Follow us:

Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

June 9, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Postcard from Pinehurst: Car problems, wildlife and the great map quest

When an airplane is overbooked and you’re without a seat, the airline makes it worth your while.

But what happens when a rental-car company overbooks cars at the Raleigh, N.C., airport? You stand fuming for about an hour in a parking lot with no shade, with the temperature about 90 and the humidity somewhere around a million. And all on one hour of sleep after taking a red eye for my journey to this week’s U.S. Open in Pinehurst, N.C.

When I  complained about the humidity to the guy in front of me, he responded that it was just as humid in Minneapolis. So, by some mathematical property I learned in the first grade, I can deduce that I would hate being stuck without a car just as much in the Twin Cities. We just stood there, having to wait until someone brought back a car for one to become available. That was happening at the rate of about once per 15 minutes, which I calculated would leave me standing there for about 12 hours if  I didn’t have heatstroke first.

It could have been worse. A caddy for one of the U.S. Open players was in a panic. He had to be at the  course soon, and he needed to know when he could get a car. They couldn’t give him an answer. I don’t know what happened, because I got my car after an hour of waiting. He might still be there, five hours later. I didn’t think it was my turn, but they called my name and I wasn’t going to question it.

After quickly leaving that unpleasant scene, I pulled over at a fast-food restaurant that looked it came right out of a Jetson’s episode to get my bearings. As I turned off the ignition, a deer passed about 10 feet from my car, strolled through the parking lot, across the road and into the woods. “I am not at  Sea-Tac, Toto.”

The one-hour drive included a stretch of toll road. A new toll was assessed about every two miles, and the amounts were odd to say the least. $1.24, 1.36, 1.17 and  so on. So why $1.17 and not $1.16 or 1.18? Just wondering.

I am staying in Spring Lake, N.C., about a block from the gate to Fort Bragg, the huge U.S. Army installation, and about 40 miles from Pinehurst. I needed a map (no, I don’t use GPS; no, I don’t have a smartphone; go ahead and laugh), so I was told to go to Walmart. It didn’t have one, but I was told the gas station down the street did. Actually, it didn’t either, but I was assured that Walgreens did. But once at Walgreens, I was told  it didn’t have one and I would have to go to Walmart. I had thought there was no way I could experience anything as frustrating as what I had experienced at the rental-car lot. I was wrong.

But as I was walking out of the store, I spotted maps. The store clerk had no idea they were there. I felt like screaming. I am going to sleep while I still have an ounce of sanity. Tomorrow I head to Pinehurst. After today, anything that happens will seem like a breeze.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►