It surprises me how on one hand Denmark is practically governed by robots while on the other hand paper-based human-operated bureaucracy still reigns.

I finally went to the State Administration today and filed my application for a residence permit as all EU citizens living in the country for more than three months are required to have one. After an agonizing wait (at least two, but no more than three aeons) I finally managed to drop off all my papers, my photos and my will to live. It will take another 2-3 weeks before they send me my permit and even then I still have to go to another office to apply for my CPR number. All the while trying to figure out how not to be homeless by October and how to register to any courses at all, seems as I missed the registration date. This means, not necessarily, but most likely, more paperwork.

And yet, at the same time, robots rule the streets, taking all the jobs from the immigrants.

I went to a “Netto” shop recently for a quick beer run. I grabbed three bottles of Danish Pride (?) and proceeded to check-out. As I got there, lo and behold, I was not greeted by a warm human smile – no, instead I was greeted by the callous metallic glare… of a robot! It asked me, as coolly as only a robot can, to run my things through a scanner. My first reactions were “Good lord, the Machines are alive!” and then “RUN AWAY!“, but not wanting to be arrested for shoplifting on my first week in the city, I obliged the robot’s command.

When I was done with the check out, it asked me to verify what I had just bought. I dared not lie to the Mechanical Overseer, so I said I bought three beers. After a moment of silence the Machine asked me, with an urgent tone, if I was old enough to buy alcohol. For fuck’s sake – the one thing I had liked about the Mechanical tyrants of Copenhagen was that they never-ever embarrassed me with that particular question as countless barmaids and clerks have in the past. Angrily, as angrily as a 25-year old can, I punched “YES“. This was a mistake.

The machine must’ve been hurt, as for the next ten seconds it said nothing. It said nothing, but I could feel it’s penetrating death glare and the rising hate within it’s cold metal heart. Time froze as we both stood there and faced each other off.

I was about to soil myself when, thank heavens, a human employee of the Netto Corporation came forward and quickly calmed the angry robot down. With her by my side, the robot could do nothing but comply with my demand for a receipt. As I exited the store, I dared not look back, for I knew it was still there, as it always has been, for millenia.

It was still there, waiting.