Adventures with Nigel

Today’s mission was pretty simple: do the big shopping at Walmart and then drive to the airport in Dallas to pick up Janet, my friend Anita’s daughter. Janet would be arriving from Zambia at about 3:00 this afternoon, and will be starting at the university this week.

The shopping at Walmart went fine, and then Mercy and I got ready to leave a little after 11:00. It takes about three hours to get to the airport, so we left enough time to stop for lunch on the way and maybe cool off a bit since we knew we’d be sweltering in our non-air-conditioned car.

When we were about halfway there, we got a call from Janet saying her flight had been delayed. So, since we suddenly weren’t in a hurry at all, Mercy and I decided to go ahead and locate an Indian restaurant, because we love Indian food. Since I was driving, I had Mercy ask Cortana (on my phone) for suggestions of nearby Indian places. Mercy picked one that was only nine miles away, and then Cortana turned the whole operation over to Nigel, my phone’s GPS.

Nigel is a troll. Sometimes his instructions are excellent, and sometimes, like today, he amuses himself by giving a series of nonsensical orders. What’s worse, as we tried to follow his directions to the Indian restaurant, I began to realize that we were headed straight into downtown Dallas, the land of No Free Parking. I really had no interest at all in going downtown, but there I was, dealing with all the one-way streets. We had driven way more than nine miles, obviously.

We located the restaurant on our second pass–just an unassuming door in a large building. Then we had to find a parking garage nearby and park the car. By then it was 2:20 and we were both starving. We found our way out of the garage and down the street to the restaurant, and guess what? It had closed at 2:00 p.m., and would not reopen till 5:00. Gaaaah! This knowledge did not make us any less hungry.

We explored a little and the first likely eating place we found was a Mexican restaurant on the next block. Good thing we like Mexican food! Since we were in such a classy part of town (right next to Neiman Marcus) Mercy was worried that she was dressed too casually for the restaurant. However, it turns out that our waiter, Mr. Long Ponytail, was a big fan of whatever Mercy had on her T-shirt. He was a great waiter and very friendly and enthusiastic without being obnoxious. The food was good, and of course we were so hungry we would have eaten just about anything.

We walked back to the garage and retrieved the car, which involved driving down a very long spiral ramp and then paying money at the bottom. Being fed up with Nigel, Mercy consulted her own phone for directions to the airport, and guess what? It sent us on a route that within minutes took us right past all our favorite Indian stores and restaurants! So annoying.

While we were en route to the airport, we heard from Janet again, saying she still didn’t know when her flight would be leaving. By the time we found a parking spot and got into the terminal, she was still in Washington, D.C.!

At last she called and said she was boarding the plane. I checked the flight information in the airport and discovered her plane was scheduled to come in at 7:38–almost five hours after it should have. It was a long, long wait for Mercy and me in the airport. There is nothing to do in airports anymore if you are on the “outside.” Mercy bought some coffee but it was almost undrinkably bad. I was really glad I had bought a book, and I did some reading, even though what I really wanted was to take a nap!

A little after 7:30 Mercy went to use the ladies room and I kept scanning passersby in hopes of locating Janet. I should tell you that I have not seen her since she was a toddler. A girl walked by who looked exactly like a younger version of my dear friend Anita, but she didn’t appear to notice me. As soon as Mercy returned we walked over to the baggage claim where the girl was waiting and I asked, “Are you Janet?” She was! After two long days of traveling, she was finally here.

As soon as she had her luggage, we headed to the car and got on the road. We stopped for a very late supper at the halfway point. The waitress, Emily, overheard that Janet was going to be starting college this week, and peppered her with useful advice. “Don’t run in a tile hallway with socks on. Don’t be afraid to eat in the dining room.” As you can see, Emily is a practical young lady. Mercy and I both couldn’t help noticing how helpful and friendly both of our servers were today. There are some things I really love about living in Texas!

We got home at 11:30 to find the rest of the household except Lucy already in bed. I guess they will meet Janet in the morning! It’s been a long day . . . .

 

 

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