Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Morning commute

East heading jet lag continues to be my nemesis, but this time it was pretty mild. 6 mg of meltonin and bedtime of 8 PM has set me up to be feeling pretty good today. Essentially normal in fact.

I crawled out of bed dreading my first foray into the Dublin morning rush hour. Not prone to genuine anxiety attacks, I have to say this trip has stretched my normal sangfroid. I hate the car, I hate driving on the wrong side and I'd just rather walk. But 12 kilometers is more than a morning stroll, so motorized traffic is it.

Gathering my goods, I headed down the elevator, retrieved a validated card from the desk and went outside. The car was covered in dew, and naturally I had no roll of paper towels with me, so I improvised with a wad of Kleenix. Once again I tried to enter the vehicle on the normal side, again realizing I was now the designated passenger-driver. Straightening that out I got in sort of sideways, my car having been squeezed tight by the next spot and with only 30 or 40 small maneuvers got out of the spot.

I pulled up to the gate, inserted my card and the machine spit it back out. Tried it again...and again...and realized this was going to be yet another auspicious day.

Backing up, I jammed the car back into the already too small spot leaving myself about 7 inches to squeeze out. I noticed a gent in a small SUV staring at me, figuring he was sizing up my small spot for his much too large car. As I crossed the lane, he asked if I was having a hard time getting out, and with my answer of "yes", he handed me his card and told me it would work. I asked what his escape plan was and he responded "don't worry about it."

Escaping the car park I headed out around the block to pick up Grand Canal, the route into work. Did fine initially but when it came time to make my left turn, my mind froze - there were cars in the lane I would normally turn into. So I went on straight which is like entering the Gates of Traffic Hell, because "straight" leads to the City Center.

I managed to turn around and head back in the correct direction, well, sort of the correct direction because no street here runs parallel to any other. I got back across Grand Canal and was now two or three blocks roughly east of where I had begun. I pulled over in a full body sweat hitting the curb but good and got Nuvi fired up. I had a map, which would be nice if there were street signs. Which there are, but they're on the sides of buildings and you don't see them until it's too late. Nuvi confirmed my location and gave me a basic pointer on how to get back. Followed a couple of streets lined with beautful Georgian town houses, made a couple of turns, this time not panicking at the cars in my face and got onto the Grand Canal. The rest of the ride to work was uneventful, being a reverse commute and I did fine until I took the wrong turn out of a roundabout and ended up at HP-Ireland. Correcting that I headed back to Intel and managing to run no more than 1 additional honking car off the road before I arrived at work.

My first day commuting was a grand success!

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