Thursday, May 30, 2013

a morning in the life ...

** continued **

So, where was I?  Oh yes.  I was standing in the middle of the terminal that I knew I'd parked my car in.  I knew I was in the right spot, too, because I'd memorized a code for my car's location ... A 2 1.  I was in section A, floor 2, spot 1.  I had gotten a prime spot on Friday morning and it was an easy spot/number to commit to memory.  Yes, it was. 

Yet, something was wrong.  Something was verrry wrong.  Where were the limousines I'd parked behind on Friday?  Where was the elevator I'd taken down to the first floor.  They ... were gone.  All gone.  In fact ... why were there suddenly so many gates?  'Dallas Love Field,' where I'd left from on Friday had very few gates, yet I was standing there looking at gate 25, 26, 27, 28, etc.  WHAT WAS GOING ON????  WHO STOLE MY CAR????  AND ... WHY WAS I NOT IN OZ ANYMORE?

And then it dawned on me.

Yes, my car was most likely at Love Field.  But I wasn't.  Somehow I had been transported to DFW.  Same city, different ball park.  Actually, Dallas is huge so it's more like same country, different ocean.

I didn't have time to be embarrassed, I had to figure this one out.  All by myself.  So I called Rick to ask him what to do.  Yeah, that's how I figure things out by myself.  Know what Rick said?  Well, never mind what he said.  It wasn't pretty.

I made the snap decision to find some transportation to the other airport.  But where?  How?  To do this, I would need to get myself back into the terminal and back to someone who could help.  So I hauled two heavy suitcases back inside, looking for a phone to try to make some sort of reservation for transportation.  I hauled those suitcases over to an elevator and took it up to the arrival floor thinking that there would be phones there.  There weren't.  I then hauled them back downstairs via an escalator (because elevators are for sissies?) and searched for some ground transportation.  All of the excitement caused me to need a restroom, though.  So, back upstairs I went.  And eventually back downstairs again.  My arms got quite a workout.

Once back down for the second or third or fourth time, I found a phone and got ahold of the car rental reservationist.  I was told to haul my suitcases over five gates where I'd see a blue bus that would take me to the hub of ground transportation.  And I saw the bus ... as it was pulling away.  It was 20 minutes before it would return.  I was 20 minutes closer to having a breakdown.

Once on the bus to the car rental hub (seven LONG miles away) I bolted for the Alamo desk believing that it would be the cheapest car to rent.  Plus there were no customers there.  I know why there were no customers there ... $117 to rent one lousy economy car for one lousy day!  The guy there discouraged me from doing it and told me that it would be cheaper to hail a taxi ... for $60.  This was turning out to be a costly mistake I'd made.

So, I stepped outside to use the phone to call the taxi that the Alamo man had suggested.  But $117 just didn't sit well with me.  There had to be a cheaper car out there!  There HAD to be.  And there was.  "E-Z Car Rental."  Sounded sleazy, but hey.  It was a car and it would get me to my car.

Or would it?

Nope.  E-Z Sleazy Car Rental did not have a booth at Dallas Love Field.  It was either call a cab or take EZ's car and return it later to this very same spot.  I opted to take the car and get myself to work.  My work clothes, however, were stored neatly in my car at Love Field (I was so careful to lay them out on Friday for my trip to work on Tuesday) so I was going to have to report to my job wearing my flight clothes.  Yes, there was nothing pretty about this day but at least it was going to work out.  Or so I thought. 

Once at work (yes, I made it) I had to fight fatigue and accidentally dozing off all day long.  It was not pretty.  I was not pretty.  And it was a very long four hours.  Twice I lost control and was jarred awake when someone would open my office door.  Twice I wanted to kill them.  Twice I thanked them instead.  It kept me upright.

And finally it was time to get myself back into my little rented Nissan and back to the airport.  I had arranged for my brother in law and sister in law to help me out.  Rick is still recovering from his back surgery so he was not able to follow me back to the airport in his car but I did invite him along for the ride.  Remember I hadn't even seen him since Friday.  So I picked him up and off we went.  And we met up with my relatives who immediately scolded me for bringing him because had they known, they would've brought a bigger car.  The car they brought was not the best size for getting Rick in and out of the back seat.  (note ... perhaps you could've let him sit in the FRONT seat?)  (No, I'm not bitter, why?)

Anyway, we met up and I drove the little Nissan back into the EZ gates and was promptly charged $70 for the car rental.  Say what????  Yep, the airport taxes were that high.  And yes, it would've truly been cheaper to have hailed that cab after all.  Hindsight ...

So ... we made it over to Love Field and yes, I did find my car right where I'd left it.  It seemed easier (and more courteous) to let my inlaws just drop us off at the arrival area and put Rick on a bench there and let me come around and pick him up.  Yes, in theory, that seemed easier.  That would save them the time and the cost of the parking ticket and they could head out on their way.  Well, it seemed like a smart idea, anyway.  And it was courteous.  It was also stupid.  It was even stupider that I opted to leave my purse with Rick so that I wouldn't have to carry it to my car.  What was I thinking????

When I reached my car (yes it was still behind the limousines) I noticed my toll tag was sitting on my dashboard instead of fixed to my windshield.  Odd, I thought, but, oh well.  I started my engine and headed to the booth for drivers with toll tags and tried to get out.  The booth had no intention of letting me out.  The arm would not raise up no matter how fast and furious I waved my toll tag at it.  So, thinking it was just a broken gate, I tried the next gate over.  Same story.  Nothing.

Finally I drove to the lane with the cashier in it and with a sad face, I held up my toll tag to her.  She didn't care.  She told me I had to pay my toll or I would not get out.  "But ... but ... but ... I don't have my purse!  All I have is my toll tag which has apparently gone on strike!"

That adorable cashier would not budge.  Not one inch.  Either pay ... or sit here and rot.  I tried again to win her over.  She couldn't be won.  She kept telling me to give her a charge card number.  I kept telling her I had no purse.  She then told me to call my husband and have him read me the credit card number over the phone. 

"I HAVE NO PURSE!"  What part of that didn't she understand?

"Then you don't exit.  Period."  Hitler was getting on my nerves fast.

When the line of cars behind me reached TEN, the German Nazi decided to step out of her booth and have every one of those kind-hearted cars back up (and that was no easy feat) so that the idiot at the front of the line could turn around and repark.  Yes, Eva Braun would not budge on that.  She was bound and determined to win this round.  And she did.  She definitely won.  She managed to get each one of those cars (most gunning their engines at me) out of line and although it took some mighty choreography, I did escape Eva's clutch and headed back to repark and find Rick.  I found a wheelchair, too, and grabbed it.  Rick never saw me coming.  He was too busy watching in the other direction for my car.  He did not have kind words for me when I did reach him, toting a wheelchair.  But, I'd made up my mind; he was coming with me and we would fight this battle together.

Nearly a half hour later, Rick was nestled in my car and I was back in line with Little Miss Sunshine, who made me pay.  And not only did she make me pay ... she made me pay the PREMIUM price of parking, because to pick up Rick, I had to park in the ultra wonderful spot up front.  AND she charged me for this.  I hate her.

The day did finally end.  The memories will live on though.

And the best memory?  Rick asked me this morning, "So, did you even leave from Love Field at all?"

No, Rick.  I just parked my car there and walked to DFW.  'Cuz I needed the exercise.


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