Traveling Alone

Boring backstory bit: The company I work for is trying to display a more united front between all the business units. I was hired on to update all their websites so they have a consistent look and feel. I use a content management system to set up the site, and then I travel to the business unit to teach people there how to maintain their own content. It’s all very exciting. I’ve been working here for a little over two years and have only trained two business units, and both of those were in the past 6 months. No one’s in a huge rush to take over their websites, lol.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I got to experience some firsts. It was my first time to fly alone, my first time to go to Texas, my first time eating in a restaurant alone. It was nerve-wracking and empowering all at the same time. I was a nervous wreck the entire time that I would somehow jack it up so epically they would write books about it. The longer I went without that happening the more proud of myself I felt. Like it was some big thing that I had done. Throw me a parade, world!!

I flew out of Nashville Sunday evening. Nothing too exciting there. Mr. T dropped me off a couple of hours before my flight, so I had 1 hour 45 minutes to sit around, being bored, because it does not take as long as I was thinking to get through airport security. The last time I was on a plane was nearly four years ago and we were flying internationally, so I guess it was more strict? Anyway, I worked on my “Rapper’s Delight” cross stitch some and tried to not get too bored. The flight itself was uneventful. I finished reading The Honey Month, which was a pretty interesting book. Then I started The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. #csb

Landed in Dallas and got my luggage. Road the shuttle to the car rental portion of the not-so-small city that is DFW. Here is where things started to fall apart. For some reason all their computers had rebooted. I think they were auto-updating? You should really turn auto-updates off, guys. There were only a couple people in front of me, and I wasn’t looking forward to navigating Dallas, anyway. I get up to the overly-friendly clerk who tries to push every upgrade in the world on me. I’m assuming there is some sort of commission? First he wanted me to get a GPS. Then he suggested upgrading to the next price range of vehicle (I had gotten a compact car because I enjoy the maneuverability, especially in new areas), adding extra insurance, and I don’t know what else. I was trying to be nice but wanted to yell “For the love of God just give me my keys so I can get out of here!!” And then his computer restarted. f*ck. After it reboots we have to start over again. He thanks me for being so patient and polite and upgrades my car for free. What the donkey butt ever, I just want to go. “Keys are in the ignition, your car is in slot <whatever>.”

The signs in the parking garage are misleading and I ended up wandering into another rental company’s area. Got yelled at by the dude in the booth and sent back to the right section. Get in the car, it’s one of those push-start things. I’ve never driven one before. It’s hot as balls, so I push the button and it goes in auxiliary. Push it again and it says it’s on. I’m like “Man…what a quiet engine!” Turn on the AC, get the data/GPS set up on my phone, and put in my new Weird Al CD. Put it in reverse, step on the gas, nothing. Umm… Maybe there’s something past “On”? Nope, turned it back off. Try turning it on again. Nothing. How do you start this stupid thing?? I should go back to the desk and ask – this is taking too long. Wait, where is the key? There has to be a key right?? He said “in the ignition” but there’s no ignition! I searched every crevice in the stupid car before I found the key – there was a spot in the dashboard, below and to the left of the steering wheel. Oh, and in all that shuffle I did finally figure out you have to put your foot on the brake before the engine will start. Victory!

I manage to navigate out of the garage. Pull up to the check-out area and the woman says “Do you hear that??” “Hear what?” “Oh, you need to get out of the car. You won’t like this.” So I get out and the engine is making this weird almost knocking noise. f*ck. “What should I do?” “Go back where you came from.” Well. That’s a bit rude. lol! She directed me back around to come back in the garage. I parked the car back in its spot, got all my crap back out of it and stuffed back in my bags, and headed back to the front desk. Now there are like 10 people in line. Balls. I go up to a woman helping direct traffic, as it were, and she tells me that I don’t need to be here – there is a desk out in the garage. So NOT where I came from. Alright, then. Back out into the heat. I find the desk and meet a woman that has been sent out THREE TIMES. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I tell the dude at the desk that the gate woman had pointed out the engine was sounding off and he said “Well it sounds like YOU didn’t have a problem with the car – someone else did!” wtf does that matter?? I have a 1.5 hour drive ahead of me and I have no desire to break down on the side of the road in Middle of Nowhere, Texas. He switched cars for me and I head back out into the heat to find THIS car. Thank goodness it has a regular ignition!! I just about have everything set up and realize….I left the CD in the other car. f*ck. Thankfully I remembered the number, so I walk (wasn’t sure I could navigate a car around all that successfully) over to the original car, which is still unlocked. 90% sure they just rented it out to someone else after me, hoping they wouldn’t notice the weird engine sound. As I start to head back to the new car, I realize I forgot the number for it. >.< Thankfully I had the keys, so I just start pressing unlock until I find the car. lol! And now I’m finally on the road!!

* I would like to point out that if Overly Helpful Man had just let me take the compact car I had reserved NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. *

That’s about the most interesting part of the trip. I won’t discuss work because boring (like the previous seven paragraphs were interesting…) and I didn’t really have any exciting adventures on the road – thankfully. My hotel was quite literally across the street from the business unit I was visiting. I ventured out alone once to get junk food. My period may have started…don’t judge me. I managed to get off and back on the interstate in the middle of all the cray cray construction around Dallas/Fort Worth. I stopped at Cheddar’s on my way back to the airport at the end of my trip. I realized as I went in that it was the first time I had ever gotten non-fast food solo. It wasn’t terrible…a bit boring, to be honest. I turned my data on long enough to download The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on my phone, just so I’d have something to do.

I gave myself too much time to get back to the airport after my visit. I was worried about getting lost or something. So I dropped my car off at the airport the night before my flight and caught a shuttle to a hotel. Originally I was planning on driving up the day of my flight, so I scheduled it for early afternoon. Because I decided to drive up the evening before, I had a ton of free time on Wednesday. I spent about five hours in DFW. >.< When I got to work they were all “Why didn’t you just ask to be put on a list for any flights with empty seats?” 1: No clue that was a thing. 2: I had made it that far with no major catastrophes…I wasn’t keen on pressing my luck. But! I was able to read Jagannath, Sworn to Raise, and Sworn to Transfer in all that time. So 3.5 books in 4 days. Not bad…not bad at all. 8}I read entirely too fast.

Anyway, that’s my incredibly wordy and mostly pointless story about traveling alone. I’m glad I did it, and I’m more confident about doing it in the future. But I would be perfectly fine to not ever do it again. lol! I wasn’t really lonely…just kind of bored. Exploring an airport is fun when you have someone with you. I just sat and read a book (or three). I would’ve been just as well off sitting on my couch at home. Ah, well. It’s not like it was a vacation – I did the work I needed to do. And Texas in July is too dang hot to explore.

* Note – this topic was triggered by Brittany Gibbons’ “August Writing Prompts”. I’m probably not going to do all of them, but here are the ones I’ve done:

17. Have you ever dined out, gone to a movie, or traveled alone? (this one!)

2 thoughts on “Traveling Alone

  1. I love flying any time I get to do it. Alone, with another person, with large groups, short trips, long ones, just anything that gets me in the air. I even kind of find security fun because it’s all part of the experience. Glad you came through everything successfully!

    • I feel like flying is a bit more scary these days. I mean, I’m not flying around war zones so there isn’t a huge risk of death or anything…but it still kind of freaks me out. lol

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