|Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before|
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
That was my vacation in Miami. The whole week was the burger and fries, and the last day was the pickle.
I rented a car for the last couple of days, and planned on returning it at the airport on our last day. Our hotel has valet parking, but they don't have their parking on site. They have another company that has a lot about five minutes away which takes care of the car. So if you want your car, they recommend you call the front desk about 35 minutes before you are going to need it. The first time I had called, they had it there in about 20 minutes. No problem.
So it's the night before we leave, and my lady and I are enjoying a drink at our hotel, which were free happy hour drinks. Pretty sweet perk at the Blue Moon Hotel. Before we head out to dinner, I talk to the concierge and see if it is possible to put in my request now to get the car at 6:30 am, rather than calling down at quarter to six. "Sure," he says. "Do you also want a wake up call?" Of course I do! So I get the wake up for 6, and my car will be there at 6:30, which will give me plenty of time to catch our 8:18 flight.
We go out and enjoy a fine dinner, which was good from beginning to end. No bad pickles (there were no pickles at all because it was a Mexican restaurant, but now I am just using bad pickles as a metaphor... stick with me). We retire fairly early since we are getting up pretty early. For some reason (maybe it was the Mexican food), I wake up about every half an hour. At 4:00 I am awake and I start thinking about what I need to do when I wake up. Then for some reason, I have this feeling I lost my Mets hat. (Here it is at Wrigley Field.)
This is stupid, because the hat is so old and tattered, but it's like my grown up security blanket. I hadn't worn it since the beginning of the week, and I didn't remember seeing it when I packed all my stuff, so I am convinced I left it at the bar where I last wore it. But since it is 4:00 in the morning and Tania is sleeping, I can't start looking around the hotel room for it, because that would make me fucking crazy. So instead I just lie in bed for the next hour and a half thinking about it. I thought about lots of other things too, but the thought of losing it was the kick in the head that kept me awake.
Oh! I also, for some reason that only God or the devil know the answer to, had the Black Eyed Peas My Humps song stuck in my head. It was awful. I don't think I even heard the song all week, but it was there. My God. But it made me realize that the Susan G. Komen Foundation should adopt that song as a way to remind women to check for "lady lumps." They could turn that vile song into something helpful in the fight against breast cancer. Here are some lyrics to get you started:
My humps, my humps, my humps. I check for lady lumps.
So around 5:40, I decide to just get up and take a shower. I get all clean and wake up Tania just before 6. I tell her it is time to wake up and I say, "I think I lost my Mets hat." She is actually genuinely concerned, which makes her a great girlfriend. Then I say, "I haven't seen it. Maybe it's under the bed." So I look under the bed and it is right there. Hooray! I found my Mets hat. I lost two hours of sleep because of it, but now I have it. And we have a direct flight from Miami to Newark, so I will get home kind of early and be able to catch up on my sleep.
We get all packed and ready and at about 6:15 I say to Tania, "We never got our wake up call, did we?" She confirms we didn't. "Hm," I say. "I hope they still have our car here by 6:30." I call down to the front desk, but there is no answer. I go down there and the guy is sitting there. So I say, "Hi. I was supposed to have a wake up call at six, which I didn't get, but I don't care about that right now. I was also supposed to have my car here by six thirty, so I just want to make sure that it is on the way." The front desk guy looks through his papers and says he had no record of either. "OK," I say as my heart skips a couple of beats. "I need my car here now because we are going to the airport." He says he will call them immediately.
OK, I think. Even if the car gets here at 6:45, we should still be OK, but now we'll be rushing more than I wanted to. And don't get me wrong - I am pissed. I go back up, get the rest of my shit together and head down to the lobby. While I am there, I say, "How does this happen? I saw the guy write both things down. It has to be here somewhere." Front desk guy says it wasn't there and then starts basically saying, "Hey. Not my fault."
Minutes keep going by. He is trying to call the valet place again, but now he is not getting any answer. Quarter to seven and no car. I have to go outside because I am ready to start throwing things. I actually said for the very first time in my life to someone, "This is unacceptable." I have accepted many things in my life, but this I cannot accept! The front desk guy and the concierge were not very good at the customer service. I have learned at my job that if someone fucks up, but then you are the one dealing with the fallout, the last thing you should be saying is, "It wasn't me" or "It wasn't my shift." I don't care who fucked up. You should be apologizing profusely to me and doing everything in your power to get my car.
I am now outside looking down the street waiting for the car. Oh, before I had asked how far away the place was, and he said it was about five minutes. Five minutes!!! It is 6:45 on a Saturday morning - how busy can they be? Tania asks if there are any alternatives to getting the car. Then concierge guy and front desk guy are talking to each other in Spanish, I think, which I don't understand. The only thing I do understand is "stick shift." I only understand it because they say it in English. So front desk guy ends his sentence, which was a question, with "stick shift." Concierge says "No" and front desk guy says "Me neither." Apparently, they have a car on site, but it is a stick and neither of them can drive it.
Shit, this is a long story.
The car finally gets there. I see it coming down the street. It arrives just at the same time as another car is being driven down the street with one of the back doors open and someone in the back seat saying, "Policia." Then some guy walks by and says, "You got a cell phone?" I had left my cell in the rental car, so I didn't have it on me. They were trying to flag down some other cars. I had no idea what the deal was. So I go into the hotel, tell Tania the car is here, and then say to front desk guy, "You might want to call 911, because something is going on out here." They ask me what it is and I say, "I have no idea. Let's go." I've never been so selfish in my life.
We get in the car and begin to fly to the airport. Oh, the car arrived at 7:05, which was 35 minutes after I needed it. I have now decided that there will be no stopping for gas. You are supposed to return the rental car with a full tank, otherwise they charge you six bucks a gallon. "Fuck that," I said. "Blue Moon is footing that bill."
We are now close to the airport following the signs to get to Thrifty. I call them, and quickly explain my situation and say, "If possible, can you have a shuttle waiting? I'll be there in about a minute." The guy on the other end says, "Sure. I will make sure one is here." As we are pulling into the Thrifty lot, a shuttle is pulling out. Two minutes later, after the car is checked in, I go in and ask the guy how long until the next shuttle. He tells me it will be 15 minutes. This is the same piece of shit I just spoke to on the phone who said a shuttle would be here.
So we get on a shuttle and there are lots of families. Just before we get dropped off at the terminal, Tania and I inch up in our seats and get ready to knock anyone out of our way. There was this little kid across the aisle that Tania had totally lined up. She was ready to give the ol' forearm to the forehead if she had to. The kid's mom actually said to her son, "Sweetie, sit back and let these people off. They need to make their plane." Yeah, mom! She knew she had to say that, because I was going to kick her in the neck if she tried to get in front of me.
So we get off the shuttle and haul ass into the airport, go straight to the express check in, and then, hurrah, our boarding passes print out. It's a miracle. So we wait for the lady to call our name. And wait. She calls someone who checked in after we did. I say, "Can you say my last name?" She doesn't have it. Turns out if you are checking bags for the flight, you need to be there 45 minutes ahead of time. You know what would have gotten us there in time? The Thrifty shuttle that drove past us. Which means if the car got there even two minutes earlier, we would have been OK.
Well, we miss our direct flight that would have brought us back to Newark before noon. But we get booked on a flight that has a layover in Raleigh-Durham and will get us to Newark at 4:00. OK. Not that bad. Way later than I wanted, but being that it is a holiday weekend, at least we don't have to fly on stand by.
Little did I know, this was just the first half of the pickle. I will bore you with the second half tomorrow (or whenever I get around to writing about it).