When I first arrived in Europe, I was very concerned at the fact that I would have no car. Simply put, I had always lived in a place where getting around without a car is impossible. Thus, the idea of not needing one was probably one of the most difficult things for me to comprehend during the move. At first, I had enough on my plate to not particularly focus on that, at least until I moved closer to the university, but father away from city centre. Then I realized that it was not that much of a walk, and I could manage it quite easily, even with things like grocery bags. Now, much later, my parents were experiencing the same quandary. Then my dad went online and saw that it was not too expensive to rent a car.
He didn’t count on insurance costs.
You see, Ireland has this funny thing called “scrapes”. Scrapes are, essentially, a phenomena that results from streets long predating cars: the streets are not wide enough for two cars to pass each other, or for there to be both parked cars and driving cars. Often, you will see people reaching out of their cars to pull their side mirrors in before they pass, so that if they do scrape, they won’t knock their mirrors off. Everyone has scrapes–those long metallic lines along the side of a car, where another car has, well, scraped alongside it. Real people that live here don’t bother to get them fixed. Rental companies on the other hand…well….
So my dad has decided to rent a car for the five of us to toodle around in. The rental agency he found is just down past the police station where Cait and I had gotten our visas taken care of (which was rather boring, but I suppose it could be a story for another day). He headed down to get the agency to pick up the car, and nearly choked on the insurance costs. I somewhat doubt that they actually use the money insuring against scrapes to fix the scrapes, but, being a foreigner, my dad needed to get the insurance anyway. After fuming slightly about the cost, he then wanted to show off his new ride.
Scrapes occur very regularly on our street. I advised against it. He asked if he could park in our complex. None of us bothered to buy a spot. So he parked on the street, and we got chips and potato pies for dinner, then winced every time a car drove by.
We survived with no scrapes. Now, if the rest of the stay goes with no scrapes, it;ll be a good thing.