Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mrs Todd's Shortcut

Hell, it ain't one of ours, but this photo just fits the story!

So, my office has finally moved now - from Clonskeagh in Southern Dublin, to the green fields of Leixlip in Western Dublin. We're now on a "campus" - perhaps a term loosely used in this case. This "campus" of large grey lego block buildings, ring roads and munching rabbits on the lawns is slightly reminiscent of the Epcot Centre at Walt Disney World in the early 90's - all slightly dated, massive cafeteria with double sided till stations, built ahead of it's time but facing an uncertain future in Ireland as the Celtic Tiger recedes from growling to miaowing. A super long corridor (over 1km) connects the buildings and allows you to peer through windows onto factory floors with robot arms filling ink cartridges, whilst browsing art & memorabilia along the walls. Elderly gents from the executive board smile down at you from large pics in the lobby. I expected Walt Disney to be there alongside them!
Leixlip is a tough place to get to from Annagassan. The main reason for this is the access from the god-awful M50 Motorway (if you can call it a motorway), the fabulous Dublin ringroad. The road authorities in Ireland have the gall to put a 2 Euro charge on this road, even though it resembles a car park most of the time, or a total construction site, or both. The M50 is a dismal, crappy and soul destroying road with only 1 guarantee - daily gridlock... easily the equivalent of the worst road in whichever city YOU live in... So from Annagassan, I'd normally take the M1 (toll), to the M50 (toll), to the N4... and into the campus. However, I've quickly discovered backroads... country roads... the little roads that represent the old Dublin, the old Ireland, when few cars took to the roads and the concepts of commuting to business parks and satellite towns were completely foreign. So thanks to Google Maps and my trusty Garmin Lady, I fly down the M1, off at Drogheda, onto the Duleek Road, past the huge concrete plant, across the N2 for a couple of kms, through the village of Ratoath, past Fairyhouse Racecourse, onto the old N3, take a right turn at Clonee, along the backlanes to the back of Leixlip, through the village, over the N4, into the campus past the munching rabbits... I'm sure this set of shortcuts could even be perfected further. My new route reduces my toll payments... you keep moving (more or less)... you see people & places... you take some corners at high speeds, go past about 3 Lidl Supermarkets and too many pubs to count.
Stephen King published a short story many years back called "Mrs Todd's Shortcut"... the fictional tale of Mrs Todd, who's obsessed with finding shortcuts. At one point, right after Mrs Todd has made an impossibly short trip down to Castle Rock, the narrator finds some things stuck to the sides and front of her car that aren't of this world. Dangerous things. Things with teeth. The routes Mrs. Todd is driving aren't for the faint of heart. Enough said.

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