If you see me at the airport, you'll probably think I'm a seasoned traveler.
But that doesn't mean I've gotten used to it.
I can rush through a security line with the best of 'em. I don't wear shoes with laces, I don't make a scene, and I can stack / unstack a pile of bins like a champion Sport Stacker.
I can recite the Safety Speech in my sleep. I can negotiate hotel rates with ease.
But that doesn't mean I don't have my share of issues.
While I'm in the security line at the airport, my seemingly calm mind is racing. "What if that guy's a terrorist? Will they catch him? What if they think I'm a terrorist? What will they do to me? What if I have to go into that glass "timeout" box for some one-on-one quality frisking time, again?"
After this brief moment of anxiety, I get to move on to the plane. What if I get on the wrong flight? This is a real concern, as I almost did this once. I had gotten to the airport early since I was worried about being late. I was catching the flight home from Kansas City (motto: "You came! Hey wait a minute, come back!"). I was two feet from handing my boarding pass to the attendant when the guy behind me said, "You ever been to Phoenix?"
"Yes", I replied. "I was born there."
"I bet they'll be glad to see you again."
I was so early, I was boarding the wrong flight!
Assuming I get to where I'm going, I then get to experience the joy that is renting a car. I don't care which company it is, they all have the same goal: Charge you a lot while confusing and scaring you. You'll reserve your car online by clicking on the "Cheap as stealing dirt!!!" link. You'll feel a bit adventurous and give yourself an upgrade from the PT Cruiser to any other car in the world. Then you show up at the rental place. You ask for your reserved car at the agreed upon price.
"I'm sorry", comes the reply. "We don't have that model available. We only have PT Cruisers."
"I was promised another car. Really, any other car."
"Nope, sorry. Oh, wait - we do have another car. Let me double check...yes, we have one other car available."
"Great, I'll take it. What a relief! The last time I was in a PT Cruiser, I thought the designers had a personal vendetta against me. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. The window controls were under the radio, and the analog clock was in the back seat. I think the trunk was on the roof and the engine was on vacation."
"I understand, sir. So you will be taking the other available model?"
"Yes, of course. Wait a minute, you're smirking...what's the other model?"
"A van, sir. An ancient, beat-up van with no windows."
"Like the kind kidnappers use?"
"Exactly! Oh, one other thing. The price has doubled since we're giving you an upgraded model."
So off I go in my kidnapper van...
...in a city that may or may be the same one I intended to visit.