The weblog of a traveller

   Feb 01

Norway Schmorway

Norway: Cold in more than one way

The people of this country scare me sometimes. Since I came back, I have been trodded on, sneaked past in shops several times, been ignored by service personnel and generally been treated as Norwegian people treat their neighbors. Compared to the caring strangers I met in Aberdeen, my countryfellows remind me of zombies. The emotionless crowd really freaks me out.

I did not mind before. Now I am not used to it anymore. Everyone acts as though they are alone, even on a crowded street, taking great care to not ever look anyone in the face or in any other way acknowledge their existence. And, as they are alone, there is no need to keep a passage open where space is limited, or wait for their turn where there is no ordered line. It seems unnatural. I am having nightmares about being attacked in the middle of Oslo and empty-eyed people wander past without ever interfering, watching the scene indifferently for a second as they pass. Then I am left bleeding on the ground and the gray mass of people fill the gap, walking right through me.

Stand out in the crowd!

Stand out in the crowd!

I know that we are a shy people and do not want to bother others. But do we need to treat everyone as though they were invisible? The peer pressure to do so is intense; the other person’s uneasiness if you are as rude as to break the pattern is so visible and it is so much easier to conform. But respect comes to the one who dares to stand out, and I still believe we are a caring people – just why do we not dare to show it and make the world a happier place?

This post is not about you. It is about everyone else. I know you can think of several times when you treated a stranger well. Actually I don’t think many people at all will feel this is about them. Still, this is a very real experience I have. If you feel the tiniest bit touched by this, please regard it as food for thought.

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  1. Balanse says:

    Me like eat brain frozen…

    Men ja, enig. Jeg har skrevet om min oppfatning av imøtekommenhet her

  2. Morgenstjernen says:

    I know exactly how you feel…