Sunday, July 25, 2010

Part Eight ~ The Worst is Over

The worst fear, I mean. I was worried that I'd be sitting next to someone highly objectionable for the flight. I've had that experience before, and I'm sure seatmates have said that after flying with me, but today it's different. Hell, today everything is different. I want a flawless experience.

Sitting next to me is an older woman (like, around my age) who just stares straight ahead when I come down the aisle. Even when I sit down she doesn't look at me, just stares straight ahead. She looks out the window a bit as we're taking off, but other than that... nothing. She doesn't take out a book, or look at the in-flight magazine, or acknowledge that there is anything going on around her.

Across from me is a mom with a young son. He's maybe five and sitting at the window seat.

About an hour into the flight, the woman next to me looks to the woman across the aisle and says something ~ it sounds more like a grunt than a sentence, but the woman across says "gum? You want gum?" the woman nods and the mom across the aisle digs through her bag and passes a small packet to the older woman. I guess she had some sort of physical or mental problem. Maybe she's deaf and didn't want to talk with a stranger, but that wouldn't explain her doing nothing. Maybe she had a stroke or something. I'll never know. I'm guessing the older woman is the mother to the woman across the aisle. The young mom, at one point, asked me what time it was and I told her. I couldn't think of anything that would keep the conversation going so that was that. If I was more comfortable with my voice, I might've said something about her little boy and how I used to have one.... Asked how old he is, does he like sports, compare him to mine.... I really need to work on my voice. I think I'd pass with more people, or at least longer, if I could sound like a woman.

The plane landed a bit late. At the baggage carousel, well, it was just a baggage carousel. I did a bit of people-watching, but no people-interacting.

My bag arrived almost immediately as did the shuttle to the rental cars. a man sat down opposite me and said to me "fancy meeting you here" and he sat down opposite me. I gave him a big smile and thought of saying "it's the 'in' place to be in Kansas City". OK, it's not the cleverest line but it's something. BUT I speak softly and the bus was underway and dam this voice!

I think he thought I was as I appeared at that point. I wondered if he would try to chat me up, or help with my bag as we left the bus but he hurried off through the front door (we were sitting behind the back door). I think at some point he figured me out and wanted to make tracks. I think that is the typical worst reaction I will get ever, and I'm good with that.

There were three or four people in front of me at Budget. When I was almost at the front of the line, I noticed a screen behind me with a IF YOUR NAME IS ON THIS SCREEN GO DIRECTLY TO YOUR CAR sign above it. My name was on the screen, so I went to section 1 as it directed. Except there were no cars in section 1 so I walked back to the rental place and now I was fourth again. I didn't like that. I did like the fact that I was ma'am'd at the counter although the woman didn't blink at my driver's license photo. I was offered the choice of a Ford Focus or a Kia Forte. I said it didn't matter. She told me which spot the car would be found, and there was a largish SUV there. I had asked for a compact, but I'll take what they give me. I checked the key anyway and the tag number was not for that car. My car was a compact two spaces away. It was the Kia, and I think it was made for smokers. The trunk was about large enough for a carton of cigarettes. Maybe two.

Before I left, I wanted to find out how to get back to the rental car place when I returned so I went back inside and asked the man behind the desk. He was helpful and I was ready.

Getting back in the car, I pulled out of the spot and then remembered I had my GPS in my luggage. I got out the GPS, programmed it for the hotel in Topeka, re-adjusted the seat, plugged in my mp3 player, and a Budget guy came over and asked me if everything was OK. I said I was just making sure I knew where to go. He said "Just checking, ma'am" and I felt a bit better about Budget. The man at the exit booth had nothing to say about my ID or appearance. I asked him how to get to the main highway, just to ask. I was on my way.

1 comment:

  1. Meg,

    I am enjoying your travel journal. Of course, I do not have the stones to even contemplate doing the same.
    It seems that you have effectively met all challenges and have been getting a good affirmation of your presentation.
    Keep the rest of the tale coming.



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