понедельник, 8 октября 2007 г.

zoe_trope: en rigtig godt dag (guess whose danish midterm is coming up?)

the architecture school
No classes today so I visited the Architecture School.
the architecture library
I returned some books to the Architecture Library and did some research for papers due after travel break. I used a guest card to make photocopies and when I went to pay, the library assistant asked me how many copies I made. I looked at him blankly for a moment. "There's no way for me to check," he smiled. How Danish. Luckily I had been paying attention so I told him the truth -- 18kr. It didn't seem like much at the time but then I realized that I had paid 1kr (or 20 cents) per page for black and white copies. Ouch. After the library, I got on the bus and decided to stay on it until I felt like turning around. I rode all the way to Nørrebro (where 400+ protestors were arrested yesterday) and into Frederiksberg. I wish I could think of a better analogy, but the best way to describe moving from Nørrebro to Frederiksberg is like going from the Bronx to the Upper East Side. The bus ride actually reminded me of the time that I rode the bus in New York City with my dad and his girlfriend and we did exactly like that -- started in the Bronx and stopped at the Met, and the bus became progressively whiter with each stop until there wasn't a single Person of Color present. It was startling. Nørrebro has a lot of immigrants, especially muslims, and the neighborhood shop signs are half in Arabic with some Danish and English thrown in, too. I passed a beauty shop with a sign that said BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE. I headed back to school to check my mail, but I ran into my friend Mindy first. She was on her way to Saint Peter's so I decided to join her and we each bought a chocolate croissant. I ate my croissant after my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then I checked my mail and found some pleasant surprises from Matt: a candle in a badly beaten box accompanied by a letter. I stopped by the public library to return the CDs I loaned a few weeks ago and was faced with the same problem I had at the architecture library: there was no obvious place to return my books. No slot, no hole, no sign. At the architecture library, I simply handed my books across the counter to the clerk but I couldn't do that at the main library. I discovered that just as they have self check-out, they also have self-return. At the back of the library there is a bizarre glass-encased machine of tubes and conveyor belts. You go to one of the available stations, scan the item, and the item is sucked up into the machine on a conveyor belt. And then it goes... somewhere. After you've scanned all your items, it prints your receipt and tells you if you have anything still checked out. I think this system is absolutely genius. When I consider all the disputes over "I swear I returned this!" and "nuh-uh, it doesn't say so in the computer", the idea of getting a receipt when you check in items is obvious. Unfortunately I imagine these sorts of systems are really costly and space-consuming and therefore not an option for many libraries. It makes pushing your books into a hole in the wall seem really archaic. I headed home early and, since the weather was so nice, I did the sensible thing and went to the mall. It's comforting to know that malls function essentially the same way everywhere: lots of sullen teenagers in backpacks and a fast food shop, a record store, a book store, an H&M, a Claire's (or as it's called in Denmark: Glitter!), and something like a Target. I looked around Glitter but decided I didn't need fingerless gloves or sparkly hair clips. I also browsed H&M, hoping to find the perfect zip-top purse/bag for my impending travels. No dice. And the plus-size section was frumpy. Meh. I went to Føtex, which is sort of like a Target/Walmart and grocery store to pick up some snacks for my lunches and my impending 12-hour bus ride to Amsterdam.
Are there "delight aromas" Pringles in the States? I've never seen them. I decided to buy a bag today rather than stuff everything in my backpack, so as I was checking out, I said to the cashier, "I'd like to buy a bag, too, please." She gave a me a look that only young women in lots of eyeliner working tedious, repetitive jobs can give. Her look was also probably based on the fact that she wasn't expecting me to speak English, so it took her a moment to reply. "They're down there," she pointed to a space just below the conveyor belt. I had missed it. I thought the bags were something that cashiers kept behind the register and rang up when you asked for one. Oops. I quickly grabbed one and handed it to her, then gave her my cash. It's these small things that always make me feel so foolish, that mark me as foreign and naive and inexperienced and other than.

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