Sunday 10 August 2008

I love living in a country where people don't agree with their own answers!

Hoo yeh, the summer madness goes on and on, and I’m still hiding away from the crowds, exploiting the hell out of the builders’ holidays.
For the last 3 years I have tried to work each day through the brutal noise of the neighbouring hotel’s building site. Nothing affects me or my work like noise. Shreds me to bits.
Today there is peace, and I might work. Praise be for that.
Later, I jump into Shaaanny car and nip round to Angel’s for a cuppa. Out of my office cocoon for the first time today, I wonder what’s going on in the world, so I flip on the radio, expecting to hit NewsTalk, but the Snapper drove home last night, so it’s on Today FM.
Fine, who needs to know what’s going on in the world, when you can have a good old sing song? Ooh, even better, they’re doing a quiz.
Unfortunately, I missed the question, but evidently there’s a big weekend for two away in some posh resort spa (I think last year we just called them ‘hotels’) riding on the answer.
Yer man Gerry on the end of the phone sounds like he’s havin’ a right old blasht. Everything is just so funny to him, he can’t shtop wid da larfin and da larfin, so he can’t. In my mind I see Gerry as a spray of long curly balding hair, cascading over a ball-shaped head, his stubbly face stretched in ecstasy.
“Well, now, Gerry, you said 83, Maria, you guessed 189, and Sean, well you reckoned it was 458. The right answer was.... 112, so Gerry in Dublin, well done mate! You’ve won a weekend away for two!”
“Oh tanks! Tanks Tony, tanks tanks tanks! Wow, dat’s grea’, really grea’! Who’d-a tortit? Who’d-a tortit? Jaize, I tort I was way off!”
Driving along, I have a big smile on my face as I hear the harmless happiness of a winner. But soon enough my mind starts to spin around, and then the driver of car behind me is hooting his horn at me because, instead of noticing the traffic lights have gone green, I’m staring into space, lost in philosophical wonder.
Unless my ears deceived me, I just heard Gerry on the radio say he thought his winning answer was “way off”.
But hang on. If he thought his own answer was wrong, then why ...
Fantastic! Bloody marvellous! It couldn’t happen anywhere else. If I made it into an Oirish joke and told it at a dinner party at London’s poshest suburban table, I’d be considered vulgar and racist, but right here right now, I’m living in Galway and loving the fact that whenever I think I might be going loopy, the people of Ireland make me feel strangely sane.
Now before ye all get uppity and irascible and accuse me of accusing you all of being nothing more than a bunch of nutters, I would suggest that were I to do that, it would, from my perspective, be a compliment.
But anyway, I wasn’t calling you all a bunch of nutters: just some of you; well, quite a lot of you, but I reiterate, it’s only a form of praise, coming from me.
As defined by the cold harsh steel of Northern European Protestantism, ‘Sanity’ is a fearfully boring and staid state in which to exist.
I love living in a country where people don’t even agree with their own answers!
And here is the news:
Residents all over Galway City were dismayed to wake up this morning to find that Galway City Council had overnight painted white squares around every single car, and installed Pay and Display meters in everyone’s driveway.
A spokesperson for the Council made a lengthy statement:
“I think we would all agree that everyone who works and lives in or visits Galway City is fed up with the constant traffic congestion. So last night an action was taken which we consider to be the logical conclusion to our very successful existing parking policy. Everybody knows that if you build more roads, such as the major Galway City outer by-pass and fifth bridge that we are planning to start any decade now, you just end up with more cars.
After an extensive ten-year study costing several million euro, funded at a local level, our report has been released today showing that not only do more roads mean more cars, but more roads also mean less parking and more jams too.
“Oh yeh. That’s you impressed now, I shouldn’t wonder, eh? Never say we waste your Tax euros!
“As a Council, we clearly had to act to rid ourselves of the extra traffic that building all these new roads will produce, and failing that, try our best to keep it off the roads. With the extras revenue accrued from all recently installed Domestic Pay and Display appliances, we will be able to move forward with our plans to completely pave over Galway Bay, and turn it into the largest and most impressive Car Park the world has ever seen. Ahar. Ahar har har.
“The Council plans to call it Car ParkLand, and tell the tourists it’s really a Theme Park. That way, they’ll even pay us to go in and have a look! A hah har a-har.
“Of course we do understand that due to the Two Hour limit we have imposed on all Galway’s parking machines, people will only have just enough time to walk into and then straight out of Galway City, in order to top up their Domestic Parking Appliances.
”Naturally, we are aware of the implications for our city’s shops and restaurants, in that nobody will be able to visit them or spend money with them any more, but we are sure that our loyal and hard-working traders will take this bitter financial blow on their collective chins, happy in the knowledge that the traffic on Galway’s roads is flowing freely at last!
“Now don’t forget, if you fail to renew your car parking fee every two hours, we’ll come to your house and take your car away. How green is that, eh eh eh? Living without a car! First we gave you three wheelie bins, and now we’re taking away your car! We are making you all so green, you lucky lucky people. You’ll thank us in the end, ahar aha aha har.”

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