pen rainbow

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday—Catching Up

paper daisies ❀ searchlight, nv
One can of nonfat evaporated blog...

I'm not sure when I lost track of last week, but I think it was somewhere around Monday.  I had a trip to Boulder City scheduled for the middle of the week, and I had to condense a week's worth of scheduled activities into Monday and Tuesday.

Plus, I had a canning project on deck, which takes a lot more planning and coordination than non-canners realize.  I had a pile of fresh organic rhubarb in the fridge, and I was attempting a new recipe, which requires more culinary acumen than my usual routine.  I grabbed a few pix along the way, and I'll include those in Tuesday's post.

And, I finished 2 good crime detective books, so I'll talk about those this week, as well.

On Wednesday, I was on a plane flying from the temperate Bay Area into McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.  Once I arrived, I hustled down to the Alamo car rental garage and tried three different vehicles before I finally settled into a spiffy new, steel blue, Ford Fusion with Arizona plates and lots of nice upgrades.

After 10 minutes of hopping from one standard model to another, I slid into the cozy tan interior of the FF and familiarized myself with all of its basic operations...except for one...which I could not find...and, I blame it on the fact that I was dragging my little wheelie carry-on suitcase around an asphalt tarmac in the middle of a parking garage in June in Las Vegas.  Shortly before my eyeballs began to melt, I gave up and slowly drove up to the check-out booth.  While the Alamo guy fiddled around with my Silver Legacy reservation (okay, it's not called a "Silver Legacy" reservation, but it has the word, "silver," in it), I went through my options for asking the grumpy dude in the booth how to turn on my headlights.

There must have been an intelligent way to ask where the controls were for my headlights, but I'll be damned if I could think of it at that particular moment.  The check-out booth guys are usually in a very gnarly and unsocialable mood.  I imagine it comes with the mind-numbing tedium of sitting in a glassed-in box all day.  One sure way to avoid the disdainful look that they always give you when you fukk up at the booth is to be in full control of your vehicle at all times, as if it's taken you no more than 5 minutes to fully assess and absorb every detail of the vehicle you have chosen.

There are some things that I've learned to ignore until later, like on which side of the car the gas cap is located.  If I forget to check this before I leave the garage, it's okay.  I do not panic.  I have the rest of my trip to find the gas cap so that I don't embarrass myself at the gas station and piss everybody off behind me by pulling up on the wrong side of the pump.  Driving in Vegas, especially on the freeways, is risky business, and you need your headlights so that sleep-deprived hotel workers, drunken tourists, and caffeine-addled mothers in SUVs won't jump a divider and hit you head-on.  I wasn't about to drive from the airport to Boulder City without any headlights!

I was starting to sweat under my bra when the guy handed my credit card back to me, and I was suddenly out of time.  The green signal light went on, and the guard rail went up.  The guy looked at me and leaned through the window of the booth like he was getting more irritated with each additional second that he had to look at me.  His lips pursed together and squeezed into a thin, mean line.  His eyes narrowed, and his nostrils flared...

One of the great things about being a 50-Something woman is that I no longer care if I am liked by insolent service people.  Especially in 108° degree weather.  There was no one behind me.  I had all the time in the world to keep my foot on the brake and contemplate my next thought.  Eyeball me all you want, Booth Man.

"I can't find the control for the headlights.  Can you take a look?"

With a glacial stare, he unlocked his swinging door, stomped over to my open window, and punched the turn signal lever a couple of times.  I casually set my elbow up on the window frame and watched him with equal disdain.  When slamming the turn signal didn't work, he thrust his bulbous head and spongy shoulder through the driver's side window and spotted the dial for the headlights below and to the left of the steering column.  He jerked the dial to the right, and the headlights went on.

"Thanks,"  I said.  By then, he was already back in his box with the door closed punching away at his computer keyboard.

If I'd been an excited tourist visiting Vegas for the first time, I might have left the Alamo car rental garage with a negative first impression.  I may have thought that the locals were cantankerous and unfriendly.  But, as a native Southern Nevadan, I just chalked it up to the heat.

Native Nevadans aren't bothered by the heat, and if you meet an SOB, he or she is probably a transplant.  On the flip side of that, if you meet a friendly person at the airport who seems to go out of his or her way to answer your questions and start your trip on a positive note, be sure to tip that person a couple of bucks.  They'll appreciate it, and you'll feel like a cool Vegas cat who knows the turf.

★  ★  ★  This week is double-points blog week!  Two blog topics in each post.  ★  ★