So, I got into San Diego and my thoughtful husband had left his car for me at Valet Parking. He flew to Utah on Friday for little Mason's blessing and went from there off on a business trip. Rather than leave the car in long-term where I would have to search for it, he kindly left it at Valet Parking so I could get off the plane, have the car brought around to the curb for me and head off into the sunset. That was the plan anyway. But you know about the best laid plans and me.
I dragged my two weeks worth of rumpled clothing and BYU paraphernalia crammed into a large suitcase and a huge rolling duffle out to the valet parking area. There I queued up with all of the hoity toity elite of San Diego who ONLY use Valet Parking. I gave each of them a job description: "Hollywood Mogul", "Trophy Wife of Hollywood Mogul", "Socialite Maven", "Multi-billionaire Industrialist", "Indian Chief" (really, he had the braids and everything--you know those casinos are big money-makers!) and watched as each of them climbed into their Mercedes and Bentleys and Dodge Ram Pick-ups. When I got up to the counter, the ticket taker asked me if I had called ahead to have my car brought around. I had to confess to my ignorance of the procedures and reveal my hick status. I realized by then that my hasty decision to take a speed shower and skip the hair-washing that morning also contributed "greasy hair" to my status. They seemed a little skeptical as to my actually having a car in Valet Parking. Perhaps I was a deluded wannabe who actually had a 1989 Dodge Dart out there in the wilderness of long-term parking. Or maybe I was a bag lady wandering the airport looking for carts to return. I wasn't getting the polite, quick service that everyone else seemed to enjoy. I had the ticket Andy had given me and they deigned to call for me to get the car brought over. So I waited humbly off to the side as many more well-dressed people rolled away in their fancy cars. I kept looking down the road for Andy's car to appear. I had to remind myself what kind of car he drove (I am known to openly insult him when we are out together by heading for the closest car that is similar in color to his--I don't really know one car from the other. The names I gave of cars for this post are just obvious ones that I have overheard my kids admire or insult). I started to worry that it might roll up and I wouldn't recognize it. Then I remembered that he has BYU license plates! Oh happy day--I wouldn't make a fool of myself by walking up to the wrong car!
After a long, hopeful wait, I realized that many people who got there way after me were long gone. Then I noticed that there was some frantic calling going on over at the Valet stand. I walked over a little closer and gathered that they had lost someone's car key. Of course it was my car key. Suddenly I began to get the royalty treatment. "Mrs. Gale, would you like some water?" "Mrs. Gale, we are doing our best to get your car over here." "Mrs. Gale, we are soo sorry. It looks like we lost the key to your car." "Mrs. Gale, we will be crediting your card for the cost of parking and tip that you just paid." "Mrs. Gale, we will get you home somehow."
Then some frantic problem-solving ensued. By now an hour had passed and my plans of getting my greasy-haired self home quickly and with minimal personal interaction slipped away. The first thought was to get me a taxi--until they found out how far out in the wilderness I actually live. Then the "Customer Service" Head Honcho was going to drive me home (awkward, long drive home with a stranger--no thank you). Luckily that fell through. At last, they concluded that a rental car was the way to go. They brought up the Ace Valet Parking company van to whisk me off to the car rental place. Only I thought it was the "Rental Car" I was to drive home. I tried to get in on the driver's side and was politely directed to the passenger side. I was a little relieved as the van was trashed and the seats were torn up. Beggars can't be choosers but it wasn't my fault I was a beggar.
So, to make a long story just a little longer, I was soon outfitted with a rental car and on my way home.
2 1/2 hours after I landed.
The moral of this story is: Don't try to save time and effort at the airport--they will find a way to thwart you.