Last weekend sent me halfway across the country to a friend’s wedding. In Manhattan, Kansas. Now…tell someone that’s where you’re going for the weekend, and it will go something like this:
“Going to Manhattan for the weekend.”
“Oh, how fun! Did you get any tickets for Broadway?”
“Wrong Manhattan. This one’s in Kansas.”
“Going to Kansas for a long weekend.”
“Cannes? Wow! But just for the weekend??”
“Not Cannes…Kansas.” (yes, I know it’s really pronounced “kahn” but here in the south, it’s “cans”)
Anyway, I’d never been to Kansas, and for a few reasons (you can’t easily fly into Manhattan, and an ill-fitting tux that required an emergency run to a cross-state distributor) I got to see a good bit of it. It reminded me of Little House on the Prairie. Acres and acres of unspoiled land. Not as flat as I imagined, and lacking in trees, but overall some very beautiful country. It was a great wedding, great to see some friends who live far away, and great to share in the bride and groom’s special day.
But that’s not what you want to hear about, so I’ll cut to the good parts.
First, the rental car. A white Mustang coupe. As rental cars go, it was great. But it’s easy to see why American car companies are troubled. The fabric was cheap (and had “Mustang” printed all over it–ugh)…there were gaps between all the cheap plastics, and it drank gas like I drink coffee. But for the Priceline price of $11 per day, I won’t complain…well, too much. The Sirius satellite in the car didn’t work, so I called the rental company to see about having it activated.
The first person had a hard time grasping that this particular car had a BUILT IN satellite radio tuner. She kept trying to get me to tune the radio to 88.5 (which the rental card said was the channel for satellite if you had one of those little portable aftermarket jobbies installed) She finally understood, but couldn’t help, and promised someone would call back who could. They did, two hours later, and left a message that they were “Sending the signal”.
Back in the car a few hours later, it still didn’t work. I called again. Went through the whole schpiel of making them realize that tuning the FM radio to 88.5 wasn’t going to help me at all, and was told to go ahead and put the satellite radio on and wait on the phone as they sent the signal again. Hitting the satellite button gave me nothing but silence. I turned the volume button up, but heard nothing. Then the screen said “updating” and began a countdown to 100 percent. The lady on the phone said, “Hang on with me until we know its working” The update coundown hit 100 and then…
The radio came to life, at FULL VOLUME on a bluegrass channel. I screamed, like Albert in The Birdcage, and nearly dropped the phone. (I’m a little jumpy sometimes). Both of us in the car broke into hysterical laughter, and I’m sure the woman on the phone did too. I stammered out a “Thanks” and hung up.
I’ll end there for now, leaving you to anticipate my tale of Kansas nightlife that is a tale for another time.