So over the weekend, my wife told me that she wanted to go shopping at Whole Foods. For those of you not in the know, it’s kind of a grocery store for organic and health food nuts. In my opinion, it’s kind of pricey and I wouldn’t spend my money there, but it pleases my wife, and so I hold my tongue. I used to hate going there with her until the day I noticed that there was a Nordstroms Rack department store in the same parking lot. Since that happy day, I’m all for it because my wife goes to one store, and I shop the other! This time my big treasure find was a black and white dress with a pattern that helps give the illusion that I have a waist. Not only that, but it was on clearance, so I got the $150 dress for only $35! YAY!
As is becoming my habit these days, I started this trip off by having breakfast at Denny’s. It’s not far from the airport and so it’s a convenient place to kill some time eating and sucking down caffeine while waiting for my flights. The hostess greeted me in much the same manner that the folks at the Delta counter do these days – very friendly and clearly remembering me.
“Hey, good morning and welcome back!” she said, and then as she guided me to the table “Coffee and a large milk?” she asked, somehow remembering my preferences from my last visit.
“Sure!” I told her with a grin. “I’ve got time to kill before my flight and so I thought I’d come irritate you again.”
“Oh your no bother at all!” she said with a cheerful laugh. You know, there are worse ways to start your morning than with the laughter of a pretty young lady. . .
After breakfast I headed just a short way down the street where there was an office building up for rent. There is no one at this huge building, but they are still maintaining the landscaping because they are trying to entice renters. This makes it pretty much the perfect place for taking some pictures out in the sunshine without a bunch of people looking and wondering why in the hell that woman is taking so many pictures of herself.
My new camera has one of those functions where it can detect your smile and take the photo when it does. Sounds a little better than it is though, because you have to be pretty darn close to the thing for it to work. I guess I was standing a bit too far away, because I couldn’t get it to take the photo. looking for that perfect distance where it would function, I kept edging closer, grin like an idiot, edge closer, idiot grin, closer, idiot, closer, idiot . . .
You know the way these things work - I was leaning in to be sure the camera could see my face an had just given up when the camera flash went off twice. After I stopped laughing, I took a look at the silly pics and decided that I really liked them!
On the way to the airport I saw a unique car that just defies description, so I’m not even gonna try. You just have to see this one:
Oh, and now I know where dying rental cars are supposed to go:
Since I was wearing a short dress, the TSA didn’t molest me this time. Speaking of the TSA molesting me, I think that maybe the next time I wear a long skirt, I’m gonna hide a mouse trap under it just to “amuse” the person that frisks me. But again I digress . . . After I went through the TSA check point, I was sitting on a bench putting my shoes and sparklies back on when a woman I’d guess to be in her early fifties walked up to use the same bench for the same purpose.
“That is a wonderful outfit.” She quietly said after taking a look at my dress and shoes. She wasn’t gushing and she didn’t appear to be terribly excited about it, she was just calling it the way she saw it.
“Well thank you! I just got it Saturday and have to admit that I think I love it.” I replied. “So did they frisk you for having the audacity to wear a long skirt?” I added after a look at her relatively long blue jean skirt.
“Not this time, but I have been through that before, and didn’t care at all for it!” she said with a loud laugh.
I made my way to my gate where I began to realize that there was a flaw with my time killing plan of swilling cup after cup of coffee at Dennys – I had to use the bathroom, and I had to use it BAD! The awkward thing was, the janitor was working in the “Special Needs” bathroom, and she appeared to be prepared to make a career out of cleaning that one small room. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and after half an hour my eyeballs were starting to float. I recall reading a news story about a transgender woman in Houston being arrested for using the Women’s Bathroom, and so I have always avoided doing that in the Austin airport. Normally it’s not a problem, because they have the special needs bathroom, but the darn janitor had now been working on it for half an hour, my flight was about to board, and I had to go bad, and so in I went. Yeah I know – someone out there is saying “OMG – is she really blogging about going to the bathroom?!” but I’m telling ya, it’s pretty scary when you know that someone else has been arrested for doing that very thing. So there I sat with my heart in my throat the entire time, waiting to find out if the Austin airport security folks have been waiting for me to do this so that they could nab me! The good news is that they apparently didn’t have any axes to grind with me, and so I went on about my merry way.
When I arrived at the Baltimore-Washington International airport, I was starting to drag my tail behind me a bit, and so my 50 pound suitcase and 50 pound tool box both felt like they had gained an awful lot of weight when it came time to pick them up and get them on to the rental car shuttle bus. I guess it showed, because a gentleman behind me spoke up with a laugh.
“Would you like a hand with that? It really doesn’t look like a high heels kind of job!”
“Thank you, but I think that I’ve got it.” I replied like an idiot. I say ‘like an idiot’ because I damn near killed myself trying to get the suitcase up on the rack. Fortunately the fellow behind me ignored me and stepped up to help me lift it on the top rack – the only space available. The tool box I left in the middle of the floor because there just wasn’t any other place to put it. When the shuttle bus arrived at the lot, I waited for everyone else to get their bags and then more or less threw my tool box off of the bus, and then got my bag down. As I stepped off of the bus with my suitcase and bent down to extend my tool boxes handle, I found a different man standing there and waiting for me.
“Miss, would you like a hand with those?” he asked me, with a sincere and kind tone of voice. There was something about the way he asked, I don’t know if it was his tone or his eyes, or what, but I just got the impression that he knew very well what I am and was still sincerely offering to help me.
“No thank you.” I answered with a smile that I hope made it clear that I really did appreciate the offer.
“Are you sure?”
“I very much appreciate the offer, but I drag these things all over the country. They have probably seen more miles than most flight attendants.” I replied with a laugh.
He gave a small laugh and wished me a good night, and off I went to find my rental car.
When you are part of their “preferred” program, Avis is supposed to have your car ready for you when you arrive, but more and more lately they appear to be unable to get it right, and today was more of the same. I wasn’t at all surprised to find that my name and space was not on their board, and so I had to go to the counter. I found a pretty young African American woman sitting inside the booth, told her my last name and that I had a reservation but my car wasn’t on her board.
“And what’s your first name please?” she asked me.
“Matthew” I told her, and almost bust out laughing when her head all but jerked up to look at me.
“Yeah, I know, not exactly the name you might have expected huh?”
She didn’t say anything, just grinned and waved her hand in a “It’s of no importance to me” fashion. In a moment, I had my rental car and was headed south toward Manassas VA where my customer and my hotel were.
Not as much as you might think, but I was a little worried on the hour and a half drive there. You see, I was going to be working with a colleague on this service call, and he was not only staying at the same hotel I was, but I knew he was already there. I knew he was already there because I had two or three text messages asking if I had landed or not. I thought about it for a while and decided that my best bet was to ignore his text messages until after I had arrived at the hotel and gotten cleaned up. I didn’t really want him to know what time to expect me. After all, it just wouldn’t do to have him getting clever and waiting to meet me in the hotel lobby. I didn’t really think there was much worry about running into him as I checked in, because I’ve stayed at this hotel many times and know that it has a small lobby area with no seating, and so there wouldn’t be much reason for him to be loitering there. It was a bit of a gamble, but I turned out to be right. I did have a bad moment though when I entered the lobby to find that there was a man at the counter checking in. For just an instant I had feared that it might be him. He had just finished checking in and had his keys in his hand, but he stood at the counter for a second staring at me as I checked in. I just looked at him and grinned and he hastily gathered his things and scurried off to the elevator.
Fortunately the Holiday Inn is more efficient than Avis, because she did have my keys and contract waiting for me. In just a few moments I was on my way to the elevator where I found myself sharing it with yet another guy who kept staring at me. Sometimes I feel like “the” entertainment when I am out and about.