picture of diary

Carol Madigan’s diary

April 22, 2021

   April 22, 2021

   Dear diary,

   So, Reid’s latest “adventure” appears to be Iceland. He says it’s the first country to open itself up to tourists who’ve been vaccinated. I get it, but I’m not sure whether he’s thought through some of the details. (In fact, in all my travels with Reid so far, I’m quite sure he’s never thought through any of the details.)

   For instance, there are no trains in Iceland. One of the things I love about traveling with Reid is the look on his face when he boards a train. He’s like an eight-year-old kid riding a train for the first time. Actually, traveling with Reid anywhere is like traveling with an eight-year-old kid, especially since he’s past 70 now, and I have to remind him to use the bathroom again before we leave the hotel.

   Also, Reid’s favorite thing to do anywhere is to sit in an outdoor cafe and watch the people go by. As far as I can tell, Icelandic cafe society is limited to its summer season, which apparently is the weekend of August 2-4. And that’s as long as the wind isn’t blowing, in which case the summer cafe society is relocated to an ice floe in the Arctic Circle.

Actually, traveling with Reid anywhere is like traveling with an eight-year-old kid, especially since he’s past 70 now, and I have to remind him to use the bathroom again before we leave the hotel.

   He says he wants to rent a camper, and drive the country’s famous Ring Road. This from a man who insists I drive everywhere here at home, because “I hate driving.” The Ring Road in Iceland is 800 miles around on a remote, virtually uninhabited two-lane highway, much of which is impassable eight months out of the year. (Here at home we are surrounded by six-lane, Interstate highways with Targets and Starbucks at practically every exit. And yet he refuses to drive.)

   This is also a man whose food pyramid is a Pyrex baking dish filled with mozzarella and sweet sausage. As near as I can tell, the entire Icelandic cuisine is based on salting enough cod and herring away to get through the severe winter months of September to July. I have these visions of Reid driving through village after village on the Ring Road in the vain hope of seeing a neon Pizzeria sign, and the words “wood fired” written somewhere in Icelandic below.

   But I see his attraction to Iceland, knowing him. There are no cathedrals, no palaces, no art museums and no historic fountains in Iceland. In other words, no “attractions” that must be stood in line for. There’s only landscape, and the kind of landscape given to great stretches of nothing to see for hours, except to just look out a window and stare at. I know that stare. And except for the occasional wiping away of the drool on the corner of his mouth every now and then, I do like Reid’s stare out into the landscape of God knows what his mind is actually seeing.

   My main concern about Iceland is that Reid will love it, because there’s nothing to see, and nothing to do but stare out of a window and read.

   It’ll be too much like home.

   Well, goodnight, dear diary. I need my sleep. Reid’s due for a haircut, and it’s all hands on deck to get him to drive to the barber shop tomorrow.

  1. Nice knowing your kids remember you as one of them

  2. Nicole c Roth says:

    Speaking from experience as his offspring, I can attest to the fact that he has always been an 8-year-old when on road trips – sometimes escalating to a petulant 13-year-old when he disagreed with the decision to stop by the others in the mini-van.

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