Wrinkle free in Chicago

I don’t know why, but Groupon thinks I live in Chicago, and today emailed me with an offer for cut-price Botox. If you’re in the market for discounted injections of botulism into your face, I wonder what else you might buy – buy one, get one free anthrax shots in your buttocks? A volume discount on an embrocation made from bubonic plague to rub into your scalp? Ebola for your armpits at 50% off?

On alternate days, Groupon emails me deals for Singapore, but they all seem to involve eating chilli crab, and that’s also about as relevant to me as getting my face medically frozen in the Windy City. Oh, internet, when will you get things right? (Or when will all the rubbish data I’ve ever typed into registration forms stop coming back to haunt me?)

Today we booked some more components of our summer holiday. Hilarity ensued.

Delta have made a schedule change which requires my wife and child to carry a time machine with them (doubtless banned by the TSA on domestic flights), because the flight they have to catch from Toronto to New York departs four hours before the flight they take from Halifax to Toronto arrives. I knew Canadians were laid back about schedules and whatnot, but that seems like going above and beyond the call of duty. I hope it’s not too hard to figure out a way to get La Serpiente Negra across America without fuss.

Before doing that, we have to get her to America, and that involved an hour of wrestling with Delta’s website, which would mysteriously refuse to allow my wife and I to sit in adjacent seats (do they know something about my marriage that I don’t?), and then a call to Delta’s customer service, which involves a horrific voice recognition system where you have to speak your nine digit customer number into the phone (because it’s not like it would be simpler to use the keypad to type it in) and then still have to spend twenty minutes talking to a human to get your problem solved.

After all that, I was tempted to put myself at the other end of the plane to wife and child, and see how all the other passengers liked that. But common sense or an attempt to avoid divorce prevailed.

And then I tried to reserve a car. Because I love filling in forms and collecting mileage, I lost another half hour of my life signing up with Hertz on a horrible website that might save me two minutes the next time I rent a car. In a year’s time. When I’ve forgotten my Hertz membership details. Hertz have a particularly hilarious form where, after three pages where you provide phone number, driving license, date of birth, inside leg measurement, credit card, address, religious denomination, favourite cephalopod, preferred colour of car, the whole thing fails and tells you to start again. Any normal account set up procedure should take the minimum details possible and let you put the rest in later, and not just obliterate everything because one thing broke, but apparently Hertz Gold Plus is not normal. It’s something special, something very special.

I was going to go for a run tonight. I didn’t go for a run tonight.

On the positive side, we now have hotels to stay in for almost all of our time in the States – apart from New York at the end – and we have a car, and seats on planes, and travel insurance. On the negative, I made a spreadsheet to track how much this odyssey is going to cost, and the stratospheric size of it made me quail with fear: how on earth will we ever pay for all of this? I began to renounce the idea of ever going on holiday again. And the stupid thing is that I had the idea in the first place, so I can hardly blame anyone else.

By the time we get to the holiday, I hope I’ve forgotten how much it cost and I can concentrate on enjoying myself. Or else I’ll get a Greyhound bus to Chicago and avail myself of happy hour athlete’s foot treatments, or whatever else is going cheap that day.

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