[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 13 August 2006]
Somehow I almost forgot: August 12, 1996 was the date when my wife and I arrived in the Valley of the Sun carrying two suitcases each and with only the name of a motel in Tempe allegedly close to the ASU campus for a guiding light.
Being painfully cheap and broke, we had booked flights from Stockholm with an eleven-hour layover in Chicago. Yes, eleven. We landed at Sky Harbor just after midnight, felt the reality of dry heat, and waited patiently in the brutal heat of night for the next Super Shuttle van. Next to the Super Shuttle stand and the thoroughly bored high school kid who had gotten the fantastic job of working the night shift was a middle-aged limo driver looking for rides. The Super Shuttle was going to cost $20 to take us to the motel in Tempe, so the limo driver told me he could take us for $30.
“No way,” I said. No way in hell I was wasting $10 just to get to the motel faster. I was so sleep deprived the whole world was swirling, and the plan was that we were going to take a Super Shuttle van to the motel so who gave a shit how long it took for the Super Shuttle van to show we were taking a Super Shuttle van to the motel and my vision had constricted to only the things that were right in front of me and we-were-waiting-for-the-Super-Shuttle-van.
It was sweaty after midnight.
After another few minutes the limo driver came up to me again and said, “Okay. I can take you for $25. That way you don’t have to wait for the Super Shuttle.”
No way. The plan is, we take the Super Shuttle. I’m not spending an extra $5. Super Shuttle.
We were the only people at the terminal. There was only me, my wife, the high school kid running the Super Shuttle stand, the limo driver, the infernal heat, and our four suitcases.
The limo driver obviously thought I was crazy. “Okay, I can’t take you for $20. I have to charge more than the Super Shuttle. But I can take you for $21. It’s only a buck more.”
Somehow that got through the haze. “Okay.”
So we arrived at the motel in Tempe around two thirty in the morning in a white limo.