I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people; a friend of mine is one of them. I appreciate his approach to the big and small things in life, and his ability to get things across in a peculiar, clever and entertaining manner. Wherever he is, his presence is accompanied with this type of positive energy not many people are gifted with. Therefore, when he suggested to make a guest appearance here, I was excited about the idea of spelling some of this awsomeness on the blog. I didn`t know what the theme was going to be, but when I received the document yesterday, I read it to myself and I was speechless. This beautiful arrangement of words was actually about myself- how strange and incredibly flattering!
Until that point, the day was underpinned by a hangover from the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day, 17th of May, and the depressing thought of an upcoming exam. However, this document was entitled “Why you should read more Birgitte Bay” and while reading, my silly smile nearly poked my big ears, and I was filled with this deep gratitude towards my friend for making me feel like “it will be ok, in general”. It was like getting an exclusive sneak peek of one of the speaches in my own funeral. This is what he wrote:
Why you should read more Birgitte Bay
At a recent gig, I met a very young man. He had been eyeing me across the couch seats with a vibrant curiosity, unwilling to extend the capricious acquaintance so often associated with kids, at least until his furtive mind had formed some consensus as to who I was. But he finally did, and we got to know each other. That is not to say we spoke a great deal. In fact, our exchange was not one of words, him being only 3 or 4 years old. But words aren’t always needed for communication- they are certainly useful for getting things done, but when it comes to expression between two humans, it often lets us down instead.
Perhaps then that is the Birgitte Bay’s secret. Not that she is no more than 3 or 4 years old, but rather that the aspiration to such a rapport is so effortlessly crafted within minutes of her vivacity. My friends, we are privileged guests to the literary windows of her soul, much more privileged so to her have known her personally. While boasting the intelligence level of an ‘educated bitch’ as she so endearingly monikered herself, that intelligence is left at door when it comes to people, replaced by the kind of enthusiasm only true explorers can comprehend. She trusts you. And that’s the basis of her ability to have you kick your insecurities to the door and want to tell her everything. Her ears are always your bitch. Educated too.
As many of my friends hoof along across the finish line, completing their third and final year of their undergraduate degrees, a common feature starts to express itself. A willingness, minimally a passivity, sometimes even zest, to join the echelon of society known as ‘the economy’, to earn the status popularly known as ‘responsible adult’. Plans are carefully iterated to different groups of friends over different kinds of drinks. Applications are painstakingly penned out, interviews actively stressed over. It’s showtime. It’s time to prove the axiom we’ve chanted throughout our years of education: ‘what we learn is probably not going to matter much in our respective jobs.’ And this is where that little not-so-innocent-though-his-parents-tried-hard boy in me manifests, in a cold, sinking nostalgic feeling of something beautiful coming to its necessary end, reduced only to memories and hazy night outs with ‘do you remember when’s. The point is, we all have to grow up sometimes.
I shudder to think how hard it would be from here on, in my mid-twenties, to preserve or at least delay the demise of my inner child. And I look to BB for inspiration. I am irritatingly aware of her natural ability to derive joy from whatever surroundings life has fazed her with, be it sitting on the front of a closed fashion shop on a London street eating a baguette, to an immaculately manufactured evening of crisps, wine, friends and guitars. Birgitte will be both the mad hatter running around picking wine glasses for cleaning, as well as an aspiring Michael Jackson Moonwalker in a library full of desperate late-night dissertation-smiths seeking a career. Birgitte is one of those degree seekers. She is also the only one who moonwalks.
But back to the boy. Children. Those little nonsensical little pests, dodging legs and handbags as they zip down the street, a rogue tile away from a bloody nose and an ice cream. Why do we keep the bad stuff from them, on the pretext that they’re not ready, or that they are still innocent, and therefore it is logical not to hasten the very same corruption we are so ready to euphemize as ‘human nature’ in ourselves. Lol, are kids not human then?
Maybe the importance of imbuing innocence into childhood is found in the later periods of life, in those substance-riddled nadirs, when we need someone to turn to, to understand us like no one else possibly could. Who better than to understand you than the little boy/girl who was there at the start, who’s always been there, and will never and could never leave. Maybe that’s why childhoods should be runneth over with innocence.
People like Birgitte will see much less of those dire days, when the need to regress is met with the maxim that it is just as ridiculous as it is pertinent. When the rest of us are faced with the urge to get up and moonwalk our stress away, the loudspeaker in the corner of your brain crackles to life and society blurts through, uncouth but clear: ‘grow up, shithead!’. The difference with Birgitte is, when that unruly voice issues its pedantic warning, she giggles, pulls another one of her ridiculous faces, and moonwalks anyway.
When those dire days come for me, and come they will, armed with every law murphy even began to theorise, I will look to the only person I know who can laugh at them and still take them somewhat seriously. When the great historical draw gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When it gives you earthquakes, you’d better have a Birgitte Bay.
I am not sure how I would be useful in case of earthquakes, but at least I am sure I could find some tequila to go with the lemons. Or something like that. Thank you <3