Packed Sardines at the Airport
The Airport is overfull. All airplanes are on a hold, in a very chaotic situation, where no one has clear its destiny. It is unbelievable. A standstill due to weather. The planes that were due to arrive have not arrived, they have arrived in Glasgow instead. On one can do anything and obviously Icelandair takes no blame, as it all lies on an outer force. How convenient. There is a storm raging over the island, that has left it to later, that later that is in the indecisive future. The sight of it reminds me of a scene from Angel Exterminator by Buñuel. Most people keep a respectable calm, but it seems to be at a boiling point. Bodies in all corners and even in middle of corridors, huddling under blankets, with no water or bread. The worst thing and truly disruptive is that they took us out of bed at the Un Christian time of the darkest night, in the middle of the night, around 4 am, to bring us here in order to wait out the storm, liked packed sardines in a can, only we are at the airport, in the middle of the wastelands of Lava, on the edge of the world. The Icelandic travellers are wiping out the shelves of the duty free, it is excellent business for them, I was hoping for a cup of coffee, but no, we will have to contribute to their wealth. The monster of an aeroplane can do nothing against the danger of natural forces, who are above civilization and sophistication. Total chaos. All connections lost, all we can do is to stare at the screen in hope of a miracle that never arrives. I can hear from a distance, although it seems to be close to be an Italian screaming unpleasant sentences at this sentence. I just laugh nervously, not with joy, but the purest of all exhaustions at the scenery of bodies lying everywhere. It is like an emercency situation. All we can hope for is that when we do wake up from our nightmare, the weather has cleared and given us a green light to take off.
The Opera Singer
Walking through the corridors with my grandmother and my little sister. We were shown the exhibition that was taking place at the residency of old people. Paintings of landscapes, boats, sheep and farming, like you could imagine. Painted with love, history an great care. It is of items, that were close to the heart of that generation, experience, if you would like to use that description. We were going to visit my grandmother's friend in B2, the department were very ill people stay. A few years ago I went almost every day to have lunch with my grandmother, with her were three friends, amongst them Gunnlaug, who was at the time 82 years old. Three years later I came back for a visit and we went to B2, to see Gunnlaug, who was now older and in much worse health, as soon as she saw me, it was like my grandmother said, an enlightening, she completely shone up and there was a sparkle in her eyes, it was touching to see what a pure presence can make, only being somewhere can mean so much. When people get older, these little details are what matter in what can be days and days of routine. On the way to B2 we passed an old man in a wheelchair, sitting there which you often do, days on end you sit, like you are waiting for something...His hand reached out to firmly grasp my hand, I kindly and keenly reached my hands towards him and he would hold it tightly with my palm in his palm and his other hand on top of my hand and he said: "Are we related?", upon which I answered "not to my knowledge". He answered back with a clear and precise tone "I wish we were". On the way back from Gunnlaug, we passed the old man again, where he again reached out his hand to repeat the procedure, but he just wanted to wish me all luck. Shortly after me, my sister 13 years old walked, shy and timid, the old man, who was a famous opera singer in his time, reached this time his hand out for my little sister to say: "You are so beautiful". The little sister did almost not know what to say, she was quite embarrassed and just stuttered "Thank You". it was another of those moments of surprise at the residency.
The library is situated by the harbour with a magnificent view of the bay and the mountain Esja on the other side. The view indicates what kind of weather that the island is due to await. It is one of those places that is almost always full of people, as I am always there during the day I meet the same people each day. It is one of those places that is the home of the people on the outside of the society, and I am not suggesting I am on the outside of society. As on most days I arrived early afternoon, to read and work, it is a pleasure to work on the fifth floor with this wonderful view over the harbor and the bay and the few houses situated on the other side of the bay. After some hours of working I decided to have a little break and read the daily newspaper, I went down in the lift to the ground floor, which has been made into a readers corner. The paper I so much wanted to read was being read by a man or a woman, it was difficult to tell. I sat down on the table in order to be well positioned once the paper got free, meanwhile I pretended to be deep in thoughts. The man in front of me, had a long blond hair, permed hair, dressed in a reddish pink tracksuit top and broad corduroy trousers, this was as far as I could see, as I had to be discreet even if that was difficult. I kept glancing over my paper, the paper I was pretending to read, to see if the other paper was free, and each time I looked the man crossed himself, like a true and valid catholic, to my knowledge only a few percent of the population in Iceland are catholics and it was all a bit strange, each time I looked the man crossed himself, like I was some kind of devil, or some kind of evil force.
A mature woman, well into her nineties, had recently had an accident and broken her hip bone, she was recovering in hospital under the best doctors in the country. Often under these circumstances, that is the very end of a woman, the last days. This woman had had a rich life and under her belt was a varied experience of all matters a human being can go under. One night in the deepest winter, in a beautiful crisp cold night, she had a dream. There was some man trying to strangle her, she fought hard and once she managed to get the arm off her neck, she rose up in victory and fell out of the bed, only to break the other hip bone. But at least it was done under a victory.