Wednesday, December 29, 1999 4:25 AM
part 22

It snowed one night, so I decided that it was finally time to cut some treads into my boots. No time like just before it's too late. After some hours, I had finished only one boot, but in that time, the snow had melted, so I couldn't test it. However, one boot with treads and no snow is better than snow and two boots with no treads.

Some days later, and after cutting treads into my other boot, I went for a walk to test them. I find that walking on ice is not one of my talents, but at least it is easier now to stay upright.

Atli, Jóhanna, and I, went back to the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. The free packets of chocolate raisins that were beside the straws and napkins, perhaps to stem the hunger while one waits to be served... are gone now. My guess is that they proved more popular than the food that one would buy there. Now, one takes a number and waits, even if there is no line, much like at the bank.

I was told that the boss and his wife planned to be the thinnest couple in the company. In any case, perhaps to assist in that endeavour, the boss's wife has been bringing *lots* of food to work. I expect that I wouldn't be allowed to compete, because if I had a girlfriend, there wouldn't be any competition, no matter how far she extended along the z axis. At least I'm allowed to eat the food, though. That's only fair, but I suppose it won't last - to deny oneself a pleasure is not the Icelandic way.

The police chief has got himself into a bind. His son, the alleged owner of several, er... (searching desperately for a polite euphemism, but it's taking some time to arrive) "establishments devoted to the display of exotic dance", among other things (strip clubs, brothels), has died, leaving the police chief as next of kin and, therefore, legal inheritor of these places. The question is now: what will the police chief do with them? Will he finally shut them down, as he has been promising to do for some time, and risk a drop in popularity among one part of the population in general (those who frequent such establishments), or will be leave them open, and risk a drop in popularity among the rest of the population (those who don't frequent such establishments)? Life is full of challenges such as this.

A note appeared on my desk: "we [the company] are going to have a [something like a buffet. It was an Icelandic word meaning, literally, 'table piled with stuff'. Food, in this case]. We're going to eat lots of food at the Hotel Borg" (no, it has nothing to do with Star Trek. It means "City Hotel"). At least, that was the idea. We arrived and I saw immediately that everyone else was going to eat lots of food (meat). I was going to eat the garnish. :-) I managed to find things to my taste - the entree and the dessert. It could have been worse, though. At least I eat fish. One of the people at work was for some time a strict vegetarian ("no food with a face"). It didn't last.

From the people who brought you the breakfast cereal "Cheerios" comes... "Millenios". Yes, Cheerios shaped as a 2 and what appeared to be only 0s. No doubt a speck of dust in my eye made it seem to me as though the 1 was a third 0.

Atli and Jóhanna took me to just outside of Reykjavík to watch the northen lights. The temperature was -10°C and a cloudless sky combined to provide perfect viewing weather. We stood outside for a while, then got back into the car and watched from there. This time there was no lightwash from the city of Reykjavík to reduce to a mere smudge of light what might have been a spectacular vision of colour and pattern. There still wasn't any colour, but there was pattern, and I was impressed. It looked vaguely like a trail of smoke, except that it brightened and faded in a way that smoke doesn't, and moved across the sky. It's hard to describe well, so I won't try anymore than that. Then we saw a shooting star. I commented to Atli that no-one will believe it if I tell them, but he didn't believe me. :-)

Back to Kringlan, amidst the Christmas rush, as Atli and Jóhanna had not yet bought presents for each other. I surveyed the scenery as they dragged me along and ran around aimlessly like headless chickens. It was fun. I saw some "Star Wars" LEGO. I don't understand the point of themed LEGO - the pieces aren't good for anything but building only the unit that you've bought. The whole point of LEGO is that it can be used to build so many other things, because all of the parts are interchangeable. Evidently, someone thought it was a good idea (money money money).

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