Monday, August 18, 2008

LAX Blues


Yesterday, my flight got into LAX only 10 minutes late, which seemed to be a good omen. Sadly, when I went to collect my baggage, it did not arrive. After going through two broken baggage status machines, I found one which told me that my baggage was arriving on the next flight, an hour and a half later. This information did not make any sense -- I had checked in early for a direct flight -- why would my bags be on a later flight. I confirmed the location of my luggage with a baggage service agent, who could offer no explanation for what had happened.

With some time to kill before my luggage arrived, I decided to go for a walk. As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a Googie waymark at LAX that I was hoping to find. It was easy to cross the first set of traffic lanes, but for some reason traffic did not seem to want to stop for me on the second set of lanes. As I made it across, I saw that there was in fact a traffic signal and an associated "Don't Walk" sign that I was violated. Also seeing this fact was a cop, who came over and wrote me a jaywalking ticket. Sigh. I don't think I'll be able to pass that off on my expense report.

After returning to baggage claim and collecting my suitcase, I headed back across the easy set of traffic lanes to catch the Avis bus. As the bus was pulling away from the curb, it stopped. It seems the bus had hit a SmarteCarte and wedged it between the bus and curb. The bus driver would have to back up, and he asked me to dislodge the cart. I was happy to do so. Last week, at Dulles, Christina and I had been tricked by a SmarteCarte guy into giving up an unused carte. We saw it, and then he came up and pretended that it had been his. When we backed off, he immediately returned it. Christina stopped me from yelling at him, and a flight attendant stopped by to offer her sympathy.

After the Avis bus backed up, I hopped out, cell phone camera in hand, to dislodge the carte and record the damage for posterity. Unfortunately, the carte would not budge. I hopped back in, the bus driver backed up some more, and some good Samaritans deprived me of my photo op by removing the carte themselves.

After driving by the Googie waymark, I headed out on the 2-hour drive to Santa Barbara. I had missed the conference's opening reception, so I stopped off at El Pollo Loco. The one bright spot of the delay is that it allows me to claim the dinner per diem on my expense report. Since that's $29 and my dinner was $7, in the unlikely event that the jaywalking ticket is $22 or less, I really will be able to put it on my expense report. (In a sense.)
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