Thierry Henry, GPS and breakdowns: An Irish road trip from hell
The side of a country road in Limerick, Thursday, November 18, 3:30 a.m. -- As I sit here in the pitch dark with only the inside car light illuminating my notebook, I begin to laugh and cry and laugh again. Today has been a day from hell; a day that I hope will soon be consigned to history forever.
The day began beautifully. My good friend, James White, asked me to accompany him on the four-hour journey from Tralee to Dublin this morning.
James, 33, is practically bald. He has been since his early 20s and he was downright sick of it.
After watching an episode of the “Late Late Show,” Ireland’s longest running talk show, he discovered there was a solution to his problems. It’s called a hair system. It’s not a wig or a hair piece, but rather actual hair attached to a head. Like normal hair it needs to be cut and washed.
Anyway, Wednesday’s trip to Dublin was to purchase more hair systems and check in with the company that supplies them.
The day started off wonderfully. The rain had subsided for a few hours, the roads were clear of traffic and we had a lot of time to catch up on four and a half years of gossip.
We arrived in Dublin, following directions by Map Quest, in no time at all. In fact we were so early we took advantage of a €5.50 lunch special in a local bar in Swords.
As we walked through the doors of the hair structure company a sign advertising teeth whitening for €99 jumped out at me.
This was exceptional value I thought. In Tralee, my hometown, this would cost approximately €300.
I wondered if I could avail of such a great offer. I was in luck. They could slot me in while James was getting his new hair. Perfect timing.
After an hour of laser treatment, I came out teeth shining and James had a whole new head of hair. We were a right pair.
Delighted with our success, we grabbed some snacks for what should have been a four-hour journey home. And this is where the nightmare begins.
Because James didn’t print return directions back to Kerry we were resigned to use the satellite navigation system (sat nav) or GPS system as we call them in the U. S. As I drove my way out of Dublin in my old sports car -- James purchased my Opel Tigra six years ago when I left for New York -- I was in my element. It was lovely to be reunited with my fabulous car again.
We made a good team. The Tigra never had the same affection for James; he had experienced a lot of trouble with her in the six years they have been together.
Anyway, as I’m trying to navigate my way out of Swords and onto the M50 motorway James is toying with the sat nav.
“It’s telling me we won’t get to Tralee until 1:44 p.m. tomorrow,” said James.
Well how could that be I thought. Tralee was only four hours away and we needed to get back by then to see the Ireland vs. France soccer game.
I pulled in off the motorway to figure out what James was doing wrong. No luck. Every which way I went about it sat nav was telling us we would not reach Tralee until lunchtime Thursday.