I rented a limo for my daughter's birthday party. There was some justification for this; I had 10 or 11 little girls on my hands, and we were heading to a Chuck E. Cheese in Arlington Heights, IL (Where??? Exactly!) and couldn't fit them all into our cars. But then I stupidly I decided it was only fair to rent a limo to transport the five boys who were going to my son's Chuck E. Cheese's birthday party, even though we didn't have to travel as far, and I could have fit them all in my van.
And while searching for a bargain like unto the amazing bargain I got when I rented a limo last January for the girl's birthday party, I found a company that charged an OK, if not fabulously economical sum,
forgetting that bargains in limo rentals involve drivers who speak English as a second, possibly third, language, and who know even less than I do about getting around the Chicago area,
which will therefore leave me standing outside in the parking lot reading the print-out of my Yahoo Maps search into my cell phone while trying to understand remarks made in a high-pitched East Asian accent that reminds me, due to the driver's cheap-ass cell phone, of Apu from The Simpsons, but squeakier and forced through a paper shredder of static and cell phone drop-out. All this to help the driver find us so we could get home.
Because the first driver--the one who finally figured out how to find the Chuck E. Cheese at 7142 Carpenter in Skokie--had an accident. Not, thankfully, when the boys were in the limo. Just a fender-bender after he dropped them off.
But it was serious enough so that we got a new limo and driver for the trip home. And he was an hour late. And had no effing idea how to find us, and once he found us, how to get us home. And as I may have mentioned earlier, talked funny.
And unfortunately the backpacks and boyish detritus left in the back of the original limo were not in the second limo, and they have not been returned to us. Not even now, over 24 hours after the second driver managed to get us home.
Resulting in many angry telephone calls to the limo company. (Because there is nothing that encourages ethical and business-like behavior than irate and sarcastic telephone calls from your customers.) And apologetic calls to the families of the boys whose backpacks have not yet been returned.
And business-like calls to the local police. (Update: Which actually wasn't stupid ... because it resulted in Driver Number One showing up at our house last night, or should I say, this morning, at 12:30, with the backpacks and the scooter.)