January 17, 2007

Smarter than the average bear. The average stupid bear.

This just happened, like five minutes ago. I will blame it on fatigue, and stick to that story until my dying day.

I'm in the hotel, and knowing that it's time (well, really, past time) to go to bed, I pick up the phone to set my wake-up call. This seems like a great idea, until I realize that the phone has no dial tone. Annoyed, I hang up and try it again. Nothing. I do the old-school tapping of the switch a few times. Still nothing. Just because I haven't tried it yet, I say hello, as if there's someone on the other end just waiting for me to calm down enough to acknowledge them so they can try to sell me a set of encyclopedias. Shockingly, this also produces no results.

By this point I'm a little annoyed, so I do what any clear-thinking modern adult would do: I pick up my cell phone and call the front desk. When the front-desk person answers, I tell him who I am and what room I'm staying in, and inform him that my phone has no dial tone. I go on to tell him that I really don't care about the phone so much; all I'm really trying to do is get a wake-up call set up (if you've figured it out by now, please don't spoil it for the rest. Thanks). He pauses for a second, then tells me that sure, he can set a wake-up call for me, but he'd have to come up and knock on my door or something at the appointed time.

Because the phone, which I had just called to tell him about, does not work.

I am a genius. The facts don't lie (they're truthful that way, much like hips).

I will defend myelf in a very small way by saying that it did occur to me as he began his response what the issue was, but it really didn't matter. I had already asked for a wake-up call to a broken phone. A phone that was so broken I felt the need to go outside of the hotel communications network to tell him about. So I, being of the helpful sort, suggested that maybe I'd just set the alarm clock instead. That seemed to be functioning relatively normally. Of course, for all I know at this point it's really a jack-in-the-box, but I'll give it a shot.

And if it wouldn't be too much trouble, to maybe have someone fix the phone tomorrow. So I can get my wake-up call.

January 16, 2007

File under: Not Quite What I Expected

So I'm on work travel for the second week in a row, deep in the heart of Texas (clapping optional). Had to rent a car. When I was making the reservation, picked the Intermediate size. The selection screen said, "Oldsmobile Alero or similar." Remember that: Oldsmobile. Alero.

Fast forward five days. Land at the airport (it's effing FREEZING, by the way), head off to the rental car building. Turns out my reservation wasn't quite right, so while it's being fixed I'm looking over the menu, as it were. Dodge is apparently the brand of choice for Thrifty car rental around here. Fair enough. I figure I'm getting like a Neon or something. Fine, whatever, it's late, I just want a car and to go to my hotel. Sleeping is much higher on my list of priorities right now than the cheapo rental car that's going to get me from hither to yon. Give me a Kia. I don't care. That's basically my position at the time. So Mr. Thrifty Man finishes his negotiating with the little gremlins in the computer (based on the time it took, it was quite a transaction), and goes to get me the keys to what I'm fully expecting at this point to be a '78 Dodge Dart (it was after midnight as far as I was concerned, after a flight that took a full extra hour to board and another extra hour in the air thanks to something like 170mph headwinds, so you'll excuse me if I was a little impatient). Hands me the keys, I half look at them on my way to Space #20, and off I go. I get out into the garage, and there are no fewer than five attendants hanging around my car, one of them might actually have been sitting on it, I'm not completely sure. But a van comes by, they all pile in, and I'm left staring at my equivalent of an Oldsmobile Alero.

A sotcky, silver, slightly hostile-looking new-model Dodge Charger.

Now, I know it doesn't have a Hemi, and let's face it, it's a Dodge. But still, what Dodge managed to do with its newer line of cars is produce what looks, at least from the outside, like a muscle car. Which for the record, an Oldsmobile Alero does not. Not even a little bit. It's very much like the Hefty vs. Wimpy; the Charger is hef-hef-hef-hef-Hefty.

I should point out that, after a day of driving it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to own one. You're sitting suprisingly high up for what I expect of a car like that, and the rear visibility is lousy. But still, I chuckle a little every time I walk out to it, as if I should be looking for a place to cruise the strip or something (or if you grew up in Wilmington, DE, cruise up and down Concord Pike between Taco Bell and the McDonalds. Not that I ever did that or anything). But I will admit, I'm more of a fan of Thrifty Car Rentals than I was two days ago. I was totally expecting a Kia and I got a muscle car. That's pretty cool.
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