packing for Iceland

Final countdown

May 27, 2021

Photo Credit: Carol Madigan

Minneapolis-Reykjavik 30 seats

   When Carol informed me I was in charge of photocopying our travel documents, I knew it meant I wasn’t being allowed anywhere near the suitcases or packing. Trying to fit every clothing contingency for a trip to Iceland into two carry-ons requires the engineering skills of astronauts packing for Mars. Carol, having observed my packing methods as being akin to shoving 10 pounds of $&!t into a five pound bag, knew I wasn’t up to the task. In her defense, having observed the piles of outerwear she’d gleaned from an account of scaling Mt. Everest, I felt she’d be trying to shove 100 pounds of $&!t into a five pound bag.

   Plus, photocopying travel documents is one of those anal retentive ideas I’m better suited for. It should really have to be done once, provided you remember where you put the copies after you returned from your last trip. But just like my surprisingly detailed pre packing list I can no longer find, I’ll be spending time at our printer/copier yet again.

While I’ll be spending some of the in-flight time wondering if I left the oven on, and checking my pockets for the umpteenth time for my passport and vaccination card, Carol will be thinking ahead on how to counter all the Plan B’s I’ve managed to think up, either in the event we don’t get to Iceland or in the event we do.

   By the way, the Mars analogy I made earlier is not as far-fetched as you might think. Turns out, planetary scientists studying the Martian surface remotely are flocking to Iceland’s current volcanic eruption, because the materials spewing out are similar to what the little Martian rovers are sending back from the Red Planet. In other words, Carol and I are leaving for Mars today, so, yeah, better she’s in charge of packing, and I do the travel documents. (But why would you need travel documents in the first place if you were actually going to Mars, is one of the questions I’m asking myself standing over the printer/copier like an idiot right now.)

   If we’re fortunate to get seat assignments, Carol and I will be in the air heading for Minneapolis as you read this. We’ll probably be in separate rows of the plane, but will no doubt each be quietly reflecting on this latest adventure of ours. While I’ll be spending some of the in-flight time wondering if I left the oven on, and checking my pockets for the umpteenth time for my passport and vaccination card, Carol will be thinking ahead on how to counter all the Plan B’s I’ve managed to think up, either in the event we don’t get to Iceland or in the event we do.

   The thing is, given the pandemic’s restrictions and Iceland’s geographical limitations, there aren’t a lot of options available to play around with my normal neurotic load. “We’re going somewhere,” Carol has told me loftily, whenever she spots that look on my face that would normally be associated with dementia, but she has come to recognize as an angry swarm of Plan B’s buzzing around my head. She’ll swat them away one by one until she realizes it’s hopeless, and then she’ll give me an assignment designed to take my mind off anything else.

   “You’re in charge of making sure the oven is off before we leave.”

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