Finally...the Wretched Rentals
Okay, so when I left off, I had just gotten us through Fort Wetherill, Slater Mill, and paleobirds with toothy grins and little claws. Don’t ever let anyone say I don’t offer you eclecticism on the hoof. And the nostrils. And the knees. And I’m never short on diversity. Because we know that de verse is yet to come.
Where was I? Oh, yes. So, after the Fort, we headed off for a bit of lunch. After some exploration, we settled on the Narragansett Cafe (https://www.narragansettcaferi.com/) which proved to be a rather pleasant place. I later learned it is even something of a landmark. People have been coming here for live music, pub food, and beer for a very long time.
I’ll post of picture of Patty and Martha at a table there. If nothing else, you can see Martha’s many bandaids from her fall the day before. She won’t be happy about it, but you’ll see them.
Martha, Patty, and Band-Aids
Oh, one other thing, it seems to be a custom there for visitors to pen the names of fallen service members on designated bricks on a particular wall. I think it is a rather charming idea, though what they do when the bricks become crowded, I do not know.
Anyway, we had a nice lunch, and as you can see from the photo, I had a beer. Then, we headed out again. We did a little more touring, and then we headed back into downtown. We had another chore.
This one would prove...kinda icky.
Here’s the background. We were going to rent a car in Providence. Then, we’d use the car to drive to Boston. Then we would drive it back to Providence and return it. Got all that? Great.
Now, Martha did the arrangements. She is very good at that. She is also Scottish in ancestry. That means that she looks for the best price.
Well, it turned out that the cheapest car rentals ... in Providence were at the airport. I mean, the same big car rental companies had offices in lots of places around town. But it was cheaper to get the cars in question at their offices at the airport then at their freestanding offices elsewhere in the city.
Why? I don’t know. But they were. So, she got online and reserved a car at the Providence Airport, specifically at T.F. Green Airport.
That afternoon, we were going to go pick up the car. We plugged the address of the car rental place into our phones and headed out with Patty driving. We arrived at the airport shortly. And there was...
Oh, I don’t mean the airport was gone. I mean that the building where the rental cars were supposed to be was actually just a multistory parking garage. There wasn’t the slightest evidence you could do anything there other than park your own car and walk across a bridge to the airport itself.
In desperation, I got out of the car and walked into the parking tower, up several flights of stairs, and, well, discovered exactly zip. In fact, I didn’t even see anyone. It was like the whole place was abandoned. I was beginning to feel like I was in a horror movie, and that at any moment the Walking Dead were going to show up and do a quick number from the Zombie Musical of your choice. (No. Really. It’s a genre. Look it up. Like here: https://www.tor.com/2019/01/15/zombie-musicals-are-the-perfect-genre-mash-up/)
I went back to the car. We drove off. Maybe it was someplace else? We went around...and around...and around. We tried several different locations. We went to the airport itself and asked at various places. We talked to a policeman patrolling the area. No one had the slightest idea where the rental cars might be.
Finally, we got back to the multistory garage and Martha, ever practical, said, “Well, let’s try it.” So we drove up the entrance ramp past all the signs that said, “Do not enter!” and “Return Rental Car Return ONLY” and so on. We went up, and up, and up, and around, and back, and then...
There was a kind of parking area at the top that didn’t look like all the other parking areas we’d already seen. And as we were sitting there, wondering what the h@ll to do, a little man in a uniform suddenly appeared near us and said, “I bet you’re wondering where you need to go to pick up a rental car, right?”
“Uh...right,” we said.
“Cool,” he said. “You’re here.”
Patty got directions from him about how to exit the parking garage (not, as it turned out, easy) and then he pointed Martha and me toward a couple of small, cramped looking offices against a far wall. As we walked, Martha expressed her concerns about the fact that it was almost impossible to get into the place from the street.
“Yeah,” he said, sadly...clearly that wasn’t the first time he’d had to explain... “that’s because, you see, it was designed to be that way.”
He went on. When the People-Who-Knew-Best set up the airport and the car rental system, they didn’t want anyone from the city to rent cars from the airport. Why? Who knows. But they didn’t. So, they designed the buildings and the system of car rentals so that it was pretty much impossible for customers to get at the rental cars...unless they had flown in from someplace else, and were walking across the access bridge from the airport to the parking garage.
Somewhere, somebody was paid a great deal of money to make all this happen. There’s something terrifying in that.
Anyway, eventually, we finally got the car and headed out. Martha was, naturally, seething the whole trip back to Patty’s house. In fact, when we got to Georgetown she sent a very long, very well-written, and very graphic email to both the airport authority and the rental car company putting her feelings into words.
Needless to say, we never heard a word back. That would have required listening to, you know, users and customers. And that’s not happening anytime soon.
Anyway, we headed back to Patty’s and then the plan was for us to take her out for dinner. We planned on a trip to a local Bertucci’s, which is a chain of a Italian restaurants that we really loved when we lived in New England.
And, that night, we would have some terrific pizza...
And tentacles. The worst tentacles I’ve ever seen.
More to come.
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