Friday 24 December 1999

Christmas tree

Pic of the day: Christmas tree. Superwoman's family loves this neo-pagan element of the christian holiday, as do almost all Norwegian families. The christmas tree came to Norway from Germany via Denmark, but was for a long time confined to the upper classes. But for the last few generation it is pretty much universal, except a few religious fringe groups.


This place seems conductive to lang weird dreams. I'll try to keep it short so as not to fill the entire Christmas Eve diary with dreams. In the first dream I was a young, idealistic and very leftist girl preaching a back-to-nature message. I wandered around in the Norwegian wilderness much of the time, but also spoke to people. I argued quite forcefully that at least one of Norway's 19 provinces (preferably in Northern Norway) should be given over to an experiment in wholly natural living, meaning no cars or television or radio or such modern unhealthy disturbances. Then the results from that province would be compared to the rest, and I was sure the outcome would be favorable, convincing the rest of the country to follow suit.

There were a couple more dreams about the same character, exciting and delightful experiences she had during her wandering in nature, but which the waking I find utterly banal.

The second large dream, in three parts, was far more sinister, and not less because I was myself in that dream. I came with a friend's invitation to a large old house. There were a few people who seemed to live there or at least hang out there during daytime. Most of them were loafers and beggars who seemed not too bright and deligthed to have free food and not actually have to do serious work for it. They were at least sober. But a few people seemed more to belong there. They were clearly religious, but we did not talk about that. They had some computer equipment and I helped them, though I was unfamiliar with that particular make. I spend most of my time there doing that. Then my friend told me that he was about to leave. I went downstairs shortly after, but he had already driven away without waiting for me, leaving me to walk back home quite a few kilometers. While doing this, I took a shortcut in a swamp and almost drowned.

The next time I came there the religious function was quite clear, as they were about to hold a meeting. I also noticed a small strip of text: "... Apostolic ..." on a floor mat. There had been text before and after, but I was unable to make it out now. The word after "Apostolic" seemed to have been fairly long? There were much more people now. I noticed how these separated cleanly into two types: The disciples, whether they were yet fully converted or not, seemed vacuous morons and quite disoriented. The leaders, on the other hand, seemed quite conscious and reasonably intelligent, though hardly to the extent that they themselves believed: They were strikingly arrogant, haughty and vain, unable to imagine themselves as being truly ignorant about anything, much less wrong. I got this well demonstrated when talking with one of the leaders about the computer equipment.

Things took a turn for the worse as I and a few short-haired young men noticed a coffe cup that was covered with a wide plastic cup that was put over it upside down. Some helpful person explained that this was to trap an evil spirit. It was not unusual during the time of their spiritual awakening that the disciples discovered an evil spirit in the coffee cup, and acted to trap it there. I guess this was the point where I was finally convinced they were kooks. A place where finding demons in coffee cups was seen as a sign of spiritual breakthrough??

As the meeting was about to start, they opened with a song. We visitors did not know the text, though I remembered the melody from Smith's Friends, who used the same melody for other purposes (including a nice wedding song that was sung in my brother's wedding). There were sheets of paper with song texts on, but not the actual text. We were told that these were just to remind people of the melody, the actual text was to be remembered or one could sing the words that came to the heart. At this point the three or four young visitors marched out of the locale. Having no wish to participate in the kooky meeting, I walked after them.

As -still in this dream - I was downstairs putting on my outer clothes and tying my shoes, one of the leaders came down after me, a high and bony man with a stiff cold face and even colder eyes. He shook my hand and said that I needed to repent. In my innermost mind I agreed that I needed a spiritual renewal, but I also know that I would not find it here. To him I just said curtly: "I hope I shall never become like one of you." He responded by tapping my chest lightly with his bony fingers, and suddenly my heart lurched, beating painfully hard. He - or the evil inside him - had put a death curse on me! I said out loud: "Jesus Christ, protect my heart from damage and death!" As I had said this, I woke up. My heart still felt slightly strange, like an aftershock from the experience, but as I rolled over on my right side, the feeling disappeared. I did not go to sleep again.


When I got up, Superwoman had already driven off to buy some last minute supplement gift for the girlfriend of her brother. Her brother is a nice guy, but his girlfriend is even nicer. Furthermore, the boy intends to hare off to England for the Millenium night, leaving his darling behind. That's cruel and unusual by the standard of these very family-oriented people. So basically Supie and I both became ashamed of our Christmas gift and decided to up the stakes a bit. You know, with these people, you're not girlfriend with just the one guy but the entire family. The same would presumably extend to boyfriends, but these are rare.

Now they (or at least the girls) were all deeply worried because I did not bring my suit which I use in weddings and funerals. To be honest, I think that suit would be good enough for my own wedding, if I had one. Then again, I'm lower middle class, while these folks are upper middle class (as have been most of my friends since I was about 14). Norway has very little else but middle class, as we are a quite egalitarian society. But some people use more suits than others even here, and I am among those who have an inordinate respect for suits. I only suit myself for very special occasions, not including Christmas.

Despite my lack of a severe attire or mirror-shined black shoes, I did dress up somewhat out of the everyday, and was gracefully accepted in their company. However I will have to comply with the dress code if I want to spend more Christmases in their company... (I think they would hesitate to put the foot down, as it were; but you all know that sulking girls is not the way to spend a holiday. I guess if I can avoid that without spending any extra money, it bears considering. Note that there was no sulking this year, just a fair warning.)


We proceeded to have a delightful evening, eating a better dinner based on turkey. I did not much want the meat, but swallowed a few bites of that too along with the delicious vegetables and salads. I am not a vegetarian, I just happen to think that meat is not very good. Especially in the form of pure muscle tissue. This is not a gospel by me, just a personal preference.

After the meal we opened boxes (we do all of this on Christmas Eve here in Scandinavia. I know that the Anglo-Saxon world is a bit slower on this. Pity for them.) I fell asleep during the opening of gifts, which says a bit about the sheer quantity of it. There was also some drinking of alcohol, which I really think was a waste. Superwoman consumed enough to seriously disturb a fairly large mammal, and there was no difference at all to be seen or heard. Oh well. There went my hope of sneaking a few hugs and just a tiny bit of friendly fondling. ;)
(Hi there to her dad who is a regular reader. The sign ";)" I just used implies a joke.)

I got two good scarves, a pair of gloves (of which I have more than I use already) and a knitted headwear to replace my cap. The girls found my use of caps seriously disturbing and distanced themselves. I think the caps look more urban and mature, but hey. If they want me to wear sporty headgear, more power to them.

The alliance ring is extended with another little diamond and looks better for it. There is room for one more stone. But after that she will probably have someone else to buy her diamonds, so no big problem. If experiences with her older sister is any guide, this will be a pretty tearless process. The sister, my old friend, spent the evening here too along with her husband and their prematurely born son. He's catching up fairly well now. And Superwoman's younger sister seemed happy enough with the small stack of clothes we bought her. She is stunningly beautiful and 18 years old. Oh well. I wonder if I can keep up this apostolic succession throughout the whole range of sisters ... ;)


Oh, and in case y'all wondered, I am still not horny. Worrying, is it not? Perhaps I should see a doctor ... since seeing a med student is not enough!

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