Saturday, July 4, 2009

What I Did While AFK.

In this post I am going to completely deviate from the norm on this blog and talk about Real Life... you know, that thing that happens when you go afk or log off.

Yesterday I had myself a little adventure. You could, if you wanted, liken it to your, say level 20 alt that hasn't gotten his mount yet, getting a quest that takes him right across Kalimdor through unexplored areas. But that's a horrible analogy so lets pretend I didn't say it.

Anyway I had some business that I absolutely had to take care of, and to take care of it I had to be in a certain town by 10 am. Ok so what's the problem with that you ask?

The problem is that this town is ~45 km away (taking the rout that guarantees I wont get lost, something that happens very easily) and I live in the middle of nowhere and don't have a car.

Ok so take a bus.

I'm sorry but public transport sucks in this country and the earliest I could get to this town by taking public transport would be 1:15 pm, way way too late. Also taking a taxi was out of the question as I had a grand total of 6.40 Euro on me (this being the reason that I absolutely had to sort this out that day).

My solution to this problem was to leave the house at 6am. This caused it's own little problem as at 3am sleep was still nowhere in sight so I ended up pulling an all nighter just to guarantee that I would leave on time. I had calculated that that if I maintained a decent speed I could cover that distance on foot in 4 hours and 30 minutes. Those of you with half a brain will realise that this would end up with me arriving half an hour late. Do not be alarmed, I had a plan, if you can call sticking my thumb out and relying on the generosity of the motoring public a plan. Usually you can stick you thumb out on any major Irish road and get a lift to the next town in fairly short order.

I think I must at this time talk a little about the rout I was taking to get to where I needed to be. I was taking two main roads to avoid getting lost, like I said before this is something that happens quite frequently. One road straight up the other straight across. Simple right? Well I thought it was, and taking two main roads was also supposed to increase my chances of hitching a lift.

Well the first road was actually a main road and one I'd walked a good few times before. The problem was that it was 6 am, traffic was scarce and those that might have been inclined to give me a lift probably hadn't had their coffee yet, poor buggers.

After an hour of walking traffic had picked up, but I was making good time, better than I had originally hoped, and it hardly seemed worth getting a lift the (relatively) short distance to the turn off. So, foolishly, I stopped trying to hitch and just walked the last half hour to the next main road.

Finally seeing this "main" road was quite a shock. I've never taken it before, but it was the one direct rout between two (for Ireland) fair sized towns. I must say I was expecting something ... bigger. This so called main road was barely large enough to accommodate two cars passing each other and had no hard shoulder for me to walk on, in fact if two cars were coming in opposite directions near me I had to find a gap between the hedge's around me and squeeze in there until they had passed. I really should have guessed, while it was marked as a main road on the map it looked like the cartographer had drawn in this particular road during an earthquake.

After walking for another twenty minutes down this cattle track of a main road I had become slightly nervous and kept expecting to hear that banjo tune from deliverance, that's when I come across my most pleasant surprise of the day. I turned a corner in the road and stumble across this almost picturesque town, one of the few I pass on my journey even big enough to have a sign with it's name on it. The lovely architecture of the old houses, the scent of the bushes and flowers in full bloom and the dappled morning sunlight working it's way between the tree canopy. All this left me momentarily entranced, and my first thought upon arriving there was "So this is where all the hippies who got old went to.". It even, bless it's rustic soul, had a footpath for me to walk on.

I continue along this footpath for a while enjoying the scenery of the old houses, the classic Irish pub and church (mind you if you've seen one of these you've seen them all) and the look of the old dry-stone walls, only partially spoiled by the layer of concrete that had been put over the top of them to prevent kids from knocking them over. These walls were probably older than some of the houses around them and certainly much much older that the concrete footpath I was walking on. I'd expected the footpath to only extend for about 300 meters but it went on for nearly a kilometre, and as I progressed along it I started to wish it had only lasted for 300 meters. The further I went along the more depressing it became as more and more of the "new" houses appeared. God but I detest modern housing. It all seems to be on the principle of four walls and a roof with the only difference being in the size of the building, the catch phrase for these places seems to be "cost effective". They seem determined to take all of the individualism out of what is after all somebody's home.

Anyway I came out the other side of the town and started walking down the cattle track into banjo country again, and then the thought struck me. That had probably been my best chance of getting a lift as there was actually places for people to pull in and pick me up. Luck however had not been on my side as not a single car had passed going in my direction over the last kilometre. Cursing my luck I trudged on. I had now been walking for over two hours and the fact that I'm missing a tendon in my right knee was starting to show, as the mussels that I had conditioned to take over the job of the missing tendon were starting to burn with fatigue.

At this point I'm going to interject a little note on hitch hiking for those of you who may not have done it on a regular basis (Oh how I love to interrupt the flow of my own story -_-) . When you catch somebody's eye as they drive past and don't pick you up there are usually two types of look you get. The first type is the apologetic look, as if to say sorry there's nowhere to stop, or sorry there's not a free seat. The second type of look is the disdainful look. This look basically say, "Like I would let you into this car, you filthy pedestrian you.", god I hate that look. I'm probably more intelligent and better educated than most of those people and they look down on me just because I'm walking somewhere. Ok, so I may not be better educated as I tend to become bored and lose interest half way through whatever course I happen to be on.

Anyway as we rejoin my journey through the no man's land that is rural Ireland, I have been walking for 3 hours and my good knee, which hasn't been quite right since I damaged it when I was four, is stating to complain since it's been compensating for my bad knee for the last hour. I ran out of cigarettes just after leaving the house and I could almost kill for a smoke. Then as if in answer to my cravings I turn one of the many corners that looked just like the ones before and low and behold, there it is, the first shop I've encountered since leaving my house. I could have jumped for joy, except that my knee would probably have collapsed under me. I went in and spent the best part of my remaining funds on a packet of rolling tobacco and drink. Some of you might find 19 degrees to be a laughable temperature but it was enough to make me sweat and I had become damn thirsty at this stage. Having my thirst and cravings sated had now made me much less likely to throw a stone through the window of the next driver to give me "that look".

I walked for another twenty minutes despairing more and more of ever arriving on time, when I stuck my thumb out for what must have been the hundredth time. The car drove on past me and my heart sank yet again. But wait, what's this? Yes they are pulling in. Finally I had gotten a lift, just 7 kilometres from my destination, but that would have taken more than an hour to walk in my current state. I shall be forever grateful to that lovely couple for stopping to give me a lift when so many others would not, they even gave me directions to where I needed to go in that town after they dropped me off.

Anyway I got to where I needed to go and sorted my business out. Now all I've got to do is get back home. There's no way in hell I'm going to be able to walk back, my leg just wont take it. I know, I'll get a bus into the city and then back out to where I live. I'm under no time constraints now so this isn't a problem. So I'm there waiting for the bus to arrive when the heavens that this is the perfect opportunity to open up on me. Damn, I don't want to leave the bus stop because only god knows how often a bus leaves this place. I call the bus company in an attempt to find out the bus schedule so I can go find some shelter until then. It takes me 15 minutes to get through to them all the while standing in the heavy rain in case I miss the bus. As soon as I do manage to get through and find out that the next bus isn't for another 1 hour and 40 minutes the rain decides to drop off to a minor shower, leaving me soaked and thoroughly annoyed.

Ok so what do I do for the next 1 hour and 40 minutes? I doubt this place has an internet cafe. I know, I'll go buy a book and read for a while. After walking around the town for a bit and not seeing one I stop a person on the street and ask them for directions. To my absolute horror I'm told that if I want a book shop I'll have to go to the next town over. Now I'm starting to feel sorry for the people who have to live here, they've got fast food shops, fashion shops, a super market, hairdressers, and even *shudders* a solicitors, yet no book shop. To me this is a truly, truly depressing situation. I go buy a news paper and get a pint in the local pub (I justify this early drink with the fact that it's not mid day for me but very very late at night) to try and distract myself from this depressing realisation, and decide that if I ever come back here it will be too soon.

So you could say that I arrived to the raid on time, killed the boss and got some phat lootz. But you wont since that also is a terrible analogy and we will pretend I didn't say anything.

So until next time this is Morgan Walsh the Incompetent Pedestrian signing off.

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