Sunday, November 28, 1999 7:03 PM
part 21

Atli, Jóhanna, Inga, and I, attended the grand opening of the new and "improved" (ie even larger than before) local shopping centre. It had been increased in size by about ten thousand squared metres, adding thirty new shops. At least, the marketing claims were that it had been increased in size by about ten thousand squared metres, adding thirty new shops. Marketing would never lie about such things. So they say, but I digress...

We attended the grand opening of the shopping centre. It was a popular occasion - there were many people in attendance. Such things always attract a crowd in Iceland. Parking was a challenge, but "driving to the mall" is a necessary precursor to the whole shopping centre experience. Besides, it was raining.

We came, we saw, we stayed for hours. There was much to see, depending on what you wanted to see. From an architectural point of view, the new design differed greatly from the old one is several respects, the most obvious one being the lighting. The new section is lit very brightly, the old section is dark by comparison. A large section of the ceiling is composed of a skylight but it was dark when we arrived, so we were unable to appreciate the effect. There is a distinct line which separates the new section from the old - if there aren't any fancy lights, it's the old section. Upstairs is the food hall - McDonald's, Domino's, Subway... and a guy playing piano, as though it were an upper-class establishment. The ladies left us in the computer shop while they went to do some serious shopping. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to the computer shop, so we spent the time outside talking and looking at the other pretty women walking around. I looked, anyway - Atli has a girlfriend, so he's not really supposed to do that. After all, there's looking and then there's Looking. :-) The idea was to keep in contact by mobile telephone, but when Atli tried to contact them to meet again, the entire network was unavailable, caused, no doubt, by Icelanders using it to tell each other to come to see the new Kringlan.

There have been a couple of fireworks displays in Reykjavík during the last couple of days. Perhaps they are testing the stock for the end of the year. Unfortunately, the fact that these fireworks work gives no indication about the rest of them, since fireworks aren't reusable. Not that I'm complaining about the displays, even if the logic is flawed.

Apart from those of the technical support people, the work hours here are not fixed, so I don't bother with a clock, and my day/night cycle extended itself quite naturally to 28 hours. As a result, during any given week, I will "miss" one day. The question that I am asked most commonly is, "Which day do you miss?", but the question is meaningless because, in each week, I miss the day that follows the day that I missed during the previous week. After seven weeks, I will have missed each day once. The next most commonly asked question is, "Which day is it for you?". Again, this is meaningless because I have only six days in a week, and they don't match the usual seven. I was talking about it with one of the people here, and she suggested that I create my own day names. Basing it on the Icelandic names of the days of the week, which begins on a Sunday (Sun day, Moon day, Third day, Midweek day, Fifth day, Fasting day, Bathing day - the day on which one would bathe, if one were to bathe only once per week), we decided on some names, such as Shoe day (the day that I would wear shoes, if I were to wear shoes), and Cat day (she likes cats). Unfortunately, though a nice idea, it won't work, because I would have to explain the correlation to anyone who asked, which would take longer than simply answering that I don't know what day it is.

The boss doesn't mind this arrangement, because the work gets done, but sometimes there is a need for me to be here during "normal" working hours. To assist in that happening on the days during which I would be leaving as the boss is arriving, the boss's wife, the capo di tutti i capi, tempts me with the food that she brings sometimes for the staff, and it simply wouldn't do to refuse. "Have some freshly baked bread". "Have a chocolate muffin". "Have another chocolate muffin. You need to eat more".

And now, a scene from Alice in Wonderland:
"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone: "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take LESS," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take MORE than nothing."

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