Is canceled. Cancelado. And why, you wonder is it canceled rather than merely delayed? The dog ate the homework? A good question. Your Bloguero regrets to inform that as he types these lines, he sits in the gritty city of his birth, Newark, New Jersey (Note: your Bloguero apologizes to the reader for this apparent redundancy). He is sitting at gate C-71 at the Airport. And it was evening and it was morning, and it is the beginning of the second day of travel from Eastern New York to urgently, passionately desired Mexico. Total elapsed mileage so far: less than 150. Total elapsed time: 1 day and counting.
Yesterday, your Bloguero’s friends at United Airlines had a small mechanical problem, and at about 8 am your Bloguero, who was then through security and waiting to get on a plane that was strangely and conspicuously absent, was informed in sum and substance that he could not go. Tomorrow, yes. What is now Yesterday, and was today at that time, we’re sorry, today, no. No? No. Sir, I can put you on a flight at 6:55 am tomorrow with four stops all over this vast and wonderful country with its amber waves of grain and purple mountains. You will reach your deeply longed for destination at about 4 pm CT. Your Bloguero stares in full disbelief. He computes: 10 hours to arrive? 3 changes? Overnight waiting? Your Bloguero decides to throw his fabled penury to the jackals and to get to get a ticket direct from Newark. He rents a car. He drives. He marvels at the complexities of the Information Society. (Note to United: Your email that this flight was canceled reached your Bloguero about 4 hours after the cancellation. So much for digital competence.)
In the middle of his unexpected, sudden highway excursion, as if there weren’t enough difficulties in the world already, your Bloguero has an extremely unpleasant encounter with his friends at Hertz. I recount this in its glory for your edification. Your Bloguero, who had gotten a good rate on a rented car back in May, informs H that, alas, he will not pick up the vegetable until noon, less than 24 hours late, but late nonetheless, the next day at noon. This, your Bloguero assumes is a courtesy that responsible people should provide, rather than just showing up the next day with an explanation and demanding the car. How very, very wrong. The result of this courtesy? Hertz is ever so very slightly sorry to inform your Bloguero that he will have to pay almost 3 times as much for the rental as was his original deal. What? For a day less? How can that be? And why, pray tell? The “explanation” is priceless. Sir, it is because when you modify your reservation it’s as if you canceled the old one and made a new one at today’s prevailing rate, according to H’s computer system, so you get the exorbitant rate we have today, not the rate you contracted for back in May. H does not say, “Sir, we are mercilessly gouging you because we are a mighty global corporation, and your lizard overlord, and you, a mere mortal, exist to be taken advantage of.” Five phone calls later, telephones, computers, prompts, eventually people, assistant managers, managers, promised but unmade calls back, and your Bloguero, who is then feeling the jackbooted foot of H on his throat and his shoulders entering his ears because of his undissipated annoyance, cancels the reservation. He makes another one, almost as cheap with National. Net increase of cost? $30. Your Bloguero spends most of the money H tried to extract from him taking his children out to dinner on his way to Newark and a motel via Manhattan. Your Bloguero resolves to tell the world of H’s treachery, and never, ever to use their company again. (Note to H, whose full name will never again be typed in this blog: you owe me $30. Pay up.)
Your Bloguero sits in the airport in overcast Newark. He wonders: is there a single reported case in which a stranger has ever offered to a passenger a package or luggage to carry onto a flight?
This Week In The Dream Antilles is a weekly digest. Sometimes it is actually a digest of essays posted in the past week. Sometimes, like now, it isn’t. Hasta Pronto!