This is a tribute to every man in my life who has ever thought that driving on the UK side of road was a challenging – and therefore fun – part of a vacation. Not that I don’t.
Here is the thing. Staying on the wrong side of the road is the smallest part of the problem. The smallest.
The stick shift is on the wrong side of your body. That hand has no coordination for finding the stick. What is worse, the signal is now on the same side as the gear shift, so while groping for the stick shift, which you can’t find, you suddenly realize you have to signal in the middle of the round-about. Guys swear when unnerved. Girls – even very grown up ones – scream.
It’s that thing – if there are no men around to hear you, it didn’t happen. So in the company of other women (always) – or when on a particularly lovely date – we can still be pursuaded to scream. Like swearing, it is rarely elegant, but it works.
Then there is this thing. The wipers go the wrong way. Seriously. And people in other cars keep appearing from the craziest places. Always blind corners. It is like a funny house at the amusement park with the bumper cars gone off their rails.
So fine. We start to get control of the stick shift, the signal lever, the round-abouts, the funny road signs (fortunately, Jessica and I are old hands at that part), the narrow roads, and the other cars. We are feeling quite pleased with ourselves. We are talking to ourselves all the time to stay sane and focussed, and finding that the company is actually pretty good.
Then, there is this other thing. You know those mirrors you depend on heavily every day to give you roughly 360-vision? Those shoulder checks? All of those are in the wrong places too. It took me a full 48 hours to realize that my world had shrunk to a mere 90 degree angle…and another 6 hours to start to fix the problem.
Once again, I am in awe of the men in my life and the things they do for us without making a fuss – or screaming – not even once.
Then there is this other thing in Ireland. Did I mention the roads are narrow AND like spaghetti? And the speed limit is 100 km/hr?
The bartender assured me tonight that the locals only do 70 on the back roads. The crazy people all emigrated to North America and Australia and they are the only ones who try to take the turns at 100…