Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 044


This week I was off to Baton Rouge Louisiana! This is one of the few places I’ve gone where the weather is every bit as hot, humid, and miserable as Texas. I’d much rather go someplace cool, like Detroit, or Ohio, or ANYWHERE else!
Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 004

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 001
I prefer longer, more modest skirts, but with the heat it’s just really not as much of an option as I’d like, so I went with a shorter purple skirt. I matched it with a cotton blouse I bought just recently, and while it does have a high neck, it’s a very thin material and so reasonable comfortable in the heat. I’ve flown on Delta and US Airways so much, that I am “elite” on both of their frequent flier programs. Since I’m elite with them, and would have been treated well and perhaps even flown first class, my travel coordinator booked me on American airlines instead.  Nah, I know that it just SEEMS like she does this, I’m pretty sure it’s not on purpose. . .
.. ..
As has become my habit, I stopped at the little coffee place inside the Austin airport for a chocolate mocha. I know they aren’t good for me, but hey, I like ‘em anyway. As the young man behind the counter is ringing me up, he asked quite nicely “So why do you fly so often?” Clearly I’d never been “passing” with him. Given the thousands of people he must deal with a week, there’s only one reasonable reason he would remember me. Still, he had gone out of his way to strike up a conversation with me. J
“It’s my job! When my companies shit breaks, I go fix it!” I told him with a laugh.
“That doesn’t sound like too bad a deal,” he said, still preparing my drink.
“Nah, it’s a great deal! I’m always going someplace new , so I’m never bored” I told him.
“And I guess it pays OK too?” he asks as he hands me my drink.
“Not too bad, it feeds the babies anyway, so I can’t complain much.”
As I was boarding the plane, I couldn’t help noticing a man about my own age. I noticed him, because one entire side of his face was misshapen. It wasn’t clear if this was the result of trauma or if he had been born that way, but one side of his face almost looked melted and droopy. It sort of struck me that he and I had a little in common – no one was terribly eager to sit next to either of us in the waiting area. Once the plane landed in DFW where I was to catch my connection, he and I were both almost side by side heading for the tram when he glances over at me with a smile.
“I’ll bet your missing your tennis shoes  about now huh?” he asks, pointing at my heels.
“Nah, hell no!” I told him with a grin. “I LOVE my heels!”

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 011

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 030

.. ..
I got to Baton Rouge in the early afternoon, too early to call it a day, and so I hit up the mall not far from my hotel. I started in Dillards because I often find shoes on sale there that I like. One of the first things I noticed is that the place is empty – there is hardly anyone shopping there. I was walking through one clothing section where two SA’s were chatting with each other about 10 yards away from me. I glanced up to find that they were both looking at me, but thought nothing of it and kept walking. As I’m walking away from them I can hear the conversation.
“Umm umm umm,” says one to the other. “Some people just have something missing in their lives.”
“Umm hmm, you know it honey.” Replied the other one, with a sad tone of voice.
“You know, it must fill some hole or need in them,” continued the first philosopher.
I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation, I just kept walking with a mixture of emotions.
Angry at them, though they hadn’t exactly been rude.
Embarrassed, because their conversation had shot my confidence all to hell, and I suddenly felt very much like a freak. I seriously considered turning around right there and going back to the car, but I chose not to give in to that and continued shopping the mall.
.. ..
I discovered there was a Casino not too far from me, on the Mississippi river and decided to go take a look. The parking was a bit confusing, but I figured it out, got parked, and then hiked all the way through this HUGE hotel to get to the walk way to the casino. On my way across the bridge, I noticed an old navel vessel on display – the USS KIDD. Thought it looked cool so I took a pic or two, and then continued on to the casino. 

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 056

Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 059

I should have just gone and looked at the USS Kidd, because I lost $40 in less than an hour. Between my confidence at the mall getting all shot to hell, and then loosing $40, I headed for the hotel feeling a bit depressed.
.. ..
On this trip, I had brought a few outfits that I wanted to try on to see if they fit well and were flattering. First, I tried on a blue dress that I had bought years ago but never worn out. I had tried this on long ago, but at the time just couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Guess what? I STILL can’t decide!
.. ..
.. ..Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 066
.. ..
Next, I tried on a red dress I just recently found and I think it looks great! Now my only question is, is this an appropriate dress for every day things, or is this a dress that can be worn in my travels? Not sure.
.. ..
.. ..Baton Rouge 2009 07 21 061
.. ..
The following day I very quickly resolved problems with two of my customers instruments, and was headed back to the hotel looking forward to an entire day to be free and “pretty”.  It didn’t work out that way though. Nope, instead, a few miles from my customer, the car started to run very poorly, and the air-conditioning was blowing hot air. A quick look at the gages showed the car was running VERY hot – just under the red line, so I pulled it over. As I eased it to the shoulder of the freeway it stalled out and the engine died. It’s noon time, in the summer, in Louisiana . . . to say it’s “hot” just doesn’t do it justice. I can see from my GPS that there is an exit not too far ahead, so I gave the car about 15 minutes, started it, and tried to make it to the exit. As I make the exit and start to brake for the intersection, the car again stalls out, this time with the needle well and truly into the red zone. I called Avis at about 12 noon, and they told me that they would have a tow truck and replacement car to me in no more than an hour and a half. It was sort of implied that this was an outside estimate and that I could expect the car much sooner than that. Given that the airport, where the replacement car was going to be provided from, was only 12 or 13 miles from me, I figured it would be more like 30 minutes. Well, 145 PM, height of summer, in Louisiana, in a dead car. I can either sit in the hot car, or I can stand outside and get the snot burnt outta me. Imagine my delight when an hour and half goes by with no tow truck. I called their 800 number again and was assured it was no more than 20 minutes away. 30 minutes later, I called them again, and was told again it would be no more than 20 minutes. Another 30 minutes later I call again, and am AGAIN told it will be no more than 20 minutes. No longer believing the folks on the 800 line, I called the Avis lot at the airport and she told me the replacement car had been ready and she had no idea why the tow truck driver hadn’t come for it yet. 30 minutes later I call again, and am told that the driver is 10 minutes from the airport to pick up the replacement car, and then 20 minutes from that point to get it to me. FOUR hours later the tow truck driver arrives with my replacement. He offers no apologies, he offers no excuses, he offers no explanation for why it took him four hours to bring a car 13 miles. I have been madder before, but not often. . .
I had my job accomplished early and should have had an entire day to enjoy Baton Rouge. Instead, I spent the entire afternoon  baking in a dead car in Louisiana. I’m not going anywhere tonight. Too damned angry and angsty to enjoy it anyway. 

No comments:

Post a Comment