Copenhagen 7: Living with Therese

I live with Therese.  We are cohabiting in her apartment these past six nights.  It is an intimate arrangement.  We share the bathroom.  I think she showers at night.  I shower in the morning.  Her bedroom is right next to the bathroom, which I use, hopefully to modest effect.  My bedroom is around the corner past the living room, perhaps 5 metres, but separated only by a bedroom wall.

Therese is one of a syndicate of Danish hosts who have signed up to billet conference participants from outside Denmark.  Jeanette and Rick have separate hosts.  The difference is, they have met theirs.  I have not met mine.  Five days and five nights together without ever meeting.  It is a surreal arrangement but it has become surprisingly normal.

Therese offered some months back and we set up the arrangement.  I made direct email contact with her just before my departure for Denmark last week.  She wrote back.  “Anyone who fights climate change is welcome in my home”, she said simply.  I immediately looked forward to meeting her.

I headed off for Copenhagen on Air New Zealand.  In Hong Kong airport I checked my email.  This was just as well since Therese had made a late-minute change to the arrangements.  She was attending her annual Xmas Party the Friday night I was arriving.  She would leave the key for her apartment at the Left Luggage counter at Copenhagen Airport.  An unusual arrangement, I thought, perhaps normal in Nordic culture, though three years in Sweden had not bolstered my experience for this.  I was beginning to like Therese.

Sure enough, the Danish official at Left Luggage cheerfully handed over the envelope in my name.  Don’t you want to check my identity, I said, incredulously, offering my passport?.  No, no, he said in clear and clipped Danelish.  We trust you.  I felt humbled.  I was beginning to like all Danes.

I take a train, and then a metro, then I track down her apartment on the street.  It is close to midnight, cold and dark and unfamiliar.  The apartment is the standard, brick, semi-detached tenement building bordering right on the street.  Moment of truth.  The outside door-key works.  I reach the top floor and the same key allows me inside.  I am home.  There is a welcome note from Therese.  She will be home around 3.30 a.m.  I creep in, use the shower, and flop into what is presume is my bed in what I presume is my bedroom.  This proves to be perfect judgement.  At 4.00 am, I hear what I take to be Therese climbing the stairs and passing my bedroom.

Saturday morning I am up and off at 6.30 a.m.  Unsurprisingly, no stirring from Therese’s bedroom.  I e-mail her from the conference.  She emails back.  Welcome she says.  She will out that night at a second Xmas Party.  Do not expect her back early.  I am back at midnight – to an empty apartment.  But it has been made warm by a wood-burner and a light is left on for good cheer.

From Friday to Thursday today, I have left in the dark around 7.00 a.m. and returned in the dark around midnight.  It is not a routine guaranteed to meet Therese.   I email her.  This is from your phantom guest, I say.  It is proving difficult to meet up.  Perhaps breakfast next Saturday morning before I fly out to New Zealand?

She replies by email.  It says: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”.  Perhaps.  Perhaps not. Perhaps before.

I believe I k now Therese very well – better than many delegates I have shaken hands with and exchanged professional comment at Bella Conference Centre.  I know her habits.  I know her reading material.  I know what she looks like, since there are photos of her – at least I think it is her – on my bedroom wall.  There are quite personal notes to her posted up, which, given she knows I am coming and leaves them up, I presume I am free to read, though I feel a pang of prurient guilt nonetheless.  They make her out as an unusually creative, pleasant and carefree young woman.

I hope I meet Therese.

They also serve, who pass like ships in the night.

6 Comments Posted

  1. U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming
    The business lobby hopes to ward off potentially sweeping emission limits by undercutting the scientific consensus that climate change is man-made. The EPA is having none of it.

    WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

    Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” — complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.

  2. “She could be a portent Ken. It’s been said many times that Therese are the solution to global warming.”

    Therese have a part to play, but it’s a bit optimistic to suggest that they can cancel out the effect of more and more carbon being transferred from deep underground to the atmosphere.

Comments are closed.