Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When Fates Conspire

Memories of nice people in Scottsdale - Susan and Jim, who took us to the hottest Mexican in town - literally.

Sometimes it seems (and I am not one of life’s conspiracy theorists) that fate simply conspires against you. And when life is stressful it does everything it can to make it more so.

So there we were. Three-thirty in the morning, standing outside the house in Scottsdale, Arizona, due to check-in for our flight at 4am. And the taxi we have ordered is late.

Not just any old taxi. It was a car from Arizona Executive transportation services, ordered and agreed during an exchange of several e-mails. Price nailed, time double-checked.

By ten to four, there was still no sign of it. Just the hot wind blowing off the desert in the dark. I searched through the yellow pages and called a Yellow Cab. The driver said he would be with us in twenty minutes - and the airport would be another twenty-minute drive away after that.

We waited and waited.

Until finally, the cab arrived, with still no sign of the car from Arizona Executive transportation. Of course, I had already phoned them... and got a recorded ad. for their “services”. No one at the other end of the phone.

As we slipped into the back seat of the cab, and hung on for dear life while the driver hurtled, bumped, and swerved his way along the freeway to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, I vowed that I would advise the world never to order a car from AE transport services - AE clearly being an acronym for Absolute Eejits.

So we arrive late for check-in, scramble through security, walk what seems like two miles to the gate, trailing computers and iPads, when I suddenly remember I have to upload my blog for Type M for Murder. I have two minutes to spare. But fortunately there is free wifi in the airport. Perched on the edge of a seat I log in and upload the blog, which I had written the night before, and make a dash for the plane.

Only to be stopped in my tracks by the announcement that carry-on bags are going to be arbitrarily checked into the hold. Strict limits are being applied. I am carrying two laptops, my iPad, all my electrical equipment, money, passport etc, in three bags. No way will it all be allowed on.

As if I wasn’t stressed enough. I was not going to let my computing power out of my hands. So I secreted one bag beneath my coat, and endeavoured to hide another on the farthest side from the check-in girl. Sweat and heart rate increase as I get closer.

She takes my ticket, looks suspiciously at the one immediately visible bag and... lets me through.

When I finally get into my seat, I should have been sighing with relief and relaxing for the rest of the flight. But no. I can’t get my feet under the seat in front. The guy sitting beside me is all elbows. I seem to be twisted in the seat and can’t get comfortable.

It was just going to be one of those days.

Three hours to Chicago, the clock going forward two. A two-and-a-half hour wait at O’Hare Airport, then another hour’s flight to Rochester, New York - and another hour moved forward.

There we meet up again with Susie and pick up a rental car. First of all the boot (trunk) is so small we can’t get all the bags in. Then the automatic gear gets stuck in low as we try to navigate out of the airport. I make two tours of the damned place before returning to the Hertz garage and demanding another car - which they provide, eventually, with a bad grace.

Finally we get to our hotel, only thirteen hours after dragging ourselves out of bed at 3am, and losing three hours on our day.

Of course, we were there for a family wedding - the marriage of La Patronne’s niece, Suzi, to Joel. So it was quick wash, then head off for the rehearsal dinner in a church hall somewhere. A loooong day.

This was not the limo that failed to take us to the airport - it was the bride and groom's ride to the wedding!

On Saturday I slipped into my pre-ordered kilt to discover that I must have lost weight. Only my belt (purchased for the purpose at the Grand Canyon) holds it up.

I won’t go into details of the wedding, suffice to say that all went well. Suzi and Joel finished the day husband and wife, and we all fell wearily into bed around midnight, only to be wakened three hours later by a fire alarm.

Susie and La Patronne do their imitation of Married to the Mob at the wedding.

The whole damned room reverberated to the sound of it, and a soporific female voice urging us to leave all behind and flee from the hotel by the nearest exit. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be parted from my computers, even by fire. So, laden with bags, I toiled down four flights of stairs, half-dressed, to stumble out into the car park. There the entire population of the hotel shivered for the next forty minutes until the fire service determined that there was a “mechanical issue”, and that it had been a false alarm.

Having been wakened from a sound slumber, I found it impossible to get back to sleep, and the whole of Sunday was spent in a haze of fatigue - an early morning drive to take Susie to the airport, a wedding brunch at 10am, coffee by the canal at Fairport, sun streaming through the window to encourage increasingly heavy eyelids to close, and a late burger to settle a growling stomach.

Then up at 5, and on the road, south and east, through Massachusetts to Connecticut and the home of friends Dick and Michel Ward, where there is one day to draw breath before heading by train for New York City.


And tomorrow.

And tomorrow....


DJ Kirkby said...

Awww Peter that sounds awful and really helps put into perspective the supposed glamour of being a famous author on tour. x

stephen said...

Hi always am following Herges Adventures of Peter and jancy with enthusiastic anticipation. You still are the star boy reporter. Love you man!

peter_may said...

All part of life's rich pageant, DJ! Not much fun at the time, but at least we were able to laugh about it all afterwards. And it's all grist to the Writers' mill.

Hey Stevie boy! Good to hear from you. The book with your dedication comes out in January. You will get the first copy!! Love you, too, Captain Haddock.

Carol said...

Hmmm....what did you do in a past life to deserve that?? Sounds absolutely horrific...hopefully the next leg of the tour will not be so painful!!

Was nice to talk to you and glad the wedding went well

C x

peter_may said...

Carol, I am probably just getting my just desserts for throwing you naked into a snowdrift at the back door when you were about five and refusing to go to bed! Oh, but it was fun to hear how you screamed!!