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Troubled police

Written by Strategist on the 31st of October 2012 at 23:43

The other day, my ways crossed the path of a plainclothes police patrol, or maybe their ways crossed mine. This is not so extraordinary in and of itself, but it's not an every day occurance either. In fact it was the first time I have been questioned by the police. And I didn't even act suspiciously - as far as I know.

I was on my way home from festivities. Some former classmates from the International Baccalaureate at secondary school whose paths has led us to NTNU, Trondheim University, had gathered. My path home had brought me via via and through the city centre. The clock was therefore a little past 2 AM. I had been walking for about an hour from starting on the way home and had maybe three quarters of an hour left to walk. I was right beneath Tyholt tower, a big tower that looms over the city of Trondheim. I was reasoning to find the direction from there as it was dark and I have a habit of walking without knowing the exact way in advance. That way I memorize the outline of the streets in an area better than from a map.

A black car, with lights on inside it, drove curiously slow up besides me where I was walking and minding my own business. There were no streetlights so it was quite dark between the houses. I slowed down, in the expectation that the car was going to swing into the crossing road in front of me. It didn't. I slowed down another time, just to see if someone wanted to ask me for directions, despite dismissing the possibility on account of the unreasonable hour. However, instead a broadly built, short haired, woman stepped out of the car, which stopped. She told me they were from the police and asked if I talked Norwegian. Upon stepping out of the car and onto the pavement, she took a step in between and into a big puddle which swallowed her foot entirely.

She wanted to see my ID, which I willingly presented, and she asked me where I was going and where I came from. My account may not have been entirely precise, as I may have mixed a street address, as when you have the entire route in your head just like a map, remembering street addresses is not that important. Also I hadn't had a regular sleep pattern recently. In addition, it wasn't exactly a tour from A to B. After our gathering had ended as early as ten PM I followed first one friend home, to pick up something and to have a chat, and then another friend from there, both living in almost the opposite direction of my appartment.

I don't know if this was what made the cops more interested in my activities, but for whatever reason I got the whole Q&A about where I lived, where I came from, what I was doing in Trondheim, and so on. Meanwhile they were checking my ID, thoroughly. Had I been drinking recently? No, not ever. Could I follow his finger with my eyes while he shone this irritating little flashlight into my face? Ok, go ahead. However he didn't seem totally satisfied with the responses from my pupils. Apparently they were both too big and also a little red around them. Had I been taking any drugs or anything? No, definitely not. Had I been smoking anything? No, I can't stand the smell of people smoking. Had I been trying something for the first time that evening? No, not that I know. Had I been consuming a lot of coffee or caffeine? No, I've never drunk coffee or energy drinks or anything.

Still not satisfied, he wanted to check my pockets. They're not really allowed to search you without some kind of reasonable suspicion, However, I was in a helpful mood and eager to move on, and a little tired, so it didn't occur to me to argue with the police at that hour. Also, I didn't have anything to hide that I could think of, so I said yes immediately.

But, while he was checking my left trouser pocket I remembered that that's where I always keep my beloved Victorinox. I know paragraph 352a of Norwegian Law sufficiently well to argue for the legality of my keeping a pocket knife on my person in public as it is not a suitable weapon in any way, and I could always come up with a reasonable purpose for it. Yet, in my head a discussion was unfolding about wether to volunteer it before he found it, or to keep calm and wait for him to discover it. To my amazement, after what felt like a little bit of eternity with him sarching through that not very deep pocket, he didn't find the pocket knife. Only the keys that I was keeping in the same pocket, and which luckily had ended up on top of the pocket tool. So he concluded that I only had my keys there and went on to my other pockets. Despite my certainty of the pocket tool's legality I was relieved and a bit astonished.

After a few more questions, I got my ID papers back, and he said that I seemed both truthful and sincere, so I was allowed to continue my walk. Almost ten minutes had passed.

After they drove on along the road I was left there walking a bit lightheaded and amazed that he didn't even manage to find the pocket knife, and at the policewoman who stepped into the puddle. Enough to distract me and prevent me from finding the correct direction south on the moonless night, thus leading me to take a wrong turn into a street leading me east and then north until I ended up back near Berg student housing where the original festivities of that evening had taken place. Additionally I was indignated with myself for not taking care to ask for them to identify themselves with badges as police. Though I was certain of their authenticity, even in the dark, from the male officer having some sort of uniform with insignia, badge and a radio, as well as the car while civilian being the same make and model as Norwegian police cars and clearly with a remodeled trunk, I am always suspicious and therefore always intend to ask the police to identify themselves to avoid the risk of being scammed. Lastly I was thinking about checking every pocket in my pants, my jacket and in my wallet to ensure that I still had everything, which I did.

Troubled police

Even though I had my hat, the police weren't so trusting. Do I look suspicious?

HQ
Christmas spirit

Christmas spirit

Written by Strategist on the 31st of October 2012 at 06:47

Every year, the Christmas gimmick is pushed earlier. Shops try to sell you the weak excuse of holiday feeling ever sooner. It's only October, but I've already been offered "Christmas soda".

In Norway, to many people my age, Christmas soda is a sort of ironic, half holy ritual that's not to be broken until December. I'm not a regular consumer of gimmicky sodas like that, and drink only such drinks when on occasion I'm offered. Not even every year. On this occasion someone had been out and bought some brand of Christmas soda, which had just hit the shelves for this years season, to have something besides alcohol for those of us who don't drink. Thus I drank Christmas soda. But, isn't it a bit early to sell us on the Christmas branding in October?

HQ

Airport security

Written by Strategist on the 30th of October 2012 at 18:42

The other day I flew home from Gardermoen Airport to Trondheim where I study. Going through the security checkpoint I had to use three trays. I had my Macbook computer, a backpack and a big, tangly jacket. But why oh why did the security worker have to take my hat and press it into the tray under my jacket? Now the brim is bent and all out of shape.

Airport security

Have you had any negative experiences with airport security workers treating your stuff carelessly or have you ever lost something or had anything stolen at the security checkpoint at an airport?

Timely Travel

Written by Strategist on the 29th of October 2012 at 15:22

I came home to Trondheim yesterday, after a weekend at my parents' home near Oslo. It was kind of like time had stood still. The country was still covered every inch in white snow. And today I had to go about and turn back time one hour on all of the clocks and electronics that I'd left here in Trondheim. So now I'm all set back in the right timeline, but if something went wrong I would have been well prepared for every eventuality:

Timely Travel

These are the time traveler's essentials.

Hogwarts Airport Express

Hogwarts Airport Express

Written by Strategist on the 29th of October 2012 at 02:16

I visited my parents at home this weekend in correlation with my twenty-first birthday, and Sunday night I was flying back to Trondheim from OSL Airport Gardermoen, the main airport in Norway. To find my assigned gate I had to turn left in the busy main terminal, into an anonymous opening and through a white, heavily lit, never-ending corridor that led me into a separate and newly erected building. Amazingly there were not a soul to be seen there. In contrast to all the buzzing people throughout the rest of the airport, Gates 19 A to H was almost completely vacated.
Walking to my Gate, 19 C, felt a bit like looking for Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station.