"What kind of ungodly creature shits white?"
It was snowing, hard. Having grown up in the Deep South, driving through a snowstorm in pitch blackness was never a situation I had ever encountered, much less planned for.
I was worlds away from home. I was in almost-Europe with my best friend and world travel partner-in-crime. It was our second full day in Iceland, and the natural wonders did not cease to disappoint. Like the sun setting at 5 p.m., and a bright clear day transforming into the inside of a snow globe.
As we were both well-traveled and turned our noses up at group tourism, we were on a self-guided choose your own adventure tour of the country. That day, we drove halfway around the island to see a lake. The drive was long, but far from boring. The landscape glimmered and shifted in the distance, transforming every few minutes.
Endless wonder is exhausting, sometimes.
Hours later, we arrived.
But a quick looksee and hot chocolate later, we were done. Which meant we had to go back the way we came. An hour later, the sun went down.
For hours, we drove back through winding roads with no lights. Just little dots of reflectors guiding the way. And then it started snowing. Hailing. Times-Square-pillow-fight-proportions-of-down snowstorming.
So we were driving blindly, slowly, not knowing if the dark outside of the reflector strips was a vast plain with frozen cattle or a steep cliff leading to certain death.
Then it came out of nowhere--a gull-sized bird tried to stream across the road and slammed into the windshield.
And that's when it spilled out of my mouth.
"I hate birds."
Startled by the thwap, my copilot was already bewildered.
"...what?! What the fuck?"
"I hate birds," I said again, slowly, calmly.
"They shit white. And their bones are hollow. If you see one run over on the road, they're COMPLETELY FLAT. What is this witchcraft? And they look like dinosaurs. I just don't like them."
We kept driving, finally cutting through the storm into our lodging for the night.
Every now and then, she laughs, out of context, "I still can't believe you hate birds."