Picture, if you will, a beautiful autumn day. Crisp and bright, with a brisk but friendly breeze. The sort of day that you want to spend outdoors. That was the kind of day we had last Friday (before all this tropical storm nonsense). I had a bit of time before Mark and I went to see Iceland’s first World Cup Qualifier Match against Norway (spoiler: they won!), and so decided to make extra productive use of that time by taking a quick ‘wog’ along the seaside path behind my house. If you are not familiar with ‘wogging’ (which would be sensible, because I think I just made it up), it’s a form of moderate physical exertion in which the less sporty of us walk-jog for an extended period of time, with particular emphasis on walking whilst much out of breath. (I know running is supposed to be the sport of the masses, but man, it’s hard.)
Anyhow, I’m wogging along, appreciating the wonderful view and reveling in the spontaneous high five I received from a passing runner when I was in the middle of a particularly good–albeit very short-lived–sprint. After about half an hour, I start making my way back to the apartment while watching all the people around me who are also out to enjoy the nice weather. The elderly couple walking arm and arm just in front of me. The bearded, be-sweatered fellow and his gigantic baby pram. The happy looking family headed in my direction: a man, woman, and young boy who is skipping along a wall that has been built up along a portion of the path. I slow to a walk again, much out of breath, and by this time rather sweaty. I’m fiddling with my headphones and re-tightening my ponytail when I actually pass the aforementioned family group. And realize that the man, in his hip sunglasses, is actually Jón Gnarr, the mayor of Reykjavík.
I think I get double points for this particular celebrity sighting because Jón Gnarr is not only the mayor of Reykjavík (swell mayor, too; see here, here, here), he’s also a very prominent actor, comedian, and author in Iceland. If you’re interested, you might check out the very popular TV series he starred in, Næturvaktin (Night Shift), which was followed by Dagvaktin (Day Shift) and Fangavaktin (Prison Shift). Night Shift was generally about “the lives of three employees working at a petrol station on Laugavegur in Reykjavík,” primarily Jón Gnarr’s character, “[t]he eccentric supervisor and communist Georg Bjarnfreðarson.” So far, I have only found the TV series for sale online, but the enterprising among you can no doubt plumb the depths of the internet better than I can.
Anyway, because I am a super-cool and unaffected New Yorker type, I did not stop Mister Mayor on his walk with his family, nor did I turn around and stare at him, like the elderly couple. Instead, I started wogging again, the better to get home as quickly as possible to tell Mark about the famous person I had just seen.