After checking in my bag – and the Southwest woman did NOT try to make my bag heavier my holding it down like the woman from Crazy Bitch Air (aka AirTran) did – I head off to security, expired passport and crumpled paper in hand. Sometimes they notice it’s expired, sometimes they don’t, and just when I think I’m home free….
Security Guy: Did you know your passport is expired?
Me: Yeah, I kno….
SG: Not that it matters, you can still use it for up to a year afterwards.
Me: Oh, I didn’t kno…
SG: Unless you have a driver’s license or state ID…
Me: No, you se…
SG: Don’t worry about it then – go ahead, enjoy your trip!
Honestly, I’m glad to see there’s SOME logic in the system, i.e. I have a passport that’s clearly mine even though it’s technically expired. So they use their brains, figure I’m not some crazy terrorist, and let me through. Would that everything made that much sense.
The car rental counter
We finally make it to the Advantage Rent-o-Car building, after waiting endlessly for the shuttle at the airport, and planning an uprising of some sorts with our fellow Advantage travelers, as it had started to look like our shuttle operated under a “one shuttle per night” rule. Deanna of course was the voice of positivity as usual: “There were about 2000 user reviews for Advantage that I read. All bad.” Great.
But after bonding with Ravi and Bill, and agreeing with Ravi that if there were one car left, we’d carpool since we were going to the same place, we get to the very Soviet-esque building, and wait in line. And wait. And wait.
Me: What the hell are they doing that’s taking so long?
Deanna: They’re trying to upsell people on everything. That’s what they do. Did I tell you there were thousands of bad reviews?
Me: They look like they're exchanging recipes or something. “Now, I have a recipe for tikki marsala that’s to DIE for!”
Ravi: I promise that when I get up there, we won’t exchange recipes. Or at least not many.
Me, solemnly: And I appreciate that.
Finally Ravi gets his car and gives us a hopeful thumbs up, while Bill (who looked a bit doped up anyway) forgets about us poor paeans still waiting and makes his counter person go outside to show him where his car is. Then it’s our turn. We approach, warily, Deanna still mumbling about those thousands of people. And as we’re talking to our counter guy, the miraculous happens.
Rent-o-Car Dude: Hey, so you guys are from Illinois!
ROC: You know what I hate about Illinois? They refuse to give you your license back! They take it away and give you this piece of paper and….
Me, interrupting, so happy to have found someone who understands the anguish I’ve gone through: YES! Exactly! Look here, see! This damn crumpled piece of paper I’ve been dragging around for FOUR MONTHS now!!
We beam at each other, in solidarity, and he tells us that I can actually use Crumpled Paper to rent a car, even in the absence of my license. Apparently they’ve had to deal with this enough that they found this out. All goes smoothly after that – ROC upgrades our car, shows us pictures of his baby girl, tells us how grateful he is to have a healthy family because his wife had problems with the pregnancy, “and people say we don’t need health care reform!”
I guess it’s safe to say there won’t be thousands and ONE bad reviews of Advantage. This guy rocks.