A couple of days ago, my husband and I returned from a trip to San Diego. Four days previous, we were unable to get our daughter to drive us to the airport because she got an on-the-spot hire at a local pancake house as a weekend hostess, so we decided to drive our trusty minivan to the airport and park in an off-site parking lot. You know, the ones with the handy shuttle bus. In fact, when we pulled in, the overly eager shuttle bus driver actually followed us as we parked and was right there waiting to put our bags on board. He stressed me out! Too much pressure! I need at least five minutes after we park to count my bags, pat my pockets to make sure I have my cell phone with me, look back into the car four or five times to make sure I didn't forget anything, check to see that I left nothing valuable in the car, glance briefly at the $1.97 in coins in the change holder and decide I don't really need to hide that, look back in the car, pat my pockets one more time, stare into the trunk waiting for a forgotten item to materialize and, finally, shut and lock the car with a feeling of trepidation that maybe, perhaps, on the off chance, I might have forgotten something important like my ID or a toothbrush. But, anyway.........
Our minivan sat in quiet repose for four days and upon our return we embarked on the self-same shuttle bus (albeit with a different driver) back to the parking lot to retrieve our vehicle. We schlepped the bags off the bus and into the trunk, while Jeff fished around in his wallet for the ticket to our freedom. Apparently the claim ticket needed to be inserted into the machine at the gate thingy so the gate thingy would go up and we could drive through unhindered.
We approached the machine, which was clearly labeled with these instructions: 1. Insert ticket stripe side down. 2. Insert credit card stripe side up. 3. Push button for receipt.
Let me just stop here for a minute and explain: the above are INSTRUCTIONS. Those are guidelines that help you do something you are not familiar with. Since we speak and read English, those instructions were adequate for my husband and I. Well, they were adequate for me, anyway.
My husband completely ignored the instructions on the right side of the machine and chose to follow the picture instructions on the left side. So, obviously, he inserted the ticket stripe side up, instead of down.
Me: Stripe side DOWN! DOWN! Duh! It says right there, insert stripe side down!
After getting that part right, he inserted the credit card stripe side down, instead of up.
Me: OMG! Jeff! Read the instructions - it says "insert credit card stripe side UP!"
After a quick change, it appeared the transaction was going well. We sat and waited. And waited. And waited.
Me: PUSH THE BUTTON! IT SAYS PUSH BUTTON FOR RECEIPT!
Jeff: Pushes flashing button that clearly says "cancel transaction." Out pops both credit card and ticket. Starts the process over, inserting ticket stripe side up.
Me: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? READ THE DAMNED INSTRUCTIONS!
Jeff: I AM reading the pictures.
Me: NOT THE PICTURES! CAN'T YOU SEE THE INSTRUCTIONS, CLEARLY LABELED 1, 2, 3?
The entire time he had not even noticed the instructions on the right side of the machine. They were written bigger, bolder and more clearly than the small picture instructions on the left side. He fumbled with the cards, screwed up one more time, and finally got it right, AND pushed the button that said "push here for receipt."
Me: HALLELUJAH! WE'RE FREE!
Next time, I'm driving.