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Heather's wedding, June 5, 2004 part 3

BAM! "Ladies and gentlemen, this recording is to wake you up again. I know that you thought you were actually going to get a little sleep on this red-eye flight, but now we're just fucking with everyone in here. We control you. You can sleep on your own time. If you shut your eyes one more goddamned time, we're going to start shocking you." I'm not sure those were the exact words of the announcement this time, but remember that I was wearing headphones and had my music turned up loud. I also don't know how much time elapsed after meal service, but the airline had certainly ruptured everyone's tympanic membrane this time. I had had enough. If I could have safely gotten off of the plane, I would have walked the rest of the distance. As it were, though, I changed the CD in my Discman and pulled out a book of crossword puzzles. A few minutes later, the pilot came over the intercom to inform us of the plane's current position. He even offered us the information about what was out the windows on the right side of the plane. In the dark. That we couldn't see. I believe it was Grand Island, Nebraska. I will forever hate that town. He also asked us to remain in our seats for the remainder of the flight, as we were a short 50 minutes shy of arrival. Yes, that's not a typo - 50! minutes!

I stayed in my seat for the last 50 minutes working on my crossword. Atypically, I skipped around in the book; looking for things I was capable of doing at such a ridiculous hour, in my ridiculously tired state. I didn't have much luck, but I did manage to keep myself occupied until we landed in the land of ice and snow.

I exited the plane and found the baggage claim. Piece of cake. Now the only thing between me and 40 winks was a rental car. Mustang, here I come!

I left baggage claim and followed the signs that pointed to car rentals. I walked down long hallways that didn't look terribly familiar. I thought this was because I was tired. I crossed the street to a separate building - some sort of parking structure with a few offices in it. SIDENOTE: The Twin Cities International Airport MSP has been my home base for flights for most of my life. Within the last few years, they had begun some construction to upgrade the facilities and build some better parking structures. The fact that I wasn't terribly familiar with this building wasn't much of a surprise. It did, however, look like the car rental building at the Milwaukee Airport, FYI.

I had crossed the street to wander through the other building, looking for my car rental company. Nothing looked familiar and I could only find signs for other rental agencies. It was a little frustrating, so I decided to go back to the main building and have a look around. Nothing there looked terribly familiar, either, so I crossed the street again. Oh yeah, by this time, the sun had come up and I felt like I was hung-over without the headache. Or the fond memories of being drunk. Back in the main building, I wanted to ask the information desk where to go. While in the main building, I found that the information desk was unmanned at such an early hour. Finally, I notice some other passengers from my flight crossing the street and I decided to follow them. They waited in a small lobby area, with a phone in it. But it was not a normal looking phone, it only had numbers for car rental agencies on it. AHA! I picked up the receiver and pushed the button for my agency. Ring. Ring. Ring. There was no answer. Shit.

At this point, I was extremely tired, so I did the only normal thing I could think of. I crossed the street again, back to the main building. It was a good thing that I did, too, because this time I finally noticed that I was in the Lindbergh Terminal. Flashback to all the days of driving past the airport. There are two terminals: Lindberg and Humphrey. One of them was the international terminal. The Lindberg Terminal is the international terminal! No wonder I don't recognize anything, I have never been in this terminal before. The other building must only have certain car rental agencies that only work with international guests! So, with much ado, I crossed the street again (I'd lost count by now) and boarded the shuttle that goes between the international terminal and nonstupid terminal. Finally I knew where I was and could head toward the rental agency's counter.

I stepped into line just behind a couple of other people, so I had to wait a short while to get to the counter. While I was there, I was checking out anything I could find. I noticed that the agency right next to us was completely empty. No one even at the counter, though I knew they were open. Whatever. I had a Mustang coming to me and I was willing to wait 15 minutes for that.

I finally got to the counter and the woman looked for my reservation. When she saw what I had booked, her face turned sour. I knew the jig was up. "Sir, we don't actually have any Ford Mustangs this morning. Could I interest you in a free upgrade?" I was a little bummed about the Mustang, though not surprised, so I said, "sure." Immediately, I looked down at the book of pictures of the cars and spotted a Jaguar! Certainly a Jaguar could cheer me up! "Here you are, sir, the keys to your Ford Taurus." Those ten words can wake anyone from a dream.

Continue reading part 4...

Posted by dennis @ 10:02 PM | Comments (0)
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