I'm in Ann Arbor! Arrived at my hotel for the night around 5:30 pm, after having left DC at 7:00 am. Yes, that is longer than the usual drive but I stopped quite a few times to give my car and my bladder a break. :) That made the trip pleasant enough, except for the unexpected heat. By this time of year the sun is low enough that driving almost entirely due west means the sun was in my damn face. I am pretty sure I have an unflattering left arm tan.
And of course there were random encounters*. Because the traveling public is quite random, and they truly outdid themselves today:
A couple of hours into my drive I stopped to get cash for tolls** and breakfast at McDonald's. Probably the first time in six months or so. There were two eager cashiers with no customers when I walked in, so ordering was super fast and I got the number 213. Then one other guy ordered behind me. As I filled up my fountain soda*** and returned to wait, and Other Customer already was on the way out with a greasy bag. Cut to a few seconds later, where an employee calls out "312!" and then looks at me quizzically, given that I'm the only person standing there. I show him that I am actually "213" and after conferring with the cashiers they conclude Other Customer absconded with my McGriddle. So I stood there awkwardly as they restarted my order and agreed that Other Customer was more likely to have deliberately upgraded his breakfast because he'd just ordered a sausage biscuit, than to have gotten confused by the order numbers. :)
When I parked at my hotel here in Ann Arbor, my car was a disheveled mess of wrappers and empty water bottles, so I took a few minutes to tidy up before grabbing my luggage and heading inside. This was a mistake. Another guy was about five paces ahead of me to the registration desk, and he was a doozy. He spent far more time than needed explaining that he had reserved two rooms, but only one starting tonight, and his son was a Northwestern football player and would be coming in tomorrow but he would be at a hockey game and the keys had to be handed off somehow and his wife had reserved the rooms and and and and. After 11 hours in the car, I was about ready to fall asleep on the lobby floor, but I'm sure the staff noticed and they soon summoned a second clerk. She got me checked in within a normal amount of time, and I was able to leave the scene.
Next thing I had to do was get some basic supplies, so it was off to Meijer (which I can still navigate! Never change your layout, Meijer). This went fine, but I had some items that the self checkouts would have trouble with, so I steered into one of the few manned cash wrap lines. The guy in front of me had a large pile of groceries and an impatient 7ish year old girl with him, but all seemed to be fine. Well ... you know what's coming. Guy in Front had a bunch of beer but no photo IDs, and the very professional cashier repeatedly insisted that she was not able to sell it to him otherwise. He pulled out either a fishing or hunting license in a particularly desperate moment, but Unflappable Cashier needed something with a photo. So Guy in Front spent the rest of the time it took to ring up his order to huff about how obvious it was that he was born in 1976. No one else within earshot was amused, not least his daughter.
Quite a day! Now I am watching Project Runway and waiting for Ang to fetch Amanda I. from the airport so we can have drinks. More updates later!
* This is a tag I've used for entries recounting various types of such encounters, but most are with people I know. Expanding into strangers promises many more to come!
** No, I don't have EZPass. Feel free to shame me in the comments.
*** Yes, I drink Diet Coke at 9:00 am when traveling. Don't stop the shaming.