Sunday, July 21, 2013

Parking Garages and Last Minute Flights

When I write my novel about the Great American travel experience I am going to include a chapter on parking garages and piss soaked elevators. Nothing is more off putting than stepping on an elevator that has had time to marinate in urine through a 100 degree window.

The stench is overpowering and the need to vomit or seek immediate ventilation is a truly a primitive survival like urge. What possesses someone to piss inside of an elevator that has glass windows facing the sun during the heat of the day, in the middle of June?

The first lesson of a road warrior is never ever park your car in the parking garage next to the police station. The reason is fairly obvious. The second is never to ride elevators with glass windows in the summer.
When you park near a cop shop the customers whom they serve inevitably come out with desires that range from immediate revenge to a good scrubbing down in a hot shower.
And because it's a tough call as to which way they are leaning it should always be your policy to avoid parking in garages near penal institutions and then of course to never get into elevators located in the same garages.
You know now that I think about it this level of sage advise probably has a monetary value attached to it. Perhaps I should write the great American Road Warrior novel first and then dispense this advice on Oprah or the AC360.

This is how I find myself stepping into the elevator in downtown Rock Island IL. Normally I would have heaved my largess down the ramp, but I had in tow, my suitcase, tools, computer and cpap machine. As the doors parted and the wafting odor of baked in urine hit me in the face and would not relent. I hold my breath for the ride to the street, but alas was forced to exhale and take in a lung full of nefarious urine gas. If I were to forgo one of the five senses for life at this moment it would have to be smell. I really want to wretch into a garbage can but pride and the knowledge of the order it brings prevents me from expelling the contents of my stomach inside this elevator.

Right now at this minute I would love to have someone who romanticizes the occupation of world traveler inside this elevator. Because at this moment I would be screaming "how romantic is it now"!!!

The third role of my novel would have to be the last minute flight. There are a few things that bother the road warrior than having to drop everything and pack your bag because you have been summoned to the far reaches of this country or the globe.

When you travel you have so much energy stored for the flight out and the flight back. Because the rest of your store is saved up for the job that week. People who don't travel for a living don't understand how draining air travel is. The flight itself is not that bad, except for the cramped space, recycled air, 2oz cups for liquids (1.5oz's of which contain ice) and the bags of peanuts containing 6 peanuts. But everything that leads up to the flight is very taxing. First, there is the repacking of everything, then there is the drive to the airport hours before the flight and the return of the rental car and the checking in and least but not least the feeling conveyed by the TSA you are a criminal for just showing up at the airport.

Then when you get off the plane there is a moment where you are disoriented. It takes a few beats for you to orientate yourself to being on the ground again, but more importantly, it's the recognition of not being in the same surroundings you were when you got on the plane.

Now its off to baggage and then the ride or sometimes the walk to the rental car counter. All of which takes a bit of getting used to. Even if its an airport you are familiar with and have spent many hours in. It's at this moment your defenses come up. And you ramp up your energy because in order to make it through the next several days you have to operate at a level that is not normal or natural.

Last minute flights suck and urine soaked elevators should be reserved as a form of enhanced interrogations. There is not a better way to put it.