Monday, 4 January 2010

I no longer need gas to start with a bang

Happy New Year.

Like a lot of kids this morning, we got up early to start work again.

The car has been fixed now, so I can leave the startgas in the car door and just turn the key and go.

This morning however, things weren't quite that easy.
Anna and I are staying in a short term rental flat which comes with a car park. Anna had been staying there before with Honza, but I'd never been there. When I arrived, she met me downstairs to show me the garage.
The space Honza used before was taken, so I parked next to it. There was plenty of empty space in the car park, so I assumed it would be fine. (Assumption...)

So this morning, at 6.45, we saw a Landrover parked right behind our van. And a man walking around the cars parked either side of the van.
As we approached he said to me in Norwegian: 'Is this your van? Why did you park there?' Even though I had understood, my Norwegian is not good enough for an elaborate apology and/or explanation, so I told him I didn't understand Norwegian. Technically I don't. If it suits me, I do. A bit.
The man was angry. Or rather, he was fuming. I tried to explain I was unaware of the numbered parking spaces, and that I only just arrived the night before. He told me that if we had been two minutes later, he'd have left and his car would be there until Friday. (And if my uncle had breasts he'd be my aunt, but anyway.)
I apologised a bit more, but it only made him angrier. It seemed incredibly hard to steer the conversation to an end, despite the fact that we clearly both had somewhere to go.

He concluded with: 'Anyway, this car is from Fredrikstad, it's not even supposed to be here. Is this even your car?' I promised him I'd call our landlord as soon as it was a more respectable hour to call people and find out where I should park. I apologised again and got into the van.
That's when I saw him remove notes from under the windscreens of the cars either side of the van.
They were printed. Not handwritten.
Which explained how much time the man had had to work up this seemingly exaggerated rage. If he'd already gone back into his flat to trace the licence plate of our van and write and print out notes on his computer, he'd definitely had enough time to reach the boiling point.

Having said all of that, my experience of Norwegians couldn't be further removed from this morning's incident. I know Norwegians as patient, friendly and welcoming.
But for all I know I may have caused this man to miss his train that would take him to work outside Oslo, or even miss his flight towards a holiday somewhere warm. Whatever it was, I'm sure there was enough reason to be furious with me.

Again, Mr. Landrover, please accept my apologies. It won't happen again.

This is what we can see from our balcony. It's 15.43 and the sun is setting.

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