Before I go into that, though, I need to go into the story of the SuperShuttle ride to the airport.
So when you sign up for SuperShuttle, you are made aware that there's a 20-minute window of time in which they'll pick you up. They don't hide this fact, and in fact they tell you exactly when this window starts and stops. And when you think about it, it's fairly reasonable: since it's a shared ride, the driver can't possibly know if he'll be there at exactly the scheduled minute since he has both traffic and other passengers to deal with.
I got a phone call five minutes before my 20-minute window was due to start saying that the shuttle would be there in five minutes. Wow, pretty nice. I walked downstairs and there he was. Huh, right on time. The driver took my bags, was very nice, and I got in the van behind the driver. There was a couple in the van already, and the man was continuing a conversation with the driver that he'd obviously been having before they picked me up.
The guy was upset about the 20-minute wait window. He told the driver that he felt that was an insult to the customer, because the company was expecting him to wait on his time. And the guy was mad, because he felt the driver was telling him in his responses (that I hadn't been privy to) that that's too bad.
The driver told him that he understood his frustration. That he is correct, there is a 20-minute wait. The driver pretty much said everything he could have said in as non-commital a way as possible. As the guy behind me went on and on, all I could think was, "you know about the 20-minute wait. If you don't want to wait 20-minutes, why aren't you riding in a taxi and not a shared ride?"
As we pulled out and drove, the guy kept going on and on and on to the driver about how unsatisfied he was as a customer. The driver continued to listen and when he tried to speak, the guy talked over him. As the driver continued to basically do his job, which is to drive us there and try to let this customer know that he understood what he was saying (what was the driver going to do? "I'm sorry, sir, I'll stop the van right now and get our entire business model changed."), the guy got more and more angry. It was as if he was goading the driver into getting angry, and the less and less the driver reacted to it, the angrier this guy got. It didn't help that the driver was Middle Eastern, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything except for the fact that the whole vibe just felt really weird, like this customer had it in for this guy from the very start.
At some point, the guy switched gears and mid-sentence practically starts railing about the driver's skills, saying that he and his girlfriend have been sliding around in their seats. And he goes on to say, "you know, I moved here to California from Chicago because the people here are nice and courteous, especially in driving--"
(At this point I wanted to turn around and laugh at the guy, because obviously he's not living in the same SoCal that I'm living in.)
"--but you, you're just driving around like an asshole."
At that point, the driver yelled, "what did you just call me, sir?" in a heavy Middle Eastern accent. I just sat there wondering what was coming next. The driver pulled into the grocery store parking lot that we were near and said, "get out of my van, sir."
"I'm not getting out of this van."
"Yes, sir, get out of the van or I'll call the police."
"I've got plenty of time before my flight. I can outwait you."
The driver went around to the main door and opened it, and demanded an apology. The customer said he had (he had mumbled that he was sorry when the driver asked him what he had just called him).
At this point, I'd had enough. I turned to the driver and held up my hand. He went silent. I turned to the jerk behind me and said, "listen to me. You've done nothing since I got into this van but complain and harrass this driver. He's answered your questions as politely as he possibly can, and you've antagonized him more and more. Now if you'll just sit down, shut up, stop acting like a jerk, I'm sure we'll all get to the airport on time and in one piece. SO STOP. TALKING."
He acted as if I was backing him up. "I agree, we should just stop talking."
We did get to the airport in silence after that. When I hopped out to get my bags, the driver came around and I told him I was sorry he had to be put through that. I mean, come on - there's being a dissatisfied customer, and then there's just being an ass, and that's what this guy had been. The driver asked me if his company could call me, and I said sure. The customer made a big show of not tipping the driver. I threw in an extra tip for the guy.
Fortunately, the flight wasn't much worse, except that the stewardess spilled a pot of coffee that splashed onto my white clothes.
Then I landed. So my sister and her boyfriend Craig went to the house on the pretext of coming over for dinner. My dad came home from work and waited for Molly, who was unusually late coming home from work. She was actually bringing me back from the airport and my plane was late, so she had to concoct an excuse.
Eventually we did make it home, whereupon Molly walked in as usual, and then there was a knock at the front door. No one ever knocks on their front door. My dad opened it and said, "hi," as if it was perfectly natural for his daughter who lives in California to just show up on the doorstep. Then about 0.3 seconds later it sunk in, and he said, "HI!" Which was quickly followed by a confused look and, "what the fuck?"
So we all had a great weekend. On Friday we had a nice little memorial out at the tree we'd planted last year for my brother. This year we buried the urn at the base of the tree and placed a marker.
On Saturday my dad and I and his friend Michael from Germany went clam-digging in the back of their property down in the finger of the river that runs behind them. Molly's place is one of the most beautiful places; I always feel like I'm staying at a rustic bed & breakfast (one in which I at least try to help out with by doing things like the dishes), partly because of the natural beauty surrounding the place, but also because of the fact that nearly every time I'm there, there's always one or two other people, either friends or family members, staying as well. This time, Michael Beyer, a promoter from Germany that has helped my dad's band get some recognition there, was starting his annual 2-week driving vacation of the US and stayed with them for a couple of nights. So the three of us rolled up our pants and went clam-digging. The weather was really hot - it was about 90 degrees while I was there - so the water felt wonderful to wade through. My dad, Michael, nor I eat clams, but it sure was fun digging for them for the rest of the family.
As is the usual thing at Molly's, each night there were a few people over for dinner. So that night we had a bonfire in the firepit that my dad had built out in the pasture, and since we had Molly's 7-year-old granddaughter there, we made s'mores and told stories and even sang.
So it was a fun weekend, and I bought some yarn at the Allyn knit shop while I was there to start a small project since I didn't take anything with me to knit (all I'm working on are sweaters and other non-travel-friendly).
And now I'll get a brief respite from traveling, at least for another month when I've got two upcoming back-to-back business trips planned.