To people who have lived outside of Iceland their whole life, bus stations are generally associated with dirt, putrid bodily fluids and sour-looking people. Nevertheless, precisely because grimy depots are the perfect stage for sordid encounters, one can always find a good story there.
Hlemmur, the downtown bus station, is currently undergoing renovations, which include sweeping all homeless people and local alcoholics away with a shiny bulldozer to make everybody feel more comfortable with their own sense of guilt. Thus, I thought I’d look into BSÍ coach terminal for a little night-tinted drama.
The ode lives upon the ideal…
It’ almost midnight when I get there: I’m meeting Viggó, a young sharp kid who works at the Flybus counter and has been pointed out to me as “goofy enough to provide a good story.” One minute in and I’m already bored. Poor Viggó has no idea what I’m talking about: “It’s just always very quiet here, I’m sorry!”
I can’t believe it. No night drama? No people punching each other in the throat? No exhibitionists jumping onto the car rental counter and showering the public with filth? Viggó (who refuses to be caught on camera) looks at me with wide eyes as if I were coming from another planet. “No, nothing like that,” he tells me in dismay. “Oh wait, once a tourist came in because he was lost and couldn’t find his terminal but all the information was on his ticket! Does that count?”
…the drama upon the real
As I look at a woman snoring while waiting for a coach, I reckon it’s more dead here than in Selfoss on a Saturday night.
Then it dawns on me: What if he’s lying? I imagine all sort of debauchery: perhaps the bus station is hiding some Lynchian sex party under its floors. Maybe if I move one row of chairs to either left or right I’ll be able to open a secret passage to an underground world of secret fight clubs and smoky gambling tables put together by that old Hlemmur-based crusty cadre. Either that or perhaps Reykjavík has already reached the peak of its boring existence and there’s no rock bottom to touch, from now on.