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Icelanders dissected

Right. So now that I’ve waxed all lyrical about the Icelandic nation and the glory of independence and blablabla, I think it may be time to come down to earth for a short while and dissect the Icelandic national psyche in an effort to find Ten Glaring Flaws.

And so, in random order, and completely subjective, and undoubtedly filled with sweeping generalizations, I give you the Icelandic national psyche exposed:

1. Icelanders are horrible drivers. It’s true.

2. Icelandic men have no talent for hitting on women. They just don’t. They’re either too shy or too drunk.

3. Icelandic men don’t hold doors open for women. Say there’s a door, and a man and a woman reach the door at approximately the same time, the man will barge ahead and squeeze ahead of the woman, frequently shoving her aside in his zealous effort to be first. Similarly, Icelandic men see no point in helping women on with their coats or lighting their cigarettes or whatever. After all, women are equal to men, right?

4. Icelanders are terrible at recycling. They throw newspapers, bottles, furniture and electronic equipment into the household trash. Through a serious effort on behalf of the municipalities, however, they’ve finally managed to learn that toxic things like batteries must be disposed of in the proper locations.

5. Icelanders do everything at the last minute. I am not kidding. As a freelance translator and copy editor, at least 80% of the assignments I get are for things that needed to be done yesterday.

6. Icelanders are binge workers. They work a lot and often in spurts. They like it that way. It’s a throwback to the days when ships came in with the catch and everybody who was physically able was required to pitch in and work like a dog until the work was done. A lot of Icelanders say they can’t get anything done unless they’re right on a deadline.

7. Icelanders are compulsive spenders. This is a throwback to the days when inflation was so high [a mere couple of decades ago] that you needed to spend your money as soon as you got it, otherwise it would just… disappear. So saving is not big over here. Whereas being maxed out on your credit card is.

8. Icelanders love new gadgets. In this regard I believe they were separated at birth from the Japanese. As soon as something new hits, everybody has to have it. Mobile phone manufacturers do a rip-roaring business over here, let me tell you. As do the makers of Monster Jeeps.

9. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is a national pastime in this country. ‘Wot? Jón across the way has a new Land Cruiser? Whell how about a new Hummer, eh Gunna? On payments, of course.’

10. Icelanders’ favourite motto is: ‘Þetta reddast!’ Which loosely translated means, ‘It’ll work out in one way or another.’ Icelanders place enormous faith in Providence, frequently with disastrous results. But you have to give them credit for being cool.

… Which suddenly has turned nasty and cold. Who authorized this, please? We have summer, and then suddenly bam! it turns all windy and icky on us. OK, it’s 10pm and the sun has just come out as well it should as it is the longest day of the year and will be all downhill from now on. Which may or may not explain YT’s disgruntled mood – I much prefer ‘into the light’ over ‘into the darkness’. But what can you do when you live in a shoe? Current temps are 9°C [shrug. adequate I suppose] and the sun came up at 02.54, goes down at 24.05.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nela June 10, 2008, 1:47 am

    What you say about icelandic men IT’S 100% TRUE!!!!!!!!!! lol!!!

  • Jessie August 6, 2008, 7:18 pm

    ^^ Haha! What she said! 🙂

  • pageturners September 26, 2008, 7:16 am

    Very funny! They must have been separated at birth from the Irish too.

  • pageturners September 26, 2008, 7:17 am

    By the way, your ‘horrible drivers’ link is broken.

  • tara November 26, 2008, 12:06 pm

    Wow…I just came upon this…it´s so true and hilarious! I wanted to check out the horrible drivers link, but as someone mentioned, it´s broken…

  • alda November 26, 2008, 12:12 pm

    Sorry about the broken link – it’s fixed now!

  • Deirdre February 4, 2009, 7:45 pm

    I’d be very interested to know which of these traits have changed in the past 4 years, and in what ways they’ve changed! Any chance you could revisit this list??

  • awambawamb April 12, 2009, 11:01 pm

    lol…. i’m planning to come in Iceland, possibly with my car. but i think it’ll be better to rent one 😛 i wouldn’t like to wake up in the morning and find it “2 sizes smaller”.

  • Cal August 4, 2009, 12:42 pm

    I have a few friends from Iceland and am Dying to move there, though I’ve never been. Speak alittle of the language though. How is the job market for non local nationals right now? Especially Americans?

  • alda August 4, 2009, 12:50 pm

    Cal – depends what kinds of skills you have. As an American you’d need to have a job first before you can get a work permit and that can be pretty tough since Icelanders and EEA nationals would have first priority.

    You could post your question in the forums, though. Others might have good feedback for you.

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