Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ghost drivers and missing fingerprints

we all "held free" today.  that's another danish phrase i like better than our english equivalent.  (at holde fri = to have a day off.)

henry asks me all the time (because he "holds free" every friday), "mama, am i holde fri today?"

"well yes henry.  today you are."

today we went into copenhagen to get our biometrics done, taken, collected, recorded, whatever the verb is, i'm sure there is one, and that in 20 years we'll all know it, for our new residence permits.  this procedure began just after we got residency three years ago so it wasn't part of our current residence cards, but now we'll have cards with a microchip embedded, inserted, seared on, what have you, so that, i guess, if we get lost, they'll be able to match us to our correct identities.  something like that... i'm sure...

a few things about this trip...

1) we went on the metro.  if you'd told us a year ago that there was a metro train in Copenhagen and described it to us, we would have said, 'no, you're thinking of a different city.'  because we really didn't know about the metro.  we'd never had an occasion to take it.  there's a thing called an 's train' here, which differ from the usual regional trains... i would have said, 'are you thinking about the 's trains by any chance?'  they're sort of metro-ey on the inside.

2) about this metro.  two things stood out to us as being different from the metros we've ridden on in other cities.   first-- there is glass paneling between the tracks and the platform, with sliding glass doors which match up to the metro doors.  let me tell you-- this is really nice when you have squirmy little boys who like to wrestle with each other with no warning on train platforms.

and second-- the train is run by a computer, or, perhaps, as henry conjectured, by a ghost.  and what was so cool about that (because neither ghosts nor computers need a little room for themselves at the front of the train) is that there are seats and a big window right at the very, very front of the train, so you can watch as you're propelled through the subway tunnels.  very cool indeed.  especially if you're a little boy but really, for the parents too.

3) i had an enormously difficult time, or rather, the biometrics machine had an enormously difficult time finding my fingerprints.  while i was trying for the umpteenth time to press down a little harder, no, a little less hard, with my fingers closer together, etc., etc., i remembered reading something about chemo and fingerprints.  it was in this article here, which i liked (though 'like' seems like the wrong word here... appreciated, perhaps) for other reasons.  and you can look up chemo and fingerprints and find all sorts of articles and case studies even on people held in airport customs or whose government paperwork couldn't be processed because of lack of fingerprints after chemo.  it's mostly about a specific chemo drug that i didn't have though, so maybe i'm just naturally lacking in the fingerprint department, but eventually they were able to capture them on both hands and so our government paperwork is, in theory at least, being processed as i type (though three of our four applications were not yet in their system).

so that was our day's adventure.  hope your wednesday also included something out of the ordinary.  


Sara said...

I love that you are writing every day!

I've been on the DC metro with grandchildren and oh my that sliding glass door would be wonderful. I've imagined tying them to me with a rope though everyone would stare at me, the kid would hate it and their mother might object...

Ghost train is a great phrase.

I don't think I could ride in that front seat though my grandson would love it. I rode over a winding road through the Andes of Ecuador in the front seat of a bus because Phyllis needed that spot to prevent carsickness. The bus driver passed blind on curves in the fog while I closed my eyes and gave my life over to whatever gods and goddesses there were. If I ever cross the Andes with Phyllis again, she'll sit in front by herself!

When las tres abuelas hitchhiked out of the mountains after visiting a national park, the young driver passed on blind curves after crossing himself. He was on his way to a religious meeting. I had less faith than he did but we arrived in Cuenca safe and grateful.


nina said...

No, not unusual. Well, I guess if you are around children (and I was -- at least one little girl), nothing repeats itself and thus it's all out of the ordinary!
I am trying to remember where I'd seen glass doors like that (aside from airport shuttles). I think it was Japan, where everyone also lines up where the door is going to be. Like, in a straight line. Are they that way in Denmark too?

BTW, my mother was shocked, outraged, filled with anxiety when she saw that I took an infant out "only" in pj's and a snowsuit when it was in the twenties. I wanted to tell her about my friend in Denmark whose boys run around in short sleeves outside, in February, but I thought maybe it's not going to help my case much, so I just said the standard "I know what I'm doing" and let it go at that.

greg|regan said...

Sara, I think our trip on the subway is no comparison to your bus riding and hitchhiking adventures. You'd have found this front seat riding quite tame. How did Phyllis do with the ride on the bus?

Nina, people have a very difficult time queuing here. In most places, you have to take a number so that no one has to think about who came first, second, third. When I was standing in line at a store in the U.S. I realized I was being unnecessarily hyper-vigilant about losing my place in line. I was giving the person in front of me no personal space and I was scanning the space around me to make sure no one cut in front of me. Made me realize that must be how it is anytime I'm standing in line here. I've been cut in front of one too many times by giving too much space to the person in front of me and not looking purposeful enough, as though I were maybe just standing by the checkout line with a basket full of groceries not because I planned to buy them but because I had nothing better to do.

You COULD tell your mom that in northern europe the babies take all their naps outside in their prams from the very beginning, year round, rain or snow.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree it's quite cool sitting in front of the metro just looking out..
Wish every morning commute would start this way