But I ended up agreeing to purchase the 340.
Left the house at 11 AM to go to Chicago Midway airport. for a 2:15 PM flight on Southwest to Atlanta. There was the expected slowdown due to road construction on I-80/94, and then additional traffic issues, but having planned for that I got to the parking lot at MDW at the expected time…
That was the best part of the trip.
For some reason, after waiting in line for the expected TSA theater, the folks running the baggage xray(ish) machine took exception to my cheap $25 Casio watch….for what reason I do not have a clue….They ran it through the scanner 5 times, and finally I told them they could keep the watch as I had to get to the gate (WTF? 15 grams of plastic and electronics is a danger to the travelling public?) I’m not sure why the cheap Casio was of such interest, but they apparently found it fascinating….
I made it to the gate with time to spare, only to discover thathe plane was running 30 minutes alte….I considered (momentarily) going back to try to get my watch back, but that would have required that I leave the “secure” area and then go through the TSA probulation line again, so I chalked the watch up to the cost of travelling…
Then the delay was changed to an hour.
Then an hour and 15 minutes.
Then an hour 30
Then to 1:45…aaanddd a few minutes later to 2 hours.
The plane did show up unexpectedly about an hour and 45 minutes late, so thaere was that good news….
Then they debarked everyone, and loaded us up. I had a B place in line, so I was able to find a place to put my bag in the overhead bin and a decent seat towards the middle of the plane. Soon enough the plane was full and they closed the doors and pushed us back…and that is where we again came off the rails.
An hour and 15 minutes while they “loaded the bags on board”.
We finally taxiied, and took off…3 hours and 30 minutes late.
It was a smooth fight and we arrived in ATL with no issues…. I retrieved my bag and wasted no time getting off and taking the train to the rental car counter…Where I enountered a line of about 35 people and ONE clerk moving at a pace one (but only one) notch faster than “dead”. (the other car rental counters had similar lines and a similar lack of staffing, so I guess they can’t get employees anywhere in Atlanta)
After 50 minutes or so, I get my turn and he takes my information, looks up my reservation, gets pissy when I decline their insurance and their inflated gas pricing, and gives me a car spot assignment number.
I walk about a half mile to the very spot and find it empty. As in no car there, just two lines on either side and yellow painted 4 digit number at the front….Checked the number he had written down and yes, I was at the correct parking space…but there was no car. Just bare concrete with empty air abover it. No one was in attendance at that part of the garage, so (just to have proof) I took a picture of the empty parking spot (with the number clearly visible) and walked back to the clerk at his desk. He tried to get me to go to the back of the line, but I was insistant (not wanting to wait while he (slowly) processed 40 other people), and he insisted I had gone to the incorrect parking spot until I showed him the photo of the empty place (with the correct number) on my cell phone. At that point he allowed as there might be a mistake and gave me a different number for a parking spot for a car…I made him write it down so there could be no mistake.
Walked back to the garage and YES! there was a car there….but no keys that I could find. I even tried to start it with the “Push to Start” button to make sure the keys were not hidden somwhere inside the car, but no joy….The car did not come alive ….the keys were not in the car. Taking a deep breath, I returned another half mile to the desk…where the line was now about 50 poeple and still one clerk. I again asked for a car that I could take off the lot. He gave me another spot number and again I walked to the garage. Yes, there was indeed a car there…..but it was locked.
I was about to lose my shit at that point ….As in come uncorked…blow a gasket…. as I was tired and frustrated…but before I went back to the counter, I took some deep calming breaths and counted to 38 in sanskrit and other such methods to calm down so I would not make things worse with violence……… when a kid with a “Dollar” Rent-A Car vest pulled up in a very tiny Nissan, still dripping water from a recent washing. “Is this one ready to go?” I asked. “Yessir” he replied….So I tossed my bag in the back seat and drove to the check-out gate….Where the dude manning it told me “This is not the car you were assingned”….”I know”, I replied…”But the other times I tried to get a car there were issues”….after getting my tale of woe, he then fixed the paperwork and let me leave the lot (I suspect the first car that I was assigned my have been taken by an equally frustrated customer having had a similar experience).
Finally! On the road. I only have to drive for 3 more hours!
Which would have been true, exept that the State of Georgia does repaving and other roadwork at night…..and in some places they took 6 lanes nown to ONE….(actually, the delays were not that bad compared to what would have happend in Indiana and Illinois…maybe the Georgia driver are used to this and simply merge better…I dunno).
Oh and did I mention the very nice young lady (of questionable virtue) at the Truck Stop (where I stopped for a cup of coffee and burger (I hadn’t eaten since the morning) to keep me going another hour of driving) who offered to take my mind off my troubles? (I politely declined her offer of services)
So after what should have been a 3 hour drive that was more like 4 and a half, I arrived at the hotel. Nearly 5 hours later than planned.
“There is an issue with your room, sorry sir”.
I just laughed….
“Is there a bed?” ….”yes”
“clean linens?……”Oh yes sir”
“Towels? Does the shower work?” ….”Yes sir”
“Does the AC work?” “Yes sir”
“No snakes or scorpions or ants or other critters or toxic, deadly hazards (demons, ghosts or portals to another dimension)?”…..”No sir”
“Then I will take it. ”
Turns out one wall had no working outlets, but I really didn’t care.
I tumbled into bed at 2:30 or so AM local and slept until 6:45 (which is late for me) and thus begins the next chapter……