"Iceland 2000" story # 16

Borgartun 19           August 22, 2000

As my three-month stay in Reykjavik neared its final days, I knew that I couldn't just leave by "going gently into the night." I had to make people take notice. I had to make sure I'd be remembered. I had to throw the "Party of the Millenium!!!"
     So, I typed up a hundred flyers for "Justin's Going-Away-From-Iceland Bash!!" and handed them out - to friends, to friends of friends, to cute girls who don't really like me at all (like Soley), to people I served pizzas to, to people I saw on the streets, to the guy that sang Elvis' "Hound Dog" in the karaoke bar, and to Heimy. The flyers advertised that "a big, ice cream sundae will be served," that Michael Jackson's music would be included on the night, and that "maybe some sheep and puffins will be there." Who wouldn't want to come to this party? No one, I figured. So, I told people 200+ partiers would be there.
     The party was supposed to be in a 15-room palace of an abandoned warehouse. But when Haukur and I got there at 10 pm on my last night in Iceland, we found that the power had been shut off! The "Party of the Millenium!!!" was music-less now and in serious doubt...boy, were 250 people going to be disappointed or what!
     But Haukur spotted some outside wiring meant for construction workers, and we decided to use that for power. Though highly illegal, we figured the next-best-thing to our original warehouse would be to have "Justin's Going-Away-From-Iceland Bash!!" in a nearby parking garage. We snuck past the pipes and boulders and dirt-mounds of the construction site, hoping to avoid detection from anyone who might be in some of the other neighboring warehouses. I felt kind of nervous, like a fifteen-year old worried about cheating on a school test. In the catacombs of the parking garage, as Haukur surgically opened the shiny black cases that included the stereo equipment, I thought he looked more like a drug-dealer or an assassin then a party-thrower.
     But it was a brilliant set-up. Two big speakers, with rock music blaring, and endless pillared corridors of parking spaces. I opened a bottle of my favorite alcohol, Peach Schnapps, and started drinking in anticipation of the 10-minute Icelandic-only speech I planned to give. The goal was to drink quite a bit, then interrupt the music my 400 or so guests were dancing to, and then speak so quickly and with such a strong accent that nobody would understand a word I said during the whole speech. It was to be the climax of my Icelandic-language skills, but also one of the most unintelligle speeches ever given. That was gonna be fun: "Og eg reyndi og eg reyndi og eg reyndi og eg REYNDI ath fa eina lundi..."
     The party-comers arrived slowly. First five came, then two...then two more...then another five. But there wasn't a lot of dancing yet, and my ice cream sundae wasn't such a big hit. The time was ticking, and I was a little worried the 500 people I was expecting wouldn't show up. An Icelander that studied with me in the States came, as did the girl I listened to Bjork with, and so did a ten-year old kid and his father that I waited on one day at the pizza place.
     And then I turned around to see a beautiful sight. People were coming from everywhere. Girls tried balancing their way across the construction pipes, guys climbed over hills of dirt, and others navigated through the piles of rock. My party was now at about 40 people, and we put on some Nirvana-"Smells Like Teen Spirit" to get people pumped. 40 people - just enough to be considered a "bash!!"
     But nobody really got pumped...and to my horror, the partiers' departure was as quick as their arrival had been slow. People left in droves, and I was left with only the ten-year old and his father in the empty garage. "Justin's Going-Away-From-Iceland Bash!!" didn't reach its goal of attracting 200 people, nor did it go on all night. And, worse of all, I drank an entire bottle of Peach Schnapps and I didn't even get to babble incoherently to 200 people in a foreign language.
     So, I'm going to give my speech now, for you, because you have to read it (or you could just skip over it, I guess, but you're not going to do that - now, are you?):
     "Gothan dagin, Island. Eg er litill fullur, sko fyrirgefthu! En fyrir eg fer til Bandarisks, eg vil ath seggja sum ortha i BARA islenska. Jaeja, hvar ath byrja, hvar ath byrja? Jaeja, thegar for eg til Islands eg heldi sem Islendinga kona eru fallegastar kona af alli heiminum. Og thaer eru, en thaer likar mig ekki of mikill. Sko eg for til Dyrholaey ath reyna ath fa eina lundi fyrir gerthi mitt. Og eg reyndi og eg reyndi og eg reyndi og eg REYNDI ath fa eina lundi, en eg gat ekki! Thvi thaer geta fuglith og eg get ekki!"
     Oh, it's just not the same when I'm not speaking at the "Party of the Millenium!!!" But you were a wonderful audience anyway.

Now that I'm in the States, I wanted to address an important political matter. Our presidential elections are coming up, and a lot of people have been asking me what I think of it.
     Gaui, one of the chefs at my pizza place in Iceland, recently asked who I'd be voting for. I said I wasn't really sure yet. Heimy, meanwhile, turned around from making his pizzas. He didn't understand what we were saying, because he doesn't speak english very well, but he had his usual big round smile on. "What? What are you talking about?" he said.
     Brynjar, the dishwasher, laughed at Heimy. "Why not vote for Heimy, Justin?"
     Gaui agreed. "Heimy!" he said.
     Then, Heimy joined in. "Heimy!"
     And they all started chanting: "Heimy fyrir Bandariskur formann! Heimy fyrir Bandariskur formann!"
     So, that's who I'll be voting for this October. Heimy, the 18-year old Chinese pizza-baker who doesn't speak english. Among his strongest views is, "Eg het pizza!" (I hate pizza) But he also feels this way: "Eg het mjolk!" He hates milk too, and he'll never drink it. And don't forget the third point of the (Heimy) Himing Pang campaign. "Eg het solinn!" He can't stand the sun, either. I recommend you vote for him too.
     Heimy for American president! Heimy fyrir Bandariskur formann! Heimy for American president!

Good-bye, Iceland.
Sjaumst, bles.

- Modern Oddyseus

go to the previous story                                                                                   go to the next story

J. Breen's modern-o.com