"No Icelander would ever dress like that, ever," says streetpooperwatcher Sara María Júlíusdóttir
This morning, we posted an amusing bit of news about a local designer, Sara María Júlíusdóttir, who observed an elderly man, which she claimed to be a tourist, pooping outside the boutiqe she manages, Kirsuberjatréð. “Tourist Poops Outside Storefront” proved quite the hit with you readers, providing plenty of clicks and ‘likes’ (537 and counting!) while asserting Reykjavík Grapevine’s position as the discerning reader’s highbrow publication of choice.
However, some of our many Facebook friends took offense to Sara María’s assertion that the streetpooper in question was indeed a tourist. “How did she know for sure it was a tourist?” one alarmed commenter asked, while another took the story and accompanying Facebook post to be in line with this tourist publication’s long-standing tradition of “tourist blaming.”
Here, see for yourself:
Now, this is serious business. While our writers and staff enjoy poking fun of everyone: tourists, Icelanders, útlendingars, animals and various vegetables, we certainly don’t want to come off as if we’re unfairly framing people just for the sake of cheap laughs and 537 ‘likes’ (and counting!). We just took Sara María’s complaint about the incident at face value, and – perhaps keeping in mind last year’s story of the tourist bus operator who dumped an entire busload of poop on Selfoss. – thought we’d remind our wonderful visitors, many of whom seek information through our publication, that we have many fine facilities where one can rid oneself of bodily waste.
Still. Our Facebook friends are right. We cannot unfairly accuse tourists of indiscriminately pooping on our downtown streets without even knowing for sure that the streetpooper in question was a tourist. Seeking to make amends and answer some of the more burning questions regarding the streetpooper and his alleged tourist-status, we called up Sara María in an attempt to uncover the truth of the matter. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Hi Sara. Let’s get right to business. How can you be so sure the pooper in question was a tourist?
There is no doubt in my mind that this particular man was a tourist. I am 100% certain of the fact. Basically, this was a very elderly man dressed from top to bottom in tourist attire, every thread on his body just screamed that he was a tourist. He had a windbreaker tied around his waist, a fanny pack, and even an adorable little tourist hat. He kind of looked like he wandered off from a group of seniors.
Did you confirm his touristdom by speaking to him?
No. I didn’t. I was frankly a little too shocked to speak. But [co-worker] Dísa actually watched him drop trou and do his business – wiping and all – from the street. She looked as if she had seen a ghost. She was all pale. Eventually she regained her posture and went to go talk to him, to ask him to clean up his mess.
And did she ask him?
By this point, he had been standing eerily still for like ten minutes outside the library, smelling his fingers. She approached him, but as she stood there in front of him trying to get his attention, he didn’t register her presence at all. Eventually she just gave up and walked away.
But how can you be so sure he was a tourist? Couldn’t he have just been a Reykjavík senior, trying to rile up local anti-tourist sentiments?
Again. I am 100% certain this man was a tourist. 150%, even. I’ve lived in Reykjavík for a long, long time, and I’ve seen my share of tourists during that time. And that man was a tourist. No local would ever dress like that, ever. I mean, he had on a fanny pack.
Some of our Facebook friends claim that this sort of behaviour is more typical of Icelanders than tourists. Could you envision an local streetpooping like that?
A severely intoxicated local, during the weekend, for sure. Not on a Tuesday morning, though.
Are you prejudiced against tourists?
Not at all! I love tourists! They bring life to the city! In fact, I am known among my friends for offering my couch to random tourists I encounter on Laugavegur when the weather’s crappy, so they don’t have to spend the night in a tent being all cold and wet.
As for the streetpooper, I just imagine he had a little accident and didn’t know what to do. He must have had an upset stomach and needed to solve the problem quickly – and judging by his attire he wasn’t quite certain whether he was somewhere in the Swiss Alps or in downtown Reykjavík. I’m sure he’s terribly embarrassed, and I just hope he’s feeling better now.