I Want My Hat Back

Waves crashing over the sea wall onto the waterfront path.

The wind, oh the wind wind wind wind wind wind. Oh the roaring and boring of the wind deep in to my bones in to my soul. Oh the wind wind wind wind wind wind.

Edgar Allan Poe should have written about wind instead of bells. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s really strange that he didn’t. Maybe he did and I just can’t think of it because I haven’t slept in days. Whatever historical fact may be, it is certain that if Poe had lived in Reykjavík, he would have written about wind.

Until the wind picked up, the weather here was almost identical to the weather in Seattle. But when the wind would gust, it cut right through whatever layers you were wearing as if you had on a bathing suit. On Tuesday, the wind became a constant series of gusts and those of us foreign guests started to wonder if we could actually be feeling Sandy this far East. While chatting post-interview on Tuesday with Gísli of Beneath, I asked about the wind.

“No, it’s no storm. It’s always windy in Reykjavík, even in the summer.”

The tent covering the outdoor bar behind KEX was damaged by the wind.

The wind was stronger on Wednesday, and as I walked between venues I swore to buy a pair of those Icelandic wool gloves at the next shop I walked by. I did, paying a fortune for a pair of wool gloves with the name of the knitter on the tag. They helped, but the wind still cut through.

On Thursday, it was wind like I’ve never experienced. People in cars might have suspected I was on drugs, standing at odd angles on the sidewalk, running a few meters and then stopping abruptly, laughing madly the whole time. In reality, I was laughing at the absurdity of being unable to walk steadily down the street. Walking along, a gust of wind would come up behind me, and without meaning to, I would run, pushed forward by the wind, until the gust was gone. Then, a few steps later, the wind would change direction and blow head-on. Suddenly, I would take a step and find that I couldn’t move forward, as if my feet were glued down.

Roofs were damaged by the wind.

But the worst was Thursday night (technically Friday morning) on the way back to KEX Hostel from the Of Monsters and Men show. Crossing the street, I started to take a step, and before I put my foot down, the wind pushed me forward so hard that my back foot lifted off the ground. It was only half a second, and only the distance of a long step, but the wind actually lifted me off the ground.

I was wearing my knit ski cap tucked underneath a hoodie I wore under my coat. When walking into the wind, I would cover my face with my gloved hands, pushing the hoodie against my ears to keep the wind from blowing it back. After the wind lifted me up, it pushed me, running, across the street where I turned onto the sidewalk.  At the same time, the wind shifted directions and hit me full in the face. The hood blew back and my ski cap blew off my head. By the time I turned around, my hat was 20 meters away and had crossed two lanes of traffic. I watched as cars ran over it and it continued to blow further down the street and out of sight with two big gusts of wind. Is less than three seconds, my hat was out of sight.

When I finally arrived back at the hostel, I had to pull the door open with both hands, and instead of a foot in the door, I pushed in my knee so that I could use the strength of my leg to pull the door open wide enough to pass through. It was only back in the room that I realized I was panting and shaking – not like someone who just came in from a run, but like someone who just came in from a run-in with a bad guy.

By now it was nearly 2 am, and I mercifully had until 1 pm before I was supposed to be anywhere. Friday was scheduled to be my latest night, so I was looking forward to sleeping in. The wind was quite audible, so I put in earplugs and went to bed. I could still hear the wind.


Drums. Drums in the deep.

My sleep was disturbed by an irregular drumming. I dreamed that I had slept until late the next day, or had gone to bed too soon, and that bands I really wanted to see were performing downstairs. Finally, convinced that I had missed Sólstafir’s show in the KEX lobby, I woke. It was 8:05 and the wind had picked up since last night. There was a strange clanging noise that seemed to be coming from the window. My only guess was that the kegs on the patio bar 2 floors below were clanging together. In any case, sleep was no longer an option.

I took out my earplugs and crossed the hall to the showers in the interior of the building. As I stood in the shower, I could still hear the drumming. At breakfast, I asked about the wind again.

The girl behind the counter smiled and said, “Yes, it’s a storm. Storms are normal this time of year.”

I swear, I’m going to buy the next Icelandic wool cap I see.


One thought on “I Want My Hat Back

  1. Pingback: I Want My Hat Back, Redux « gemmaDalexander

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