When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

07 May 2006

Life lessons...

...acquired while trying to get as quickly as possible to the bedside of a relative visiting from out of town, laid up in an emergency room at a hospital across the Hudson River in New Jersey:

(1) When you make a rental car reservation through the Web or an 800 number for same-day booking, and they give you a confirmation number, this does not necessarily mean that the neighborhood outlet you specified for pickup will actually have a car for you. That's right - even though all records are on the computer, confirmation number != available car.

(2) When a New York City cab driver assures you that he knows the way to the Meadowlands Hospital from the Lincoln Tunnel and does not need the instructions you got over the phone from the people at the hospital, do not believe him.

(3) When you threaten a New York City cab driver with physical violence and/or the Taxi and Limousine Commission because he is attempting to drive you to Newark, having missed the turnoff for the Meadowlands, he will immediately turn off the meter and take you to Newark Airport. You will not have to pay him anything like the going rate for taking someone to Newark Airport. (Suggested phrasing: "You thieving f***, I'm going to kick your ass until you bleed from the ears and then turn over whatever's left to the TLC.")

(3a) This is not legal advice and almost certainly not a legal practice. Do not blame me if you end up in jail after saying something like this; I probably should have.

(4) Any randomly selected New Jersey cab driver at Newark Airport can find Meadowlands Hospital. It's a ten minute drive and a $35 flat fare (oof.) You will feel ripped off by this but pay it without demurral.

(5) When Meadowlands Hospital discharges your elderly aunt from the ER with a badly broken ankle in a temporary cast, they will in fact call a cab for you, and the driver will be insanely helpful and solicitous in maneuvering her into a comfortable position in his town car. You will tip him lavishly on a $10 fare and not feel ripped off in the least.

(6) The [hotel name redacted] in Secaucus, New Jersey has a shockingly good restaurant. If they are afraid that your elderly relative is going to sue them for slipping in their bathroom and breaking her ankle, a late breakfast buffet with all the trimmings is free for your entire crew; otherwise, it's $15.99 per person.

(7) The only pharmacy within walking distance of the [hotel name redacted] is WalMart; on a Saturday morning, all of Secaucus and half of Ciudad Juárez is there having their prescriptions filled.

(8) The [hotel name redacted] also has shockingly good room service.

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