The flight was supposed to take 4 hours, but of course, nothing ever really works as smoothly as it’s supposed to in my world. So when I arrive at 1:30 for my 2:36 flight, I find that there IS no 2:36 flight, as the planes for America West airlines have all been delayed or rerouted due to the weather. As the counter lady explains this to me, I stare out the wall-sized windows of the terminal to watch a long happy trail of planes arriving and departing at the neighboring Continental terminal. They seem to wave and wink, as if to say “sorry, man—we wish you’d booked us, too!”
So the 2:36 flight turns into a 4:40 flight, which puts me into Phoenix at 5:40, and of course I am not allowed to continue on to LA on the NEXT flight—leaving at 6:10—but must instead hang around until the 7:45 flight. I’m now scheduled to arrive LA at 9:20.
I call the hotel and rental car desks to alert them of the changed itinerary. Hotel says no prob, the room will be held without any issue, but the rental car folks say “well, if you’re not in our office by 10 AM, you can’t get a car until 5 AM the next morning.”
“”But isn’t this the LAX office?”
“So you serve one of the busiest airports in the world, yet you shut down before the Red Lobster next door?”
It turns out to be a non-story, as the plane arrives at 9:15, the baggage pickup takes 5 minutes, I step outside into a waiting shuttle, and 15 minutes later I’m in the queue of velvet ropes at the Enterprise Rental counter. I look out into the big garage area where prepped cars are waiting. I’m fourth in line and I count six cars remaining in their garage, two of them being large Denali-grade SUVs.
When I finally get to the front, the girl quickly confirms my reservation and then leads me to the garage and points to bench.
“Let's see if I can find you a car.”
And away she goes. As do most of the cars in the garage. Half teh cars there drive away as I sit there. Tired, hungry, ready to get some rest, as by my clock I’ve now been traveling for twelve hours, and then she comes back.
“We’re out of the intermediate grade cars—how about an upgrade?”
“So long as it doesn’t cost me anything and I don’t wind up driving an Abrams tank, I’m pretty much fine with anything. She waves, and some dude comes squealing in driving a silver convertible.
So 20 minutes later I’m toodling down Wilshire Boulevard, my top down, yakking into my cellphone as I pass a gleaming black Bugatti coupe coming the other way as we pass a building with a ten-story tall poster of Captain Jack Sparrow leering down at me.
Sparrow seems to wink at me.
“Welcome to Hollywood, love.”