Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adventures in driving

Today's big adventure involved my getting behind the wheel of our rental car to get to the big shopping center in Dundrum. The kids need to have black shoes and white sneakers for school and I did not have time to get these before leaving. Sounds pretty mundane, right? It should be, but there were a few variables that upped the level of excitement.

1. The car is a manual transmission. Its been a while since I have driven a stick, and I am used to the shift being on the right. So, I kept grabbing the door handle to shift. The car also didn't have a key. You wouldn't think that would be a big deal, except that when I stalled, the first instinct was to reach for the key to restart and then panic when I couldn't immediately remember how to get this car re-started while I sat in the middle of the intersection with cars waiting for me to turn. Deep breath!

2. They drive on the left side of the road here and the driver's side is on the right. Not the orientation I am used to. So, I did end up turning onto the wrong side of the road once. Luckily there were no cars coming my direction at the time.

3. I do not yet have a phone that works here and the car did not come with navigation. I also don't have a printer, so I could not print out directions. So, I just decided to wing it and see if I could find my way there. I think this is what made the trip the most difficult, I was just maxed out on how many things I needed to concentrate on.

4. I had my kids in the car. Those of you who see me on a regular basis, have surely heard me bemoan driving with these two sparring partners. For those of you who don't know, let me tell you, they fight like cats and dogs regularly, but in the car they take it to a new level! They have taken the lids off their water bottles and flung water at each other. I have given them electronic devices to distract them and they throw them at each other. Their whole purpose for being, while I am driving, is to figure out what will drive their sibling the most nuts. Its a very, very distracting environment! In L.A., I pull over regularly until they pipe down, but that was a little harder here on the narrow streets with nowhere to pull over.

I think it took me about a half hour to go the 3.8 miles to the shopping center. It was definitely not a direct route. Let's just call it a scenic tour of suburban Dublin. But I only stalled once! I think I got honked at, like, 3 times max. I hit no pedestrians or vehicles whatsoever. I did hit a curb, going kind of fast and thought I might flip the car (the kids loved it though.) I also think I came really close to side-swiping a garbage truck, but closing my eyes and cursing seemed to help. Other than that, I think I did really well. We got their shoes, we're all still alive and I think that was the quietest my kids have ever been in the car.

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