Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So Saturday Icelanders went to the polls and elected themselves a couple a new people and a lot of the same old pack.
I spent the day cleaning up both "my" garden and the upstairs neighbor's garden, put a second coat of paint and some more plaster up in my kitchen, studied for my tests, did laundry, and cleaned the place up.
All this after putting up a sign about the futility of elections in the driveway right across from the polling station.
I spent the day with a slightly guilty feeling of moral superiority.
After all, I don't vote. I don't vote because I hate having to choose the lesser of multiple evils, and because taking part in such a system legitimizes said evils. Basically, I have to go with Ol' George Carlin on this one. Its not people who don't vote who "can't complain", its the people that do. After all, they took part in and helped legitimize this bullshit.
I had planned on the sign reading "The definition of irrationality is to do the same thing over and over but expect different results", 'cause really, in the long run, that's what politics is. It didn't quite fit.
Then later that night, Ragnar unexpectedly arrived from Caracas looking to hit the town. So I met him at Rosenberg, listened to a great concert, started blowing money on beer, went with him to friggin' B5 of all places (where my intense hatred of all things Yuppie nearly got me thrown out), then English pub (where I blew 3000+ krona on the magical beer spinny thingy) and finally wound up on my own at Dubliner, where I proceeded to get my Capt. Ahab on*.
It didn't work.
I wound up tired and cranky and broke at 7am in friggin Amsterdam of all places before finally deciding to haul my ass home.
Now, going out to see a friend I rarely get to see is one thing. Going out a concert, ditto. But I don't even like going out when I'm shizzle-faced anymore.
But I keep doing it.
Following exactly the same pattern.
Hoping beyond hope that this time the result will be different. Some heavenly creature will fall into my arms and all will be hearts and orgasims.
Just like the voters I quietly mocked earlier that day.
Hey, I'm black kettle...
* C'on! If you can't figure that one out, you're reading the wrong blog...
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I'm in a pissy mood.
Not angry, not enraged, not activated.
Early Icelandic "spring" tends to bring this on. It teases you with a few fine days and then dumps more snow on your sunny dreams, while assignments and finals loom like storm clouds over the month of May.
It makes trivial trials harder to bear, like getting cussed out by my corpulent upstairs neighbor for keeping my recyclables, or in his words, trash, in "his" part of the heat-room. Never mind that I keep that place so much cleaner than before I moved in (what with removing the rank and rotting rubbish that my landlady tended to throw in there, being to lazy to take it out herself), sweeping regularly, and all that. Never mind that I cleaned up the building scrap he threw out of his second story window into the front lawn. Never mind that I keep the walkways and driveway snow free so his elderly mother doesn't break a hip getting to her taxi, or that he's left an old TV on my porch, keeps a rusty old car packed full of boxes in his driveway, and has never lifted a figure to help clean the place up.
I moved my recyclables out to the garage. I'd spent weeks getting it cleaned up and organized last summer, so I could use the covered space for remodeling work. Its now full of my landlady's daughter's stuff.
All this is annoying. But what has finally pushed me over the edge is, as usual, politics.
The revolution is dead.
Actually, it was still-born.
As soon as the old government fell, everyone seemingly gave up. After all, we have the chance to elect the same old parties into power under the same old corrupt rules! Yay!
And while folks continue to struggle, while unemployment grows, banks continue to crash, businessmen award themselves bonuses while cutting employee pay, the "revolutionary" government of red/green beaurocrats passes laws to re-criminalise strip clubs, makes noise about re-criminalising boxing, and continues to "work" with the IMF.
The police, bless 'em, focus on expelling asylum seekers, hunting down marijuana farms, and confiscating poker tables, while the útrassavikingar continue to drain the country dry, siphoning cash off to tax-paradises while the powers that be argue about gender quotas.
Það er vont en það venst.
Oh sure, the peacenixs still got out to protest the 60th anniversary of NATO, and (here I'm not criticizing in the least) a series of protests has pointed out Iceland's self-serving and stealthily racist policy on asylum seekers, but is anyone planning anything in solidarity with the G20 protests?
Apparently just me.
So I sent out the call on the internets. And showed up to find the square empty. Walked around, listening for the rhythmic sound of pots pounded with spoons and the clang of house-ware revolution. I stood over the spots where you can still see the scorching from January's fires, now slowly filling in with half-frozen spring grass. I sat down with my pack full of improvised noise-makers and folded up signage, smoked my pipe, and fought the urge to just give up.
I don't blame anyone for not showing. Its not like I made a particularly coherent or moving call. Its not like I gave folks time. I sent the thing out last night around 9.
Hell, I showed up an hour late.
Because my corpulent neighbor needed me to shift my recycling so he could fit his fat ass into the boiler room and fiddle with the valves.
Apparently 45C wasn't hot enough for him.
I'm starting to see why Icelanders are so prone to self-serving stoicism. Its so much easier to roll with the punches than try to punch back...