A few years ago, during the Celtic tiger heydays, my wife and I had a bit of extra cash and we were the owners of two cars; one each…wow! This was in fact a normal occurrence in those days, as everybody absolutely needed the extra car and it was so easy to get money off the bank. Having more than one car per household quickly became a norm and many houses in our estate had 2-4 cars. Now, the same households still have 2-4 cars, but now all of them are for sale, so they can pay off their debt.
We each needed a car because we were both working. We had one SUV and one old banger (Renault Megane). It just made sense as we both had to leave the house, at the exact same time every morning, both going towards the city to work, but in one car each. My wife was actually following me. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without two cars. Both cars would be parked all day in the office car-park.
Public transportation in Ireland was OK 6-7 years ago, but it wasn’t ideal to use buses during the Tiger days. Do you think I’d walk 0.5 mile to the nearest bus stop from my house and 1 mile from the bus stop in town to my work? This would mean exercise and I might loose weight and get in shape. It’s much more fun to sit in a car, in rush hour traffic for almost an hour each way! I only had approx. 10 miles to work and there was absolutely no way I was risking my life on a bicycle. These fecking male teenage drivers in their pimped up racer cars (Toyota Corolla probably) have no respect for bikers, and neither does the rest of the Irish auto mobile population. In fact, I don’t think half of them should be on the roads as they never had to sit a driver or theory test. Over here, you simply get the provisional license without knowing anything. It’s like buying sweets in a vending machine. You might sit a theoretical test, but you don’t need to pass it to drive home using your provisional license.
Another reason not to ride on the metal horse was that my work didn’t have any shower facilities and I don’t think my colleagues would appreciate me sitting in my sweaty smelly clothes all day.
As the kids came along we soon discovered that there was no point in me driving the SUV, because my wife needed it to drop off the kids to the crèches – much more comfortable than the old banger!! So, I started to drive the unreliable wreck instead. Thankfully we have roadside recovery included in our insurance. Little did I know, that it would become invaluable.
One Friday evening, going home from work, my journey took me through a less attractive part of the inner city. Like any other major City, evening time equals rush-hour traffic. I was queuing at a traffic light and as it turned green the bloody car stalled. It wouldn’t start again, so I started to push it up on the side walk. As in Resident Evil, weird creatures came out from the doorways, dragging and dangling their limbs. I must admit, I was slightly nervous and expected them to attack me – perhaps they would even sexually abuse me while listening to the Pogues’ “Christmas in New York”. But, to my astonishment, they started to help me and even started a conversation. I had no idea what they said, mainly because of their strong inner-city accent, but also because they were half drunk. I called road-watch and they came to my rescue almost 2 hours later, leaving me stranded on a Friday evening, in the rain.
Another time I got stuck in the outskirts of the inner-city, but this time nobody helped me push the car, so I pushed the car myself. I was soar three days solid.
This went on for another few months and we finally agreed to sell it, which we managed to do. I only got two calls from the new owner within 2 weeks, but the deal was done and she now owned the old banger.
So, against all odds, I was now forced to use public transportation, which actually wasn’t so bad. I could sleep on the bus, while listening to my iPod. I’m not too sure if I snore and drool, but there’s not much I could do about that as I was out cold as soon as I sat down. It was worst when it rained. The bus would steam up completely and all people would be soaked.
Within 2 months I bought my hog, my Vespa scooter.