Johnny B. “Good”

Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her….yeah. – Led Zeppelin

(Note, the above quote has nothing to do with this post as I usually try to relate them somehow.  I just wanted to quote them.  So there.  Secondary note: I may or may not have had a few beers while I’ve been working today.)

I’ve been thinking about what I can do while I’m over in Iceland with only 8 days.  Yeah, yeah, there’s the typical tourist stuff, but this thought path was really more about what “I” can do (or not do) while I’m over there to make the best possible time had by all.

Allow me to elaborate.

10.  Use common manners.  I know they’re in me somewhere.  My mother drilled them into my head every time we went out in public as a kid.  Please, thank you, hello, goodbye and some others that will come back to me eventually. I might need to wiki those.  Maybe write them down or make some flash cards.

9.  Don’t drive angry.  Here in the states, we have gigantic parking lots superhighways that turn in to virtual race tracks with Joe Toughguy cutting off every person just because he’s a selfish prick and he can.  From what I’ve read, Icelandic drivers are laid back and overall very calm.  I’m sure some of this is due to low overall population but nonetheless, my plan is to observe and mimic.  Go with the flow.  Oh and not wreck the rental car.  At least not on the first day.

8.  Don’t become a statistic.  Many things fall  into this category.  Don’t die in a freak blizzard, don’t die from a rare fish allergy, don’t die by falling over a waterfall trying to take an awesome picture, don’t die by falling into a glacial crevasse, don’t die from having your own dog sled team turn on you, don’t get electrocuted by foreign voltage, don’t get arrested, and don’t end up in a Thai prison.  Hey, I’m just covering all my bases.

7.  Think before speaking.  Iceland has been through quite a bit in recent years, in particular an economic collapse in 2008.  From what I’ve read it’s somewhat of a sore subject and I won’t get in to the back story but the point is, I need to think about what I’m bringing up in conversations.  I’m usually pretty diplomatic.  My job, if it’s good for anything, has chiseled that into me.  Often times I’ve found that the cure for foot-in-mouth disease is to just shut the hell up.

6.  Keep my TSA remarks to myself while at the airport.  I’m just going to start this rule right now.  It’s better that way, trust me.  I’ve been flying a lot lately.

5.  Cleanse.  Living in the cancer capitol of the United States, every day I deal with factory plumes and toxic runoff from DuPont, BASF, DOW, Valero, and the list goes on.  One of the first things I noticed immediately when I visited the Rocky Mountains (and Acadia) was the difference in air quality.  I spent each moment I had with sheer admiration of the crisp, clean air and water.  Iceland is said to have some of the most naturally pure air and water resources on earth.  If only I could bottle that and bring it home with me somehow

4.  Prior to leaving, pledge to return home and not live out the rest of my life in Iceland.  F-that.

3.  Acquire male and female snakes, introduce to the ecosystem.    If the rest of the world has to put up with them, Iceland should be no different. Think of all the new exotic meals they could make!   Snakes like to travel on planes, right?

2.  Find a really cool representative souvenir.  I’ve seen that you can purchase ash from the recent volcanic eruption.  You don’t see that every day.  I could put it in an urn and claim it was a relative.  Oh who am I kidding, I already know it’s going to be an awesome Icelandic wool sweater.  The only question is, how many Icelandic wool sweaters?

1.  Don’t be the loud, rude, inconsiderate, obnoxious American stereotype.  Observe and respect Icelandic culture, customs, and practices.  Learn about them.  There’s nothing more I hate than most of the American public.  There’s a reason (well, actually many reasons) why people from other countries have a certain view of us.  Respect is earned and I’m going to do my damnedest to debunk those stereotypes.

Unless, of course, someone charges at me in viking helmet.  Then the gloves come off and I go all Philly on them.  International incident be damned.

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