Category: Red Tape

Rise Of The Machines

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.



Off The Beaten Path

Ever since I got my bike I’ve trying to do a little bit of exploring every day. Or rather, my explorations have taken me to two locations that I consider particularly noteworthy.

Sure, the city centre is full of generic cathedrals and churches, but I find myself more drawn to the odd sites, the ugly ducklings that are typically not to be found in tourist brochures.

The first place that struck me was, unsurprisingly, Christiania. Now, these days there’s nothing too special about visiting Christiania as most younger travellers coming to Copenhagen are usually quite aware of it’s existence. Nonetheless, cliché as the idea of visiting Christiania may seem, it does offer a much appreciated contrast to the utter Scandinavian cleanliness of Copenhagen City.

It’s not that I dislike cleanliness and order, quite on the contrary, but every now and then you want to catch a different, more alive vibe. Too much cleanliness can kill the vibe. Allow me to demonstrate – think of Helsinki in Finland and say the first adjective that comes to your mind. Chances are you said “clean” before lapsing into deep thought and into the futility of looking for other words. I mean, you’re not even reading this anymore, are you?

My first trip to Christiania was more of a probe than anything else, because as I wasn’t looking for anything specific I stayed there for a very brief time after semi-accidentally stumbling on it’s rear entrance. Now, for many travellers Christiania is famous for one thing, and one thing only – drugs. And while I will certainly not be using this blog to condole the purchase of marijuana (75 DDK per g, you’re welcome) I will say that due to the drug fame I did limit myself to taking only one photo at the place (of a mural depicting Nazi stormtroopers, butterflies and a naked chick).

This was in no way drawn by someone higher than a kite.

Later as I was riding back home, I stumbled upon the headquarters of the “Hell’s Angels MC” Danish chapter. I did manage to snap a photo of the place and live to tell the tale, seems as these days the Angels have abandoned the use of excessive violence, rocket-propelled grenades and the use of excessive violence using rocket-propelled grenades.

Not pictured: rocket-propelled grenades

Seems as my bicycle has so far sustained zero missile hits, I will be taking my beauty out for a ride in the Norrebro district soon. I will not be doing this willingly, seems as I have to visit the State Administration to apply for a living permit and my CPR (personal identification number). And while checking out the Norrebro ghetto will be cool, the same cannot be said for the Danish bureaucracy, the callous apparatus of which will force me to take many trips to various institutions before I can finally call myself a resident of Copenhagen. A word of warning is certainly in order for all Estonians intending to stay in Copenhagen, as all official affairs must be conducted using (and it pains me to say this) paper. That’s right, you can forget about limiting your dialogue with the State to simple online interactions. They want your face. So they can paper-cut it.