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Ruth & Torstein   —   My Spunky Parents



As a kid, I hated my parents.  I was constantly hoping that someone would someday tell me that I was adopted, just so I could go and search for my "real" mom and dad — a cool set of parents instead of the ones I was stuck with.  But of course my hopes for that were shattered when even I could see that I was a spitting image of both of them... but somehow I still had my hopes. (As might be expected, it was probably they who had hoped that someone would've taken me away.)

Well, maybe I wasn't all that bad.   However, little by little I realized that I in fact really loved them but never had the guts to admit it.  Below is a rant about stuff which I've never been able to tell them, (every time I tried, it has fizzled to nothing). 

First of all, it's so cool to see how different they are from each other, yet they tend to complement each other's personality and they manage to work around their most obvious personal snags.  Over the years there have always been disputes (my mother is a very strong woman, and my dad is not known for backing off) but they still seem to resolve their spats fairly quickly.  My mother used to say that the deadline for resolving any quarrel with your partner is before bed time — never go to sleep angry because that will soon kill a relationship.  I guess that's their secret to staying together for so long while at the same time escaping a dull life.  By the way, my mom still often calls me before bed time — I guess it's just to make sure that she also has me under "control."  That woman is incredible

As I've been living in California well over a decade now, I've certainly experienced my share of shallow and disingenuous people.  However, during this time I've also gotten a few surprises — regularly meeting people who are devoid of materialistic hang-ups — whether there's a complete stranger sending me some needed parts for my motorcycle without asking anything in return, or people who have genuine & unselfish interest in social issues.  But it's the norm (or perhaps I should say; the "abnorm") that often seems to get the better of me — stuff that deviates from what my parents taught me.  For instance, not long ago I got into an exchange with a fellow moto guy on the local motorcycle newsgroup about fictive values and how much a mind-set rubs off on life itself.  The following pretty much sums up that exchange and might explain a bit of the value criteria which formed me already as a youngster.   He wrote:

  "At 52, I'm going on my second wife.  Each has been the recipient of a fabulous diamond ring.  I give them for romance.  For me it isn't about value or common sense, it is about romance.  Diamonds are still a very romantic gift." 

I responded; if diamonds are very "romantic", then that word means something very different to him than it does to me.  Of course, we all like different things and hence shouldn't be frowned upon, but I've never grasped why anyone would shell out dough on something of which they need a microscope to tell the so-called value, yet is worn as if anyone could actually tell if it's a real diamond or not — yea, diamonds last forever, and so does the stupidity.  Also my mother felt a bit disappointed when my dad gave her an over-the-counter diamond necklace on her 50th birthday.  She later told me that rather than buying something impersonal like that, she'd prefer something he had made for her, even a written letter where he tells how much he loves her would've been a better gift.  And yes, my mom is really a lasher — and is worth more than some stupid diamonds.  Besides, she likes riding motorcycles — one of her best times was when my dad took her all over Europe on his motorcycle.  That's romance for some... while for others romance is some glittery things they put in their drawer. 

As you might understand, I really love my parents.  I love the values they taught me and how to apply them in life, although I'm sure it wasn't all intentional on their side: You should blame my mother that I became this sangfroid — she was the one who taught me the motto; "Don't worry about tomorrow, because then you'll get the worries twice."  She was the one who green-lighted a custom hand-built guitar from Burnaby Canada rather than a mass-produced one (and gave me the extra money behind dad's back), and the same she did when I was short on my first fancy pool-cue.  She was the one who green-lighted both of my Dalmatians (although mom & dad had to "adopt" each of them since I was on the run all the time).  She was the nude for my art croquis' & paintings — which got me into the National Academy as one of the youngest students since Edvard Munch.  She was the one who voted "No" at a referendum for nuclear power, even if dad at the time held a top position within the nuclear power-industry.  And it was my mother who decided to name me Peer after an infamous Norwegian fable-character; a crazy kid who was a daydreamer and a compulsive liar... and yes, she has teased me with this quite a bit. 

On the other hand, my dad is to blame as to why I became a neat-freak; he was the one who taught me to put toilet paper on the seats in public rest-rooms, and to only shake hands with women.  He was the one who so calmly saved me from getting seriously injured in a fierce tree-climb.  He was the one who taught me how to interact with the horses at the farm.  He's the one who is the most conservative of us all, but yet he somehow has a screw loose when it comes to public nudity.  He was the one who never got too upset when I constantly "borrowed" his fancy 16mm film-camera without asking.  He was the one who comforted me after I crashed someone else's motorbike... even if I was way underage and, hence, without a licence.  He was the one who forced me to take a degree in economics, but later was classy enough to accept that I had flunked out to work in a theater group and later pursued even more artistic ventures.  He is the one of whom I've always been critical and by whom I never really felt loved, but nowadays I understand how wrong wrong wrong I have been. 

Although both mom and dad often spoke with me about the value of life, I'm not any closer to get an understanding of it, even though I've recently seen how fragile life can be: a few years ago two of my closest friends were diagnosed with cancer.  Luckily both cancers were discovered early and successfully removed.  After this, both changed drastically; although they are now completely healthy, they are enjoying life as if there was no tomorrow.  Those two friends are Jack and Guri.  The drastic change in Guri's life was to break up with her abusive American boyfriend and move back to Norway to again take care of her indisputable talent in sculpture, and Jack... well he became Jack, (you need to meet him to understand). 

Yes, there are certainly many things in life over which we have no control, whatsoever, but when it comes to the things we can control (although I have a tendency to constantly regret stuff) I hope I'll never get to a point where I regret my life's main course — this includes, as well as my work, my girlfriend.

I suspect when mom and dad look back at the choices they've made so far in life, there are hardly any regrets, (besides wishing that they had replaced me with a more compliant kid, I guess). 

I envy their relationship, and certainly the love, they have for each other — I really do. 



My spunky parents -- on yet another exploit.





Since they look so happy together, those
pictures were obviously taken before I was born.





Dad with biker-chick and his NSU-250 on a ferry...





No, my Mom isn't smoking a joint,
she's just eating a cracker... she claims.