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hb to me
2005-09-07 - 2:02 p.m.

In Oslo:
I'm in a hostel. It's probably both the worst and the most expensive hostel I've stayed in anywhere. In the room with me is a scottish man in his mid forties, to look at him. He's telling me that he's spent the last decade or so in Thailand. He went there for a holiday and found he never wanted to leave. Then the money started to run out, so he came up with a plan. He would take 400 silk neckties to Norway and sell them. Silk ties are cheap in thailand, and he figured that in Norway he would be able to sell them for a much higher price, since everything in Norway is so expensive. He'd been there before, doing construction work, I think. So. He arrived and discovered that Norwegian men don't really wear ties. It's not their style. He's got a suitcase full of silk ties, no job, hardly any money, he's staying in a crowded little hostel room and everything is so expensive he can hardly afford to eat. His plight is desperate but so ordinary, so unglamorous; there will be no TV news stories about him. He finds a job, distributing flyers for a strip bar. It doesn't pay well, but it's something. He has a... there's something off-putting about his manner. Halfway between being obsequious and something... superior, like he's looking down his nose at me for having it easy, for my soft life, for my lack of troubles like his. I suppose, like many working-class-men, he sees my clothes or listens to my accent or somehow... it's apparent that I'm not from the same world. So, he doesn't like me, but suspects that it's in his interests for me to like him.
The saddest thing, for me, about the whole business was his jacket. Oslo is cold. So, he wears a plastic, puffy yellow jacket to keep the cold out. Doubtless it is warm enough. But the garment is so hideously ugly, so unfashionable - this from a person who wears clothes from St Vincents until they're so worn-through they fall off - and makes him look so ridiculous and undignified... he has a neat little moustache which he must be proud of, to keep it so perfectly trimmed. But his head, emerging from the glowing yellow monstrosity, doesn't look handsome or proud or strong... just, pathetic, I suppose.
Uh, sorry, that was kind of downer, but... I've been wanting to write about it for ages. I'm not sure. There was a kind of poetry in the various parts of his situation... I suspect, although he didn't say, that the reason he had stayed in thailand for so long was for the cheap prostitutes.
Does the maxim that one ought to face hard truths head on include facing head on the truth that one is not really very much inclined to face the truth head on?
Oh, and it's my birthday. Send me kinky emails, or, you know, just say hi. ;)
"You're the birthday
You're the birthday
You're the birthday boy or girl" - The Simpsons

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