Half asleep most of the time, nearly dozing off. People armoured for winter move on as if in slow motion, their faces empty masks. Brief glimpses of grey daylight out of sub-arctic darkness devouring the frozen blocks of concrete. Sitting in a bus and watching distant necklaces of orangeish light, a man-made Milky Way. Moonscape as far as eyes can see. Students who speak in rural accents. Silent townspeople. Stoic teenagers hidden beneath their hooded jackets. Melancholia of these Norse latitudes is like some contagious disease for which there is no vaccination.
One pretends being immune, trying to think cheerful thoughts, to remember that summer was a dead bore anyway. This time of the year makes one look inward when there are no external objects to concentrate upon in darkness. Dreams come, and they come in abundance like a carnival projected inside one's eyelids. Dream people, dream buildings, dream towns, dream situations. People long passed away are there like they were never gone, doing absurd things. A strange play unfolds, full of hidden meanings posted on the walls of subconscious, and something one can't really decipher. Don't try to understand a dream, it always flees away from you. It is a kaleidoscope made of the fragments of your mind Mr. Sandman eagerly twists around into ever-changing new positions.
Hibernating citizens fed by TV's blue milk. Watching TV, reading newspapers, checking the glaring tabloid headlines while picking up one's groceries in a supermarket filled with other November zombies. Everywhere propaganda: war propaganda, economy propaganda, the EU propaganda, propaganda propaganda; who was dropped from the Idols or Big Brother, who cheated whom; an alcoholic ex-skijumper has beaten up his wife again, a has-been singer has divorced once more; another sex scandal, drug scandal -- a fest for voyeurist hypocrites.
A month before Christmas, the darkest time of the year. The annual consumer hysteria is just beginning; little children are taught, conditioned, that their happiness depends on all sort of useless stuff they will receive if they play along the rules. Every year Christmas will be burdened with guilt, angst and loneliness; the most tragic time of the year. Memories of broken families and lost loves always loom there over Yuletide. One wants to ignore it all, forget, spit that fat pig Santa Claus in the face and set his miserable beard to flames, desecrate Christmas. Vomit out all that greasy, fattening junk they want to stuff one with.
Better not to think about it now. After all, it's just three days out of 365. Let it pass like a flu or a teenage acne. Try to think Positive Thoughts [TM], though it might be hard as hell when you're dead tired all the time. One would only like to hibernate like they let all the other mammals do, don't they? Only humans have to force themselves to spend their winters awake. Unlike bears who can comfortably curl up in some cosy and warm cave after having eaten their bellies full. No, we have to wake up every dark winter morning and violently tear ourselves off from our warm, womb-like beds to the angry artificial light and head for our jobs and schools and kindergartens and prison workshops and whatever, only to get back home when it's dark again. We have to keep fit and do our exercises, aerobics and whatever even in the middle of the darkest wintertime when the only natural thing to do was to eat ourselves out of shape and sleep, sleep, sleep. Life is not fair. Yawn.
(*) This does not concern any of you lucky bastards living in Australia and other sunny, warm places like that; only us sub-arctic dwellers of the frozen, dark Northern hemisphere in this weary, dreary time of the year.