Branding with Open Wifi
Coffee Service as a Third Place

Travel Routes Still Flooded

MORE THAN 100 MILES of my weekly work routine cut through farmers' fields flooded by February storms. Downed trees, knee-high water, potholes and mud mark the way from campus to campus.

This is my first experience living with the after effects of night-long sustained gales. The violent winds ripped off branches of mature trees, launched back yard trampolines into orbit, ripped roofs off sheds, moved garden furniture from their mounts and distressed local cattle. We lost a garden umbrella and cleaned up a wheelie bin that blew over.

Ten days after the last major precipitation, several local roads have well-marked flood warnings and two have temporary traffic signals that stop traffic for 30 seconds on each side.

My travel from classroom to classroom often extends 52 miles in each direction. There is no public transportation link that serves the timetable I keep on twice-weekly runs down country lanes between two counties in rural Ireland. And there is no overtaking lane when coming up behind tractors pulling slurry tanks. Beyond my lifetime, I doubt the local rural routes will get wider, straighter or faster. So I tell my kids to expect more of the same when they start driving the Tipperary highway system in 10 years.

[Bernie Goldbach is a journeyman lecturer at the Limerick Institute of Technology whose timetable puts him on three different campuses every week.]