Fear

Dear Emke,

Today you are talking to people to get another entrance to the area.

Inspired by yesterday’s discoveries you follow the blue wall to figure out if anybody knows how the word fear ended up there. Since not a lot of people are using the area in their daily life, you decide to enter some of the smaller shops to talk to people that actually spend a lot of time here.

First you enter a boat shop. Behind the counter there is a man. He looks friendly but also a bit hesitant. When you open your mouth to ask him about the wall he changes to looking scared. You are wondering if it is you, your language or the situation that causes his fear. You decide not to follow up, since you feel it would be too confrontational to ask the reason for his fearful look. Instead you leave the shop.

Outside you notice a laminated paper attached to one of the small boats. To read what it says you have to stand fairly close to the quay. It is a message from the commune informing that the boat has been parked illegally and that the authorities have the right to remove it at the expense of the owner. Did this message hang here yesterday?

You wander off to a yellow building with the world’s lowest fence guarding the only lawn in the area. Two men are having a chat in front of a car. One of them has a lot of tattoos. The other not. You ask about the wall and the tattooed guy recommends you to go inside and talk to Emil. You do as you’re told.

When you arrive at the top of the staircase Emil is on the phone and you get a possibility to take a look around in the space. It somehow reminds you of an office at a creative tech company in the valley with a pingpong table, plants and a big sofa and tv setup.

Emil hangs up and tells you that The Rebel Collective is a co-working space for smaller companies. He himself has been wondering about the blue wall. Why it is there and the history behind it, but he doesn’t have the answer although he seems to have a lot of knowledge about the area.

Emil’s optimism and enthusiasm is infectious. He hopes for Trosvikstranda to be a place for families with children to hang out and that the area gets rid of its status as a forgotten part of town. He is dreaming of a festival next summer, a wall that people can paint on and something about parkour routes, as far as you can understand. This summer they had a food truck but no one came by except the alcohol abusers who usually hang out under the bridge.

You follow Emil down to his shop on the ground floor. Sustainable t-shirts and some tired locally grown plants on sale. It is difficult to run a shop in a forgotten part of town. Through the broken entrance door you can see the well-kept lawn. When asking Emil who broke the door he replies: ‘the area’.

Leaving The Rebel Collective you notice a man standing beside the small boat. His energy is nervous and that somehow makes you curious. You stop and pretend to take a phone call to see what will happen. It seems like your stopping makes his pacing back and forth even more edgy and you feel like your presence is causing someone to feel bad. That is not a good feeling so you decide to go and visit the car shop instead.

Here, a middle aged man excels in understanding Danish and communication is no problem. He tells you that the blue wall is a remnant from a building worthy to preserve. When you ask him what happened to the rest of the building, he says he doesn’t know. He also doesn’t know who wrote fear, but he guesses that it is just regular tagging.

Beside the wall, an autocamper is parked at the gravel site. In five years he says, everything will look different. The building of the car shop will be torn down, that is certain, but as far as he knows the shop hasn’t got a plan for its future. He doesn’t seem afraid, but resigned, and says that ‘it’s more realistic’. They are just waiting.

What surprises you when you enter the kitchen shop, is that it is a woman who is running the store. She says that the blue wall has been built as a support for a little yellow boat house at the quay, since it was falling apart and the building is worthy of preservation. She corrects herself, was worthy of preservation. Today the foot of the boat house is completely rotten. Now the kitchen building is the only one that is going to be preserved when the area changes.

This information makes you wonder about the information you got earlier. The stories of the people with whom you have talked almost feel mythological: what was here before, what is going to happen and what is going to be preserved – everyone has their own interpretation.

The woman in the kitchen shop doesn’t know who wrote fear on the blue wall and she doesn’t seem very interested in neither the tag nor the term. Instead she lets you know that the area burned down 40 years ago. She was a kid then, but she remembers. Before that, there were a lot of smaller shops. After the fire, Trosvikstranda was more or less forgotten in the public eye. 

Upstairs there is a cake shop where you can order cakes for your wedding or other celebrations. The woman in the shop doesn’t know anything about the wall, the fear or the area in general, but tells you that each Friday they sell cupcakes in this store. You ask her if they have enough customers and she says yes – people with allergies who love cupcakes know where to go.

On your way to your bike you have the feeling that fear isn’t so present with the shop owners in the area. In the conversations you had you were met with hopes, wishes, realism, gossip, autonomy and resignation. Despite that you decide to try out a small ritual to take care of the fear. You place yourself where you met the doves yesterday and take five deep breaths while you feel how the pace of the world slows down.

Passing the small boat on your way home, the laminated information from the commune has been removed and you think you know who did it.

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