I am a blend of World Traveler/Small Town Gal
This year, I have been able to visit with about 20 people who came to us through our blog. I wanted to meet with them, match faces with names, and take them (and family) out to dinner to thank them. I know that this plan, from several Internet savvy friends, sounds a bit odd or even scary. In actuality, it has been glorious.
But all this travel presents different challenges for me. I guess I had lost track of how many miles I've covered. For our recent sisters/nieces trip, I had purchased a portable clothes steamer as my sister gave me a blouse that wrinkles when you look at it. My niece Sarah, who travels for business, liked the steamer. I said, "When this trip is over, you can have this. I don't travel much."
At which, she stared at me like I had giant asparagus growing out of my ears. "What?" she said. "You travel a lot, Aunt Lynne."
Oh. I guess she's right. The family has been keeping tabs. She can still have the steamer. But, this year has been unusual for me in many ways: traveling is just one part of my adventure.
I remain, still and probably always, a bit of a small-town gal. I can remember when it was routine that you could return merchandise without a receipt in my town. The first time Target got all receipt-requirement on me, I swore I'd never shop there again. Got over it, by the way. You can still shop, in Kokomo and Warsaw, without fretting over receipts. I like that. Simplifies my life.
Mike and I traveled a bit but our trips were habitual and simple. We learned that if we could flash a credit card and some ID, the airline and hotel could locate our reservations. But, this week, I needed some big city skills and I crashed and burned.
My week began with a flight from Anchorage to Los Angeles. I spent a long weekend with Gwen, a friend I met on the Dennis Miller Zone message board; our friendship grew through her following our blog. She had taken me visiting her beloved Alaska, showing me sights and sites that she knew Mike would have loved. She was so right.
I had booked a non-stop flight to LAX and when I checked in, I found that I could upgrade to the last 1st class seat for $50. That meant a much nicer seat, a meal, and a really fun video player. I savored that God hug and enjoyed the flight.
At the big airport, my next task was to get to the LAX Marriott where I had a reservation. This meant that I sat under a red sign, "Hotel Shuttles," waiting for my ride. We loaded up in a crowd. We rode to the hotel. We disembarked, We filed to the line to check in.
By now, whatever time zone I'm on, I envisioned a hot cut of tea and a soft bed.
It took about 30 minutes to get to the agent. She asked me the golden question, "Do you have your confirmation number?"
I had several numbers. I had several cryptic codes for...I'm not sure... airlines? I had no reservation number. And apparently, I had no reservation. And, as it is always the case, there were no vacancies here. Nor anywhere in the LAX area. Something about a convention. A nice lady named Misty was oh so sorry but could only direct me to a hotel 20 miles away. Sigh. I was not alone. Several other people had missed connecting flights.
Then a nice young man announced, "No problem, folks. There are rooms at the Courtyard. Get in the shuttle and go there." We who were without rooms smiled, and boarded the bus. On to the next hotel, out and into the line. The couple in front of me were checking in when THAT agent said, "I'm glad I was able to give you our last room."
"NO!" I expressed my displeasure. "They told us you had rooms."
"We did. These people got the last one."
By the way, having bonded, that couple offered, as sincerely as they could to a stranger, that I could grab a cot in their room. I deferred.
Now, I'm trying to remember that all things happen for a reason. For some reason, I was not at my final stop. Tick Tick: 2 hours since I landed.
I was tired. I was stressed. I wanted to sink to the floor and just cry. I looked down at the floor tile. I knew that would not be a solution. So, I asked this agent to call a cab. He said it would take about 30 minutes.
Numb now. But the cab came right away, driven by Si, a very nice young man, who loaded up my suitcase and set his GPS for the hotel in Long Beach. $70 later, we turned into its parking lot.
I was dragging that purple wheeled suitcase by now. A smiling man greet with, "Are you checking in, Miss?" I nodded.
I did NOT say out loud: I hope I am. If you have no rooms, I will be parking one of those couches over there. Or their stable out back.
They DID have a room, a very nice room I bet. So, after negotiating past the drunk guy who wanted to buy me a drink (I'm a doctor! I have a Porche!"), I found my way to the 5th floor and my room.
Joseph and Mary had to settle for the stable and, face it, they had that 'baby is coming' thing. I made a cup of tea and crashed.