I should have known Denver was not the town for me when I put out feelers in my vast social networks asking what I should do in Denver and the response came back “eat at a hotdog cart,” and a link to purchase the “What to do in Denver When You’re Dead” DVD.
Mary and I landed at the Denver area airport at 9 pm.
She has some fancy priority club membership at Budget Rental so when we reached the rental counter, the guy handed her the rental agreement packet and said the keys were in the car in spot 17G.
Oh, I should mention, that while Mary managed to fit her life for nine days in a compact carryon, I had a full size green luggage, my backpack, my handbag and a pink duffel bag (which I was only brought to teach Delta a lesson about charging me to check a bag. That lesson being if I can bring two carryons for free, I should be able to check one bag for free. If that’s not the case, I will pay your extortion fees, but I will most DEFINITELY be getting my free carryons too. But I wasn’t supposed to actually have anything in the duffel bag except my handbag. It was just supposed to be a prop for justice! A justice prop. Uh huh. It was the heaviest justice prop you ever did carry, I tell you what.)
Anyway, so of course space 17G is about as far across the Budget lot as you can get without exiting into the cold, dark Denver area night. This would have been fine, if not for —
“The space is empty.”
Mary had sprinted ahead (or walked at a normal pace for someone with one bag) and discovered there were no cars at all in the 17 aisle. There were also no Budget representatives outside to help. You know, being that it was 900 degrees below zero. Um…or 55.
Mary left her bag with me, crossed the lot again and went back to the counter. I would have followed her, but the thought of lifting my justice prop again, kept me frozen in place. I was so cold, I actually started to jog around the bags.
I. Do. Not. Like. You. Denver.
About two hours later, I see Mary waving me toward her on the other side.
Uh huh. I’m going to drag all these bags over there by myself? That’s happening.
Eventually, she gave up waving and walked back out to me. Budget had switched us to a vehicle in the first row…or, more accurately, Budget had switched us to a vehicle.
I had hoped that with all the inconvenience of bag dragging, ass freezing and empty spot finding, that we’d get a fancy upgraded car.
When Mary popped the trunk on a dingy, scratched up silver Toyota Corolla with Texas plates, I was disappointed.
“Aw, you couldn’t get them to upgrade us?”
“This was the upgrade.”
No. Really, it was… The car that was supposed to be in 17G was a ’77 Dodge Pinto.
We loaded all of our stuff into the car and Mary asked if I knew how to get to the hotel?
I plugged my TomTom into the cigarette lighter, but since I hadn’t used it since I got my Beamer with built in Navigation, it still wasn’t charged.
“Do you have a GPS app on your phone,” I asked.
She did, but she wasn’t getting a signal.
I looked up the app name on my Droid X and found I had it too. Plus, I also had three solid bars! Verizon for the win!
We pulled up to the checkout gate and the guy stared at our rental agreement papers.
“Did you girls get the right car? Says you’re supposed to have the “77 Pinto.”
“Oh, they upgraded us inside. You should see the Corolla papers behind the Pinto ones.”
“Ah. Ok. Got it. Do you girls need any directions this evening?”
I leaned over Mary and held my Droid up to the window.
“My phone says these are the directions to Denver, does that look right?”
He squinted, leaned back and said “well, I can give you a map and show you how to get to Denver.”
I leaned back into the passenger seat while he scribbled stuff on a map that I *knew* I wouldn’t be able to read.
As Mary passes me the newly scribbled up paper map, I decide this is as good a time as any to tell my hilarious New Orleans story.
So, it’s 1999 and I’m in New Orleans with my friend Veronica. We’re volunteering on a death penalty appeal for a teenage boy convicted of murder. We are driving from the legal clinic to grab some lunch when she gets turned around. She hands me to map. I do not understand the map, but I decide to um…what’s the phrase… “wing it.”
“Left at the light.”
“Now, right down this road.”
After about twenty minutes, she figures we must be lost.
“What street are we on.” I crane my neck and read the first French word I see on a sign.
“No, on the map! Where are we on the map?”
“Well…so here’s the thing…”
“GOD DAMMIT. Okay, well, I’ll pull over and you drive while I navigate.”
At this point, I decide this is as good a time as any to tell Veronica my hilarious story about how even though I have a driver’s license, I do not know how to drive.
“So, it’s 1996 and I’m…”
This led to the famous “You can’t navigate AND you can’t drive?? You’re useless!” pronouncement of 1999.
Mary groans, but I figure we can just follow the Droid’s directions… it’s gotta be based on something!
I am right and after 3 hours trapped in Denver traffic we get to our hotel. Mary goes to sleep. I stay up watching Ponyo. This was a mistake.