in which the lamest excuse in the history of lame excuses is made

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.

Mmmm…. lemurade.

61 thoughts on “in which the lamest excuse in the history of lame excuses is made”

  1. Credit where it’s due: turning lemurs into lemurade is a phrase coined by my friend Joseph Scrimshaw. He is a funny man who is funny.

  2. G;ad you can make the best out of a bad situation, and have a nice tall glass of lemurade. I love who you make full access of the internet. I wish more…?famous? people like you did the same.

  3. Even if dude had called to say “Hey I fucked up and am going to miss the pickup” that would’ve been better than derping around for 20 minutes waiting for the non-existent pickup.

  4. That’s Austin for you. The Portland of the south.

    Wil, if you have time, I’d recommend either Frank or Bangers. Both are sausage joints, but they will cater to you if you’re still on the vegetarian wagon. Frank has great cocktails, while Bangers has something like 100 beers on tap. I’ve driven from San Antonio to Austin just to go to Frank for dinner.

  5. Aw, I’m so sorry that your entrance into the great state of Texas was marred by this screw up, but I’m impressed by your ability to Not Be A Dick in the face of such ridiculousness.

  6. I bet Jenny Lawson would’ve picked you up and rescued you. She is doing a book thing in Austin right now. Also, I know your famous and such but no one asked you if you needed any help or anything after watching you wander around? That’s rude.
    I probably would’ve been all “*squee* It’s Wil Wheaton!” and after being excited and looking to see if your eyelashes are normally dark and noticable as they are in your openings to Table Top (i.e. I think you wear Mascara o_O) I like to think that after noticing you wandering around looking for something, I would’ve stopped and asked if you needed help- even if I expected you to say you didn’t.

    Way to fail Austin.

  7. Sorry to hear you had such a sh**ty start to your convention. I too would have been pissed off. I think you should ask for your money back from the convention accounting dept, and your so called driver needs to send you an apology! Apparently he doesn’t know about your “Don’t be a dick” rule!

  8. I wonder why a convention as big and powerful as Wizard World would use a car service to pick up a guest instead of a gung-ho, eager-to-please volunteer?

  9. Lemurade made me laugh. That is a great attitude. I’m sorry you got stranded.

    I like to define the depth of friendship by how much one allows others to do for them. I might borrow $10 from an acquaintance, but I would need to be very close to someone to feel comfortable borrowing $1000.

    You have friends everywhere and it kind of surprises me that you rely on the convention car service to give you a ride instead of giving someone you are close to the opportunity to do something for you. I imagine one might feel like asking a friend to pick them up at the airport is imposing, but from the other side I think that more often it feels like an opportunity to see a friend.

    This isn’t intended as criticism. They are just things I think about (not the first time and usually not pertaining to you personally). You might have very good reasons for wanting an impersonal car service (like not staying up until 3am chatting the night before a con).

  10. I have to defend Austin for a second. We pride ourselves in being one of those places that celebrities can come to and be treated like just another citizen. As we speak, Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling have been wandering around town unmolested. Not to mention the legendary visits from Bill Murray at SXSW. I’m sure if Wil had asked for help, there would have been plenty of folks that would have obliged. Don’t give up on Austin, Wil!!! If you need a ride, or anything while you are here, you let me know…

  11. Most of the time I can tolerate people’s screw-ups as long as they own up to them and are honest about it. When they make up BS excuses like that, it really pisses me off. Glad to hear you were at least able to get a cab so you could get some sleep. At least that is better than walking!

  12. Totallly BS…i wonder if he even called to you…instead of just stupidly standing there watching you walk away to call a cab?….oh well…got to the hotel safe so its all good…

  13. Maybe the driver was a huge fan of TableTop and thought it’d be ‘clever’ to have his ‘Wheaton’ sign be your name scrawled in marker on a small piece of yellow tape?

  14. The only possible way in which that excuse makes any kind of sense is if the driver was pulling up just as you were going for the cab. Which is to say, if the driver assigned to pick you up was incredibly late. I mean, seriously, staggeringly late.
    Which does not, in any way, negate the lameness of the excuse. It may, in fact, compound it somewhat. Because, you know, Cell phones?
    I hope the rest of your experience is better, from your health on up.

  15. The only time you went outside was to get into the taxi, right? If so then the simplest explanation is that the driver was also sitting outside and never came inside, most likely because he was late and didn’t want to spend more time parking the car. Yes, yes, I’m sure you explicitly require the driver to pick you up from the inside of the airport but did you at least check before getting into a taxi?

  16. Wil, I know I’ve already sent you a message on Reddit & on Google Plus, but you’re invited to our Reddit Poker Game in Austin tonight if you’re interested.

  17. Yeah, another in defense of Austin. We pretty much leave celebrities alone when they’re not at the public events. Apparently, this is weird.

    But we’re also pretty friendly, so if you ever find yourself stuck, just ask for some help or call a local fan. We’re used to it.

  18. I used to travel a lot for work, I was an escort for group tours and it takes a tremendous amount of patience to put on your “people face” when you are tired and sick. Way to be awesome.
    It’s disappointing when plans like that fail you but ridiculous excuses are ridiculous.

  19. If you are feeling ten kinds of crummy still maybe you can get someone to get you some meds to feel better. I would recommend “The Herb Bar” for some natural stuff so you aren’t all drugged out all weekend. Feel better and take your time this weekend.

  20. Coincidentally, I just read a chauffeur blog entry about some guy who ran away from him, while he was waving a sign with the person’s name on it.

  21. Ugh. Welcome to my city anyway?
    If you need anything this weekend, I am sure if you shout out a wish, one of us can help you.
    And BTW… if you want some really good BBQ near the convention center, there are two places that are walking distance. Iron Works (Right on the creek there) and Lamberts (A little further but worth it!)
    I could tell you more, but then we wouldn’t have an excuse to meet! (grin)

  22. If you weren’t a few years younger than I, then I would say we were twins separated at birth. I’d be totally seething at that point.

  23. Dude, that’s incredibly lame. If you ever come near Chattanooga or Atlanta I’d be happy to buy you a beer. There’s plenty of great microbrews in the area.

    1. He has been Will came to Dragon*Con 2011 and it was great! I did finely understand why he goes to PAX and not D*C when it conflicts (as it does most years) I talked with two people I know who go to Dragon*Con but chose to go to PAX this year. They loved PAX but really missed Dragon*Con and have said they will never do that again.
      It all has to do with your first Con (that you go to not appear at)

  24. It is unbelievable for an adult to say you ran from the person to catch a cab when their paycheck depends on your transportation. It almost seems more believable that the person arranging the transportation forgot and needed an excuse, so they came up with something unbelievable to pin it on the driver.

  25. Wil, just saw you twice today. I really appreciated you talking with me and my wife when you were still not 100% and had to deal with such a BS excuse with the pickup last night. Still, you have made my day and the highpoint of this convention. Take care, rest up and keep being the super cool person you are.

  26. Maybe he thought he was waiting for a different Wil Wheaton.. maybe his boss said to go pick up Will Weetin, and he just knew that wasn’t you.

    get well soon!

  27. Thank you Wil, for coming out to do the autograph session. I could tell you were still feeling unwell. Despite this you greeted everyone with a smile. You help make my fist wiz con enjoyable. P.S. I do hope you enjoy the D20 with “fire inside”. It served me well for almost 20 years. I hope it will bring you as my h joy as it brought me.

  28. Every now and again, I just get really upset at people who are criminally bad at their jobs. I am the sort of person who works hard, even though I have a crap job, and expects others to at least put minimal effort into what they’re doing. I know not everyone can be me but it doesn’t hurt to give it your best.

    So yeah, I usually pretty laid back but when someone pisses me off, I’ll do my best to let those in charge know it. Got my postal delivery guy in trouble because he was too damn lazy to actually deliver packages to our door, even though he was suppose to. The first time or two, I brushed it off. After that, nope, phone calls were made.

      1. Oh, c’mon Steve, give Wil some credit. He wouldn’t be fooled by “Free Candy”. Perhaps “Mobile Gaming Unit” or “Free Dice” would do the trick. 😉

  29. I’m sorry you weren’t feeling your best, but I have to tell you that youmade my daughter’s day! She was wearing the Star Trek mash up costume, and you declared it ‘awesome’. Thank you for that!

  30. I usually end up running away from people when they start talking about TOWIE… I’ve have just offered my niece a glass of lemurade and it works brilliantly, she gave me a funny look and went upstairs… Success!

  31. Wow.. sorry to hear your visit to Austin got off to such a frustrating start! Haha, I was just arriving from Houston by car at the time, and had I known, I would have gladly given you a ride (whether you would have wanted said ride is another story). But I’m SO glad that you’re here regardless. I’m here for the con, and, as much as I love the whole cast and each and every member, I have to say that I especially loved your contributions to the panel tonight. You communicate what I feel about sci-fi so eloquently. Thank you!

  32. I’m not trying to dis Austin or anything, but bottom line – whoever was responsible for making sure you got picked up (not the car company) either bit off more than they can chew or shouldn’t be in the position of making arrangements. Any professional secretary will tell you if they have a traveler coming in, they check to make sure a) the car is there and b) the person to be picked up can find the car. We would have also made sure if anything was botched that apologies were made immediately (i.e. when it was happening) and offered to send free room service or something equally comforting to make up for the mistake. It’s bad business not to follow up when you are asking people to trust in your travel arrangements. Especially when today’s tech makes it so easy to check in with people. I’m glad you were able to create a different energy out of it all, but that makes no sense at all to me. Especially when everyone knows you weren’t feeling good to being with. :(

  33. I’m in the tech industry, I know it sucks to travel to shows when your sick. I’m sending you a big THANK YOU for coming out to Austin, Wil! I hope you are now at home kicking back, relaxing and will feel better soon.

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