Dear Fan (probably my only one)
As you have read my blog through google-translate so long, I think I owe it to you to clear out a few things that you may have found elusive.
I moved to Denmark two years ago. I was convinced that things would only get worse in Iceland. Not for the upper class of course, but for everyone else, for the health care system and the school system. When times get tough, the ones responsible are the last people to suffer.
I was not escaping poverty, however. I like money a lot, especially when I have some, but I don´t need much money to be happy. The main reason why I left was that I was just a little too much disgusted by Icelandic banks and politics and I did not want to have anything to do with them ever again. I was getting obsessive about the term of power and the ten thousand ways that power may be abused and how all justice and morals had been violated. My obsession was tearing me apart and often I was so overwhelmed with anger and resentment that some days I could hardly cope. I was beginning to understand riots. I mean like people who rush out in the streets and burn random cars. I needed to change the environment and divorce the Icelandic atmosphere of nepotism and corruption. At first, I thought about moving to Norway but my sister lives in South Denmark and I don’t like snow, so settling here sounded more desirable.
I didn’t come here anticipating that a rewarding job with a high salary awaited me. Frankly, I did not expect anything besides some peace of mind, and what you expect is usually what you get (unless you want to be loved and admired). In my case, it was temporal serenity, more frequent encounters with my sister and nothing more. I worked at a nursing home for the elderly until I got fed up with all the backbiting and mobbing among the personnel, but now I have been unemployed for a long period of time. It is very hard to get a job around here, let alone a good job, and I’ve almost given up.
My mundane needs are not excessive and of course, I could display my scanty lifestyle as a sign of dignity but hypocrisy is not my pint of beer (tea is nice but at this very moment I’m thinking of a pint of sweet dark beer). If I wanted others to picture me as a saint I would tell you that I consider frugality a virtue, but I really don’t care that much about your opinion (it is one of the reasons why I will probably never become a good salesman, I just don’t care enough.) Since I always doubt the veracity of dignity myself, I don’t offer that kind of rubbish to anyone. Besides I don’t like saints, the Devil is a trickster but at least he’s not a hypocrite. The truth behind my moderate lifestyle is poverty; it’s as simple as that.
We don’t have the letter or the sound of ‘w’ in Icelandic and when I was a child I did not distinguish between w and v. Actually, I still mix them up. One of my first homemade language theories was that there must be some cryptic connection between the words power and poverty because to me they sounded the same. I found it so ironic that poverty neither provides you with power nor does it result from power or strength. On the contrary, it deprives you of the illusion that you ever had some. Maybe that’s the beauty of it, you may, in spite of knowing that it is entirely your own fault, feel cowed when you don’t see how you are going to survive the next month, but then on the other hand, seeing your life for what it really is, also gives you that false, yet empowering feeling of wisdom. So there is some inscrutable connection after all.
So, I feel old and wise, but just for a minute or so. Most of the time it´s more like old and rejected. To tell you the truth I’ve been struck by a depressive palsy for the last couple of weeks, not depressed in the meaning ‘sick and can be cured by prozac´ but nevertheless inactive, sad and utterly unable to use the magic that used to work. Depressed in the meaning constantly thinking; why am I here, not doing anything useful? Living in a place where people get exhilarated when the ice cream truck passes? Why am I not accomplishing my mission like the rest of the world? Probably because my mission is not practical. I wanted to be a poet (I still want that, yes I’m naive) and it’s not that I lack talent and neither am I feckless, but apparently, doors tend to slam as I approach.
So here I am. Poor, underestimated, not innocent of self-pity which makes me even more pathetic. And then I’m single and as much as I need solitude, I still hate sleeping alone. Well, there was Bjartur of course…
Google translates Bjartur as Bright. In Icelandic. Bjartur is a name but it is also an adjective, which means not ‘sharp’ like in English, but ‘sunny’. In one of Iceland’s most significant novels’ ’Independent People’, the main character’s name is Bjartur. He’s not of a sunny nature, not at all. He is harsh and rigid, very concerned about his independence and his dogged decision of never owing anything to anyone, makes his family’s entire life a living hell.
My Bjartur is a sweet and sunny character but when I first met him, he was so concerned about his independence, that his reluctance to ask or even accept any kind of favor from me and my family was almost laughable. He would do his laundry in a bucket outside the house, rather than accept my sister’s kind offer to use her washing machine. And so I started to call him Bjartur. He finally learned that most people are actually happy to help you out and it does not mean that you owe them for the rest of your life. Healed from the independence complex he remains joyful and sweet, and so he is still Bjartur as in Sunny.
Bjartur/Sunny moved to Norway last August. I was spending a few weeks there during the winter because we had, very foolishly, decided to get married. Predictably, things didn´t work out so I returned to Denmark. It’s not his fault, we just have nothing in common. If I wanted to find a culprit I would have to pick myself because after all he’s young and optimistic but I am forty-and-old-enough-to-know-better. Even if I knew we were hardly a match, I didn’t accept reality (story of my life).
Sunny is right wired. I mean his brain. He does not understand my hyper-logical way of thinking (most people are very far from being logical and that is good) and he never will, and it wouldn’t be fair to expect him to. And I myself, I’m relaxed and easy to live with as long as I don´t love you too much, but giving someone the power to hurt me scares the shit out of me because usually, they do, so being afraid is just logical. My nonchalant nature vapors when I love someone. I feel hurt and rejected for petty reasons and in order to protect myself, I get defensive and skittish. And then I don’t have Sunny’s light sense of humor but on the other hand, I can be kind of caustic. Sunny does not deserve that kind of demeanor and I can’t live with someone who thinks I’m an alien. So I decided, rather than destroying what we had, to move on.
And here I am again, not really moving on, just wasting my life, in a tiny village, living with two cats and a self-grown devil, a bit unhappy for the moment and wondering how to pay the rent.
It is not that I don’t like Denmark. I do, even though the last two winters have been just as snowy as in Iceland. I am close to my sister and her family and there is nothing wrong with this place. But it is not stimulating and if it wasn’t for the internet, I doubt that a brain scan would show any activity at all. I have some intellectual conversations with my cats but I suppose that most people would call it a monologue and while monologues are appropriate on stage, I guess that frequent soliloquies in the quiet of my home, might be considered as a sign of something far worse than a lack of competitive interlocutors.
Emotional calamity and cerebral death. Not a healthy marriage that replaced my devil Mouldy when he grew too big for my head. I’m not bored though and in most senses, my life is actually pleasant. I’m writing and enjoying it and I don’t need much more. But I don’t get paid for writing. Couldn’t sell a roasted steak to a starving stray dog and I am on the edge of surrender. I could learn sale tactics but that is not enough, I don’t have that luminous personality that selling requires.
Even when I feel like a shit I know that Dev is not that evil. He’s just a trickster who gets his kick out of giving you some puzzles to solve, especially when you are not in the mood for it. And after all, to every puzzle there is a solution, to every locked door, there is a key. Maybe I’m squandering my time by writing but practicing my English skills can hardly be a waste of time. One doesn’t really need to be strong to carry on in one way or another. There is simply no other choice, so strength and endurance aren’t even relevant. The only choice you ever have is how.