I had the strangest experience yesterday.
I had an appointment to see an eye specialist in a place in Dublin called The Beacon Clinic.
For those who are not familiar with the place, the Clinic is part of the Beacon Centre which includes apartments, a hotel, a sort of shopping mall, a hospital and of course the clinic. It is all contained in one vast interconnected structure of steel and glass.
I drove into the underground car park which is vast and a maze of one way systems. I parked near one of the little “islands” that announced itself as the Clinic. Fine. I was doing well.
I entered the “island” and climbed the stairs. Here I hit my first problem – the whole centre is a multi-story edifice but the ground floor differs depending on which way you enter it. So the ground floor is in fact the first floor if you don’t use the front door. Confusing.
Anyway by chance I exited the island on the correct floor, and following instructions I walked through the atrium level past the coffee shops and café [and an Information Desk which I have never seen manned] and tried to enter The Maze. I say tried, because each door I tried was locked and there were several of them side by side. Eventually I got through a door that had been locked the last time I tried it. Surreal.
I call the next section The Maze because that’s what it is. It is a massive series of interconnected corridors with a glass roof and units containing anything from IT companies, through chemist shops, to clinics for every ailment known to man. All the corridors look exactly the same. Luckily I found the right clinic and actually discovered where the door to it was.
After a couple of hours of having my eyeballs prodded and poked and having very bright lights shone into me, I left the clinic and that is where the real strangeness started.
I have an excellent sense of direction. Lead me into a normal maze and I will find my way out of it straight away. But The Beacon is in another dimension altogether. I retraced my steps and passed by the coffee shops and the unmanned Information Desk and there was the door where I can get back down to the car park underneath. The door was locked. I looked around for another door but there wasn’t one. I could have sworn there were two doors when I first entered. Eventually a girl came out the door [with no problems whatsoever] so I nipped in before it closed. I headed down the stairs, but they seemed to go on forever. I had visions of arriving in some sort of underground bunker full of mad scientists. I decided I was way below the underground car park at this point so I climbed back up again. I then realised that somehow I was in the Apartment Block! I exited the door and found myself back in the Maze again.
I wandered around for a while. I contemplated asking someone for directions but everyone looked even more lost. Eventually I found myself back at the coffee shops so I headed out the door again. Now the outside was completely different. At this point I realised that the building must be actually moving around so that if you go in a door and out again, you’ll somehow have transported to a different part of the Centre. Clever, but frustrating.
I now found myself outside surrounded by glass walls and sad little trees growing in pots. In the far distance I saw a door marked Beacon Hospital. I headed for it, keeping my eyes firmly fixed on my destination and not daring to blink in case it transformed itself into the Hotel.
I confess that at this point I was beginning to wonder if I was asleep and dreaming all of this. Where else will you find a building that can rearrange itself and apparently have four dimensions?
Anyhows, I entered the hotel at the Ground Floor level and then had to descend the stairs to the Ground Floor in the other dimension. I found the car park! Naturally at this stage I was at the very far end of the structure but I found the car and sat in, in disbelief. What the fuck had just happened? Did I dream it? Is this seriously a plastic building that can rearrange itself just to confuse people?
I was lucky to get out of there alive.