We stumbled, as I said, out of the Las Vegas airport at 2 am. We climbed the steps of a shuttle which took us to the rental car center. At the Enterprise garage, the night shift agent sat on customer chairs, reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
“That’s a great book,” I said.
I think I listened to it initially, but I also bought a used hard copy.
“It’s great,” he said, “This is the second time I’m reading it.”
He got up, walked behind the counter, and looked us up in his database. We pulled out the confirmation of our flight home from San Francisco and he confirmed our economy car.
“Maybe we should put you in something fun,” he said. “Is it just the two of you? You aren’t picking anyone else up?”
“Just us,” we said.
He wondered what we drive at home and we said a little Corolla and an SUV. We walked to the parking lot.
“I’ll upgrade you for free,” he said. “How about a Charger or a soft-top convertible?”
He pointed to a row of Mini Coopers on the left.
“Or what about these hard-topped convertible BMW’s? If you’re going to drive up the coast, this is the only way to do it.”
He showed Marnell all the buttons and how to position a shield in the trunk to allow the roof to scissor back into hiding.
“It has a turbo boost so you’ll get a little pop when you step on the gas,” he added.
We threw our luggage in place and thanked him profusely.
“I like to do one good deed every day,” he said.
We’ve had the car three days now and I actually haven’t driven at all, because I kind of don’t care about cars that much. We were able to put the top down a few times between rain showers.
I think that Marnell is getting quite attached to the little BMW. It turns sharp corners and takes off like a rocket.
“How fast do you think we’re going?” he asked me as we drove up the central valley.
“Hmmm,” I said. “Seventy?”
“Ninety,” he said smugly.
We didn’t budget for speeding tickets, so hopefully our free upgrade doesn’t backfire on us. But Marnell is a good driver, and I think he’s getting a wee bit attached to the BMW.
Yesterday he visited the Intel museum (without me, praise the Lord!) and drove back on a road that wound along one of those hills that look like the folds of a shower curtain. Last night we did a two hour around the edge of the bowl. The sides of the bowl are the hills around San Francisco, twinkling with lights in the dark. The water in the center of the bowl is San Francisco Bay. We crossed the three huge bridges that hold the bowl together, including the Golden Gate Bridge.
(Still no good photo yet for you email-ers. I’m a little sad I don’t have one yet, but now that I’ve waited this long I want a good one just for that email!)
Marnell keeps saying he’s going to let me drive his fine little car. I don’t really need to though, because I already got my own turbo pop from the last thing the rental car guy said.
After he said he likes to do one nice thing everyday, Marnell made an observations that he had gotten his “nice thing” in early, since it was 2am.
“It’s the right time of night,” the car guy said, “And anyway, your wife reads good books!”
(I apologize for the late blog post. But it’s only 3:46 Pacific Time!)