12 November 2008

Travel tribulations

So, I’m finally getting around to posting again. I’m back from Orlando, where the conference was fine and I got to visit my friend Juanita, who is now a resident of the God-forsaken place. I also met her fiancée, who I guess will also need an internet alias, and their highly active dog. And we went to Sea World, where I fed a sea lion and touched a sting ray, so that was cool.

I rode down to Orlando with work people, but stayed an extra couple of days, so I had to pick up a rental car at the Orlando airport, which took forever. (Advice: avoid renting a car at the Orlando Airport.  Huge lines full of vacationing families from throughout North America and Europe.) On the plus side, my trip to the airport did give me the opportunity to walk on a moving sidewalk. I do love the moving sidewalks. They are by far the best thing in any airport. I feel so speedy and important when I’m on one, effortlessly bypassing those walking-on-the-regular-ground losers. I think there should be moving sidewalks out in the world, taking people from their car to the mall or office or movie theatre and back again. I also have this desire to see those skyride aerial tram things you ride on at amusement parks (like the ones at Disney and Busch Gardens) used as a form of around-town public transportation. Think about it. It’s like a cable car, but in the sky. You get a relaxing journey with a lovely view. I confess this idea came to me in a dream, in which Tallahassee had such a system. I walked out to my corner, got into the gondola and was whisked across town to FSU. But, I digress.

Anyway, I finally got my rental car, and as usual it was kind of a pain in the ass. It’s nice to get to try out a different car, but there’s always so much hassle. For example, I hate coming out of a hotel or restaurant or whatever and not immediately recalling what my car looks like. I spent 10 minutes wandering around a mall parking lot looking for my car, because while I could remember that it way gray, I’m not routinely familiar with the lines and body shape of the Mitsubishi Galant. I kept pushing the button on the key to try and make the horn beep to let me know it’s location. I thought I was honing in on it, until I realized that this elderly couple was doing the same thing and I had been following their horn. 

I also hate how they don’t put the manual for the car in the glove box anymore. I guess people stole them? Way to ruin it for the rest of us, sticky fingers. Anyway, the manual has helpful information on how to do all the things I always have to spend a lot of time figuring out, like how to turn on the headlights or operate the cruise control. Invariably, I never try to determine how the windshield wipers work until it starts raining, then I find myself trying not to wreck while attempting to decipher the words on that little stick on the steering column. And my personal car doesn’t have those headlights that go on and off automatically, so I don't know how to determine if the rental car lights have come on, nor do I believe they will turn themselves off. 

A while back had one of those HHRs (the state makes you rent the compact, but AVIS is often out of them, so they just upgrade you to whatever’s around. The best was when I got a Prius.) Anyway, I was going to Orlando, as usual, and I didn’t need to roll down the window until I was approaching one of O-town’s many charming tollbooths. It was only then that I realized that I had no idea how to open the window. There was no button or knob or crank or anything on the door. I finally had to open the door at the booth to pay the toll, where the helpful tollbooth worker told me, “the window control is in the middle by the gear shift.” Apparently, it was not his first time seeing people with this problem. Didn’t make me look like less of an idiot, however. Ditto the time that I pulled up to the gas pump and had to spend 5 minutes trying to figure out how to open the little door over the gas tank. And I never remember to look beforehand at which side of the car the tank is on, so I’m always pulling up to the wrong pump.

Ok, enough bitching for now. But for real, someone needs to get cracking on that skyride transport system, stat.  That is totally the way forward.

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