"Iceland 2000" story # 3

Reykjavik          June 3, 2000

Hello, all. Let me start by apologizing to my friendīs mom. It seems these e-mails Iīve been writing went accidentally to her entire workplace. Thus, her whole office received the e-mails about people in their underwear and Davidīs unwanted advances on women. Probably not your average office memo. Sorry, Mrs. Fox...
     Well, Iīve accomplished much since Iīve last spoke to you. On the same day, I found both a place to live and a job. Alright!
     Iīm staying in an unfurnished room, only a 15-minute walk from Miðborg (downtown) Reykjavik. Iīm on the third floor, and my window offers a broad view of the inlet the city is on. So, I can scan the water for whales when Iīm in my room. I can also see some mountains. Itīs pretty.
     But the prettiest view from my room may just be the Dairy Queen on the next street over. How thrilled was I, the man with the all-ice cream-diet, to find that Iīm a mere two-minute walk from the ice cream store! I had the M&M Jökull (Blizzard) for a house-warming party. Mmm, mmm. How about my new place? Location, location, location!
     My job is in a nightclub, called "22." I found out after getting hired that itīs a gay club, and on my first night I had to clean up vomit three times. Not exactly my travel fantasty: picking up vomit in a gay club. But the music is good (rock & roll), the work is easy (I pick up glasses - thatīs my entire job), and legally I shouldnīt have any job.
     Did I say picking up glasses was my entire job? Actually, I left out the most-feared part of my work...the dreaded "window duty." See, the windows have to be closed because neighbors complain about the music. But the place gets really hot, so people always open them. Which is where I come in. Now, you wouldnīt think closing a window would be such a big deal, but the truth is that drunk Icelanders will defend their opened window almost to the death. My co-workers have been punched, kicked, and very nearly thrown out of the window in fights over it. On my first night, I stood guard at a window as two co-workers had it out with some clubbing Icelanders. I work again tonight - who knows if Iīll come out alive?
     Many of my friends are familiar with my efforts to emulate tvīs "The Crocodile Hunter" (such as wrestling giant blue-tongued lizards and snorkelling in treadmill-like riptides). So, I received a lot of warnings upon coming to Iceland to beware of the animals here. That shouldnīt be difficult. Iceland has no native reptiles or amphibians, and the arctic fox is the only native land mammal. Other than a lot of birds, the coolest animal Iīve seen was a seal. It was off the rocky shore of Reykjavik, just its head and snout above water. I went to the edge of the rocks and barked at it. I guess I was hoping to convince it that I was a fellow seal so it would come over to me. No luck, though, it seems this seal was smarter than I gave him credit for. He did elevate himself out of the water for a closer look. Pretty cool, Iīd never seen a wild seal before.
     As I mentioned earlier, my room came unfurnished. My landlord later gave me a table and some chairs, but the only thing separating me from the floor when I slept was a thin foam pad. Something had to be done about that, and I didnīt have enough money to buy a mattress (I think, who on earth knows what a mattress costs anyway?). My room is near the University of Iceland, and I decided Iīd try to make off with a mattress from there. I went into a vacant dorm and grabbed one and walked out. Now, mattress thievery is unlike most kinds of thievery in that you canīt just stick the desired object in your pocket because pockets just arenīt made large enough to hold mattresses. I carried it past five other university buildings, pretty scared the whole time. Had someone stopped me, Iīm not sure if I wouldīve ran or thrown the mattress at them or started speaking Icelandic or what. Luckily, the Great Mattress Heist went off without a hitch. I have a "hot" bed, and the room is coming along quite nicely.
     -- Which is just in time! I visited Sóley at work yesterday. She was happy to see me. Her cheekbones seem as if theyīll burst when she smiles, squeezing her mint-blue eyes. I invited her for a "great" fajitas and milkshake dinner, and she accepted. Woohoo! We havenīt set a date yet, so I hope it happens. Wish me luck.

later - your pal, Justin

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