In late July of 2011, my best friend and I went to Iceland for a week. It was Townsend, his sister Mary, her boyfriend and myself. We rented a car on our second day in the country and hit the road to explore the wilderness. Mary insisted on following a strict agenda and was clinging to the map like a nun to her Rosary. So as any passionate adventurer would do, I asked to see the map and promptly defenestrated the item. Following a period of verbose disapproval we found ourselves peacefully wandering mystery roads surrounded by a vast landscape of lava fields (solid and cold not hot and gooey). We spent the rest of the day sprinting up a random mountain side for no reason more than that we could see snow and wanted to touch it. Afterwards, we piled back into the car and found a gravel lot to turn around in - for an added note of excitement Townsend yanked the E-Brake and whipped the car back onto the road. His sister was not amused, to which he replied "It's OK Mary! I have an air bag!" We all had a good laugh, except Mary. Mary hates fun. It wasn't long before I fell asleep in the front seat of our rented 1998 Saab. The next thing I knew, I'm roused from my sleep to my fellow passengers yelling expletives and cries of prayer. We were airborne.
That's right, I woke up and our rented 1998 Saab was hurtling off a 20 foot Cliff at 65 MPH. BOOM. After the impact I stumbled out of the car disoriented. I responded to the status checks that were cried out by my friends "I'm good. arm's broken, but I'm good." then proceeded to climb the face of the cliff. After hailing assistance from a fellow motorist, two Police Cruisers arrived on the scene. They asked their questions and offered us a ride back to the precinct where we could walk to the hospital and get checked out. You know, "since nobody appears to be dying". Mary and her boyfriend got in one car, Townsend and I in the other. Halfway to our destination we were informed by one of the officers that they needed to conclude another incident that we interrupted. Again, because you know "nobody appears to be dying". (This is where things got interesting).
The cruiser came to a stop at the bottom of a steep hill atop of which perched a single rural house. Stone steps inconsistent in size, surely designed by Dr. Seuss, led to a door. The officers entered while we waited in the car. We were nervous, and I was nauseous from unused adrenaline. After 5 minutes of silence, the officers appeared at the car and asked if we had any allergies. We did not, so they handed us 4 baby kittens. As it turns out, in Iceland you call the cops to collect your unwanted critters & litters. I'll spare you all the details about the hospital visit, and the nurse with whom I became briefly enamored. We did miss the last bus into the city and ended up hitchhiking 70 miles back to our hostel in Reykjavik.
From that day forward I've never forgotten how incredible my life is. I changed that day in a very big way. It was my attitude that changed, and subsequently the circumstances of everything I do. Oh, and everybody else was fine. Except Townsend... His air bag sadly deployed with such force that he got a bloody nose.
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