Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Not dark yet

photo Henrik Nor-Hansen

We're on our way to get a turkey for Thanksgiving. I suggest waiting until Thanksgiving, but now Nina has the turkey on her mind and it won't let go. Besides, it's not dark yet.

Then she declares she has to buy Christmas cards. I suggest waiting. Instead I get the shopping list with turkey and gravy and whatnot.

photo Henrik Nor-Hansen

photo Henrik Nor-Hansen

I also get the bright red shopping bag. Don't get me wrong: plastic bags should be banned world wide. Those bags wreaks havoc in the sea.

But as I walk towards the store I'm thinking the red shopping bag doesn't feel right. Quite frankly; it feels a bit gay.* A shopping bag of cotton may be fine in California, but this is Alaska.

I get the turkey and the rest and get in line. The cashier is good-looking but I'm about to jeopardize my manhood. I guess I'll just have to brave it out.

* I'm all for gay rights, gay marriage, etc.

Monday, 21 November 2011

In the Ditch

It's early Sunday morning. My face is stiff and strangely hot. I rub the cold gloves hard over my face.

But I can't help noticing the number of cars that have ended up in the ditch. Even on the short trip I'm taking.

There's an elderly couple who has plunged straight into the snow for no apparent reason. I watch as a trooper enters the scene. The couple just sit put. They won't budge. It's like they can't believe this is happening to them.

Then there's a brown pickup close to Knik Bar. I think we passed that one yesterday. He's probably still sleeping it off.

Soon after I pass a red sedan that seemed to have taken a spin. I walk back with my camera and start taking pictures.

I feel slightly uncomfortable when a dark van slows down behind me. Is it offending to take pictures of a ditched car? Maybe. I'm not sure.

There're two men in the front seat. A dog is barking in the back of the van and I hear someone shouting shut the fuck up. So they are three, I gather.
- Is it your car? I ask.
- It's my wife's car.
- Is she okay?
We pause for a moment. My concern may have sounded a bit false. I also realize that his eyes keeps shifting down to my camera.
- Who want's to know?
- I just passed the car.
- Are you from Germany?
- No.
- She's fine. She dodged a moose and got ditched instead.
- The Saturday night moose?
- Whatever.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Suffering, or just snow

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen
I'm walking the dog when it starts to snow. The wind picks up and heavy snow is making it hard to see. Everything changes. People are lurking forward, their faces turned away from the wind.

What I like about heavy weather is the way it breaks down barriers. Strangers talk to each other. You may suffer, but it's easy to see the suffering in others too.

A special feat about Alaska is the way many people dress. They seem to prolong the summer by holding on to shorts and flip-flops. They may have heated cars in heated garages, but even so.

People with kids are also an interesting theme. They seem to suffer the most. I guess the snow comes on top on everything else.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The latecomers

"We got this place between Palmer and Wasilla because it was cheap. There's no work and my wife hates it here. The kids are still young. They don't know anything else. Anyways, the con- struction has started. I'll guess we just have to see how it goes."

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Burned house

He slowed down the car to a crawl. This was the house where he grew up in Wasilla. His parents stayed on to the end, but he eventually lost contact with them.

He kept talking while driving. His childhood seemed strangely distant, as if without any real emotional impact. "Then there was a fire. God knows what happened."

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The art of restoration

We met an elderly woman on our drive from Fairbanks. She told us about her deceased husband. He wanted fancy cars, but could only afford wrecks. It was the art of restoration that he played out in his head.

But he never got around to do any restoration. Through their forty odd years of marriage the cars piled up in the woods behind the house. They detoriated in the rain, in the snow. Then he got cancer. It all went very quick.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Palmer Bar

Nobody says much in Palmer Bar. Whatever you talked about when entering, you'll end up silent. It's a place to study the full effect of alcohol.

I'm sort of waiting for the bar to fill up, but the clientele is already there. Most are heavy set men with baseball caps and bewildered gazes. They're all sitting along the bar, wearing shirts and jackets of thick flannel. There's a pool table, but nobody's playing.

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen

Around midnight it seems like some of the men are trying hard to be cheerful, but you can tell by their faces that loneliness and desire is a bottomless pit.

I look at Nina and wonder why it's always impossible for us to hold a conversation in a bar. Is it because we met in one?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

First snow, Wasilla

It's still dark when I leave the house. I brush off a thin layer of snow and sit down in the painfully cold car.

I can taste the reflux of acid as I drive the empty streets through Wasilla. This is way too early for me. But it's the first snow of the season and it had gotten into my head that I wanted to see what the Alaskans were up to.

I drive into an empty Shell station. It's Sunday, and I sit for a while and just watch. Everything is silence and neon.

I follow a couple of cars that eventually ends up in front of an enormous bowling hall. It's like a hangar. I suddenly find everything perplexing. The parking lot alone is absolutely enormous.

I turn the engine off and sits quietly in the car. I'm really trying to contemplate why anybody would want to go bowling at 9 am on a Sunday morning. It just doesn't make sense.

I'm about to pull out of the parking lot when I notice a high-heeled woman who leans conspicuously into a car. It's not a prostitute, I gather, not 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning and certainly not in a small town like Wasilla. But now she's got my attention and I'm lingering in the parking lot to see in which direction this is heading.

Then I slowly start to feel old and ridiculous. I reason with myself, and quickly butt out of the place.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I decided to take a walk to clear my head. There's a path that leads deep into the forest. I was okay for awhile, but then felt more nervous. I suddenly started to think about the devil.

I really don't believe in the existence of any kind of manifested evil. Still, what's nonexistent has a major part in anxiety. It might even be the main ingredient.

So I thought a lot about the devil and met this black dog, with his head enclouded in heavy breat- hing. This may be the place to mention that I'm more of a cat person.

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen