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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great Expectations. By John von Daler

                    It was the Cub Scout in me I guess. I just did not fit in well with the #sixties. Too punctual, too proper. These qualities were great for a musician, but in my private life they often presented problems. The worst part was that I got tired of myself. So I decided to do something about it.

                The day when I made that decision I had been invited to a party with teachers and students from my faculty at Copenhagen University. I decided to stop being on time, to take it easy and just to go whenever I felt like it. This for me was quite an exercise in letting loose.
                The invitation was for eight o'clock, but I knew that the party would not get going until later, so that evening I decided to take it as easy as possible. As the very first thing, I removed my watch. That in itself was an extremely existential decision. Then I filled the bathtub with very hot water and lined the edges with some candles. Pouring myself a glass of wine and with the book I currently was reading in hand I hopped into the bath - and stayed there for a very long time reading and drinking until the water turned cold.
                Leisurely I put on my clothes, ate a small sandwich and walked down the stairs to my bicycle. On the way to the address I chose a scenic route and Copenhagen showed itself from its best summer side. The canals were beautiful and full of happy people. It felt good to be alive, young, bathed, slightly drunk and on my way to a party.
                Arriving at the apartment I bounced up the steps, listening for sounds of people and music. Outside the door everything was quiet. I checked the name twice. I guessed they were just sitting around and talking. I rang the bell and turned to look out the window in the hallway.
                No answer.
                I ring again. Guess they did not hear it the first time.
                No answer again.
                I ring a third time and hear a distant rustling and muttering like a night receptionist in a small hotel at 3 a.m. I looked outside. Denmark is very light until very late in the summertime, but this was evening, not night.
                Finally I heard footsteps - bare feet on a wooden floor. It was my host who opened the door. He had on a shirt and underwear and nothing else. His greeting was drawn out and unpleasantly jovial.
                "Hi man!" he drawled loudly and slowly while he inspected the ceiling. Then he looked at me and whispered, Got a girl with me in the back room...You're kind of early...Can't you wait awhile in the livingroom...Go ahead and take a beer...               
                So there I sat alone with a beer on a couch and looked out the window at the Copenhagen evening. People were gathered along the edge of the canal talking, laughing, drinking. In the water you could see the reflection of the sky, a light, Nordic blue. I looked up from the canal towards the spire of a nearby church. There was a clock on it. Seven forty-five it said. I got up, put the beer on a table, let myself out of the front door, got on my bicycle and went home.
                It takes good planning to live impulsively.


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