Last week I visited my brothers and my parents, and I also interacted with a few others along the way. Overall the ‘short vacation’ was an interesting experience. I left my place Tuesday afternoon and I was back home in Aarhus Monday afternoon.
I stayed at my little brother’s place the first few days. He’s a student like me, lives in Copenhagen with his girlfriend. He was at work during the days I stayed there and came home in the late afternoon – not optimal, but that was the way it was going to be and I was happy to be allowed to stay with him for a few days. When I arrived the first evening he was relaxing playing a new consol game he’d gotten – I asked him and I think the name of the game was Skyrim, but I’m not completely sure (anyway that’s not important). He hasn’t played a game like that for a while, he mentioned to me that he’d had problems controlling the amount of time these things take out of his life, and so he’s been trying to avoid them – so maybe the day was badly chosen and unrepresentative, but anyway that was what he was doing that particular evening. The second evening the two of us visited my big brother – my little brother’s girlfriend was having fun with her sisters elsewhere – and we talked, had dinner, observed the little guy. Thursday evening I came ‘home’ late on account of having visited a friend in Copenhagen for most of the afternoon and part of the evening – back at my brother’s place it was an evening with TV, there was a programme about some policemen and the kind of stuff they do when they’re at work. Part of the programme focused on an area where a lot of people were partying, they spent some time covering that stuff. I decided to give it a bit of my attention for a little while, at least in part on account of it being so very different from what I usually do in the evenings (and you’re supposed to do different things from what you normally do when you’re on vacation, or so I’ve been told. I wasn’t completely successful, but I did try.). I left for my parents’ place Friday morning and stayed with them the rest of the time – they had friends from Wales visiting and I was curious to know how they were, what they were like, etc. I have seen them before a few times, but it’s a long time ago.
During the evening we visited my big brother one subject that came up was George Martin’s books – if I remember correctly, my big brother started the first one around Christmas and he was roughly half way through by now. My little brother had also started out on one of those books around Christmas, but the one he’d started was the second book, on account of him having already read the first one – and like my big brother, he was also roughly half way through the book at this point (he’d seen the series though, so he knew what was coming…). I read the first four books roughly within a month, and I completed the second half of the fourth book while I was visiting my little brother – I read more than they do. Visits like these make it easier for me to get an impression of what kind of stuff they might be doing instead.
Thursday evening I had my computer on while the TV programme was on, but I did follow some of the stuff that happened on the (-TV) screen. Along the way I asked some questions about the programme to my brother because I assumed, correctly, that he knew more about the context than I did; he did, in more ways than one. He’d watched the programme before, but aside from that there was also the fact that part of the program was set somewhere both he and his girlfriend had been while they were younger; a Danish area in Aalborg with a lot of bars where young people go to get drunk and have fun. The worlds of my brothers’ are different from my world in some key aspects, and the world at display in the programme was in a way a good illustration of how we’ve had different experiences when we were younger. I could never have enjoyed spending time there, where the programme was set – people seemed to be having fun in a setting where I’d be running for my life (loud music and noise everywhere; people everywhere – no, drunk people everywhere; some of the people you could see were in all likelihood under the influence of stuff besides alcohol). The behaviours of some of the people in the programme were really hard for me to understand – some of the people involved were repeatedly getting into physical fights with each other about ridiculous stuff (…one guy says something, the other guy responds, and one minute later they’re at each other’s throats – some of them seemed to have no self-control at all); one guy told the people who were interviewing him that he’d been convicted of a violent crime ‘three or four times’ (or was it ‘two or three’?) – he seemed to not even be sure how many times he’d committed violent crime and been punished for it by the authorities. He explained that he didn’t back down when people threatened him like some people do – he wasn’t a chicken, he was very focused on getting that point across to the people who interviewed him (…while I was thinking: ‘How old are you again? 5?). I tried to imagine what that guy might be doing for a living, and at the same time I also tried to imagine younger versions of my brothers in those bars some years ago, drinking and having fun like some of the people in the background whom the police did not see any need to talk to. It was quite hard – were they once ‘like that?’ Given that my little brother still goes to parties sometimes with his friends and get drunk with them, I assume ‘this kind of stuff’ (from my perspective) is not a part of his life he’s completely given up yet; this is an interesting thought.
The Welsh guy visiting my parents seemed to enjoy spending an hour or two of his afternoon watching people biking in France. He made it clear that he generally likes watching sports on television, and he made it clear that he was a little bit annoyed by the fact that he would be unable to watch a specific rugby match due to the timing of their vacation (he said it was no big deal, but you don’t bring up that kind of stuff in a discussion in the first place if you don’t care at all, so…). Given the kind of work he does (sales), he normally drives around 300 km per day on average. They were nice people, but they were very different from me.
What is a normal day like for most people? It’s different.
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