I have so much to write about Iceland but Gary Glorious has to be mentioned first and foremost. Obviously I have changed his name but I promise his “real” one is just as... glorious. My friend Robin is not known for making bad decisions but every once awhile she drops the ball. This was one of those times.
My travel companions were Robin, Gwendolyn (Robins Mama) and Gary. All set to enjoy eight days in Iceland in a nice 4 bedroom air BnB. Lets think about this of the four us two are Robins best friend and her mother. You would think that would be your first sign what side of any argument we would be on. Yet, good ole Gary seems to have missed the memo.
The name was my first clue. No way that is your given name and why would you choose such a name if you aren’t a performer? This should have been a red flag, but I chose to ignore it. It just seemed so forced. Are you even allowed to pronounce yourself “glorious” ( okay so I didn’t really ignore it, I am trying to be a better person here)? Within minutes the signs started to unfold. Gary takes off to get drinks in the private lounge because he’s so “special”. Okay I can see that you travel a lot and you offered me a drink so alls good here, even though the announcement that he got bumped up to first class due to his “specialness” did plant another seed. Robin announces this is her Bday vacation and she is not working or taking care of anybody. We are all on our own. Knowing Robin and having traveled with her before I know this announcement was coming. I had a dinner to prepare and I hate planned trips so it didn’t bother me but I could see the flinch in Gary’s face. I immediately tell myself you are being paranoid again, stop overthinking Jolie, I am sure it was just a innocent face tick (yet another seed is planted). This is where I should learn to trust my instincts, bartending has trained me to see peoples responses and think of all the consequences.
As they announce boarding, Gary and Gwendolyn are nowhere in sight. Robin grabs her bags and says “Nope, I am not waiting for anybody, I told them to be back in time.” I, of course being the guilt ridden soldier I am can’t leave. I slowly drag Gwens bags closer to the boarding gate and make sure to eyeball the agent and announce, “I am watching you, don’t you close those doors without me, I am waiting for my poor Mama.” Hey you have to lie at these times and I will use someones else’s Mama if I have too. Now when they finally show up and hand me a cocktail it didn’t look that good but who cares. You can’t kick me off the plane for being an ass. I got on the plane with a glass of wine so it was all worth it. *I would like to announce here that I would take Gwendolyn as my Mama any day. I mean Robin is alright but the original is always the best. (Cue Robin texting me some smart ass comment.)
We land and everything seems to be going smoothly. Lots of laughter and conversation in the cab ride. Gary is little bit of a showboater but I can tolerate that. I have no normal friends and appreciate the quirkiness in people. It is not like I am known to be a quiet, meek, soul. Everybody settles in and then decided to go on a nice long walk. Robin of course, “not working” proceeds to give us a personal tour of her favorite spots. Seems she can’t not do her job. It is her nature to give tours even if its involuntary. That first night we head to her favorite, local, pub- an Irish pub in Iceland ( we will discuss this later). Once again let me repeat I was very aware how this was going to go because I know Robin. We are in a country that she has lived in and has a group of friends. It will be the Robin Show - what else would you expect? They hadn’t seen her in years and I hate that I am saying this because she will surely hold this over my head but she is a dynamic soul and people are attracted to being around her. I am more of a slow burn. I do not have that approachable vibe. I have been compared to a teacher watching over recess when I am out.
As we sit at the table and the locals start visiting it becomes apparent Gary and I are on our own. This is how I roll in this situation. I get mildly aggravated, mumble to myself and grab a drink and head outside. It isn’t her job to entertain me- I am a grown ass women I would hope by this point in my life I can take care of myself. He seems annoyed and goes for a walk - a nice option in my mind. What’s better than roaming around new streets, seeing new things? I make a friends with a nice Irish lady and we spend our time making fun of the overly intoxicated, model thin, ladies making drunken declarations. I knew I had a friend when she looked at me and said, “She is going to regret this more than that slice of bread she ate two days ago.”
As the night rolls on Gary leaves in a huff and I go onto making new friends and enjoying the freedom of no responsibilities in morning.
When I travel I tend to be more of an early riser the first few days. Strange but I think I am just too excited at all the new things to see. The next morning I head out of my room and Gary is up and about. We decide to go see what that bakery down the street is all about. He is back to his happy go -lucky self. I was a little surprised by the change of demeanor and how comfortable he was with someone he barely knows but people bond quickly all the time and not everyone is a paranoid freak like me. It all starts out great. Hot coffee and beautiful pastries. We head to beach to enjoy the scenery and our ridiculously large purchase of flaky pastries we can’t pronounce. I even got a kombucha - that how you erase the sugar right? It’s all fun and games till the dreaded moment. Out come the words, “Soooo Robin” all I could think was, “ NO,NO,NO you are one of those. You lured me in with your dad jokes and false compliments.” I am trapped now like a rat with one leg and no tail.
To be continued…. Sorry but I know I can only read or write a blog post for so long so lets call this suspense and not the fact that my kids are surrounding me like they are on a deserted island and I am piece of steak.