Road to Nowhere
I've been thinking about the skills and attributes that are essential for someone who is living in the Middle of Nowhere. For example, you can't really be afraid of the dark. When it gets dark out here, it gets really, really dark. No streetlights, very few house lights. If the moon isn't out, the roads are pretty much pitch black.
Another example – you have to be okay with people knowing what you do. People you don't know at all know who you are. You have heard the expression that you can't sneeze without half the village knowing about it. That's all true. I've been introduced to people here and even though I don't recognise them, they've seen me and say "Ah sure, I know you – you're the wan who runs with the dog." (Which I suppose is better than being known as "yer crazy wan who won't open the front door after dark," which is also, unfortunately, true.)
But, if I had to nominate one skill as the most necessary for a fruitful and happy Middle of Nowhere existence, it would have to be driving. The distances here are really quite extensive. It's 5 miles to the next village and 18 miles to the next town. While I could walk 5 miles (and even walk the 10 mile round trip) without any difficulties, there wouldn't be much point. The next village has everything my village has – it's the towns that have the big grocery stores, the libraries, and the movie theatres.
Saturdays are my big adventure days. I get up early and drive into Macroom to visit the Civic Amenity Site and do my big shopping for the week. Civic Amenity Site sounds so grand, doesn't it? In actuality, it is a recycling centre and garbage dump. We don't have curbside pick-up in the Middle of Nowhere – I have to drag our trash 20 miles and pay 8 euro a bag to dispose of it. (On the plus side, I am now a fiend for recycling and composting.)
I realised a few weekends ago that on the Saturday, I'd driven half-way to Dublin, but I'd only gone into Macroom for shopping and into Bandon for camogie practise. That's right – I drove a little over 100 miles in order to run errands and play my sport.
I'm not complaining though. Really. Although I hate driving in Dublin, I actually love driving down the country. (Granted, I'm not real keen on going through Bandon town which has a couple of intersections that are accidents waiting to happen.) I love the narrow, twisty roads. I love the lack of traffic.
The radio in my car is broken, so I've had a lot of time to think recently. I've decided I'm going to get a little ambitious this week. Since driving is so important to my new life down here, I'm going to go with driving as the theme of this week. One week – 7 posts about cars, driving, roads, and anything else tangentially related to anything automotive. Day 1 down – 6 more days to go.