The Wedding--Part Two
by, 10-28-2010 at 09:10 PM (552 Views)
Atlanta airport. The busiest in the United States. I have never liked it having previously been entertained there back in the 1980s and this trip would do little to change my view.
Our trip from Dayton took approximately an hour and we disembark with luggage in hand. I'm attached to a garment bag and a suitcase and Ruth has a purse (very rare for her) and a smaller bag. Throughout the trip I'm constantly changing my grip on the necessities of life while Ruth stops and waits while I urge her to continue walking as I assure her I can catch her any day of the week. This is due to an accident many years back that has left her with six pins in her ankle and a noticeable limp.
We enter the gate area looking for a screen to identify our connector gate but none are immediately visible. A clerk at the counter is. He is having a animated conversation with a female flight crew member and providing some paperwork for her. They are shop talking a bit. I stand to the left of him and a couple of feet away unsuccessfully making eye contact and maintaining my composure. I rarely make a scene on someone else's turf. Without a glance my way he wraps up the chat and scoots off to the right and away from the counter without a glance back to his post of duty. I almost yelp at this but my pride kicks in. With a humph I stride over across the hall to a more professional clerk who I quickly discover is very helpful but challenged in math skills. According to him our gate is two up to the left. Try 15 gates up and I'm puffing along with this suitcase wondering just how many clothes are in this thing.
Now if I was to make only one suggestion mind you to improve customer attitudes at Atlanta it would be this. If the adminsitration must place seating between two departure gates it might be wise to have more then 30 seats available for the approximately 50 passengers that are waiting to leave their sunny oasis. And in this day and age you would be hard put to find anyone willing to give up a seat for a somewhat worn grumpy dinosaur and a slightly aging younger spouse of just past the middle years in maturity. One fellow had a suitcase on a seat that would have been nice for Ruth but he claimed a wife. Said spouse shows up a minute or two later and I spend the next half hour watching the two of them take turns deserting their luggage. At one point they both took off and I toy with the idea of moving the bags a row or two but aware of the cameras and the constant PA announcement about being on the lookout for suspicious looking people. Sigh--all these years and still petty at heart.
The sun is rising and a beautiful sight that must be shared. I call the Call Center back home and relate to Sam that yes I actually left the state and this was not a dream, not an imaginary story etc etc.
We load up for the next leg of the trip--Atlanta to Portand and our true adventures start.
Our seat companion is a young 30 year old with five children traveling with his father returning from a missionary trip to Columbia. They are looking into the prospect of starting an orphanage there and he is a charming person to listen and talk with. I tell him some funny lockout stories about AAA before we begin to discuss Christianity and theological books. He is familiar with Spurgeon (where part of my name here comes from) and has read more Calvin then I. I expound as usual on the virtues of Matthew Henry's Commentary before we attempt to take a nap. None of us succeed very well at that. We part company feeling blessed to see a beginning work of the Lord and wish him well.
The pilot makes good time and shaves an hour off our flight and Portland is reached at 10:45 Oregon time.
We are in the terminal and I call Heather to announce our arrival. She is pleased but well in the midst of wedding preparations. She invites us to her home after we get the rental car and settle in at the hotel. I assure here that will be fine and see her in about a couple of hours.
Five minutes later I'm back on the phone with her. In all the preparations for the trip I never once asked WHICH car rental company was going to have the honor of our patronage. I have the confirmation number but not the business name. Heather checks a computer and provides the name Budget Car rental. Not quite thrilled by that choice but oh well.
It takes a bit of hiking to find the rental car area. Budget rental car burned me a couple of years ago when my mother passed away failing to advise me of an overcharge fee (refundable upon return) before taking possession of a car when I had it budgeted to the exact amount. I never could write a letter of complaint over that which was succinct and to the point mostly due to the actual relief I felt at NOT having to attend the funeral and further revelations of that interesting period bore me out that all really was for the best. But I do remember this sort of thing so what occurs in the next three minutes has solidified my opinion of the business practices of Budget Car rental.
Simply put their clerks need MORE training. And full disclosure. I have the rental car confirmation number in hand and full confidence that all will be well. Except that I was truly NOT looking forward to driving in a strange city though afterwards I think I could have handled it. Dan was kind enough to make the gesture so why not take advantage.
The clerk finds me by name.
"Credit card please?"
"You may have one but there is no money on it. Always maxxed."
I was naively assuming it had something to do with identity. And thinking too highly of what a confirmation number covered.
"It's not paid for."
"My son Dan paid for it--using HIS credit card."
Some keyboards clicks.
"Sorry sir, no payment made. Under your name or his."
It must be confessed that my first thought was Dan has messed it up. Since when did he ever think I would have money on a credit card handy? Had I missed something here. Hmmm. The next thought is--Yessssssss--now I don't have to argue wth Ruth about map directions in a strange city.
I begin laughing. The clerk is puzzled by this. I assure I am not angry and we'll figure something out.
We leave the area and sit in the terminal looking at the skyline--very very pretty and my mind wanders. I so want a nap. And to grump a bit.
Time to meet the future Mrs. Dan Mtpspr--the hard way. I reach for my cell phone.
There is an answer to the mystery of the unpaid rental but I'll reveal that tomorrow.
Of course to be continued--lawn gnomes and flirting with young ladies in the near future.