place of our own.

But that was fine by me, because I was secretly masterminding a plan to buy our own flat anyway. And five months later, we did. Naturally, this conversation followed:

Me: When are we getting a cat? *not scheming, just curious*
He: We're not getting a cat. *being wrong*
Me: You said I could have a cat when we got our own place.
He: But... yes. Fine. You can have a cat.
Me: Yeiii!
He: But there are two conditions!
Me: Aww....
He: First, you have to do all the emptying of the litter box.
Me: That's fine! After we've had a baby.
He: What?
Me: If I come within bacterial jumping distance from the litter box while I'm pregnant, I can get cat poo disease. It eats your baby. Look it up. It's on the internet.

The next 10 minutes we looked up cat poo disease online, and discussed the difference between eating your baby and harming your baby. He tried to argue that I could empty the litter box until I got pregnant, and I said that was fine, if he wanted a half eaten baby. He didn't understand at first, but then I explained that since we couldn't know right away, the cat poo disease might eat half the baby before we even knew I was pregnant.

He: No. Yes. But still, *using that special quiet voice he uses when he's not sure which of us are being irrational* we're not even trying to get pregnant yet!
Me: No, but no birth control is 100% effective, so it's better to be on the safe side.
He: Fine. I give up. I'm taking back the litter box rule.
Me: No, no! I'm happy to do it after we've had a baby. Or actually, we should make it after menopause, because, you know, you never know.
He: *sigh*
Me: What's the other condition?
He: You'll have to name the cat.... erh.. Potato
Me: Okay!
He: Not done! Potato...beak! Yes! Potatobeak! And you'll have to use that name.
Me: Okay!
He: What?
Me: That's fine! POTATOBEAK!
He: Shhh! What are you doing?
Me: Getting the neighbours used to the name.
He: Fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. We can get a cat.

He now only ever refers to Potatobeak, our asolutely marvelously crazy cat, by the names "Kitty" or "Cat".

"Happy Valentine's, come closer so I can smack your nose or give you cat poo disease."

4. Pick your battles.

A general tip. .
Things that have turned out not to be worth fighting about, because your wife will be right:

a) Her right to paint words directly on the wall.
b) Which way the computer should be facing.
c) How many cats are enough cats. (This battle is still ongoing, but the result is predetermined)
d) How many instruments a wife can own before she knows how to play them.
e) How many kitchen appliances you need.
f) What is considered "fun" and not.
g) Which show is better of Babylon 5 and Gilmore Girls.

5. If your wife goes away to study abroad, don't worry. She'll miss you like crazy, cry about it, and wish you were there every single day.

That's just a fact.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


laugh - verb
1. to express mirth, pleasure, derision, or nervousness with an audible, vocal expulsion of air from the lungs that can range from a loud burst of sound to a series of quiet chuckles and is usually accompanied by characteristic facial and bodily movements.
2.to experience the emotion so expressed

One of my closest friends said this to me today: I wish I found things as funny as you do.
For some reason it felt like a huge compliment, although I suspect it was more a statement tumbling over the edge of annoyance. I laugh a lot.

It fits very well with the theme of this week, which seems to be people talking about my laughter or me being painfully aware of my own laughter. Example time.

1. People who in mental age fluctuate between 5 and 80 should probably not study Children's Literature

Last week I was catching up on my reading. I was in the LRC (Pretty much exactly the same thing as a school library, but when they call it the Learning Resource Center, they get to pile in a whole bunch of computers, a cafe and some study areas, make it look fancy and then brag about it in their brochure). I want to point out right away: I was not in the silent study area. Even so, I tried so hard to laugh quietly and not burst out in manic giggling that I nearly chocked.

So much laughter got caught between my lips and the back of my throat, that I couldn't breathe or swallow. If I had opened my mouth a large and inappropriate sound would inevitably escape, making every person in the library turn around to witness the giggling that would follow. That didn't feel like the best option to me. I considered using my book as a shield to hide my face, but when I lifted it up in front of me, I saw the sentence that got me in trouble in the first place, and a horrific, high pitched humming began deep down in my throat. Desperately I tried to get rid of some extra air by breathing out through my nose, which did absolutely nothing but make me sound like I was practicing yoga breath. By then I was already getting dizzy, shaking with laughter, tears running and my cheeks bulging like a hamster trying to save a winter's worth of laughter in its mouth. Ungraciously, I lost the battle. Ever wondered what it sounds like when a hippo has been holding its breath for a very long time and then gasps? I don't anymore.

2. I should probably not play Mikado with Santa, if there are other people near.

Last week I played Mikado with Santa, and I was winning. I always win. Except this once, when I let him win, because he was being a sore looser and I figured it wasn't worth the money if we would only play 6 games before he lost interest, so it would be an investment to let him win for once. (Or maybe my hands were shaking, I can't really remember). It was his turn, and as he skilfully edged the Mikado (highest scoring stick) out of the stack, I could feel my victory slip. Oh well, I thought graciously, I'll win the next one. But as the Mikado was clear of the heap, Santa got cocky, waved the stick in my face, lost his grip and dropped it. It hit the heap, causing havoc, giving me loads of free points and happiness. I laughed in the appropriate fashion: Loud, Wild Eyed, Evil.

Every syllable of that laugh drove home the hurt and confusion over the lost Mikado. Which was now mine. For free. Because it landed way off the side of the other sticks. It was a brief laughter, two seconds or so, but it was enough to celebrate the moral and actual victory that passed to me in that stupid, foolish move.

However, I forgot that there was an extra person in the kitchen. A normal one. One who doesn't understand the pleasures of beating Santa in Mikado. He stared for a second, composed himself and said: That was... quite a cackle.

I answered: Yes I'm a witch.
Santa shrugged (he's used to my evil laughter by now).
But in the tension that followed we both knew this had been a horrible error in judgement. Too much personality on show. And the smugness in Santa's face said it all: I might have won the game, but I had lost the sanity card. I still haven't gotten it back.

Amendment to 2.: Santa is a nickname for an actual person I know. He's not an imaginary friend, and it's not the real Santa. I wish it was. The real Santa has probably got no time to practice Mikado, and he doesn't seem like a guy with very steady hands. But I already win every time, so it doesn't really matter, but he could give me sleigh rides, which would be good too.

3. People who have never had a blueberry should never admit to it. It can get you stabbed in the feet.

Santa's never had a blueberry. Ever. Not in pie, not in cake, not in pancakes, desserts, nothing. Having grown up in Norway, next to a forest, going to a kindergarten with a tiny forest, and having a idealistic mum who every autumn would fill the freezer with jam (because if one should ever need jam, it would be a shame to have to buy it) blueberries has been such a common occurrence in my life that the very idea of someone never having had one...

Santa told me while leaving the LRC months ago (and I'm still laughing). It took way too long before I realized he wasn't joking. I was laughing so hard my voice just came out as a shriek as I kept asking follow up questions:

Me: III II IIIIIH IIIH IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIH???? (Have you never had a bluberry muffin?)
Santa: No.
Me: HH HHH HHH (Ha ha ha)
Santa: Why is this so funny?
Me: II! II! II IIIH HII IIIIIIIIIIIIH IIIH IIIIH-IIH? (Have you never had blueberries on pancakes?)
Santa: NO! I've never had a blueberry!! Oh, will you get up??!

By that point I was laughing so hard I had to crouch down and put my head between my legs because I was scared I would faint, die or scare people. I looked deranged with mascara smudged around my face, bent double, gasping for air while squeaking questions, sitting down seemed like a safer option.

But he wouldn't let it go! He kept yelling: WHY IS IT FUNNY THAT I NEVER HAD A BLUEBERRY?
It was downright dangerous. He could have killed me.

We spent a good 45 minutes (I was very dizzy so my sense of time and distance might be a bit off) on the walk back to the flats, which normally takes around 3 minutes. By the time we got there my face was blue, and I said it was from all the blueberries, but Santa wasn't amused, and all the way up the elevator I was trying to compose my self and failing miserably. When we got in to the apartment one of Santa's flatmates wanted to know what was funny, and I nearly screamed in her face: Santa's never had a blueberry!
I then resumed laughing so hard I had to support myself against a wall, but she didn't understand why it was so funny, and she looked like she wanted to stab me in my feet, and I got scared and stopped laughing.

Twice I could have died. Over blueberries.

I have been accused of laughing too much, but I now know it's just jealousy.

4.  People should wish they found things as funny as I do.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Quirky - noun
1. an individual peculiarity of character; mannerism or foible
2. an unexpected twist or turn
3. a continuous groove in an architectural moulding
4. a flourish, as in handwriting

I sometimes get into asking people for words they feel describe me. I recently did, and because I'm in a new environment with new people, who have learned to know me in a different way, I ended up with a whole new set of words. I was very pleased. However, a few years ago someone gave me the word "quirky," with the following explanation: It's not that you as a whole is weird, or even that you as a person is weird, it's just that you have so many quirks to navigate around. Like an old house.

I didn't like the explanation much at the time. I could see my self standing there as a house with "loads of potential," but with squeaky floor boards, a heavy draft, stairs that would be 'perfectly safe as long as you walk along the wall,' water that would freeze in winter, walls you couldn't hang pictures on because they tilted too much, that place in the wall where mice come to die, and that overpowering but impossible to locate smell of mothballs and dust, and possibly dead mice from the wall. I gave it a lot of thought, for about fifteen minutes, and then I forgot about it until this week.

Living abroad has given me the opportunity to rethink the neighbourhood so to say. And yes. I admit it. There are quirks in this building, oh boy, are there quirks.

1. Obviously no neighbourhood association to care about façade. 
I dress like a deranged art teacher, there's no way around that. My clothes are all either too big, too small, flowing in the wind, brightly coloured, heavily patterned or extremely simple and all-black-and-mysterious. The art teacher hasn't quite decided if she's the flowing preschool version or the I'm-so-indie-it-hurts-to-look-at-you art school version. Oh well.

2. Serious draft problems. 
Some things doesn't register with me at all. The most problematic thing of these: skin colour. I'm having a hard time explaining this one, but I can assure you it's absolutely true. I can _see_ colour, I can _name_ colour, but for some reason - unless it's pointed out to me, or I actively have to do something to remember someone's looks, I just don't _notice_. This is fine in Norway. Only been awkward twice. Here, however, it's all sorts of awkward and let me tell you, the question "wait, what, are you black?" doesn't go down well with everyone.

3. Knocking in the walls.
If I've been inactive for too long, I cannot sit down without drumming at things. No anecdote or anything, I'm just annoying.

4. More than one bat in the attic. 
I've done a lot of weird stuff. I've had a lot of odd ideas, that I haven't realised are odd until I've put them into life. I've been proud of all of them. Some of these are still flapping around up there growing and sucking the life out of my sense of "how things are in real life." They are obviously vampire bats.

5. Treasure room/that room where everything useless ends up. 
Closely connected to the last point. I have anecdotes, random encounters, memories and odd stories enough to make anyone think I am a liar. That, however, I am not. Just a tip: I usually have pictures.

6. Might be haunted.
I have a seriously scary witch's laughter. It pops up at the oddest times, usually when someone hurts themselves (mildly to moderately) or do something stupid, and it does makes me sound insane. Luckily people tend to give me all sorts of slack. Quite the cackle.

7. Might be haunted 2.
But I try to hide it as much as I can.

8. Squeaky floorboards and howling when the wind blows. 
I sing. A lot. Out loud, while walking, while thinking, while cooking. Usually I am surrounded by people who tell me to shut up, but not here. Creepy.

9. A steady leak from the roof. 
I cry when I am happy. I cry when I'm sad. I cry when I'm touched or enthusiastic or stressed. Not sob. I rarely sob. But tears come running very easily, and I never remember to mind.

10. Loads of extra, unexplained rooms.
My house is annexed in every direction. But at least that means there's room for a lot of people!

11. The X  factor. 
Maybe it is a combination of all my quirks. Maybe it is the "kind" façade, the stories in the treasure room, or the number of extra rooms to rest in. But my house attracts a neighbourhood, and has the best lawn parties. Just saying.