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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Boredom and Claustrophobia 2. By John von Daler

                   The theater for the Warhol movie was packed. We saw one picture where this guy did nothing. I do not remember whether it was a moving picture or not. As an audience watching a man do nothing, we did nothing unless it was getting asphyxiated. In Denmark they are not big on air systems. Sometimes they cool the air for you, but it really is just the same old air: recycling of your neighbor's carbon dioxide.

                As a matter of fact claustrophobia of various sorts was a national trait that I had to get used to when I arrived here. Everything was smaller, tighter, narrower or more suffocating. I was from the wild west, for God's sake.
                In the summer house of my new family at evening tea time I would sit on a small wooden bench with a wood-burning heater on one side and my sweet and loving mother-in-law on the other. The table would be pulled up within an inch of my stomach.
                "Cosy!" My mother-in-law would exclaim. "This is really, really cosy!" Little did she know that despite my overwhelming love for her and her family, I was having to re-align some of my national traits. I had been used to wandering around on the prairie pretty much alone. Now there were six or seven people, a table and a stove within two meters of me.
                And at this movie theater we were smashed into small chairs, maybe two hundred people, and then the doors were closed leaving us alone with Andy W. and his stolid eye. Not only were we bored, but we were nodding ourselves to sleep in the dwinding oxygen supply. Just as we were on the verge of committing group asphyxiation the film ended and the lights went on. The doors at the side of the room were thrown open and we plunged into the night air like fish from a net into a small puddle on a warehouse floor.
                We were given five minutes to breathe and get back to our seats and then the doors were closed leaving us alone with Warhol and our neighbors' lungs. It was then that I realized, even while watching this American icon, that my new culture was going to take some getting used to. I was going to have to get used to claustrophobia, but not necessarily to boredom.



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