Word of the day: discombobulated.
At about 10:30 am this morning, my boss looked at me strangely and asked “Are you ok? You don’t seem like yourself…?”
I tried to explain why I looked completely wall-eyed and worn out but the words just came out a garbled mess. She stared at me for a few minutes and changed the subject. I don’t blame her really.
I’m probably being a bit melodramatic (surprise anyone???) but it was just one thing heaped on top of another. And it all started with my Aunt Zelda asking me to stop at McDonald’s.
She was in town for a convention, and I was heading to her hotel before work. I called her as I was pulling out of my garage to let her know I was on my way. After she accidentally hung up on me twice, I finally got her on the phone long enough to have her ask me to stop at Mickey D’s and she placed a breakfast order for herself, her friend and my cousin’s son (we’ll call him lil cousin).
Did I mention that she was staying at one of the largest resorts in the area? Imagine a huge Vegas resort. Now smash that flat and add another on top of it, like a tower. That would be this hotel.
It’s so fricking big that they run a shuttle from the parking deck to the front lobby. It’s so fricking big that the areas are sorted directionally: North, South, East and West.
I should probably stop here to note that I’m wearing one of my favorite and cutest dresses. It’s adorable with cute polka dots on it, and a cute ribbony thing. I feel like such a pretty pretty princess when I wear it, all dressed up for work 🙂 …and the sunglasses I bought this weekend just happen to match the dress and thus complete the ensemble. I was so cute when I left my house!!
So – anyhoo. I pick up the McDonald’s order and head to the megaresort. It’s a little after 8 am when I park my car and board the hotel lobby shuttle. 7 minutes later, I arrive at the hotel shuttle and strike off at a brisk trot for the tower that my aunt is staying in. Mc Donald’s in hand, cute dress, sunglasses and coach purse intact, I can’t tell what’s drawing stares: big girl in cute dress or big girl with mickey d’s OR mickey d’s and coach purse carried by the same person. Either way, I book it as fast as my accoutrements will let me get through the front lobby, dodging departing guests and various foolishness going on around me.
I walk. I walk. I walk some more and, after a healthy mile long trek through megaresort I finally make it to her elevator. After a brief ride, I get off at her floor and walk some more. I stopped and checked my purse to make sure I had my passport – yep, I’m ready for the border when I get there – and I continue walking.
The visit with my aunt was pleasant. Lil cousin was sweet and very appreciative of his pancake breakfast :). After only a few minutes I look over at the clock and realize it’s 8:49. Yikes! I’d told my boss that I’d be at work by 9! I hug my aunt and take off the way that I came. This time I was ready for the border checkpoints with my passport in hand :).
Here’s where the fun really begins.
First: I get off the elevator on the wrong floor. Apparently the lobby is on the 2nd floor, not the 1st. After wandering around for a bit, a housekeeper directs me towards the lobby. Away I go, zipping more confidently down the halls as I recognize the path I’d taken the first time.
Confidence is very important. You can get through most places by just acting like you know where you’re going. I’ve used this tactic to sidle into clubs, VIP areas, crash parties etc. I guess I looked so much like I knew where I was going that no one on the front lobby would help me find the parking deck shuttle! They were busy with real guests that clearly looked lost and sunburnt, carrying 8 bags of luggage, wearing oversized shirts and visors. It took a while before I could find someone to direct me to the shuttle pick up.
The shuttle stop is conveniently located in the sunniest, most sweat-inducing and chair free spot on the front drive. No worries – instead of getting upset and princess-y, I simply settle in to wait for the shuttle, thinking it’ll only be a minute. A minute passes. Then two. Then five. After seven minutes of waiting, I start thinking of alternatives. I decide to go back inside and begin the long trip through the hotel to my car.
As I get on the escalator that will take me through the convention center and to the parking deck, I look out the window and watch the shuttle pull up. I watch it slowly open its doors and begin taking in passengers until the escalator takes me out of sight.
The megaresort’s convention center space is huge. I mean like, REALLY BIG. Imagine a wal-mart WITH an auto shop AND a garden section completely empty of people (right?!) and plop two of those end to end and throw in a few nail shops and discount eyeglass stores for good measure and that’s probably two thirds of the length of the walk I took through the space.
I walk. And walk. and walk some more. Finally I reach the escalator that leads to the hallway that leads to the covered bridge that leads to elevator that will take me to my car in the parking deck. Whew!
As I press my floor in the elevator panel, I notice the (discreet) sign that mentions pay stations for parking fees. There are no toll booth attendants that you can pay directly when you leave. Just automated gates that you stick your validated ticket in.
My parking pass is conveniently located in my car. SO I get in my car, head down to level one where there’s a pay station. On the way out I pass several signs that caution you to take your ticket with you to get validated – how did I miss these???? The exit sign I followed led me to a gate with NO pay station. So I do the ignorant thing of course: I back up on a one-way ramp, and find the second exit, which happens to be the ONLY ONE on the first floor with a pay station. I park my car in the stripey no parking zone because at this point I could give a flying fart in space and walk over to the paystation. It validates my ticket and asks if I want a receipt. Before I could press the receipt button, it ends the transaction and resets itself. So no receipt.
Sweat trickles down the inside of my somewhat cute dress and by now, my sunglasses are askew on my head. My hair starts to frizz a little and curl in crazy ways, prompting me to put the hair in an unkempt ponytail. I limp to my car and blast the air on full as I veer towards the automated tollbooth to leave.
A cute little vacationing family is ambling off the hotel shuttle. The automated gate teller thing says to me “Thank you for staying with us!”. I yell “F#@K YOU!!” at the machine and take off. I think they might have heard me. I’m still not sure that I care.
So, finally at work, 45 minutes after I planned to get there. I’m still trying to pull myself together when my boss asks “Are you ok??” and all I could think about was if I’d left my dignity in the parking deck. Satisfied that I never had it, I begin my workday.