Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Out To Lunch"

With Dr. M uncharacteristically available during the daytime – the woman still works; somebody in the family has to – we went to lunch at nearby bakery/slash/restaurant called Gjusta.  (Not the name of a prescription medicine treating toenail fungus.  Though it easily could be.)

After ordering lunch at the counter – to be delivered to our patio table – we went outside to locate a table for them to deliver it to.  It turned out to be extremely crowded out there.  Apparently, a lot of people eat lunch at the same time.  Who knew?  Traditionally lunching at home, I eat whenever I feel like it, including, occasionally, at ten-thirty in the morning.  You can do that when you have no one to answer to but yourself.

ME:  “I’m hungry.”

ME:  “Go eat.”

With out beverages in hand, we look around the patio for a place to sit down.  Suddenly, we see a middle-aged man waving his hand, inviting us to share his and, as we will soon learn, his son’s – not entirely occupied picnic table.

We head over there, thank the gentleman for his kindness, and sit down at the table.  Almost immediately, I hear the man speaking to his offspring in an unidentifiable patios.

When the Dad exits into the restaurant, I ask the son, in my inimitable brusqueness,

“What language was that?”

“Icelandic,” he replies.

Wow, I respond, both inwardly and perhaps outwardly as well.  I have never heard Icelandic before.  I then ask how many people there are in Iceland.

“Four hundred thousand.”

(His father later says three hundred thousand, so either he is unaware of a hundred thousand other people on the island, or one of them is off by twenty-five percent.  Either way, when I am informed that nobody else speaks that language – not the Norwegians, not inhabitants of Greenland – it comes to mind that it seems like a lot of work to make up a entirely separate language for such a limited number of people. 

Greenlanders, I come learn, are fifty-five thousand strong, and they have their own language as well.  Why do they bother?  I do not mention this out loud, as there are apparently boundaries to my rudeness, although I am never exactly sure where.  Besides, they had offered to share their table.)

(Follow-Up Info:  I am informed, however, that if you woke up a dead Viking, they would understand exactly what they were saying.  So there’s that.)

We soon learn that father and son had traveled from Iceland to go to a Tony Robbins seminar.  Is that what you assumed they were doing here?  If you did, Number One:  Nice going.  And Number Two: How could you possibly have assumed that!?!

After the obligatory Tony Robbins Seminar question:

“Did you walk on hot coals?”


And after a substandard “bonding effort” – where I announced that my haircutter Matthew also cuts Tony Robbins’ hair – we ask if they had traveled thousands of miles to hear Tony Robbins bolster their Icelandic spirits, or was there something further on their agenda as well.

”It was just for the seminar”, we are told.

As the conversation continues, we learn that the son manages a “hamburger joint” in Berlin and that the Dad owns a substantial chain of hamburger emporia around the world.  (Including the one in Berlin, where the son imaginably said, “Can I run that one?” and his father said, “Sure.”  Or maybe it was the other way around.  “Son, I want you to sell hamburgers to Germans!”  What I knew was the conversation was inevitably in Icelandic.)

Before finishing our lunch, we reveal that we will likely be visiting London – where we knew Dad had one of his a “hamburger joints” – in May.  The Dad immediately produces a business card, writing down on it – in English – “Two complimentary hamburgers”, confirming his generosity with his personal signature.

We now had an additional incentive for traveling to London –

Hamburgers on the house!

After recommending several “hamburger joints” they could try in L.A. – we said goodbye to our tablemates, and departed the premises, with me, buoyantly thinking,

“Look what happens when you get out of the house for lunch!”

Of course, I did have to put on some pants.

But, you know, there is a price to be paid for everything.
"In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row
What then comes next I do not know..."

But I remember who needs to be remembered on Remembrance Day.

And I humbly salute them for their efforts.

I hear "The Las Post" in my ears,

And stick a flag in my front yard.

It is the least I can do.

But I feel required to do something.


Pidge said...

Let's hope the Icelandeers saw a few more 'sites' in LA than the conference. To come so far and miss Disneyland or Universal Studios...or, on the other hand, the Getty and Concert Hall, not to mention your own, special Santa Monica Pier.
Your buddy and I once stopped in Rochester NY to see the Kodak/Eastman museum/house and found ourselves at a quaint B&B where the other guests, from New Zealand, were attending a "spiritualist's convention" (they see dead people and talk to them, etc.). When we asked them if they planned to pop over to see Niagara Falls...a mere hour away...they said they didn't have time!

Pidge said...

Here's a little link for you re: "In Flanders' Fields" on the news today 'up here'.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I love the idea that they were speaking in patios instead of a patois.

They're so lucky you're not me: I'd have wanted to tell them about the articles I've written explaining the physcis of firewalking. It's not at all a mind over matter thing.


FFS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'll throw you a little more. Papua New Guinea has over 800 languages and that was from a time when they only had 3-4 million people here. In the province I work in there are over 130 individual languages alone for about 300,000 people (now grown to about 500,000).

They have three official languages, English, Tok Pisin (pigin) and I can never remember the third, something like Meru.

Basically, most of them speak three languages to a certain extent, english (to some level), Tok Pisin mainly, the highlanders use the other one(Meru) and their own village dialect.

When I was running the hotel with about 60 staff, I think there was at least 20 individual languages besides Tok Pisin (which means Talk Pigin) and English.

General staff meetings were not common!