Monday, December 26, 2005

Ain't You Got A Name?

Speaking of Things That Go: I started a post four days before Christmas but had to end the session because the cops showed up.

Because that was the only thing missing from my holiday season: The cops. One of the neighbors of Julie the NephewMama and Country the Brother-In-Law had backed right into my rental car, because what did I think I was doing, parking a rental car within fifty feet of their driveway like that? So I called the rental car company, and the guy, who was not working Saturday, was all, "File a police report and call us back and we'll charge you eighteen billion dollars for the three pieces of shattered tail light you currently hold in your hand and then we'll reimburse you, okay?"

Okay! So the Hamilton County Sheriff car pulled up--this being a major incident-- and the officer asked me for an office phone number, and I was all, "I don't know my home phone number, let alone my office one" and he frowned at my driver's license picture and left it alone. He then knocked on the neighbors' door to deliver tidings of Christmas joy. I did the adult thing, as always, and hid.

From the porch of my sister's home I heard half of the following conversation:

COP: Where is your daddy?

COP: Do you know when he'll be back?

COP: Is your mommy home?

COP: She's... asleep?

There's a reason, okay, why these particular neighbors are known as the White Trash Expo. The officer came back with their insurance information, and then he left, and I wistfully watched him go down the street, because I knew at some point I would have to exit the house and face these people again. Jim the Baby Nephew and his parents had already left for Mass, so I didn't even have the shield of his innocent youth as a cover.

I sidled out as best I could, but Mrs. Expo caught me. "Hey! Hey, you! Yes, you with the car!"

I feigned shock. Oh-- me? With the car? The car with the now-nonexistant tail light? Because your husband ran into it with his Montana-sized minivan?

She met me on the street as I attempted to gun away. "Hey. Listen, do we have to involve the cops with this?"

Do we have to involve me with this? I pointed out that the vehicle she was currently leaning on was not my car, but Enterprise's, and I had to do what they told me to regarding the now-ghettoized fender.

"Well, could you not park your car on the street anymore?"

But Wait, There's More!

The next day Julie the NephewMama found a note reeking of Wal-Mart's Intimate Apparel department. "To the nice girl whose car we hit," it began, for nice girls do not involve the cops, and it contained the announcement that The Expo had contacted Enterprise, and a person named Jonathan--also apparantly not working on Saturday--informed them that no, there was absolutely no need for a police report, here in We'll Totally Take Your Word For It World.

I called Enterprise again. No doubt this was a reputable, organized company; clearly there had been some sort of misunderstanding.

ME: Hi. I rented a car from the Cincinnati airport location, and on their way to their appearance on The Jerry Springer Show, my sister's neighbors backed into the tail light, and I called you, and spoke to "Justin," and Justin told me to file a police report, so I did, and the cops came, and it really wasn't much fun at all, because I told Jim the Baby Nephew that they were coming for him, which the NephewMama did not appreciate, for some reason, and the officer cited The Expo and left, and now I am here alone and scared, for they also called you, and spoke to a person called "Jonathan", and he told them that there was in fact no need for a police report, and doesn't anybody in your company have a last name?

ENTERPRISE PERSON: Okay. How do you spell "Cincinnati?"

crash at:

No Matter How Far Away You Roam

... the airlines will find you, and screw you.

I didn't arrive in Cincinnati without a fight. I was in the Daytona Beach International (Snicker) Airport deciding between a $249586283270 sub sandwich and a $294578209465 hotdog for lunch when Delta Lady came over the loudspeaker, asking all Cincinnati passengers to report to the ticketing desk, as though we had won some sort of grand sweepstakes. Must be present to be screwed!

The nine of us assembled, and were told that we would miss our connecting flight to Atlanta, and there would never be another seat on any other connection to Cincinnati, ever, but, since they, Delta, were wonderful and glorious to behold, we would now take a taxi to Orlando and fly on a nonstop from there to our destination. For a small fee.

You know how you come to hate total strangers just by their bald proximity? I hated the people on my flight. We stared at one another during reticketing, waiting for the taxi, riding in the taxi, re-checking our bags, sitting for two hours at the gate in Orlando, awaiting beverage service, throughout taxiing, on the jetway, and at the luggage carousel. Hate 'em.

It Takes a Hockey Team

Then I hurled my bags into my parents' condo grateful that the trasportation mishap for this trip was through, and thus was my complacency until I received the following phone call from Josh the Pilot:

ME: I'm coming to get you at the airport. Where are you?

JTP: Chicago.

ME: But you live in New Orleans.

JTP: They sent me to Chicago.

ME: Why?

JTP: So I could get the connection to Columbus.

ME: But... I'm in Cincinnati.

JTP: So is my luggage.

United saw Delta's charge-for-inconvenience and raised it one 180 mile round trip drive down I-71. Because only the incompetent will rise, they made sure this all took place at two in the morning for a driver who cannot find her way out of a handicapped bathroom stall, much less an airport she has never seen.

The call arrived after watching Country The Brother In Law's hockey team win its league championship. In the grand West Side soccer tradition of whoever brings the post-game soft drinks gets to be the captain, they recieved not a gigantic ring but a pitcher of beer, which I was allowed to share. So between the combined BlackBerrys of the Rink Rats we manged to chart a detailed course to Columbus, which I receieved with great care and followed precisely until I turned the wrong way out of the ice arena parking lot.

The divorce rate continues to rise, largely in part to cellular phones. It took me two hours to drive to Columbus and another forty-five minutes to actually locate Josh the Pilot. We had many conversations like this:

ME: Where are you?

JTP: At Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: No you're not!

JTP: I am too.

ME: Which side of the airport are you on?

JTP: What do you mean, which side? I'm at Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: I was just there, and I didn't see you.

JTP: Where are you now?

ME: In the bathroom, where else would I be?

As it happens, there are two Passenger Pick-Ups at the Columbus airport, a North and a South, because to have just one would make actual sense. The North and the South Passenger Pick-Ups divide the immense foot traffic of this great transportation crossway, and are twenty feet apart.

Classes begin again in Daytona Beach on January 10. I'm leaving now.

parking in the white courtesy zone at:

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