Monday, May 07, 2007

goodbye gold

I had to return those pants. I decided on Saturday as they were staring at me from the floor and I was in bed that this had to be done.

So I started the long journey Lord of the Rings style downtown. On my way I met no one, was chased by nothing, and saw many trees and dogs about and enjoying the day. Also, there seemed to be a fair going on, with all the major roads closed, and every Norwegian standing around with goofy grins on their faces just looking at all the stuff being sold. Waffle stands, shoe stands, sunglasses stands, health stands, McDonalds stands, every stand, all stands. If there was something that could be put on a table or given to an individual in leaflet form, it existed downtown.

I don't have a problem with this sort of thing. I don't stand around and look because the less of anything for me, the better. However, the fact that everyone else stops while one is walking becomes annoying. And i bumped into many people and was stopped by the slow paces of every single old person in Oslo. I wanted to yell at them to move. To fucking move or decide on a place to step so I could move past them. It was like they were playing ultimate defense and I couldn't get through to the damn store to return my gold pants.

I made it to the store and greeted the brunette warmly and unzipped my backpack and showed her three items. These three items, as I have learned from observing my mother return things since i was a young, are pivotal in exchanging.

1. The receipt
2. The actual item
3. The item's tag with the price and bar-code on it.

Now, I assumed since I had all three magical items that this would be easy. I would cast them towards her in a flurry of movement and have her approval to sort out within the store a new pair of pants to my liking. My quest, however, was not this easy.

She begin to frown when I presented the pair of pants and the tag separated. It seems I had violated a major rule with Norwegian retailers. It must be attached. She frowned some more and began to confer in Norwegian with her co-worker. A very tan Norwegian with bleached spiky hair, all gelled up--I'm sure he had one of those fucking white belts--capri pants, and a way too white smile. They looked at me and then back at each other and kept saying things and pointing. I sort of just glanced away and feigned indifference to the whole matter. At one point I remember commenting, 'Uh, either way, look, if its this difficult don't worry about it. I can just leave.'

She sighed again and looked at me. In her broken English she explained to me many times that it is difficult for her to exchange this without the tag being on the piece of clothing. Why, maybe I've been wearing these pants straight for all the the two days I have owned them? She told me this in a stern man. Over and over again she repeated that it is almost impossible for her to do anything with the situation at hand. I thought, 'Does she think that by magically telling me over and over again these facts the tag will just attach itself on the gold pants and she won't have a problem anymore?'

I figured she wished, deeply, that I hadn't committed such and error. I apologized profusely and wished to get the hell out of there. I didn't understand what was going on, was sweating because of the long journey, and was already annoyed at all the people outside with their giant fair.

She then seemed to cave and said those words that they always say. I will do this for you just once, but remember, it is wrong and I shouldn't be. I nodded and gave her my thanks and then proceeded to find some new pants as quickly as possible.

As I was browsing I became aware that there were many choices. And it seemed to take me longer than I had at first assumed it would take me. Eventually, I had some prospects and headed over to the dressing room in relief. I didn't enjoy shopping here, or shopping much at all, and just wanted to go back to anywhere that wasn't here.

Here is where the brunette once again appeared before me. I believe I was being followed. Because of my backpack maybe I was going to try and steal something. So she started to fumble with some hangers watching me while I waited for a room. I smiled and waited, until finally I could try them on. I decided upon them, and exited, bumping into her as she was standing right outside my dressing room.

'Okay, I found some pants,' I told her. She sighed and pointed towards the cash register. 'Just tell the girl up there,' she told me and then finally left through some secret coded lock steel door.

I went up, and saw that in the time I had been searching for new pants they had easily reattached my severed tag back onto the pants. I sort of did a little yell in my head at how retarded everything was, paid the difference, and walked back home. This time taking the back alleyways to avoid all the trouble of the fair. At home I relived the entire scene over and over again in my head and thought to myself that I was through buying anything other than food in Oslo.

Today I bought more bananas and we have a new flat-mate from Romania. She seems very scared of everything around her and is more of a shadow than me. Maybe it is just this place. Who knows.

just sit and stare until it all evaporates and everything is back to being okay

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