I’ve been looking forward to this trip to the UK & Ireland for months, and I am extremely happy to be here. I will write and speak about all of this from the “Microsoft Community” perspective , but this blog post is a personal, and on going, diary of an American stepping through the looking glass.
Now, I’ve been here before (England in 1972, England, Scotland and Wales in 1976, England and Wales in 1985). Ah, I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.
I did drive here in 72 and 76, so of course I didn’t hesitate to rent a car, despite the rather alarmed tone in Guy Smith-Ferrier’s voice when he asked, thrice, if I had driven on the left before.
On the other hand, driving a stick for the first time in 10 years, with the steering wheel in the passenger’s seat, driving on the left, after flying across five time zones, in downtown London, at night, may not have been the best plan.
Most of the time, it it really isn’t a problem, everything more or less makes sense. But the brain begins to overload at 60 mph when it is trying to assimilate the basic rules like “keep left except to pass,” and you are seeing signs that have somehow gone through the looking glass (is that 60 in a circle the speed limit?), road markings that don’t quite make sense (what, for God’s sake is a blue rectangle with a single white slash?) and you are seeing some of the most beautiful gothic buildings juxtaposed with electronic adverts for Wired Magazine. It all goes by in a flash, and while, shockingly, there are no flashing blue lights in the rear view, it is clear you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Then you get off the M-way, and soon a bus is heading at you in the dark, you have to make a right turn, he’s on the wrong side, and the GPS is barking commands like “make a right here damn it!”
(By the way, the elevators here are zero-based; a C programmer’s world if ever there was one)