Friday, May 16, 2008

Charlotte, North Carolina

Get ready family, this is going to be a long one.

Everyone that knows me knows I have a list of cities that I’d consider living in. Just like now, I tend to have a lot of free time to think about these things. I’m a single woman who’s fully vested in her 401K. I have interns, an administrative assistant and like my best friend reminded me this morning, I also have a door that closes and a speaker phone. I’m basically saying your girl has options and I spend a great deal of time deciding how I’m going to exercise them.

So my cities I would live in list includes Chicago (of course), New York, D.C., Denver, Phoenix [recently added] and my favorite, Charlotte, NC.

Now, if you know me (or even in you don’t) you’re probably scratching your head thinking why Denver and Charlotte? We’ll talk about Denver at another time, but I LOVE CHARLOTTE!

It’s not a place for a single girl like me right now, but I could totally settle down with a family here. There’s not a lot to do, but there’s enough to do. The people are really nice and it’s pretty here. It’s south, but it’s far east enough to have that flavor as well. It’s one of those places that I visited that just felt like home. It’s definitely on top of my list.

Well…it was.

Disclaimer: I am not angry. I was recently told that my direct blantantly-honest nature may come off as angry [and/or rude]. I just happen to be an extremely passionate and honest person, so my feelings show through in everything I do (especially my facial expressions) and in this case, they show through in the tone and verbiage I use to describe this story, which was the preturbance I felt at the time, but I’m not angry now and I wasn't mean to anyone. :P

Back to the story: As I stepped out of the airport and into the Avis van (no need to stop at the counter because I’m preferred select and my car will be waiting for me), I was told that my name wasn’t listed and I didn’t have to get out of the van, but I’d have to stop by the counter at the lot. This same exact thing happened in Atlanta, so I double-checked my reservation to see if I’d made a mistake, like I did in Atlanta. Matter of fact, I sent myself a quick email via text to remind my admin on Monday to make SURE AmEx travel has my preferred flyer, car rental and hotel numbers.

But there were no errors made on our end. I definitely had a reservation, my admin didn’t mess up, AmEx business travel didn’t mess up. I was curious to see exactly what had happened.

I get to the counter and proceed to the preferred line. There was a lady in front of me and when they found out I was preferred they asked her to move to the other (long azz) line (Hilarious!) So anyway, I see my name on the counter and say is this for me and the attendant is like yes, please proceed to car E15. Cool! I get outside and one of the chivalrous Charlotte Avis reps offered to go get the car for me. Cool! He comes back, there’s no car in E15. I walk back into the counter, totally disrespecting the guy who was at the counter now and alert ol’ girl that there’s no car in E15. She’s becomes increasingly concerned and asks dude to step aside (cause I’m important) and finds me another car. Ok, I get a convertible mustang and proceed to roll out.

I follow the mapquest directions (which are almost correct this time) and as I’m driving, notice the country behind me the clearly defined “city” ahead of me even though the airport is smack dab in the middle of the “city.” As I pass Church’s Chicken, the “paper doll lounge” and “the barbeque shack” I try to remember what exactly about this town had me so enamored.

I got lost driving, of course, and quickly stopped at a gas station, that was approximately one highway stop from my destination, to ask for directions. People who clearly live in the area had NO IDEA how to get to where I wanted to go. It was less that a mile away folks.

I mean, I literally talked to about 5 people to finally get the directions, which were to take the street I was on the opposite direction for like 5 blocks and my hotel would be on the right. Really, it took 5 locals for that, Really? I’m now starting to truly understand the WTF moment a close friend had when someone suggested she move here.

So I’m doing ok when I get back in the car and I finally get to my hotel, it says to check in before you park in the garage. Cool. I was just happy I made it. I take my wallet inside and proceed to the counter. I didn’t have to wait at all. Things were looking up. I give them my name. No record of me on file. SERIOUSLY? So he says do you have your confirmation number. I did have it, in the car. Why would I bring it inside when they are the hotel and should have record of who’s staying here? [Yet another instance of people not having their ish together and needing me to help them do their damn jobs]. So, I grab my travel arrangements and check in and it’s all good, but I’m baffled that nothing has worked the first time around for me since I got into this little sleepy town.

(Except a safe [late] flight. Praise God and thank Jesus!)

I also ask for details on where I can get take-out since I’m NOT getting back in the car looking for food in a city with very few street lights where no one knows where anything is located. Well, he told me, most things are closed now [It’s 10:02 p.m. on an effing Friday night]. My options were Chinese, Papa John’s and Dominoes… Sigh.

So all of that typing to say: I’m not country. There’s not a southern bone in my body. There might be a country twang in my voice from my Mississippi roots (please google the great migration if you don’t already know), BUT I’m not particularly kind, I’m not patient and I really just have no tolerance for inefficiency. HOW, dear friends, HOW could I ever live in a city this slow? Well the truth is, I couldn’t.

I thought this thing over (again, too much free time on my hands) and Charlotte crept onto my place I could live list because CHARLOTTE was the first city I ever visited on a work trip. I was in love with the idea of traveling for work at the time and our results in this city were so awesome. I was with one of my best friends (who’s no longer with the company) and we had so much fun. In retrospect, it was probably one of the wackest trips I’ve taken to date, but my vantage point at the time made it a favorite and that’s how I recalled it until just now.

Unfortunately, Charlotte has to come off the places I would live list (with the quickness of a CTA Chicago Card Plus i.e right away). And truth be told it’s not really high up on the places I would visit list anymore either. Oh well.


ThummyB said...

You know - I don't think that I've ever been to Charlotte before. I guess I had the same impression in my mind (great place to raise a family), but since I haven't been there then that's not at all based on fact. Anyway, do you use They actually charge us a fee if we call and make reservations with Amex travel services. It's preferred that we use the website. For some reason I get more options on the website, and I can ensure that all of my preferred information gets added to the reservation.

T said...

I actually never make my own travel arrangements anymore. My admin uses the AmEx Web site (actually that's probably what she uses). The fee to "call" AmEx is double the online fee. There's a fee regardless though.

They have all my info correct, it was Avis effing up this time.

Reese Johnson said...

for next time love just get the portable nav from avis its an extra 11 to 16 bucks a day and a LIFESAVER as i hate talking to people lol, cool post i have family in North Carolina so ive been out that way. I am developing my list of places i want to live, number one right now is San Diego

black_sun said...

Dear T,

I've noticed your blog has quickly become a total b*tch fest. (And no your "I'm not angry" disclaimer doesn't change the fact that you were b*tching about something... again.) I suggest you take some sedatives, breath deeply, and slow repeat after me, "Its no big deal."


PS - Charlotte is boring but still a lovely place to live once you get used to it.

T said...

@ Blk_Sun

Bitchfest? Sedative? Really?

*smirking* Ok, we can play this game.

Kismet said...

LOLOLOL at this. Didn't I tell you?

Disclaimer: I'm not anti-Charlotte...except in reference to myself and anyone from an actual urban area (NYC and Chicago being the only two that apply....)

black_sun (bka the blog police): whats the deal? you don't like what you see, don't patronize the blog. don't think anyone asked for your oh so helpful advice anyway.