Monday, October 20, 2008
“You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”
A couple of years ago Mater and I won a stay in an esteemed hotel in the south of Ireland. Shortly after we arrived and relinquished our luggage and after we had freshened up, we left the premises and took a little motoring excursion in the area. The hotel was set like a grand jewel in a wooded, green and eminently rural stretch of land on the edge of a tiny village that lapped the ocean.
We puttered about for a bit, surveying the scenery, pausing in quaint stores, partaking of local cuisine when we grew famished.
The grandest thing about it all was that, however removed we felt from modern life, the enormous city of Cork was within a healthy proximity. That might well be the best of all worlds, where the antiquated slow pace of farmland borders the bustle of an entertaining city.
After a time, we set out from the stone-walled village and pondered what to do next.
"We can't go back now," said I to Mater. "It's still broad daylight! The hotel staff will think we've nothing to do. We have to keep roaming for a bit."
My reasoning was flawed, of course, but the sun was still beating the rocks and anyhow, what would we do from early evening until dinner time?
Mater concurred and away we went, driving in circles at times, passing increasingly familiar trees, uncertain of what might be the appropriate and dignified moment to turn back and have dinner at the hotel.
It was after dusk when we set out once more for our hotel but by then we had forgotten the way.
That was how, in a moment of panic, confusion and complete disorientation, we ended up on the road to Cork City. A fast road, a newly constructed road, a road most definitely not leading to any hotel in the forest: we were rolling along the state-of-the-art motorway, unable to turn around and change direction, without a clue as to how long we would have to continue.
Then, inexplicably, we found ourselves gliding along the Jack Lynch tunnel, a tube road which runs under the river that intersects the city of Cork. Mater was suitably terrified on such a slick, high-velocity express road, not having planned it and not knowing how to exit and all the while getting further from our dinner.
Mater made me vow there and then, once we were safe and had concluded our laughter, never to tell any member of the family that we had found ourselves flying along, of all things, the Jack Lynch tunnel in the dead of night, speeding in the exact opposite direction we had intended.
We did have a hearty dinner that evening, but our secret adventure kept us amused and baffled for a long while afterward.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:53 PM