Chronicles Of A Weary Traveler: Enterprise Rent-A-Car Review

In order to place this experience in its proper context, I would be remiss if I did not explain what precipitated my eventual arrival at Hertz, and the disastrous financial consequences of that fateful encounter, upon my return to the States, following an 18+ month period of living abroad –

It began with Enterprise.

Once I had booked my flight to the States, I knew I would have to rent a car to get to my hotel from Dulles International Airport. And I would have to do that, using my debit card, the only card I had. Airport locations further had specific rules that only applied there, and not elsewhere. In order to rent, you needed to show that along with your arrival, there was a scheduled departure date, listed on your ticket. These were the conditions for securing a rental.

The first call I made to Enterprise, I was not told this. Instead I was told I could not rent a car with a debit card. I had to have a bonafide Credit Card.

When I mentioned this to someone I knew in the States, he questioned that, and encouraged me to call Enterprise again. “Under what conditions can I rent a vehicle from an airport location using my debit card?” And sure enough, the agent said that as long as my itinerary showed I had an outbound flight, I could then rent a car, so I booked one.

Still uneasy, however, an intuitive red flag shook my confidence, so I was determined to verify once again what the Enterprise agent had told me, so one week before I left Europe, I called Enterprise to confirm the terms, and again I was given a green light.

But when I arrived at the facility, the Enterprise Representative was determined not to allow this to happen. He immediately began nitpicking.

“I see your departure date here is not until September, and yet you only want a rental for 2 weeks,” he said.

“That’s correct,” I said. “I don’t need a car for the entire period. I just need transportation to do what I have to do.”

This, apparently, was problematic for him.

“And you want to return the car to BWI (Baltimore International) instead of here, at Dulles,” he said.

“That’s correct,” I said. “Look I’ve made these arrangements ahead of time and asked the questions I had to ask and was assured there would be no problem. And besides, the sign here clearly states that Enterprise will accept a debit card as long as you show you have a departure date. It doesn’t state that there are additional conditions.”

But he would not budge.

“The BWI location is more convenient for me,” I explained, “and I was assured this would not be a problem.”

“But how do we know we’ll get our money?”

Now this was a prescient question. I never imagined there would be a situation where the funds would not be available. In retrospect, I now know this guy lacked the shark instincts I would later experience at Hertz. They knew better. “Because I honor my agreements.” I said.

That, too, did not satisfy Tamer, the Senior Customer Assistance

Rep, at Enterprise. “But you could go and withdraw your money tomorrow!” He added.

“I suppose I could. But I have no plan to do so.”

The final nail in the coffin was the address on my Driver’s license. That listed my last known address in the States and did not correspond to the address on file with my bank. THAT had been my European address. But now that that address had changed, days before I left Europe, I updated my banking information to reflect my new address in the States. Logistically, there was not enough time to do that with the MVA, and it was the first thing on my list of things to do, even before securing mobile service, the day following my arrival in the States.

This further distressed Tamer.

“Ah, how can I rent you a car if the address on your license doesn’t correspond to your debit card address? I just can’t do that,” he said.

“But I was living ABROAD. I JUST arrived. I STILL have to go to the MVA and update my information.”

But this sequence, though logical and sensible, did not register with the Tamer who faced other challenges, and he declined my reservation, further telling me that even though I had secured a reservation, those people who made the reservation didn’t actually work for Enterprise, but other car rental agencies, brokers, you might say, and therefore didn’t really know the Enterprise rules about renting a car using a debit card.

How could I possibly respond to that?

Though severely jet lagged and sleep deprived, I mustered whatever strength I had and pointed to the sign. “The sign clearly says I can rent a car using my debit card, as long as I have departure flight. It clearly states that. It lists no additional conditions.”

But Tamer would not budge.

And that’s how I landed in the front seat (Remember OJ Simpson? He was the celebrity face for Hertz Corporation’s rent-a-car advertising campaign, which, incidentally focused on airport rentals, before sinking into infamy) of a Hertz contract, one of the darkest periods of my financial misfortunes.

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Nudge

Nudge

I nudge my cardiovascular system by extending my daily journey from the Dark Kitchen Room to The Light Room Of Many Windows and the kitchen and the light room of many windows and…the… It sure is bright in there. There’s a world of difference between them. Both serve a purpose. But really. Who would choose to volunteer for such an experiment? The Study Of Adaptation From The Perspective Of Extremes.

Once I complete the journey, I’m back to my steadfast routine. Sometimes I cook. But mostly, I nurse a mug of espresso and consume lots of cigarettes and swirl ideas above my head. The dark kitchen room is a good way to transition from sleep to wakefulness. It has no light. Not a single window. And some icons covered in spider-webs stuck in a corner. It’s thoroughly dank. However, you never have to fear you’ll wake up blinded down here. It’s impossible.

Along with the diet of dank corners, you get to experience and taste dank thoughts. Who would’ve ever thought you’d end up doing this? I see one hand raised. Great. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

It’s no different than living in a cave – though I have never lived in one. The chief resemblance is the dampness, the darkness, the absence of life. So you finally understand your sole mission and what isn’t. It was not as you had imagined. There were no ballerinas there. There were no canvases filled with brilliant colors. However, music was the nearby thread to the world of Living things. Some of the music was dank. But most of it wasn’t.

(Draft)

Other Senses, Other Places

I’ve often poked at my obsession, passion for music, and stated that my tolerance for listening to a piece of music – whether it be a song or an opera, Mozart, Beethoven, or Bach – frequently clashes with those who are around me.

Even though they make like the same piece, their saturation level is breached far earlier than mine, and leads them into madness, momentarily, where they beg me to stop playing the music, which of course, I find amusing and ignore – but not out of deliberate malice. I simply need the music to thoroughly drench, not only my Soul, but reach into the nucleus of every cell in my body.

Why? Why must it travel that far and so deeply?

Not sure.

But here are a couple of guesses and recent revelations …

There definitely is some sort of connection between here and there

Maybe there’s lots of work to do down there? Repairs, etc.

I have often thought of the Universe in terms of Music and Mathematics, keys and strokes, equations precisely put and held together, yet also lucid, malleable and infinitely variable. The ultimate Time and Space connection – where it seldom matters what time it is here (cause we’re lousy timekeepers) but there. 
That’s my theory.
Back to Earth …

While I still don’t know why it must travel that far inside of me, I recently realized, that when it gets there, it stays there, permanently.

Not only that –

But from there, it comes back to surface and manages to fill everything around me – it lives in the walls, both literally, and metaphorically. I can hear it. And that, luckily for me, means that I can listen to it until the very end, that I never have to play it again. It is the shield that protects me. Always.

No doubt, this may be hard for some to swallow.

But lots of things – far more sinister than this – are hard to swallow.

 

For example …

Notable exceptions … Such as …

WordPress, The Master Of Chaos, where everything crumbles instantaneously, just as it did when I tried to publish this piece.

Health Care in America, Job Skills of a Muse, Politics, Newspapers – All Under One Umbrella!

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to recover somewhat from my chaotic year in Baltimore, which was punctuated with much more drama than ever interested me, I can reflect without swimming through the waters of hysteria and panic.

And, as frequently happens, I often begin a post after I have already written it, frequently expressed it to my muse first.

(Yes, I do have one.)

And even though we often think of a muse as some sort of Divine connection or Feminine energy, mine happens to be an ordinary male.
It was accidental.

What can I say?

We don’t choose these things. Rather, they choose us. And, the irony, here, of course? It is his ordinariness that highly appeals to my creativity.

I don’t feel I am ever talking down to him in any way – rather it’s where my ideas often flow more readily and without the intrusion of any psychic storms – even though I may be experiencing one during the time of composition.

With my muse, it’s more like bobbing on the Aegean – instead of struggling in the murky waters of the Atlantic, and trying to keep from getting swept under those waves.

That’s scary.

A muse should never frighten you.

So what are the essential job skills of a muse? Brevity, for one. But even more important than that is this:

 A muse is someone who simply listens but never judges.

So how can you go wrong with that? You can’t!

Of course, I don’t simply replicate the initial piece – instead, when I get over here, I tweak and edit it.
However, the muse covers several areas simultaneously and sometimes I start somewhere else, then come here, then end up there. There is this cyclical rhythm (any musician would understand it) where everything is connected – in one way or another.

So now, after this lengthy digression and discussion of the job skills of a muse, it’s time to cut and paste, what I had written earlier, in the comments section on The Guardian – that’s where I hang out.)


THE GUARDIAN

HEALTH CARE Costs, Services, Politics and Money. What’s wrong with this picture?

(Comment  of “heliosmou” in response to “Vladimir S” comment)

I had no problem whatsoever getting excellent and comprehensive emergency medical care when I was in Athens in 2010. I had to wait, of course. But it was worth it. And this, in a country that has been struggling to sustain an economy for some time now. 

Whereas, here, a visit to Johns Hopkins Emergency Center, earlier this summer during a massive heat wave that hit Baltimore – so intense that calls to 911 could not be handled, and you were greeted with a recording, citing the volume of calls, and to stay on the line, and someone would help you – yes, Johns Hopkins Emergency Center, apart from the main hospital, and bigger and better equipped than most “regular” hospitals, resulted in me being escorted by security to the exit. 
Why?

Because they couldn’t provide a diagnosis for what had happened to me. I had collapsed because of heat exhaustion and a migraine. Paramedics had to pull me from my car. Took 3 people to lift me from the gurney – ever hear of the phrase “dead weight?” – and they plopped me in chair. They checked my vitals, which were good, and then waited for me to revive from being in an air conditioned environment (approximately 3 hours) then told me I was ready to go!

I asked the physician what happened to me … Medically? The physician could not specify anything in particular. So how do you know I am fit to leave, if you have no idea what happened to me? She skirted the question. You are not in any danger, she said. Well, how do you know I am not in any danger, since you have no idea what happened to me? –

At this point the physician and the nurse standing by her side, communicated with each, which I overheard. It was time to call Security, they said. But what if I get sick as soon as I leave the premises? Well, then you come back. Then what? Go through the same routine, where you cannot determine the cause of what happened, but plop me in a chair again, and release me with the same diagnosis of “Housing Problems?” (Never knew, by the way, that a “Housing Problem” was a medical diagnosis.) They said, all I had to do was step outside the Emergency Center – just one step was sufficient – and then step back in again, and I would be treated again. A merry-go-round? You want me to get on a merry-go-round?


The Johns Hopkins Emergency Center in Baltimore was built with money donated by some Sheik. It’s a state-of-the-art facility, but aside from that, a pretty lousy place to go for medical care.


Ironically, the other patients in the ER rooted for me. A Vietnam vet called me, “The Sargeant,” which is really funny, since I am adamantly opposed to war.


Incidentally, I weigh 105 lbs.


So is this the kind of medical care we are talking about here? If so, I am NOT impressed.


After that and a few other zingers in Baltimore, I promised myself, that IFI EVER need emergency care again, I would demand to be flown to CHICAGO, where I’m from, and where doctors actually take their profession seriously – not like the clowns at Hopkins.

Health Care in America, Job Skills of a Muse, Politics, Newspapers – All Under One Umbrella! (DRAFT)

(THIS IS EARLIER POST WHICH I ACCIDENTALLY POSTED … but hadn’t put up the title. Just another WordPress Quirk. You edit. It updates, but it ignores your title. Just love it!)

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to recover somewhat from my chaotic year in Baltimore, which was punctuated with much more drama than ever interested me, I can reflect without swimming through the waters of hysteria and panic.

And, as frequently happens, I often begin a post after I have already written it, frequently expressed it to my muse first.

(Yes, I do have one.)

And even though we often think of a muse as some sort of Divine connection or Feminine energy, mine happens to be an ordinary male.
It was accidental.

What can I say?

We don’t choose these things. Rather, they choose us. And, the irony, here, of course?  It is his ordinariness that highly appeals to my creativity.

I don’t feel I am ever talking down to him in any way – rather it’s where my ideas often flow more readily and without the intrusion of any psychic storms – even though I may be experiencing one during the time  of composition.

With my muse, it’s more like bobbing on the Aegean – instead of struggling in the murky waters of the Atlantic and trying to keep from getting swept under those waves.

That’s scary.

A muse should never frighten you.

So what are the essential skills of a muse?  Brevity, for one. But even more important than that is this:

 A muse is someone who simply listens but never judges.

So how can you go wrong with that? You can’t!

Of course, I don’t simply replicate the initial piece – instead, when I get over here, I tweak and edit it.

However, the muse covers several areas simultaneously and sometimes I start somewhere else, then come here, then end up there. There is this cyclical rhythm (any musician would understand it) where everything is connected – in one way or another.

So now, after this lengthy digression and discussion of the job skills of a muse, it’s time to cut and paste, what I had written earlier, in the comments section on The Guardian – that’s where I hang out.)

THE GUARDIAN

HEALTH CARE Costs, Services, Politics and Money. What’s wrong with this picture?

(Response of “heliosmou” to “Vladimir S” in the comments section in The Guardian. September 22, 2015)

I had no problem whatsoever getting excellent and comprehensive emergency medical care when I was in Athens in 2010. I had to wait, of course. But it was worth it. And this, in a country that has been struggling to sustain an economy for some time now. 

Whereas, here, a visit to Johns Hopkins Emergency Center, earlier this summer during a massive heat wave that hit Baltimore – so intense that calls to 911 could not be handled, and you were greeted with a recording, citing the volume of calls, and to stay on the line, and someone would help you – yes, Johns Hopkins Emergency Center, apart from the main hospital, and bigger and better equipped than most “regular” hospitals, resulted in me being escorted by security to the exit. 

Why?

Because they couldn’t provide a diagnosis for what had happened to me. I had collapsed because of heat exhaustion and a migraine. Paramedics had to pull me from my car. Took 3 people to lift me from the gurney – ever hear of the phrase “dead weight?” – and they plopped me in chair. They checked my vitals, which were good, and then waited for me to revive from being in an air conditioned environment (approximately 3 hours) then told me I was ready to go!

I asked the physician what happened to me … Medically? The physician could not specify anything in particular. So how do you know I am fit to leave, if you have no idea what happened to me? She skirted the question. You are not in any danger, she said. Well, how do you know I am not in any danger, since you have no idea what happened to me? –

At this point the physician and the nurse standing by her side, communicated with each, which I overheard. It was time to call Security, they said. But what if I get sick as soon as I leave the premises?  Well, then you come back. Then what? Go through the same routine, where you cannot determine the cause of what happened, but plop me in a chair again, and release me with the same diagnosis of “Housing Problems?” (Never knew, by the way, that a “Housing Problem” was a medical diagnosis.) They said, all I had to do was step outside the Emergency Center – just one step was sufficient – and then step back in again, and I would be treated again. A merry-go-round? You want me to get on a merry-go-round?

The Johns Hopkins Emergency Center in Baltimore was built with money donated by some Sheik. It’s a state-of-the-art facility, but aside from that, a pretty lousy place to go for medical care.

Ironically, the other patients in the ER rooted for me.  A Vietnam vet called me, “The Sargeant,” which is really funny, since I am adamantly opposed to war.

Incidentally, I weigh 105 lbs.

So is this the kind of medical care we are talking about here? If so, I am NOT impressed.

After that and a few other zingers in Baltimore, I promised myself, that IFI EVER need emergency care again, I would demand to be flown to CHICAGO, where I’m from, and where doctors actually take their profession seriously – not like the clowns at Hopkins.

Images of Language and Incongruity Floating In My Head While Moaning and Groaning About WordPress

This is gonna be short. 

  • And that’s because – Fucking WordPress!!!  What is wrong with you guys. New version is just dandy when it grants you a visit otherwise you’re back doing the old shit again, typing each tag without spellcheck – OMG!  What a chore…

And now you’ve fucked up the most important page!  The super duper versions paper, which we compose on, and you’ve totally destroyed the basic formatting, where you have no idea how many times you have to hit return before you get that extra space you want in there, between paragraphs!
So, as demonstrated above, I can easily use bullet formatting or numeric, but I am no longer able to slide into paragraphs, and it is so fucking annoying!

What kind of Brains are developing these, these – I don’t even know what to call them!
(Personally I think they’re all missing a few screws.)

All very nice, of course, affable, but totally daffy when it comes to basic organizational thinking and, and what? Visualization system is inoperable?

URGENT:  

The Eyes of an Aesthete Wanted

On the other hand, if this is an example of how someone who may have Schizophrenia, for example, works, well, that’s another subject altogether. 

But why do we still need two versions of the Statistics?  Neither is much improved. So make a decision

Throw one in the trash, already!
Seeing the actual word italicized, however, is a whole lot better than than seeing words buried under HTML script. 

So that is an improvement. 
Congratulations, WordPress!

Bravo.
(Sorry. 

That just wouldn’t stay in any longer.)

Ever since I did the update, I’ve been wanting to put this down on paper, but something else always managed to shove it below the pile, where it finally said …
No more of this!
I will no longer be a wallflower!

                     THE END

Bunny Rabbits And The Church Across The Street From Me

It’s Easter on a busy street.

Cars come and go, blaring music, or not.
But one would ever know there is a church across the street from me.

Attached to the other buildings on the block, it’s radically different architecture, blends in with its neighbors.

The Artist and his dog live next to the church in a building just like it (except for colors, shape and height.)

It’s a busy spot on the street.

The lights go on at night
When gatherings occur
And feelings of love and God are shared.
A warm spot for the soul.

But today!
Today is Easter.

The industrial strength restaurant diner door lists hours of service and other stuff.
The door is swung open.
People, coming and going.
Matriarchs and angelic children
Pure of heart and soul – appear.

But they are slow.
And late.
They are always late.
Never on time.

The building could be a bloc from Mondrian …

But anyway.

The only reason I know today is Easter is because a sales person from Nordstrom’s accidentally mentioned it.

“Good thing you came today” she said. We’re closed tomorrow.”

“You are?
Why?”

“It’s Easter.”

“Oh.
Bunny rabbits.
Stuff like that.
Okay.
Thanks, again!”