(Note before reading that my political view is somewhat conservative, with a flavour of social-democratic ideas (I am even a royalist), and that I am not religious, and that while I do not support the present Israeli politics with regards to Palestine, there are some elements of Palestinian leadership I am really unhappy with. It will thus seem that I am not of the proper political denomination for a young homosexual man. Finally - I am a skilled pamphlet-dodger. I have been to university for years, and no student can survive years at a university without developing a keen skill for dodging Persons with Pamphlets and an Agenda (tm).)
Today was a warm day - warm enough that a stroll in the city was pleasant. As luck would have it, I had the opportunity for just that - I was on a mission to borrow Les Miserables (the Norwegian translation, to be exact) from the library. As I walk towards the library, I heard brass-band music in the distance, and all thoughts of books are banished for a while, as I search out this incidental haven of bliss. A turn left onto Nordre Gatë, Trondheim's premier shopping-street (pedestrians only), and I soon encounter the source of my desire, right next to the student-statue. The nature of the band soon became apparent, from the peaked caps with red bands, the men and women walking discreetly around with collection-boxes collecting money, and the battle-ensign in purpure, red, and yellow, carried aloft on a pole topped with what looked a lot like a Lorraine-cross. And indeed! My suspicions were soon confirmed, as the conductor introduces the band as being the Territorial Brass Band of the Norwegian Salvation Army. Nevertheless, brass-band music is good, and I settled for a listen, ignoring money-collectors, and ignoring completely the fact that at least one of the announcements of music-pieces was interrupted by a prayer by loudspeaker. It was the Salvation-Army, after all.
As I stand there, I also feel compelled to politely declining pamphlets from the Norwegian Join-the-EU-association, as well as refuse an offer to buy a paper from NTA, the Norwegian Association to ban Nuclear Weapons. When the brass-band finishes, with a typical Salvation Army Brass-Band March, I suddenly remember why I went to town in the first place, and I walk on to the library, cleverly dodging a mobile-telephone salesperson and a Jehovah's Witness, before arriving at the library. I promptly go to the second floor, seeking out the letter H in the shelves, and finding Victor Hugo's spot - but my search, alas, is not yet over. I see Volume II of Les Miserables. I see another copy of volume II. And yet another - four in total. But do you think there was a copy in sight of Volume I? On a quest, I am not that easily deterred, however, and I go to the public computer search terminal, and search for the library's stock of French miserables. As it happens, there should have been at least five copies of volume I on the shelves, but I presume that the Orchestral Version of Les Miserables the Musical that is due to reach Norway soon has caused many an impressionable young person to go to the library and get acquaintance with great literature. This, however, is of little practical use to me, and instead I approach the Customer Service Desk, where they are happy to get a copy of Volume I from the magazine for me. I check it out, and all is well. Having time to spare, I sit down a bit in the magazine-section of the library, reading gay lifestyle-magazines, to the apparent worry of female seated across from me and conspicuously avoiding looking at me or my choice of literature.
Having thus fulfilled my need for literature for the day, I make my way back again, intending to get on the bus home. First, however, I needed to go by the chemist's to restock my smallish home apothecary (which is really only a fancy term for a package of Paracetamol tablets and some plasters). On the way, there were of course further obstructions - a rally by the NKP (the Norwegian Communistic Party), one of several Norwegian Communist Parties, not to be confused with AKP-ml (the Workers' Communistic Party (Marxist-Leninist)), or the several other Norwegian Communist Parties which do not call themselves communist parties, but do acknowledge themselves as Communist Parties, and have joined with AKP-ml in an election-alliance, even though the election-programmes clash more horribly than the colour scheme of the upcoming semi-royal wedding in Trondheim (mint-green and pink, if you really must know - considering that the streets will be adorned with both these colours and the Norwegian flag, which is bright red, white and blue....). At any rate, I dodge the rally with banners, flags, loudspeakers, and angry-looking people (all wedged in between a prominent new shopping-centre, Trondheim's oldest conservative bookstore, and a hot-dog vendor), and get on my way.
At the chemist's I part ways with 140 Norwegian kroner - that's about 10 pounds to you Brits - and I make my way to the bus-centre - only to be stopped by a Jesus-russ (russ is the term for a student at the end of upper secondary school (US: highschool) here in Norway; Jesus-russ are those determined to save their classmates before it is too late - they only have little over two or three weeks left now) - he wanted to give me a Jesus-newspaper. I declined, and at this point started speeding up towards the bus-centre, determined to avoid any more people with pamphlets, money-collecting bins, activist newspapers, or similar. I am in luck - unhindered I get to the parkingspot of Bus No. 5 to Dragvoll, present my card to the driver, and find a seat. My struggle is over; I am free at last! (Apart from the fact that the bus is so hot I am starting to soak into the seat.)