My next task is to get on a shuttle to my hotel. This seems completely do-able, even for a directionally challenged person such as myself. I mean, sure I manage to get lost on my way to the mall in the town that I grew up in and once I ended up in Alabama when trying to go to the tag office that is just down the street but I can totally find the shuttle service in the O’Hare airport, right?
No. No, I can not.
I start blindly following these signs that say “Airport Transit” and even though they seem to be taking me away from the general crowd of people I assume that they will lead me to the shuttles because shuttles = transit. I come to one of the signs that is accompanied by the words “exit only” and I SHOW the employee my shuttle slip and ask if that is where I go. And he tells me yes, but he is a lying liar who lies.
Because when I go down that escalator, I am met not by a shuttle but by a train. I do not want to get on a train. The train lady directs me to the elevator and instructs me to walk through the Hilton to get to the shuttles. I get on said elevator, press the button that says HILTON and then find myself at the top of an escalator that looks eerily like the one I was just on. I ride down. And am greeted once again by train lady. I wave at her sheepishly, get back on the elevator AND REPEAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS.
“I have no idea what just happened, I say, I got on the elevator, I pressed the Hilton button and now I’m back here with you again.” She just shakes her head and motions toward the elevator where she GETS ON WITH ME, presses the Hilton button, and points at the Hilton when the doors open. Apparently she does not deem me worth speaking to. I can not blame her.
“First of all, I think you’re magic, I tell her, and second of all please don’t ever tell my husband that I needed help RIDING AN ELEVATOR.”
I walk through the Hilton and find myself in a bus depot, which is most definitely not where my shuttle is. “Take a right out of here and the building is at the end of the street” the guy tells me. Except when I do that I find myself standing in the middle of the airport parking deck. I feel as though something has gone awry. The parking agent takes pity on me and transports me to the other end of the airport where the shuttles are located. Which also happens to be BAGGAGE CLAIM. Which is basically where I exited the airplane to begin with.
(Later on the drive home my husband will interrupt me in the middle of this story to say “For future reference honey, just always go to baggage claim when you get off of a plane.” To which I replied “That is great advice for the next time I fly, WHICH WILL BE NEVER.”)
I recount this tale to the shuttle dispatch verifying my confirmation and he laughs at me and remarks “Oh yeah, those guys up there, they just like to $&*! with tourists.”
Why would they do that to me? Why? Do I look like the sort of girl you should send wandering out into the city on her own? No I do not. I look like Polly Pocket. I am not even being funny here. That is literally what people call me. I look like someone you should tuck safely on her shuttle and ask kindly where her parents are.
At this point I’m feeling incredibly stressed because my connecting flight was late, I’ve wasted 45 minutes wandering around the airport and my event starts in less than two hours.
The driver waits until we’re safely out of the airport and then pulls out her cell phone and begins chatting with someone about her dinner plans while barreling down the highway. At first I was all
But then I was like, “Wait, she just told someone to go get ten pieces of chicken for a dollar fifty. I don’t know if I am seriously interested in knowing about this chicken’s whereabouts because I am totally starving or seriously freaked out about the health code at this really cheap chicken place.”
And y’all. THIS IS NOT EVEN THE MOST AWKWARD THING THAT HAPPENED. Oh no. That involves me, my undies, and a room service attendant.