Fire and ice day 3

June 10, 2021

Photos by Carol Madigan

   The thing I like most about my irrational fears is that they’re so unhinged from reality that I can take solace that they will never come to be.

pia the puffin lost in iceland
And for four hours we were

   And so it was on the third full day of our Iceland adventure that I found that my credit card was blocked and there was no way to call the 800 card protection line from Iceland to get it straightened out.

   Previously, the foundation of my most irrational fear regarding traveling was that, even after messaging the card company with your travel plans, your card would somehow still wind up blocked. But even that irrational fear was mitigated by the fact that you could still phone home and get it resolved. This time, my irrational fears had taken it up a notch with that 800 phone number business.

   Four hours after confirming the card was blocked, Carol and I still had devised no path to resolution. Yes, we had backup debit cards, but those come with per transaction and daily withdrawal limits. And we still had to pay Kuku Campers for the bulk of our camper rental. What were the odds, you might ask, that our bank might also clap a hold on our debit cards when a charge to “Kuku Campers” popped up on their fraud alert screen?

pia the puffin
Took Pia the Puffin for a ride on the #3 bus

   A desperate question to our FB compatriots at Iceland Tips For Travelers produced a way to call the states via an internet connection. The 800 fraud number still wouldn’t connect (tip for all of you traveling internationally) but the local 206 area code on the back of the card worked (what if there’d only been an 800 number on the card?)

   In the several minutes it took to get the hold taken off my card (an attempt to buy $4 online tickets to the Reykjavik bus system and NOT the $500 down-payment to something called “Kuku Campers,” mind you, is what created the block), Carol (who dismisses most of my irrational fears as something I could get treatment for) was so convinced we’d been boxed into a corner Houdini couldn’t escape started looking at return flights back home. This was some serious shit.

What were the odds, you might ask, that our bank might also clap a hold on our debit cards when a charge to “Kuku Campers” popped up on their fraud alert screen?

lebowski's happy hour
The burgers were great, but the credit card going through is what really hit the spot @ Lebowski Bar

   When we finally did unsnarl the card fiasco successfully, I told Carol, “Either a bar or a bus. That’s all I can handle.”

   The #3 bus took us on a circuitous route that was less than visually interesting, but the bar that followed turned out to provide a bacon cheeseburger for which even Carol sang its praises. The diner was themed after The Big Lebowski for which there is an Icelandic movie counterpart that, to paraphrase the Dude, “tied the whole restaurant theme together.” (The 1992 Sódóma Reykjavík)

   That night we found the Coen Brothers movie on our Netflix account, and fell asleep watching it, mostly out of nervous exhaustion.

   When an irrational fear becomes real, there’s one of two ways to deal with it: cut and run or rationalize your butt off to fix it. I have to give most of the credit to Carol for finding the path to resolution, but I showed some game as well. The key is not to panic.

   Just abide.

the dude abides sign
The Dude knows how it rolls

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