It all started when American forgot to put pre-check on my boarding pass.

I was sent on a very last-minute trip to Roswell, NM. One Thursday, I’m minding my own business, then suddenly Sunday I’m on a commuter jet winging from PHX to the city of aliens.

It wasn’t so bad flying there from my usual airport, I made it through security just fine, but annoyed as TSA turned me back to get searched with the unwashed masses. Whatever.

Roswell Regional Airport has limited service – three flights per day. The earliest I could arrive was 7:45pm, and of course of the three car rentals, two don’t open on Sunday.

Hertz it is. Their motto, “Let’s go!” is dubious at best. The other car companies (Budget/Avis and Enterprise) wanted about $210 for the four days.

Hertz: $100 per day. For the smallest car they had.

Are you kidding me? But I was landing after sunset and I have no desire to figure out taxis (which might be lacking in a small town such as this) – just give me the damn car.

When I picked it up, the woman at the desk cheerfully noted, “It’s got a few dents, so don’t worry, we won’t charge you for anything!”

Okay, lady, it’s a government rental. We automatically get bumper-to-bumper coverage. I return two hubcaps and a radio, I’m golden.

Which… was about what I got. I didn’t snap a pic of this little cream puff, but just let me say, I haven’t leaned in from the driver’s door and reached around to unlock the rear door since… I don’t know, the 1980s?

It was a 2017 Nissan Versa, and I’m surprised it was an automatic. The drive train was the only thing that was… the windows sure as hell weren’t. Tried reaching to open the window as I did drive through… um… nope. Crank that bad boy.

I never did succeed in getting the passenger door open, which is why I leaned in to unlock the back seat.

And all this for the not-inconsiderable sum of $540 from Sunday evening to 6am Thursday. Daaaaa-aaaaamn.

Driving through this city… they’re crazy. I mean, at least they’re good natured about their weirdness. Statues of little green men with giant black eyes EVERYWHERE.

I wanted to have an evening of running around taking as many selfies as I could with the insane number of statues, but too much work to do. Rats. I only got a few.

It wasn’t just statues… the merchandise was everywhere.

Not only the merchandise… the builders got in on the act. Looking out of my hotel window, I see:

What the hell was that?

Even the Golden Arches has a sense of humor, except when tourists stand everywhere in the parking lot, totally oblivious, taking pictures.

Getting to the drive thru was like driver’s ed, except instead of cones, you’re maneuvering around idiots doing selfies. And of course in driver’s ed the cones didn’t randomly move positions.

Someone emerged from the spaceship/building looking bored and started yelling at the tourists, who simply ignored him. Maybe if he came out in an alien costume…

Then, the return home. I mean, I’ve gone through small airports before – even ones where you’re expected to get on the scale so the pilot could do his calculations (seriously?!)

Actually, the airport is large enough that one of the stalls in the ladies’ loo is sized (height-wise) for children.

I know this because I nearly blew out my knees as I sat. God in heaven, these gams are not made to meet my ears.

Extricating myself from the throne is also a trick.

Then… TSA.

Aw, sh😳t, my boarding pass didn’t say pre-check even though I’d re-entered my number Monday. Well, how bad can it be? I can whip off my shoes and take out the computer. Whatever.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you are pre-check, please wait off to the side. If you are not precheck, please be aware we need you to remove every food item, every toiletry and anything vaguely gelatinous from your luggage. Place everything electronic in individual bins, and don’t forget to remove your shoes. Thank you.”

Food? Food?! Since when is food considered a threat?

The situation was complicated by the idea I didn’t check a bag. I’d left my toothpaste in the hotel because I knew that 6.4 oz wonder wasn’t going to make the cut, but food?

I’d had a couple of shopping trips where I’d bought snacks, and then, since I’m getting home, going to a work meeting that night then immediately going on vacation the next morning, I’d bought snackies to take with me.

As I filled the seven bins with iPad, computer, second screen, toiletries (thank heavens for solid shampoos/conditioner) and turned to my consumables, I realized my stash looked like I’d held up an AM/PM mini-mart.

I mean, I didn’t want to leave anything to waste, and I’d had some weird moods during the week, but I was so busy/stressed I hadn’t actually eaten a whole lot. The snacks kept stacking, and now I looked like I had a serious eating disorder.

Further stumping the TSA folks, I’d frozen a Chobani to eat later in the journey.


But… but it’s frozen…

After conferring, they decided yes, I could bring in the little brick of milky coconut, rapidly sweating itself liquid. Thank goodness because much longer and they’d have had cause to seize it.

Interesting place.

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