"" Writer's Wanderings: A Friday Funny

Friday, May 03, 2019

A Friday Funny

There are not a lot of countries in the world that still drive on the left side of the road which is the right side for them. Let's try that again. The countries who drive on the left side of the road, drive on the correct side for their traffic laws. It does make it confusing for those of us used to driving on the right side of the road which, in our home country, is the right side of the road--make that the correct side of the road for us. Confused? So is the driver who rents a car in a country such as Ireland for the first time.

Several years ago my husband's brother and sister-in-law joined us for a road trip through Ireland. Actually it was a trip around Ireland as the path we mapped out took us more around the exterior coastline of the country. My brother-in-law had never driven in a country where the correct side of the road is the left side. Needless to say he was quite nervous. I'm guessing my sister-in-law's feelings bordered more on petrified.

We were all to arrive around the same time in Dublin and Bob, who had a lot more experience with driving on the left would have driven from the airport and given his brother the opportunity to drive when it was less hectic. Unfortunately a hurricane foiled our plans. Bob and I were delayed when our flight was canceled--for two days! Our travel companions had managed to make it out of their city just before all the air traffic shutdowns.

When we finally made it to Dublin, they picked us up at the airport looking a little shaken but very proud of themselves for having survived several days on their own and driving back and forth to the airport. "The biggest problem we had," he said, "was the roundabout. Bad enough I was on the wrong side of the road but then I had to figure out how to get out of the circle." It had taken them several go rounds before they managed their way out.

The first week or so went quite well with Bob driving mostly and his brother on occasion to even out the responsibility. We laughed a lot about the rental place saying the most important thing was to bring the car back with both side mirrors. It didn't take long to discover that some of the roads were extremely narrow and had brick or stone walls bordering them. The walls were usually covered in ivy making them look softer than they were. Passing an oncoming car left little space between the cars and the walls. The other piece of advice was to remember to veer left to avoid something, not to the right into traffic.

The incident that had us truly laughing though--afterward--was on a narrow dirt and gravel road that led back to some site on our list to see. There wasn't any traffic to speak of and we seemed to have the road to ourselves. Bob's brother was driving and we started up a slight hill which blocked our view of anything coming on the other side. We no sooner crested the hill and we met a car head on. Both drivers did what came naturally. They veered to one side. Thankfully, the other driver must have been another American because we both veered to the right. The laughter was a good release from the fright we had.

Oh, and the rental agency was very happy to see us return the car with both side mirrors still attached.

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