Saturday, April 18, 2009

Strangers out in force

These last few days, I have seen:

1. A lady strolling about with a grey parrot on her shoulder. It skipped from side to side and sometimes stretched its wings, but she didn't seem to notice, nor worry about it flying away. Maybe she had forgotten it was there. Or maybe it was her daemon, like in His Dark Materials. Or maybe Parrot Lady's ancestors were pirates, maybe even Klaus Störtebeker, a bankrupt Hanseatic nobleman who decided to take up looting instead. He got his name because he could down a four litre keg of beer in one go, and when he was captured and beheaded in 1401, they found that the masts of his ship were made of solid gold, silver and bronze, which was used to decorate the roof of St. Cathrin's church in Hamburg.

2. The Peeing Lady shoving an Eastern European accordion player who was busking in front of a tableful of young women shouting 'Can't you see you're pestering them!' Which is so strange, since the Peeing Lady is probably the only real pest on all of Grünerløkka, at least for those with a working olfactory sense. I don't think she's at all human, she's an incarnation of the sewage that rumbles by underneath us, hidden by asphalt and parks and pretty builidings. But it's there. And now, all the meltwater is crowding her home, so she's forced up onto the sidewalk to rave about and stink. No wonder she's, well, pissed.

3. The Shouting Lady stalking by, mouth working furiously, but not a sound coming out. I noticed a round, shiny patch on her bare upper left arm. Could it actually be that she had finally found the mute button?

4. A man in a gold mask and a black velvet suit with flaired pants twirling round and round a tree in the park at Olav Ryes. My Pan and I were having pizza and tiramisu at a nice little Italian place overlooking the square, and for the duaration of our meal, the Twirling Man had his hands raised up to his shoulders in a permanent shrug and just kept twirling and twirling, round himself, round the tree, for hours on end. I'm not sure who he was, maybe he wasn't sure either, but he sure was strange.

And people wonder where I get my stories from.


Christina said...

Maybe Grunerløkka is the norwegian equivalent of Berkley? In Trondheim I have seen nr 3 and 4. But a Peeing Lady? really? gross.... But aren't you glad that there are people like this, even if they are gross or creep us out? By comparison we are all very normal, no matter how strange we sometimes are. They sure make life and people-watching more interesting. Reality is stranger than fiction....

tone almhjell said...

I love that there are people like this! Okay, the Peeing Lady I prefer on a healthy distance, because she really is quite nasty, with violence in her wake, you know. But the others are lovely.

Heidi said...

The peeing lady?? HAHAHAHA.

On my way home yesterday, I saw a drag queen outfitted entirely in pink (including makeup, wig, and accessories) and a man walking around in a chicken suit (for no obvious reason). But, you know, it's New York, so I'd probably be disappointed if I DIDN'T see stuff like that on the way home. ;)

Laini Taylor said...

Wonderful stuff! The Peeing Lady! The pirate! I love the whirling man. Might he have been a dervish-in-training? Meditation?

When I sold art at an outdoor market there was a local character named "Rug" who wore Mexican ponchos and liked people to wipe their feet on him. He had too-big false teeth, so his smiles were a little scary.

And in college, in Berkeley, there was the famous "Hate Man" who only respected you if you told him you hated him, and there was the "Naked Guy" too, a student who went to class wearing nothing but sandals and a backpack. (Sadly, he later committed suicide.)

People are interesting.

Kristian McMoldskred said...

What city is this?
Personally, I prefer to keep my oddities to myself. I have a dwarf costume I like to put on, every Wednesday evening, but I stay at home. Just because you got it, no need to flaunt it..

tone almhjell said...

Haha. Dwarf costume. Hahaha.