So, the last time I left you I was facing the possibility of running out of petrol on my way to run in the Phoenix Park. Thankfully, I managed to borrow €10 on Sunday morning from a kindly soul and made my way to the park without any trouble.
And I did my run. Well, I say “run”. We did a run-walk-run thing. My heart was going at a million beats a minute, even though I was probably going more slowly than the snails who were out lettuce-hunting. (Does anyone know what snails do when it’s not raining? It often bothers me.) Anyway, it’s incredible how unfit I got in the six weeks since I managed to do 14 minutes running on a treadmill and I’m delighted I did it. I’ll be out “running” again on Sunday. And I’ll be back on the treadmill this afternoon (if I can get the deer poo off my runners first).
On Sunday afternoon, I went to visit my cousin. He lives ludicrously far away. It’s a good half hour trip on the M50. I wanted to avoid the tolls, so I decided to go an alternative route. Me and alternative routes don’t mix well.
You’ll remember that I’d driven to the Phoenix Park that morning. I was vaguely aware that if I drove through the Phornix Park, Castleknock and Blanchardstown, I’d arrive out in Ongar without much trouble.
Inexplicably, I didn’t manage to find the Phoenix Park. I’d been there two hours earlier. How is this possible? I did something dodgy on the South Circular Road and ended up on a bizarre road that was for buses only, in all lanes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Who knew such a road existed? And how the hell did I, in my little car, make it onto this magical busroad? Hopefully, there isn’t a camera on it and there isn’t a letter winging it’s way to my sister, who owns my car, with a fine to be paid.
I had a feeling I was going parallel to the right road and I kept going. I drove through Ballyfermot. The only time I was ever in Ballyfermot before was when I got on the wrong bus home in 2006. I kept going through the beautifully-named Cherry Orchard (not a sign of any cherries or orchards – as disappointing a name as Dolphin’s Barn).
I came into Palmerstown. The road was beginning to feel less “main” and I was now feeling truly lost. I spotted a major junction to my left and headed there. It was a major junction. And there was a big sign. It was bound to say “Blanchardstown”. It didn’t, of course. The big sign presented me with a choice of two roads. One to Dún Laoghaire and one to Galway. I gesticulated rather rudely at the big sign. Bear in mind that Ongar, where I was going, is on the northwestern edge of Dublin. Dún Laoghaire is to the south east of Dublin, so I definitely didn’t want to go there. Galway is in the West, but it’s over 100 miles away, so I really didn’t want to end up there. Nonetheless, I followed the Galway sign, given that it was the lesser of two evils, praying that I wouldn’t have to go all the way there in order to get to Ongar.
As I followed the road, I passed a number of turn-offs for Lucan. It’s another western suburb, so this wasn’t a bad thing. But then, suddenly, I was in the middle of the country. I had left Dublin and was now in Co. Kildare. This wasn’t good. I took the next turn-off and was faced with a new choice. Leixlip or Celbridge. I made an on-the-spot decision. Celbridge sounded vaguely less rural than Leixlip, so that’s where I drove.
I was losing faith and pulled over in Celbridge. I got my magical iPhone out of my pocket. Last week googlemaps failed me by telling me I’d parked in the middle of the River Lee, when I clearly hadn’t. This week, it failed even worse. I searched for Ongar. It gave me directions to Ongar alright. Ongar, according to googlemaps is a little village between Epping and Chelmsford. In England. England! Technology, shmechnology!
I did a bit more searching. I found Blanchardstown. Googlemaps told me to go to Lucan.
So I turned around and went to Lucan. And then, somehow, found myself back in Palmerstown. Oh, how I roared! I was determined not to end up back in Ballyfermot again. I took the smallest, least Ballyfermot-ish looking road possible. And now I was in Chapelizod.
Chapelizod! I was practically back in town again! And so ten minutes later, having been driving for an hour and twenty minutes, I found myself outside the Phoenix Park. An hour and twenty minutes! To get somewhere that had taken me 15 minutes to get to only that morning!
In the end, my drive to Ongar took an hour and forty minutes. I’d pretty much used up the €10 of petrol I’d bought that morning. By the time I got home, the warning light was flashing again.
So, when Project Connor is finished, when I’m a skinny, non-smoker, who runs marathons, when I’ve learned to swim and learned to cycle, when I’ve learned to dance, when I’m fluent in Irish, Polish and Spanish, when I’ve conquered the world of academia, when I’ve had my first novel published, when I’m debt-free, I’ll still have one resolution left. I am going to learn a sense of direction. I don’t know how. But I’ll do it. There will be no blog then, for I shall have no inadequacies to whinge about.