Easily, one the most pleasurable nights was the dinner for friends. Everyone was on their best behavior and my twist on Cajun with Icelandic ingredients was a hit. The wine and conversation poured out easily. I ended my night drinking wine by myself on the porch while a cold rain storm rolled in. As I watched the rain roll in and enjoyed the insane noises the wind makes as it hits the Island I thought, “Finally it’s all up from here. Everyone seems to found there happy place. Time to relax and enjoy Iceland.” I was wrong.
The next morning made it very clear that the dinner was just a mirage. Who are these people that can hide their anger so easily? I wish I had this talent. If I am mad or dislike you immensely you will know it wether you like it or not. The minute you open your mouth my face will twist into a “I smell poo” grimace.
Seems that a private tour of the Icelandic country side had been part of the plan for months. Since I only half listen I was vaguely aware of this plan but in no detail. Truly I didn’t care as long as I got to see all these sights I had read about. You could have put me on an arthritic donkey with a flatulence problem and I still would have been up for it.
Gary on the other hand was very determined about what was to happen. I walked into the argument so I can’t vouch for what was said to start it. Robin, from what I could tell wanted a certain company but hadn’t set it up yet. Gary, was researching companies and complaining that this was supposed to be done already. To tell you the truth I really didn’t listen well either. I was mainly trying to make my plan of escape. As most children of divorce know you can feel the silent “fighting / not fighting” in the air. Gary may have had the right to be annoyed, maybe Robin had promised to set it up. I don’t know, but who cares? Why are we “arguing / not arguing” about something thats already done? I just did my usual, “whatever is fine with me,” shrug and high tailed it out of the room of gloom.
The next morning we get up early to meet our guide. First, it’s nice to know that not everybody in Iceland is an attractive, well dressed, bordering on perfectly poised person - they have their country cousins it seems. Our guide was a cigarette smoking, slightly inappropriate, country boy and I immediately felt more comfortable. Robin jumps in the front seat, of course. The ride is relatively uneventful except for the occasional quips from Gary. Now, I am trying to just enjoy the scenery and our first stop is a waterfall. Robin and the guide stay back, no skin off my nose. Gary, Gwendolyn, and I head to hike under the waterfall. As usual Gwendolyn is a trooper and makes the entire walk under the waterfall.
We load back up into the car and head to the next waterfall. Now, in all honesty the chumminess in the front is getting a little annoying but once again I am not much of a listener so I don’t really enjoy being over informed. I like my tour guides like my waiters - able to lead me away from bad choices, moderate interaction and there with answers to my questions. All my needs were being met and after he took us to the ship wreck on the black beach and the amazing farm to table restaurant I was one satisfied customer.
It was going well until the geysers. There was more than one pressure built explosion at that stop. To be honest out of everything we had seen the geysers weren’t very awe inspiring. It wasn’t their fault. How do you compete with giant waterfalls and pitch black beaches?. That’s like watching the The Voice after a Dolly Parton concert. Still sounds good but you can’t follow a legend. Unbeknownst to me we were running behind on our schedule and I had wandered off like I am known to do. If you do not tell me not to wander, it is a guarantee I will. I can’t help it I always want to know what is just past that hill. It doesn’t matter if I have already crossed 20 hills.
While the rest of my crew had headed back to the car I was traipsing my way through the sulfurous bubbling grounds. While waiting for the never disappointing geyser eruption, I spot Gary. We visit and walk off to see more of these dramatic fart pools. Of course, he starts complaining about Robin and as I half listen I get a text. It was a short and slightly bitchy text telling me that we wouldn’t make the next stop if we didn’t get back soon. Now, of course, my sensitivity to people reprimanding me, combined with a text not written with the most sensitive wording, I am sure made my reaction more intense then it should have been. I walked back angry. The ground wasn’t the only thing with steam shooting out. Gary and I get to the van and as soon as he opens the door, it starts. He makes a some sort of remark that I didn’t hear. When I finally lost my temper I hear nothing but the loud bullhorns of my own anger in my head. See, he barked at Robin but I had a different target in mind. As he looks from his seat smirking with self satisfaction that finally the drama he wanted was here - I was going to lose it on Robin and join his team. Wrong Mr, Glorious, very wrong. I know not to yell at Robin, dummy. Just like she knows not to yell at me. We understand that this would be our mutual destruction. We can’t go there unless we have earplugs and battle armor at the ready. Besides, I also know in the end, all she did was send a text. The true fault lied with not being informed of the timeline which was not her job. So I snapped at the tour guide. I informed him I had paid just as much as the next person and if there was some sort of timeline I should know about it before I get out of the van. The next part of the ride was awkward but slowly I started to calm down. I have no problem losing my temper but once I am allowed to let it it out I immediately start to feel better and go back to my easy going self. This is why Robin sat quiet in the front seat and let me stew. She knows I just need a few minutes and all will be well.
Determined to enjoy this tour that is a once in life opportunity I make sure to visit the guide at the last stop and ask him questions, my passive way of saying “ Hey I am sorry, all is forgiven, it truly wasn’t that big of a deal and I am not going to slaughter you on Yelp for a small miscommunication.” Gary on the other hand had gone off the rails. In front of us he grabs Gwendolyn’s arm and walks away saying loud enough for all to hear that he has to talk to her. Okay, doing it when Robin isn’t around I can understand but this? In front of her? Seems when his attempt at the geyser to turn me didn’t work I was of no use to him anymore and it was onto Momma. What kind of fucking person goes to Iceland and this is what they concentrate on. You have to have the hormones and maturity of a 12 year old girl to pick drama over enjoying walking around in a National Geographic magazine come alive. How selfish are you when you think that this woman wants to hear your dumb shit on her vacation? That’s what a woman who just finished cancer treatment and dealing with a divorce wants? To listen to a ridiculous, self named, overly dramatic, gay man who tells Dad Jokes? We make it out alive and head home. What a fun ride back that was. Okay, maybe a little fun because now that I had enough, I went out of my way to annoy the glorious Gary. See that’s why I am not a good choice for these tricks. I am fiercely loyal and possess a great skill to notice what truly annoys other people and I use it like a weapon.
Since I am getting long winded I should probably wrap this up. In short, Robin and I had a heart to heart about the situation. We both teared up a little and worked it out. She informed me that they had sent Gary to get me at the geysers. He had purposefully not told me that they were waiting for me. This explained the text and why it sounded bitchy, because it was, because it should have been if I purposefully kept them waiting. Ole Glorious tried to pull the old bait and switch trick to make himself the hero and Robin the villain. I told her all the weird shit he had pulled throughout the trip and all the fucked things he kept saying. It became very clear he had tried to sabotage our trip and make us pawns in his weird game. We drank some wine, hugged and proceeded to do what grown ups do - enjoy our trip. The next morning it all came to a head.
I heard voices in the living room. I opened the door to see what was going on and recognized the silhouette of “Hand on Hip Robin” and gently close it right back up. I know what that stance means. I’ll eat a granola bar in my room till that storm passes. A little while later a gentle knock on my door and in comes Gwen.
“ What are you doing ?”
"Not going in there.”
“ Me too.”
“ What is he saying?”
“ I think he want her to apologize.”
A moment of silence right before we break out in laughter
“ It is like he doesn’t even know her.”
“ Thats what I said.”
All seems quiet on the western front so I ventured out into the living room. I try yo make quick escape but he meets me at the stairwell.
“I thought you were my friend.”
What? That’s enough of your horse shit sir. I may be nice but I don’t suffer fools and fibbers. In no way did he think I was his friend. That is an insult to my intelligence As if I was too dim to notice the game he was playing.
I looked him straight in the eyes, with my finger in front of his face -
“No, step away or you will see why Robin is actually the nice one.”
His eyes got wide and he backs up. Seems Gary has finally realized that it wasn’t just him playing a part. I only play the nice, understanding one, with over dramatic asshats. In real life I have no tolerance for it at all.
Now that the play/our trip is over so is my playacting. You don’t want to see the real me. I don’t stand at a distance having a reasonable conversation with you. I turn into fire breathing monster and you are my dinner. Best you step away and let me by.
One day left in the trip the true crazy shows itself. The man walked out of the room the next day like nothing had happened. We went from a tense living situation to him acting like we were re-creating a scene from “The Facts of Life” - all living in quirky harmony. As the day went on we even went to lunch and he acted like nothing had happened. I couldn’t’t wrap my head around it. You wouldn’t have seen me again until we boarded that plane. What kind of Sybil character had we been living with?
The next morning we head to the airport. Captain Crazy Pants sat in the front just chatting away with the driver like they were old chums. Reaching the airport we unload our bags and away he goes, to never be seen again. No goodbyes. What Gary I thought we were besties? No hugs? No exchanging of numbers? In with a bang out with a whimper.
If we learn anything from my horribly long rambling tale let it be this -
Be careful who You travel with and the only people with drag queen names you can trust are drag queens.
Goodbye Gary, you are not so Glorious.
* The next post will actually be tips for traveling in Iceland. I will also give a shout out to our tour guide because if he can deal with my irrational ass angry and keep his cool, he can deal with anyone. Can you imagine him telling that story later? There was some weird glorious fellow and this very loud Cajun lady yelled at me.