Friday, June 27, 2008

Rocky first day in CA

This is a milestone for me! It is my 100th post. That is what the blogger Web site tells me. But I think this total might count a few unpublished posts, too. The ones I start writing and then Howard sees them and says, "What were you thinking??"

Yesterday was a milestone for me too. Here I was, on my way to California to meet again with Leonard Pennario, and for the entire flight from Cincinnati to San Diego, I gabbed with my seat mate. This has never happened to me. I am always a loner. But the guy sitting next to me -- his name was Randy -- was so nice. He had a beautiful Southern accent and we made friends when he laughed at me trying to find and fasten my seat belt. Seat belts are not easy to negotiate when you have had three hours' sleep.

So after that we yakked and yakked with just two seconds' time out that we took to mock the inflight movie, "Absolutely Maybe," which looked obnoxious. The flight flew! I will say that. Randy is a guitarist and we talked a lot about Neil Young, enough so now I have "Harvest" permanently on the brain. He also questioned me closely about Leonard Pennario, which I love.

Then we went together to the baggage claim and then on the Hertz rental car shuttle. At Hertz we parted ways, Randy being a Hertz Gold member and me being a zero.

Hertz. HERTZ. Do not ever say that word to me again.

I was at that place an hour and a half!

First, the line was eight miles long.

Next, they gave me a car I didn't want, and not only did I not want it, I had to pay extra for it. What is the point of reserving a car if the car you reserved isn't there for you? That is what I would like to know.

Then just as soon as I had warmed to that car -- it was a red Mustang -- the guy at the exit gate told me it was the wrong car! They had given me the wrong car! Go back to start! Do NOT collect $200!

So I find my way on my three hours' sleep back to the office. And then ... and then ... they try to foist this SUV on me. "It's a small SUV," they said. And it wasn't! It was like this Humvee!

Back I go to the office. By now I'm getting hysterical. I mean I am in just about in tears. You get to the point where you feel no one can hear your scream.

And it's funny, suddenly the right car suddenly materializes -- a white Camry with a sun roof and a GPS system which, hey, I didn't want it, but I didn't pay extra for it, and I heard other customers begging for one and being turned down, so I am gloating over having it. Not only did the car appear, but a nice man appeared and walked me over to the car and put my luggage in the trunk and made sure everything was fine. Hysteria gets a bad press, and it shouldn't. Hysteria will get you everywhere.

I drove out the same gate where I had been stopped before with the red Mustang. The attendant beamed down at me. "You're back!" he said. "You couldn't stay away from me! What'll it be? Dinner? Dancing?"

I said: "Drinks, after all I've been through!"

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