NOTE: If you haven’t already, you may want to read Part 1 of the saga which is in an earlier post. Trust me, it’s worth it.
There we were, enjoying the rugged Icelandic coast and toasty, flaky, pastries and somehow the subject of Robin comes up. He immediately starts shit talking. Robin did this, Robin did that…. What part of a person picks someone’s best friend to complain too? It is like complaining that ice is too cold or going to a rock concert and complaining it is too loud. What do expect to happen here? How can they remedy a situation that is exactly how it is supposed to be? My favorite part? Everything he is describing is exactly who she is. She doesn’t hide her true self, with Robin, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Once the bitching stops I only have one question, “You haven’t known her too long have you?” Of course not wanting to start any drama on the trip I table the whole thing and keep this little bit of info to myself ( First of many mistakes. Seems I can cook and fuck up like a champion.)
I roam the streets of Iceland amusing myself by trying to pronounce the 26 letter monstrosities they call words. I can’t even imagine how you begin to learn to pronounce Snæfellsjökull. I was impressed and slightly disturbed by their immaculate streets. I assume a sparkly clean city is what you should want and is a sign of the prosperity of a place. Walking these shiny, happy, streets gave me this uneasy feeling. They must know I don’t belong here in this beautifully wrapped package. Everybody is so well behaved and muted. My purse is louder than 90% of this country. Calmed down by the walk I head back to the Air BnB where Mr. Glorious is waiting. Luckily, so was the fabulous Gwendolyn. What I remember from my haze of too much fun with too many Irish fellas ( seems I am the only one who cannot resist the option to behave badly when it is presented,) I remember some plans made to head to the botanical gardens but princess Robin is still sleeping so we decide to just head out on the local bus. Of course, like everything else, the buses are horribly clean and civilized. Iceland is full of muted, pretty ,civilized things. I am only one of these things. I will let you figure out which one.
We have conversation here and there during the ride but nothing worth mentioning. As per usual, people feel like insulting me is somehow allowed. The first one from good ole Gary, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but you are like an exposed nerve.” First if you have to say, “I hope you don’t take this wrong way” you are being insulting. When I insult somebody it is either out of complete dumb assness or on purpose. Who announces this shit? What that is, is a way to going around being an asshat and excusing yourself. I haven’t talked a fraction of the time Gary Go-onusaandonus has and somehow I am the obnoxious one? Maybe you are softer spoken because you have something to hide? It stung a little but I let it go. Maybe I am an exposed nerve but just that trait alone makes me more interesting than you.
We walk the beautiful gardens, admiring all the plants we aren’t familiar with. A wonderful microcosm of Icelandic flora. By some divine intervention Gwendolyn and I are left to our own devices and enjoy our leisurely walk through this ideal Icelandic scenery, pondering how foreign it was to us to see all the fall colors we have read about. I imagine in the Summer the gardens must be a sight that could calm even this exposed nerve. Our peaceful lumbering is interrupted by Mr. Glorious. As we walk down the path covered in leaves from the bright fall trees lining the path he starts again. This time Gwendolyn is his chosen confidante. Seems one just wasn’t enough. Off he goes complaining about some past grievance concerning his choice of name. Oh the atrocity of informing someone that isn’t his real name. Yes, because nobody for a second believes that someone would name their child Gary when their last name is Glorious. For that matter, adjectives aren’t usually last names. Seeing Gwendolyns immediate discomfort I try the distraction technique. I was shut down. I make a comment about the beautiful leaves and quickly I am cut off with, “Jolie, I know what you are trying to do but this is important, I need to say this.” Ahh, you need to help yourself by shit talking a woman’s daughter on vacation. Aren’t you just a peach. A rotten peach that’s 90% pit. Finally, done with the much needed clearing of his mind, we head to the forest area of the gardens.
As I am leaping from gnome path to gnome path I get a text message comes through - “Alert: a call to 911 has come from your address.” Not one but two alerts. Here I am, a mother of three in a country that is at least an 8 hour flight from home and possibly the most heart wrenching message comes through. Any parent or someone with empathy will understand the gut wrenching fear that comes through at that moment. Frantically, I call home. Lucius first, nothing. Evye next, nothing. Mae next, nothing. I repeat the pattern. Finally Mae answers. She is very confused by my hysterical barrage of questions. I tell her to make sure Lucius is alright. He’s snoring so obviously he is alive. Seems someone stayed up too late and passed out on his phone calling 911 twice. Not only had he put me through a mini heart attack he had I am sure barked at a 911 operator for waking him up. As calm sets in we decide to head towards home on the immaculately clean buses. Bus travel in Iceland is a breeze and worth saving on taxis. You can travel almost anywhere in the country on the bus. ( Thought y’all might appreciate some travel tips in my ramblings. We will now play the wheres Waldo of travel tips).
As Gwendolyn starts heading towards the bus Gary stops and says, “I am just going to stay here for a little bit after all the stress that interrupted my joy.” Really M’fer! The stress of watching a mother dare be concerned for her children. I didn’t look at you for comfort. You just stood there. “I am sorry next time I will make sure to consider your fucking feelings when my children may be in peril” Is what I should have said to him. Or I could have said, “So, you feel slighted and we have to hear about it for hours but an actual emergency and how dare we interrupt your peace - screw you you pasty motherfucker with a the most uninventive name on gods green earth.” I didn’t though because it takes an actual confrontation for me to lose my temper. I bottle it up not wanting to cause any disturbances or be seen as “Crazy Jolie.” Wouldn’t want to look like an “exposed nerve.” Yet they can. These selfish, conceited ,bastards. As much as they want. Why don’t we call out these assholes? The ones that make snide, degrading, comments and have no concerns for anyone but themselves. We empower them by being polite. Of course, I would like to think if we called them out they could possibly change. Unfortunately, that isn’t how the system works. They can’t see their own reflection, and us, the empathetic ones we see to much in our reflection. They see a perfect being with smooth skin and enjoy admiring how great they are. We see all the faults all the lines and crevices, the imperfections looming, becoming shadows lurking in our thoughts.
After taking a deep breath we board the bus. I casually start discussing random thoughts with Gwen and then it happened. He leans over from his perch and shushes me. He shushed me !!! As I feel the anger rise a small gentle hand gently rests on my shoulder. In one soft movement Gwen told me, “I know I want to pull his testicles through his mouth too but we just can’t Jolie, we just can’t”