Then my parking stub mysteriously vanished. It fell into the black hole where odd socks, warranties, Blackberry's and good intentions go. It was so gone that I think it packed a suitcase and got an airplane ticket. It was gone-diddly-one.
Seriously, on the 100 feet from the machine that took my debit card to the Ford Exploder in the parking lot, the stupid, bleeping parking stub went AWOL. I loaded up the car with grannies, kids, luggage and purse. Then I started to dig. I looked in my pants pockets. I looked in my purse. I looked in my pants pockets again. Granny offered me money, but that was going to be a problem since I didn't have the parking ticket. I looked in the purse again. I started taking things out of the purse. I looked in my wallet. There was the debit card that I had just used. There was the receipt that I had just gotten to pay the stupid $4 fee that Dulles charges to grace their doorstep. (They work under the 'captive audience' stratagem. If they have to go to the airport to pick up someone or drop off someone, they WILL be charged to park for more than two minutes. The revenue. Oy, the revenue.)
|There was probably a lot more arm movement involved here. Also|
cursing under my breath. Also, people will stop and stare if you
suddenly start flinging things out of your purse in the middle
of a parking lot, even at Dulles Airport. Surprisingly.
Finally. Finally. Finally. I found what I thought was the ticket in the side pocket of the purse. Cheered, we climbed in, buckled up, and drove up to the exit gate where I would insert the ticket into the machine, and there we would be released from the enforced imprisonment of the airport parking lot.
I put the ticket in the machine. The machine spit the ticket back out. It said, 'Not registered.' I put the ticket back in. The machine spit the ticket back out. It said, 'Not registered.' I shoved the ticket back into the machine with several colorful, four-lettered descriptions of the machine's point of origins. The machine spit the ticket back out, without colorful epithets. It said, 'Not registered.'
I stared at the machine and thought about sledge hammers and other methods of subjugation. Then I looked around and saw that the next booth over was manned by an actual person. I backed up and got into that lane without killing us, the car, or any other cars.
Then I explained to the clerk what happened. Here was the rub. I hadn't really found the right ticket. I had found some other ticket for something that looked similar. The original parking stub was still AWOL.
But I did have...THE RECEIPT.
The receipt had the times on it that I had entered and exited. It had the parking stub's number on it. It had the receipt that I had paid for the time already on it. As I explained to the clerk, her expression looked a little odd. After she said sullenly, "I'll have to see your credit card," I realized that she was working as the credit/cash lane girl for a very good reason. As long as people were handing her tickets, paying her with cash or a credit/debit card, she was in her element. But I had driven up and done something wrongity-wrong. I didn't have the ticket and I was asking for something difficult. I think the poor clerk began to short circuit. Very slowly, she ascertained that the debit card number matched the one on the receipt. In fact, she used her index finger to point at each number.
|You'd think I might be exaggerating here, but it ain't by much.|
The girl in the booth kept crying, "OH, NO! OH, NO!"
I looked at my MIL and said, "We're going to have to stay at the airport forever."
She said, "I'll make a run for it. You stay and sacrifice yourself." (No, I didn't say that and she didn't say it, but it was definitely implied.)
The girl in the booth said, "OH, NO!" Then abruptly she cried, "OH, GOOD!" If I hadn't been able to see her entire body, I would have thought something funny was going on in the booth. (I wish I could do the audio on the, "OH, GOOD!" because it was that suggestive.) She looked at me and then slowly began to click buttons on her keyboard.
Then she was distracted by another clerk who had stuck her head in to give her some official envelope and they discussed something official for a very long, official thirty seconds. I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw that the man in the SUV behind me was tying a noose to his rear-view mirror. (No, he wasn't but he was thinking about it.)
|I don't really know what the man behind me in the SUV was thinking,|
but it wasn't good for me.
I thought the clerk was going to start crying, "OH, NO!" again when she suddenly opened the gate and handed me a receipt. She looked at me as if shooing me along and said, "It's a copy of the receipt." At the top it says, 'LOST TICKET.' So what the eff was all the fuss about?
In conclusion, today when I took my MIL and daughter to the county fairground to enter some artwork and cookies, my MIL was watching me very carefully. I had the receipt tickets in my hand for the cookies and the art work and I said, "What?" My MIL said very cannily, "I'm watching what you do with the tickets this time."
Hahaha. My MIL deserves the kudos.
And for the sake of argument, the parking stub remains missing in action.