I got into Austin just after 11 last night, exhausted and still feeling pretty lousy from the cold I got in Seattle last week.
I made my way to baggage claim and looked for whoever was meeting me from the convention, but didn’t see anyone. There were about half a dozen drivers, but none of them held signs with my name on them. I figured the person meeting me was parking a car or something, and went to the baggage carousel to get my suitcase and box of pictures and books.
While I waited, a couple of different people asked me if I was that guy from The Big Bang Theory. Though I was so tired I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I summoned some extra energy and answered their questions, posed for a couple of pictures, and was grateful that I get to do a job that I not only love, but that people enjoy.
Bags came down the ramp, and while I looked for mine, I also looked around for whoever was supposed to be meeting me. I found the contact number of the guy who was supposed to meet me, and left him a voicemail. “Maybe he’s parking a car or something,” I hoped. Then, “I hope nothing happened to this guy on his way to the airport.”
When I got my suitcase and my box of stuff, I waited for about ten minutes. Still, nothing. So I walked around the whole area, still looking, getting more and more cranky (being exhausted and on the tail end of a really nasty cold will do that to you) until I decided to walk outside, get in a taxi (it was now almost midnight) and just get to the hotel so I could go to sleep.
A little after midnight, I got into my room and got ready for bed. I called Anne to tell her I was safely here, put out my clothes for today, took a shower, and went to sleep.
I had one of those nights where I have incredibly clear dreams that I can’t explain in a way that would make any sense at all to someone who wasn’t in them. The dreams felt upsetting, though. I woke up a few times feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, because in my dreams I was running or struggling to stay on this ramp thing that was sort of like a bobsled and also something from Tron (I told you it wouldn’t make sense).
When my alarm went off, I got up, made some coffee — excuse me, “coffee” — and ordered my breakfast. I derped around on Reddit while I waited for breakfast to arrive, and sipped my “coffee”.
The phone rang, and I thought it was room service delivering breakfast, stymied by the DO NOT DISTURB sign I hung on the door when I went to sleep ten hours earlier. It was someone from the convention, confirming that I was here, and asking when I wanted to meet up to go to the show this afternoon.
I told her that I was here, what time I thought we should meet, and then, “I also have to tell you that there was nobody to meet me at the airport last night, and it made me kind of cranky.”
She told me that a car service was supposed to pick me up, but someone from that car service called her this morning and said — and you’re going to want to sit down for this — that the driver saw me, but that I “ran away from him to get into a taxi.”
I know, right? Now, I can just laugh about it, because it’s so absurd, but about an hour ago, I was furious to hear that.
Look, I’ve raised two kids, and I haven’t heard such a lame bullshit excuse for someone fucking up since they were in middle school. So based on that line, I have to assume this is what happened in the driver’s head:
1. Where is the person I’m supposed to pick up?
2. Oh, there he is! He’s been sitting there with his bags for close to 20 minutes. I’d better not bother him.
3. Hey, he’s calling someone. Yeah, definitely don’t talk to him. That would be rude.
4. Huh. Well, that’s weird. He’s walking around looking for someone. I wonder who? I’ll just wait for him to come over and find me.
5. Maybe I should hold up a thing with his name on it.
6. Nah, that’s silly. He’ll just know that I’m the only driver here with no sign and figure it out!
7. Is … is he going outside? I guess I should do my job now and tell him I’m here to pick him up.
8. Oh, maybe not. He’s slowly walking with sixty pounds of suitcase and box — uh, I mean, running! Yeah! Running! Away from me for some reason and toward the taxi line. I guess he doesn’t need a ride, after all.
9. I am awesome at my job! I can’t wait to tell everyone about this!
Like I said, I can only laugh about it now, but last night? Ohhhhh was I mad. And when I heard the lamest excuse since “my teacher doesn’t want me to use a black pen and that’s all I have so I can’t do my homework tonight I guess I’ll just play video games instead”, I got even more mad. I mean, at least have the decency and respect to own up to making a mistake, instead of inventing a stupid excuse that insults not only my intelligence, but also offends the entire concept of excuse making.
So I told the person on the phone that this story was bullshit. She agreed with me that it seemed awfully strange, and then we both just sort of sat there in silence for a moment. It was like we both needed to process that, yes, an adult person actually said that and expected other adult persons to believe it.
I’m still a little annoyed when I think about it, to be honest, but that’s mostly because I still don’t feel completely well and my already low tolerance for bullshit is taking a -5 penalty. Ultimately, though, it was a minor inconvenience (that wouldn’t even have been a big deal if I wasn’t so tired and not feeling 100% healthy) that ended up giving me a moderately amusing story, so … I turned those lemurs into lemurade.