At the roundabout, take the third exit…

The GPS lady says this a lot as we drive around Dublin.  She has to – there are a lot of roundabouts.  Some are big and scary, like the one I conquered today by Josh’s office.  Others are just tiny lumps in the road, almost pointless as a roundabout.

But I’m getting the hang of driving.  Josh said so this morning, that I’m much more at ease.  I really am, even though I’m still getting used to it all.

I thought it would be driving on the opposite side of the road that I’m used to driving on, or shifting with my left hand.  Turns out shifting is not a problem, except remembering to (I have never stalled out so much in my life!)  And driving on the left side isn’t as horrible as I thought it would be most of the time.  I’ll admit I panicked the other night, pulling out of the Tesco parking garage, and suddenly unsure of what side of the road to drive on, as cars park either way they want to on the side of the road, and the one car moving was in the center.  Luckily, the “stay on left side” sticker on the rental car was a good reminder.

None of these things have been the big deal with driving.  The hardest thing to overcome is the onslaught of multiple things being thrown at you visually as you drive.

Things like –

– cars parked in the road, turning a two-way street into a turn-taking weave about for the cars.

– multiple stop lights at an intersection, sometimes one for each lane.

– guys on bicycles speeding up next to you in the bike lane.

– motorcycles weaving through traffic, cutting between cars, using the opposite side of the road when clear to get around the cars – it’s like they have no rules.

– signs, signs, everywhere are signs…

– the GPS lady telling me what to do (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship…she hasn’t steered me wrong yet, but she hates it when I go off track.)

– narrow roads. Very narrow roads.

– buses.  Tour buses, double-decker buses, airport buses, buses with wi-fi even!

– taxis.

– roundabouts.

– bus lanes.

Before coming here, I was very confident in my driving skills. Heck, I skidded off the on-ramp in December and retained all that useful driver’s ed knowledge and used it successfully.  I drove a lot in Michigan, along winding country roads, deer leaping out at you at any moment.  I kind of miss the deer now.  Because now I have all these things going on around me as I weave around cars parked here and there, people coming out of driveways blindly, and trying to make it all the way over to the fourth roundabout exit with fifty cars shooting about in different directions.

Collin made a quip the other day when I stopped suddenly about how maybe I should practice more.  I told him maybe he should keep his opinions to himself.  Little snot.  Someday, he’ll need me to be in the passenger seat as he practices driving.  I can get my revenge then!