Friday, April 29, 2005

Norwegian Spring

I'm taking a break from evil-doing for a little while, to tell you about a Norwegian tradition that, well, it's just plain interesting.

It's called "Russ". Every year in spring, for three weeks before** Norwegian Independence Day and the upcoming graduation exams, kids graduating from high school run absolutley AMOK. They dress up in these red or blue overalls that they don't wash. They get completley shit faced, dare each other to do strange things, have sex like bunnies, drive around in tricked out busses that can cost over $100,000., and generally annoy the shit out of anyone over 30. And everyone smiles indulgently and says "Ah, Russ. I remember mine". It's considered a sweet, funny rite of passage. And I mostly believe that, and think it is kind of cute.

I think Russ is something I would have wholeheartedly supported had it been done in the US when I was 18. (And I do mean WHOLEHEARTEDLY.) However, as an old fart now, I think some of it might be getting out of hand.

Russ Bus

Specifically, those DAMNED busses. These busses all have a hired driver, so the kids can fuck themselves up while some really well paid bus driver takes them around in endless circles. That is fine, cruise all you want. My problem is with the STEREOS in these things. Imagine a bus sized stereo blaring at all hours. They've got something like 30,000 watts or something. It's insane. We live about a mile from the E-18 highway, and when these busses go down the freeway they rattle our windows and wake us up. We can hear it for about three miles! It's like having your own stereo on its highest volume. It's LOUD. And expensive. These kids go to some pretty serious lengths to afford these busses. In the US, of course, you'd save that money for college, but here, since college is covered by the gov., why not waste it on expensive boom-box busses?

Russ is basically the longest and largest hazing/graduation/frat party you have ever seen. I've seen the kids the next morning crashed in all sorts of odd locations, including on the trains, on sidewalks, train stations, fields and parks. It's especially popular to crash in the middle of a roundabout.

It's a really interesting time of year. Part of me is kind of jealous that these kids get to have an adult sanctioned, three week, country wide party. I never got that. It would have been cool. But then part of me just wants them to TURN DOWN THE DAMN STEREOS!

If you want some more info on it, you can find some links here.

** I don't get why they party BEFORE their exams. Shouldn't they do it after? I hear many of them are so worn out from partying they fall asleep during the exams. Hmm. Is it just me that find this a bit strange?

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