Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Tale of the Almost-Right Condo
Seeing a sign with a logo matching the one on the rental office, I once again swung Mom's car into a parking lot, waiting for a teenager to move the orange cones which were placed in every parking spot.
"We valet park for the restaurant," he informed us and I nodded, indicating that we had already checked in disregarding my errant thought of 'our building didn't have a restaurant connected to it.' He glanced at the parking pass I proudly displayed and obediently moved a cone near the front of the building, helpfully pointing out the carts we could use to move our mounds of luggage.
"This cart says Boardwalk," Mom noted when I returned to the car, pushing the wobbly mass of plastic on wheels.
"Yep," I agreed, barely glancing at it before beginning to move bags and boxes of soda and water onto it, demanding she assist in my efforts. We finished loading both levels and I pushed it along, Mom trailing behind me as we moved to the elevator.
I rolled my eyes at the family in front of us - they didn't see the ramp at the rear entrance to the elevator and had tried to lift their loaded cart up a step. They succeeded in dumping about half the contents on the floor and I sighed at the silliness of people.
We rode the elevator to the fourth floor and began looking for our room - number 454.
"Katie," Mom offered hesitantly, "all these numbers are four-eights."
"Go around the other side," I demanded, glaring at her and refusing to admit I'd been wrong. "We're on the gulf, not the street," I sneered. She nodded sweetly, moving on toward the edge of the building and turning - hands facing upward in a helpless gesture - and reported there was nowhere else to go.
And the room numbers still started with four-eight. Not four-five.
"We must be in the next building," I said on a heavily embarrassed sigh, already trying to determine how I could avoid blame for a mistake entirely my fault. I jerked the cart around so I could return to the elevator while my mother peered around the edge of the building, helpfully pointing out that she didn't see another building.
"Come on," I muttered, speaking both to the elevator and Mom and she came around the corner to wait beside me, grinning widely.
"Do you really think you picked the wrong building?" she inquired. "Do you want me to call the guy at the office?"
The doors opened and we went inside, laughing quietly at our silliness. I steeled myself for embarrassment - though Dad would have said I didn't know and would never see those boys again - and determinedly pushed the car out when the elevator stopped.
"Katie," Mom stopped me, hand gentle on my upper arm, "this isn't where we get out." So I glanced around at the first floor of condos - not the underground entry the represented our escape. And I pulled the cart back inside the car, glaring around and asking Mom why we'd stopped here when there was nobody waiting.
"I don't know," she offered, waiting politely until the cart was all the way in and pressing the button marked 1 again, looking befuddled when the doors opened again at the same location.
She glanced at me with a frown and I closed my eyes briefly before suggesting she push the ground floor instead.
On the short ride down, we started to giggle, quickly becoming hysterical and clinging to the bar on the elevator and handle of the cart.
I moved quickly, head up and shoulders back, to the car, determined to load our belongings and exit this mistake as gracefully as possible.
I winced when I saw Mom moving toward the group of boys instead, purse over her shoulder and hands held upward in inquiry.
"What's this place called?" she asked and I cringed, yanking at the handle of the locked door. "Oh," I heard her say and she called something to me that I completely ignored before walking over, grinning widely.
"I told them we were in the wrong building," she informed me.
"Fantastic," I declared, beginning to re-load the car so we could drive next door and restart the proceedings toward our actual room.