People watching


Although this is a ‘daily life’ column, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about the writer’s own life, does it? So here’s a snapshot of some of the people I encountered yesterday:

After work I was due to move into my new flat, but I had a couple of hours to kill before I could meet my new flatmate to let me in. I was stuck with all my belongings and no train station lockers to leave them in, so I did the only thing I could think of – I sat outside a bar in the sunshine, created a fort of suitcases and bags, and ordered a beer.

Sat next to me were a smart Icelandic couple – probably work colleagues. Talking in lowered voices, I wondered if they were just shy, or if they were undercover agents. I eventually decided they were probably not super-spies, because they started laughing loudly and then went their separate ways. Of course, it could have been an elaborate trick to fool me.

A British couple replaced them. After being served soft drinks, they decided to order food. The lady ordered something relatively normal (like sheep brains or some such), and the man ordered fish and chips – only he didn’t want any batter on it, nor any chips or sauce…now forgive me for sounding ignorant but that dish would surely be called "fish", no? Actually, I am being a little harsh – he did allow himself a few boiled potatoes.

By now there was a Norwegian couple on the table to my right, who promptly ordered a bottle of champagne whilst thinking about their choice of food. This act alone probably makes them billionaires, but alas they were unreceptive to my pleading for cash…even the song didn’t work.

I should mention that all the while there was a succession of souped up cars and motorbikes going past, clearly also trying to impress my Norwegian friends. The number of Harleys is surprising, and the stupidity of one Suzuki rider in whizzing around as fast as humanly possible was also noteworthy.

Anyway, when it came to ordering food, I noticed the charming use of Icewegish – Icelandic, Norwegian and English. The similarities between Norwegian and Icelandic and the common knowledge of English could however, not convey exactly what type of fish was on offer – so they went with the steak.

Shortly after this, the building behind set a shadow over my table and I decided to leave, like one big bag.

AE [email protected]

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.