Of course, Angola has had a roundabout since the Earth was created, except it is more literally a squareabout since a square monument is in the middle of it and that street surrounding it looks more or less square to me. When I was a child and we drove up to “the lake.” (You have to understand that in Indiana, any and every lake is referred to as “the lake.”)
Going through Angola was always shrouded in mystery. If you so chose, you could keep going in circles forever, round and round the monument, staring up at those tarnished statues who represent men who had fought for us in the Civil War. If you weren’t sure where to exit (since every exit kind of looks the same), it was possible to drive round and round for 10 minutes or so.
I always knew we were close to the lake when we drove into the squareabout on one side and exited the other. Gosh, how did Dad know which exit to take? He was so smart!
I hate to be a country-dropper (that’s like a name-dropper), but several years ago I went to Ireland with my husband for a business trip. That was the first time I had traveled on a real roundabout, an Irish roundabout, one with no tarnished statues in the middle. There are thousands in Ireland, and my admiration grew immensely for my husband, George, who chose to rent a car and drive across the country to the meeting.
I was amazed that we managed to be spewed out of each roundabout in a timely fashion and that George did not hit one cow or bus, not one! However, as I was soon to discover, land is very scarce in Ireland, and the fields and yards come right up to the road. And I mean right up to the road.
There are no berms, no ditches, no easements, and the mailboxes are inches from the road. I have never let George forget that he took off the side mirror on my car door, driving too close to the mailboxes. He still says it was better than hitting the sheep crossing on the other side of the car. And when you are driving on the left side of the road and you are used to driving on the right, who cares if you knock off the side mirror on the left side of the car?
Well, so now, I’m still puzzled about the whole matter. The first time I used the Union Chapel roundabout, I drove around it about five times before I recognized the street I was supposed to exit on. Upon entering the roundabout, I had “yielded” as I was instructed by the signs, but now should I go into the center lane before I find the correct exit? Should I stay to the right because I was soon to exit? And what about that car who was going to exit to the right from the center, left lane in front of me?
Maybe I was going to lose another side mirror. First couple of times around, I smiled and waved at the woman beside me who, I think, was also perplexed and wondering which lane to be in. My biggest question was and still is, “Why do they have two lanes?”
Anyone who enters a roundabout is going to get off really quickly anyway, so why even bother to drive in the lane closest to the middle? Why don’t they just have one lane because you’re going to leave at least within three exits, aren’t you? And if not, why not? Why are you going in circles?
Which all comes back to the major premise in my life that I always come back to: Women should rule the world. I should be queen of everything, and if I were, roundabouts would stay where they belong — in Ireland and Angola.
And if they happen to come across the ocean, I would never have put a second one in Indiana, because one is enough. And the Angola squareabout is guarded day and night by tarnished American soldiers.
See, that’s what Dad taught me, that the soldiers had muskets and rifles, and we had better get out of the squareabout quickly before they shoot off our side mirror.