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‘So That French Guy walks in a Bar in Oslo’ & learns not to ‘Take Life lightly’. A tale to inspire by @JeanWadier on http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk

So That French Guy walks in a Bar in Oslo

That year, I decided to stay in Stavanger on the West Coast of Norway, as I had heard a lot of good things about the City –especially from Isioma Daniel, the journalist .

And, let’s face it: Norway is a very expensive country. You can take your life’s savings with you and you are lucky if you can stay one (1) month, one (1) week …

So, here I was, after a few months on a farm, I had enough NOKs – Norwegian kroners- to travel some and stay some time in Oslo. I considered settling for a while in Norway (Norge Ubergresent)as a friend -musician offered to bustle in the streets of Oslo: I would have taken care of the money thing (picking up coins ans hopefully, bills people would leave while she played and sang). She is a music teacher and the deal seemed extremely exciting until she decided to retire in a monastery in the South of France for a while; c’est la vie …

One night, I was in this bar and talking with the bartender. As custom has it, I exhausted the usual routine conversations: Norway, Scandinavia, Finland, the Northen/ Norsk languages, Iceland, etc.

“I’m from Iceland ” he mentioned as I was sipping my first beer

“Oh yeah?” –said I, wondering very quickly what to say next and what I knew about this country.

“Well, Icelandic women are supposed to be beautiful, are they not? “I dumbly suggested — as if women are not beautiful in all Scandinavian countries ?

As if women are not supposed to be beautiful in All Nordic Countries, in Finland and Iceland …

As if women … As if all women are not supposed to be beautiful , period … should I add now, before my feminist friend kicks me where it hurts! yes, thats’ what I meant …

Yes, what a sexist cliché, right? Woman = Beautiful

Man = Ugly & Dumb …

Well, anyway, here we were discussing various stupid things – such as Iceland, Vulcanoes, Ice and Fire, Bjork (another feminist cliché) and languages: Norsk, Icelandic.

« Actually, I happen to know of one Icelandic poet: Gerthur Kristny. »

“Who ?” –retorted my Icelandic bartender. “Gerdur Krristny “, I tried again, rolling my ‘r’s and stresssing the ‘th’ which may be better pronounced as ‘d’ by a foreigner.

Oh ” G –K –” he repeated the name.

Yes, exactly.

I was exhausted by then, as the second beer usually kills me and that’s how far my bar/pub exploits usually end.

” I actually know Gerthur Kristny ”

-“Oh, really ? ” thinking: yeah, right …but the thought hit me that Iceland is, in deed, a very small country- Population: 300 000 inhabitants.

And it was very possible that a French Guy would walk in a bar …

and, during a conversation, mention the only Icelandic person he knew and that the bartender he was talking to … would know that person.

I don’ t think I said that aloud, but, might have commented on « how friendly Iceland is » .. And, « how connected people seem, much more so than in Europe. »

« Well, the barman continued – actually, she was my roommate when I was a student in Rejkjavik » (yeah, right -again)

« -Well, of course! » or « well, really? » -more likely.

As I was getting really pissed, and my ‘discernement’, as they say in my Cartesian homecountry, was starting to fade.

« Yeah, she lived across my room in the hallway »

Did he say? « she lived in the same house »

or« she lived across the street » maybe, « she was my roommate »

Remember, the conversation took place

a) between an Icelandic bartender and a French translator travelling in Scandinavia

b) the conversation included 1- French words 2- English 3-Icelandic and other words with a very tired host under the influence of err, alcohol.

I should have said: “Oh, actually, I know GK very well” …

would I be the Boisterous Gallic type. But, I just muttered: ” I have read a couple of poems by GK”

The truth is: I have known the existence of GK since the Icelandic Revolution.

You may remember: a few years ago, Iceland went bankrupt and the whole country …

(for those people/readers

who have not been following: Iceland ‘s population is : 300 000 people)

The whole country erupted then; riots ensued and large crowds would convene every day in front of the Parliament

and speeches were held, in Icelandic, that is …

G K was among the speakers and she was that woman I watched once on YouTube

on the Internet

She seemed irate, very articulate

and uttered words which seemed un-be-lie-va-ble

How on earth could a woman, any person

pronounced such words?

It was beyond my understanding !

I have had enough trouble with English, and at college

–at the time when Gerthur and her bartender were attending Rejkjavik University

I could remember fighting-verbally- with a phonetics prof ‘

who held us in contempt and thought that Linguistics

shoud be a compulsory credit;

He thus tortured us every week

with un-speakable deeds, demanding tests … and other un-believable requirements

involving the ‘Prayer’ in Old English

which may sound actually like Old Norsk

I dare not say: which sounds like Old Norsk

for fear that this Old Prof would come back haunting me with a whip.

Anyway, back to Icelandic, Iceland and Gerthur Kristny and the bartender in Oslo –

which was my topic today, right?

GK made those speeches and I finally sent her a note

“What’s happening?

I heard/watched your speech today …

what is it you’re saying?

she kindly responded that it had to do

with the Revolution, people were fed up

with the bankers and a few other things.

That’s how I was familiar with her name

and even read one of her poems

aptly called: The Prayer.

I did make it back to my hotel that night

as Icelandic Gods and Godesses filled my dreams or –were they nightmares?

And, I woke up, went back home a few days later.

I sent a Wish Well card –or Happy New Year card to Ms. GK a few months later;

and I did mention the Oslo episode. She responded:

======================

Dear Jean!

This is such a special story for me because the bartender Fúsi (as we used to call him) died a few weeks ago. His classmates met again at his funeral. He was a special teenager, very intelligent.

All the best

Gerður

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I read her note and almost cried. I could have fainted or drunk another couple of beers.

This memory might have faded away somewhat; My Blog about Iceland is now closed: to my eternal shame, Vox –the Blog-host, at the time, collapsed;

[ no connection with Iceland’s bankruptcy ]

they warned everybody but I paid no heed …

So, Iceland went kaput, my (2) Blogs with Vox vanished into cyberspace;

the other one was devoted to Tea and Tea-ism * and was called Camellia Sinensis

but I’ll never forget that night and I learned a couple of things:

Never Take Anything for Granted !

The bartender you’re talking with is a hero of sorts

The Poet you wrote to is a Creator

and, yes, he/she will understand you, she will read your words.

You may think otherwise and Take Life lightly:

Don’t.

We are all Human Beings; We are all connected.

Have another beer;

Fúsi is with us.

 ©2013 Jean Wadier

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