The plane landed at 10:30, which pleased me greatly. "I can go grab the keys from the rental kiosk while my luggage comes off the plane," I think.
I make my way to the long long long line of rental car ticket counters. Enterprise does not have one. Hmm. My receipt says that the airport rental office is "offsite".
I check one of the courtesy phones and "Enterprise" is listed. I dial the number and eventually get a rental agent, who informs me that there is a shuttle, at A11, just outside the area I'm at now. The last shuttle leaves at 11:15, and the office stays open until 11:30.
By now it's 10:45; I've got time yet. I head back up one level to baggage claim and wait. Fidgeting.
10 minutes later, luggage starts rolling off the carousel.
5 minutes after that, my suitcase emerges. I grab it and head for the shuttles. Plenty of time. I walk over to space labeled "11". No shuttle bus in it, just an empty space. I wait, looking up and down at the other shuttles for other rental agencies.
Including one for Enterprise parked in A8.
I wander down there, confirm that (a) yes, it normally goes to A11 but they share spaces with another agency so sometimes it moves and (b) this is the right bus. Make yourself comfy.
At the rental place, the agent talks me into spending an extra $50 or so ($5 a day) to get a Grand Am instead of the Neon I'd reserved. What the heck. I decline insurance coverage, confident that my credit card company would provide. *
The agent, who spends the whole transaction with me flirting and joking, gives me directions to koogrr's place, since the directions Koogrr gave me were based on my leaving from the airport. My ticket agent apparently lives in Koogrr's subdivision, amusingly enough, so he knows just how to get there.
Koogrr's subdivision is a little quirky to get into; the best way in is by driving through a plaza parking lot. So he told me to drive to the 7-11 nearby and wait for him there. I find the 7-11 without a hitch, call him from a payphone, and wait in my bright red rental car. 10 or 15 minutes later, Koogrr gets into my car.
I'd seen pictures of Koogrr before, when gen helped him dye the tips of his hair purple. Still, I didn't really remember what he looked like, and photos never give me a good idea of the in-person appearance of someone. But I'd spoken to him many times on the phone, and his voice was instantly recognizable. This made for an odd juxtaposition: if I closed my eyes, it was like talking to an old friend. But if I looked at him, my subconscious kept wondering "why does this stranger sound just like John**?"
So the stranger who sounded just like John directs me to his house, and we go inside and hang out in his living room talking until 2AM, by which time my subconscious is pretty much willing to accept that this tall, beefy, dark-haired man sounds like John because he is John.
Eventually, John fetches sheets and converts his futon sofa we've been talking on into my bed. I go to sleep. I think John went to play World of Warcraft or Twisted Kingdoms or something, because natives of Orlando do not, in fact, sleep.
* Free insurance on rental cars was one of these odd perks that credit card companies started offering ten years ago to compete with each other. I actually don't know for sure that they still do it. But fortunately, I did not trash the rental car so I don't need to find out. This time, anyway. (All you people waiting for my decision to decline coverage to come back to haunt me can stop now). Next time, I should confirm this for myself, since I don't actually drive or have my own insurance. Oh, wait, I think Lut's policy covers me anyway. So I still don't need to worry.
** John is Koogrr's RL name, for those of you who've never looked at his userinfo page.