Shuttles, shuttles, shuttles

The more I say that word, the stranger it sounds. Shuttle. Shuttleshuttleshuttleshuttleshuttle! It’s starting to lose all meaning now which is good because it might help me forget today’s shuttle ride from the airport.

Before heading out to ground transportation I stopped in an airport restroom, relieving myself and reflecting on my rising anxiety. E3′s always a killer and somehow after nine hours a day of walking to appointments, shaking hands and playing games, I have to come back to the hotel room and find the mental energy to write. I’ve been worried that this year’s load might be beyond me and that’s what I was thinking when I looked up and saw this.

It was like a sign from God. “Rest Assured” it said. But rest assured of what? Rest assured everything would go great and I’d come back with a fatter wallet and a hundred more business connections? Or rest assured I’d step off the curb at an intersection and be run over by a drunk Lindsay Lohan? You just never know with these things.

Wondering about it, I went out to ground transport, remembering then how much I hate Super Shuttle (see my previous Super Shuttle rant). Somehow though, I still keep booking rides on it. I’d booked ahead of time but once again I was reminded there’s no point in doing that since I still ended up waiting outside LAX a good half hour before actually getting on one of the stupid things.

The young attendant took my name and acknowledged my reservation but then I stood there while a seemingly endless parade of blue vans zipped by without even slowing. It was like some kind of blue-vans-only carousel spinning round and round that white Jetsons-ish structure at the center of the airport. Of course, once I finally got on, the carousel just kept spinning. We kept circling and circling until once when the driver got out, I asked the other passengers (who were there before me) how long they’d been circling. “About 40 minutes” they said and one girl added, “They’re only supposed to circle twice – someone should call him on it.” But of course no one did.

I’ve noticed there’s this collective fear of Super Shuttle drivers that prevents people from calling them out or even correcting them and it’s a fear not entirely unfounded. Considering most Super Shuttle drivers are big, angry Russian men who look like they used to be heavyweight cage fighters, I understand where these people are coming from. I’ve never, ever asserted myself with a Super Shuttle driver, even though he might be driving 85 miles an hour on the freeway, side-swiping commuters while he glowers at his cellphone.

I’m also a chicken when it comes to making sure someone else doesn’t walk off with my bags. The driver takes everyone’s bags and throws them in the back of the van and when each passenger reaches his or her destination, the driver gets out and hands out the luggage. I’m constantly paranoid that he’s giving my luggage away to someone else or that some sneaky passenger’s decided my bag looks better than theirs and is running off with it but I wouldn’t dare turn my head and check.

Anyway, it took me 90 minutes to get to my hotel, which as it turns out is not at all the hotel I thought it was. I realized after walking around today that what I was thinking of was the Hotel Figueroa but I’m at the Historic Mayfair. (For “historic” read “old”.) It’s in a pretty seedy area about a mile from the convention center and while the lobby is nice and modern, the rest of the hotel looks like it hasn’t been refurbished (or maybe even cleaned) since oh, 1983.

Even the fairly pleasant lobby experience was tarnished right away by a bizarre scene. When I walked in I’d noticed a young Asian couple standing in the lobby in a sort of silent face-off. The girl appeared to be in a distraught frame of mind as she stood there in shorts and down-at-heel white sneakers. Nevertheless, I went past the couple to the registration desk. As I was presenting my picture ID and (maxed out) credit card, the girl suddenly stomped off shouting, “Fuck YOU!” in broken English. (how you can say that in broken English I’m not really sure but she did it) I resisted the urge to turn as if she was talking to me and watched as the concierge went on checking me in like he hadn’t even heard. Meanwhile, not satisfied with just one “Fuck you”, the girl yelled it again even louder as she boarded the elevator. “Fuck YOUUUUUUUUU!”

This hotel stay is gonna be great.

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