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Trailers: the new foot massagers

Icelanders are notorious for their indiscriminate love of new gadgetry. One of the running jokes of this society is the electric foot massager debacle that happened one Christmas when there was a massive sale in electric foot massagers because it happened to be the indispensable household item of the day. A decade later, practically every other home in Iceland had an unused foot massager buried somewhere in the nether regions of their storage rooms.

The proverbial foot massager has appeared in some way, shape or form for decades. The fact is that Icelanders are incredibly impressionable – a bit like crows, they swoop down en masse on anything new and shiny. And over the years, as this nation has acquired more wealth, the ‘new and shiny’ has become ‘new and shiny and increasingly expensive’. When I was a teenager, I remember ten-speed bikes being the thing; the next year it was VCRs. Today it’s ever-larger SUVs and – the de rigueur gadget of the day – camper trailers.

Being hopelessly lame when it comes to chasing trends, EPI and didn’t know what had hit us last week when practically every other vehicle we met on our travels was pulling a trailer. I’m not exaggerating. We stopped at the campsite in Tálknafjörður and – lo and behold – there was hardly a single tent to be seen. It was all SUVs and trailers. We just looked at each other in amazement … the last time we were there, three years ago, there were tents everywhere. And now – not one.

On returning home, a brief report in one of the papers confirmed what we already knew: trailers are the new foot massagers and they’re selling like hotcakes. The report also quoted a campsite employee in Borgarnes [west Iceland] who said that, “the only people who pitch tents any more are teenagers and tourists.” Mmm. Quite. I must say I was very pleased to see that my favourite cartoonist, as ever, has his finger on the pulse, for a couple of days later, this appeared in Blaðið:

I rest my case.

G’head, I dare you to say the above word out loud. What it means, of course, is that our annual ‘Labour Day’ weekend is upon us, and half the people residing in the capital are out of town in their camper trailers getting loaded at some outdoor festival or other. Meanwhile, this is the time of year when YT and her clan love staying at home, because you feel like you have the city all to yourself. [That said, there was an annoying number of shoppers in the Kringlan Mall today]. Unfortunately the weather isn’t being entirely cooperative – there’s a nasty wind blowing that is awfully cold and makes me feel like fall is already upon us. The Icelandic summer: blink and you’ll miss it. Temps right now are a blustery 9°C [48F plus windchill] and sunrise was at
4:43 am, sunset at 10:22 pm.