Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It's just an American car

I arrived at Dallas Love Field this arvo and had to hire a car. There were 7 car hire firms lined up in a row and I had no particular reason to choose one over another. I found myself at Budget. Maybe there was a subconscious reason for the choice though it certainly didn't form a part of my stream of consciousness today (the subconscious reason is that Budget was founded by an Australian).

Proffer the request; an automatic. Beyond that stipulation I really don't give a damn. Two weeks ago I accepted a Smart because it was automatic, 10 days ago a Mercedes Benz on the same grounds. 6 days ago my Kia was perfect (and a damn sight better drive than the Benz). Today I accepted a Grand Am. I have so little knowledge of cars (particularly American cars) that I can't be sure if I remember the word Pontiac correctly.

Standing at the counter they asked me what I wanted. A Ford Taurus, an Impala or some other brand I've never heard of. What could I do but roll my eyes and guess? 'It's just an American car' said I. Indulgent laughter at the obvious foreigner :-)

So they processed my request and my credit card. I'm hiring a Ford Taurus, white. I sign the papers, agree to the insurance premium and tell the girl behind the counter that I'm really an Australian even if I have an Arizona drivers license. Heck, I even said g'day mate!

Then it's off to the shuttle. The girl behind the counter had spoken perhaps a tad too fast for my old ears so it was a relief to find the driver of the shuttle who could explain it all to me again. Well almost. The car he pointed me to was not white, was not a Ford and was not a Taurus. But he was adamant! So in I climbed, started it up and reached the gate.

'Uh, we seem to have a mistake here' said she. Certainly, I acknowledged. You have to understand that there's a streak of the bastard working here. I was pointed to that car; if it's wrong it's not really my problem. It turns out that the car I'm in is about 5 bucks a day cheaper; so I went with the flow.

Then came the fun of driving through Dallas peak hour traffic. Fortunately this is my third visit to Dallas. The first is so long ago that it doesn't really count (1995) but the second was from the same airport to the same hotel in November 2004. I'm pretty observant so it wasn't all that difficult to remember to drive along Mockingbird Lane to US 75 and then drive north through the high 5 (a most aptly named spaghetti overpass) and thence to my hotel.

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