Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just where is that car?

Greetings from Orlando!

I arrived last night -- well, this morning -- from Minneapolis. Yes, I had a job interview... more at the other blog about that...

Anyway, I arrived this morning some thirty minutes after midnight; I made my way to the baggage claim area. When I arrived, folks were standing around waiting for the bags. I decided to go downstairs to get a rental car. I hadn't reserved one, so I knew it would take a while, and I was dead tired.

((Don't be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

Getting car turned out to be more difficult than I'd figured. When I arrived downstairs, I saw that the rental car counters ran a hundred or more yards. Most weren't staffed. I saw three people at the Avis counter; they were laughing and talking. Next to Avis, one heavy-set guy sat behind the Dollar counter. I decided to go with Dollar.

Took longer than I thought it would. He tried to sell me insurance, telling me it would actually save me money since it dropped the daily rate and wasn't taxed. He'd already added it to the policy, and I had to tell him to drop it since it wasn't a reimbursable expense. Uncle is pretty particular about some things.

Anyway, he finally gave me the key and directed me across the street to the garage to get the car; he said I'd find it in spot F-9.

I decided rather than schlepping back upstairs to the baggage claim, I'd go to the car and put my carry-on stuff in the trunk, and then return for the stuff I'd checked.

Once I'd crossed the drive, I followed signs to the Avis cars, heading to the second level. In spot F-9, there was a Toyota in the spot; I was looking for a Nissan. I left my luggage and started to walk the aisle, looking for my car. I kept hitting the wireless key: trunk; doors. And then I started hitting the panic button. I was getting anxious.

After a couple of minutes & starting to stress out, I heard a car alarm go off. I looked around; it sort'a sounded like it was coming from below. And then it stopped.

I found an employee, and asked for help. She asked to see the paperwork; one glance, and she knew the problem. I was looking for a car from Dollar; try looking at the Dollar cars, not the Avis car.

Yes, I found the car right below where I'd been with the Toyota. When I found the car, the trunk was open, and the doors unlocked.

After stowing my luggage in the boot, I headed back to get my checked luggage. When I walked into the baggage area, it didn't take me long to realize things weren't going to go my way. The belt at number 9 was stopped; no one was around. I asked a maintenance worker where I'd find the AirTran baggage office, and she pointed me down the hall. I couldn't find it, and another worker told me I was going in the wrong direction. I doubled back and finally found the class-walled office; it was dark, and my two pieces of luggage were waiting patiently in the shadows.

I cussed, and a woman sitting in a nearby chair told me that I'd just missed them by less than a minute; they'd just locked up and headed out. It was about five minutes before one in the morning; I headed upstairs to see if I could find someone with a key to the room. Yeh, right.

So, back to the car, and I headed to the car to find the hotel.

Oh, did I mention that I forgot to print directions from the airport to the hotel?

I thought I remembered the hotel was west and south of the airport, so I headed out Beeline Parkway and then took I-4 south. Driving south, I saw a Residence Inn slip past; I dodged off at the next exit and started to double back, looking for the Residence Inn. Forty minutes later, I finally found the hotel, but by this point I was wondering if I had the right Inn. After all, my luck hadn't been running hot, and I knew there were more than half a dozen Residence Inns in Orlando.

I was in luck -- at least in terms of the hotel. I wasn't able to get through to baggage claim until eight hours later (too many unanswered phone calls), and they told me they wouldn't deliver it; I had to come pick it up.


Well, I have the luggage now, at least.

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