Jun 20, 2010 | Siglufjörður, Iceland
Jun 20, 2010

A few days ago a red-haired Estonian novelist arrived, and she took my spot in the Herhúsið, which was the best place I ever found to work.

I got bumped from the gray house in the background (the Herhúsið) to the one in the foreground (the Íslenska Sæluhúsið), which is very small and has grass on the roof. It is right in the center of town, so all of the tourists think it is a museum, and they come right up and stare in the windows, which are very small, too.

At night I am frequently lying in bed wearing my boxers and reading a book, and suddenly I see a hand come through my window, which is about two feet from my head, and the hand, groping around, pulls aside the curtain, which was previously flapping in the breeze. Then I hear voices in Icelandic or German saying, "Blah blah blah, blah blah blah," and then suddenly a head comes in through the window, looks around, and finally goes, "Ohhhh!" when it sees me lying in bed in my underwear.

When this happens, which is pretty often, the tourists never apologize. They just kind of back away, muttering words I can't understand but that I imagine go something like, "What is that man doing in the museum in his boxers?"

Of course, I am not doing anything in the museum in my boxers — I am lying in bed in my house.

The local kids, on the other hand, know quite well that my house is a house and not a museum. But this does not stop them from crawling up very slowly to my window, then quietly rising up to the height of the windowsill, and then suddenly belching as loud as they can right into my bedroom. Then they run away giggling wildly, as if this is just about the funniest thing in all of Iceland.

Other times, the kids come by in small packs, creeping around the house, and then they quickly throw pebbles in through my window, which go bouncing around my bedroom and sometimes end up hitting my book.

I have taken to drawing my curtains and keeping the windows open only a crack, which is good for self-defense and privacy, but bad for fresh air, natural light, and sanity.

The other day I was coming home from the grocery store, and as I was fishing the house key out of my pocket and carefully putting it into the door, a spray of water suddenly came down on me, and I realized that the grass roof sprinkler system was on, so I got a little wet before I got inside.

Between the German tourists, the local kids, the barely cracked windows, and the airborne irrigation system, my little house is feeling more and more like a fort, and my summer is coming more and more under siege. I hope I can outlast the enemy.