Fearsome Critters: A Millennial Arts Journal — VOLUME ONE

Page 164

The Simple Guide to Redefinition in Oslo, Norway Joseph Lezza

There are a thousand and one reasons as to why one might find themselves sitting at the airport, alone, holding a round-trip plane ticket to Oslo in the dead of February. Perhaps the combination of an immediate need for vacation and the untimely lack of a summer body made the thought of a warm island and a sea of spray-tanned six packs less than desirable. Perhaps you have a travel agent with a really sadistic sense of humor. Or, perhaps, you’ve spent the last eighteen months floundering in the wake of a lost love—a loss so complete, its forcible punch splintered your identity into millions of microscopic rivulets that slip endlessly through your fingers. Whatever your reasons may be, dear reader, fear not. This trusty guide will be all the company you need on your solo sojourn through the staggering, salient vistas of your existential crisis in the heart of Scandinavia. Now, before you lose your nerve, pop a Xanax, blowup that blue camo neck pillow that you immediately regret buying, and let’s get started! JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, TERMINAL 1 (lat. 40.741895, long. -73.989308)

When it comes to travel, I happen to be of a singular breed. While the prospect of international adventure is a fail-safe way to spur excitement within, it’s the charmless fellow excursionists who I can normally do without. In fact, the idea of hurtling through the stratosphere in the company of hundreds of vexatious strangers fills me with a zeal so melodic it makes a dial tone sound like “La Bamba.” Now, if you find yourself a member of that same category—and you also happen to be a passenger on Nordic Air—my first suggestion is to pay the additional fee and spring for a seat selection prior to boarding. (Travel Tip: An easy way to secure a little extra personal space is to pay close attention to the large swath of seats that stretches down the middle of the aircraft). Your best chance at a moderately comfortable bubble is to bookend an empty middle seat in a row where the opposite aisle has already been nabbed. Nobody wants to be marooned 150

in the smellscape often found between two strangers of unknown hygienic disposition. Once comfortably nestled and after your third in-flight serving of Grate Britain All-British Cheddar Crackers, you may be tempted to break character and actually talk to someone. Let’s be frank here. You’ve undoubtedly spent the last couple of hours staking out your row companion and have concluded that she’s a pleasantly tolerable girl of about the same age. So, go ahead, reach into your knapsack and offer her a handful of Luden’s to help fight off that persistent cough she insists is caused by the airplane’s “dry air.” Within minutes, you’ll come to learn that her name is Sondra and that she and her friend, Alix (sitting just across from her), are embarking on a whirlwind spring break tour that will take them through Oslo, Barcelona, and Madeira Island. Their initial impression being favorable, go against your proclivity toward introversion and make plans to meet up with them tomorrow, especially since it seems the three of you are booked on the same countryside train tour. While, normally, a polite in-flight plane conversation would not turn into something tangible, you can take comfort in the fact that, should they later reveal themselves to be subpar travel companions, their three-day stay in Norway comes with its own built-in escape hatch! SCANDIC HOLBERG, HOLBERGS PLASS 1 (lat. 59.91960599999999, long. 10.734424499999932)

After making plans to meet up with Sondra and Alix at Central Station tomorrow morning, board a train that will whisk you away from Gardermoen Airport and into the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Your hotel, the Scandic Holberg, sits in a fourway intersection just a stone’s throw from the harbor promenade. Once checked in, you may wish to unwrap the stark white comforter on the bed that housekeeping has folded into something resembling a crêpe and spread yourself across like cloudberry preserves. This is the perfect location for you to lie motionless, staring at the ceiling for 30-45 minutes as you contemplate how you’ve possibly managed to make it here while simultaneously eluding death and/or serious injury. Time spent here should be brief, however, as you’ll soon notice that the weighted heft of your life in the States

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