by Krzysztof Maniocha

There are 2.5 million cars in Ireland. At 8 am driving 20km (north to the south) through Dublin takes from 1.5 to 2 hours. You can go through the city centre, on the outskirts of the city centre or the ring road, though during the busiest hours, time wise it is almost the same, and if an accident occurs, it takes even longer.

Throughout this time usually, I am able to pick everything out of my nose, at least three times in a row. In the rearview mirror, I can see that drivers do the same, many even eat what they find. I do not eat it. During this two-hour drive in first and second gear, I change radio stations several times, I use the horn on slow drivers and move off quickly (while staring at good looking women on the street) when I hear the sound of a horn from behind. In the wing mirrors, I can see people eating breakfast or dinner (not simple sandwiches but a big portion of soup slurped from a plastic container), women powdering their nose, putting on lipstick, doing eyebrows. I even saw a man quite extensively squeezing blackheads, another doing exercises and another shaving his head while driving.

Despite the risk of penalty points for using a mobile phone while driving, many do not care and speak without the use of a hands-free device. Actually, this does not surprise me, after all, Ireland is a place where pedestrians, along with the police cross the roads on red lights.

Cyclists within inches pass the wing mirrors. These guys squeeze through every possible gap between vehicles. Some of them wait for a light to turn green; others seem to ride as if rushing during a race. Cyclists of different experience, fitness, and imagination. There is also a good amount of those without imagination, for instance, a cyclist overtaking someone at the front and suddenly, without warning, turning under the wheels of my car. Fortunately, wise people ruling this country introduced a speed limit of 30 km p/h through the city centre, which saves the life of a cyclist.

So every day we do co-exist, us, drivers on four wheels, them on two and you – on your feet. We hurry to work, home or a pub … it is Tuesday, at 7 pm, ’Astrolabe with Vlad Smishkewych’ on RTE’s Lyric FM has just started… cool! … first gear and forward …