Matt shipped his car over to Dublin last October when he moved. Since my arrival, I haven’t so much minded driving in an American car on the wrong side of the road. However, as my tenure here continues, there are a few idiosyncrasies that turn a simple daytime jaunt into a huge pain in the ass.
I like to call these “old fashioned stop signs.” Although I’ve been told how they work, there is still something about the process that just doesn’t make sense. In fact, I’m not even sure the locals completely understand how these things work. You never encounter the exact same situation when entering one of these. Although there is a legally defined process, most hurtle in and hope for the best. Just today a driver went flying around a roundabout and nearly t-boned another who had tentatively “gas-break-gassed” his way into the mix. Horns blaring, people yelling, I ask Matt, “why don’t they just get stop signs?”
About a month ago, I dropped a friend off at the airport while Matt was at work. I’d been to and from the airport a couple times, but that day I decided to spend the day on the coast. I was alone and taking directions from the GPS, when it lead me to the mouth of the longest tunnel in the world! About halfway through I started to panic, wondering if I was under the ocean and heading to England. I was relieved when I popped out on the coast of Dublin, only to encounter a toll booth. No big deal? Yeah, if the steering wheel was on the right side of the car! I had to park the car, unbuckle my seatbelt, and shame-walk around the car to pay the attendant. I don’t think the high-speed traffic behind me was very pleased with this.
Dublin is different from Texas. In Texas, there’s ample parking, and it’s free. In Dublin, there isn’t, and it’s not. Parking garages are everywhere, whether you’re going to the mall, or McDonald’s. When you enter each parking garage, you have to grab a ticket. Taking a lesson from my experience at the tollbooth, I’ve learned now to park the car, unbuckle, frantically climb over the center console, and pray to God that I’ve pulled close enough to the ticket dispenser. It’s not ideal, and certainly not lady-like, but I’ve gotten used to the bruise on the side of my hip.