Chronicles Of A Weary Traveler: Enterprise Rent-A-Car Review

In order to place this experience in its proper context, I would be remiss if I did not explain what precipitated my eventual arrival at Hertz, and the disastrous financial consequences of that fateful encounter, upon my return to the States, following an 18+ month period of living abroad –
It began with Enterprise.
Once I had booked my flight to the States, I knew I would have to rent a car to get to my hotel from Dulles International Airport. And I would have to do that, using my debit card, the only card I had. Airport locations further had specific rules that only applied there, and not elsewhere. In order to rent, you needed to show that along with your arrival, there was a scheduled departure date, listed on your ticket. These were the conditions for securing a rental.
The first call I made to Enterprise, I was not told this. Instead I was told I could not rent a car with a debit card. I had to have a bonafide Credit Card.
When I mentioned this to someone I knew in the States, he questioned that, and encouraged me to call Enterprise again. “Under what conditions can I rent a vehicle from an airport location using my debit card?” And sure enough, the agent said that as long as my itinerary showed I had an outbound flight, I could then rent a car, so I booked one.
Still uneasy, however, an intuitive red flag shook my confidence, so I was determined to verify once again what the Enterprise agent had told me, so one week before I left Europe, I called Enterprise to confirm the terms, and again I was given a green light.
But when I arrived at the facility, the Enterprise Representative was determined not to allow this to happen. He immediately began nitpicking.
“I see your departure date here is not until September, and yet you only want a rental for 2 weeks,” he said.
“That’s correct,” I said. “I don’t need a car for the entire period. I just need transportation to do what I have to do.”
This, apparently, was problematic for him.
“And you want to return the car to BWI (Baltimore International) instead of here, at Dulles,” he said.
“That’s correct,” I said. “Look I’ve made these arrangements ahead of time and asked the questions I had to ask and was assured there would be no problem. And besides, the sign here clearly states that Enterprise will accept a debit card as long as you show you have a departure date. It doesn’t state that there are additional conditions.”
But he would not budge.
“The BWI location is more convenient for me,” I explained, “and I was assured this would not be a problem.”
“But how do we know we’ll get our money?”
Now this was a prescient question. I never imagined there would be a situation where the funds would not be available. In retrospect, I now know this guy lacked the shark instincts I would later experience at Hertz. They knew better. “Because I honor my agreements.” I said.
That, too, did not satisfy Tamer, the Senior Customer Assistance
Rep, at Enterprise. “But you could go and withdraw your money tomorrow!” He added.
“I suppose I could. But I have no plan to do so.”
The final nail in the coffin was the address on my Driver’s license. That listed my last known address in the States and did not correspond to the address on file with my bank. THAT had been my European address. But now that that address had changed, days before I left Europe, I updated my banking information to reflect my new address in the States. Logistically, there was not enough time to do that with the MVA, and it was the first thing on my list of things to do, even before securing mobile service, the day following my arrival in the States.
This further distressed Tamer.
“Ah, how can I rent you a car if the address on your license doesn’t correspond to your debit card address? I just can’t do that,” he said.
“But I was living ABROAD. I JUST arrived. I STILL have to go to the MVA and update my information.”
But this sequence, though logical and sensible, did not register with the Tamer who faced other challenges, and he declined my reservation, further telling me that even though I had secured a reservation, those people who made the reservation didn’t actually work for Enterprise, but other car rental agencies, brokers, you might say, and therefore didn’t really know the Enterprise rules about renting a car using a debit card.
How could I possibly respond to that?
Though severely jet lagged and sleep deprived, I mustered whatever strength I had and pointed to the sign. “The sign clearly says I can rent a car using my debit card, as long as I have departure flight. It clearly states that. It lists no additional conditions.”
But Tamer would not budge.
And that’s how I landed in the front seat (Remember OJ Simpson? He was the celebrity face for Hertz Corporation’s rent-a-car advertising campaign, which, incidentally focused on airport rentals, before sinking into infamy) of a Hertz contract, one of the darkest periods of my financial misfortunes.

Bad Arithmetic: The Algorithms Of Job Apps

Bad Arithmetic
In an age where the bulk of our communications is done online, you’d think the job of communicating would be easier, but it is not, especially when you are looking for a job, and the experience, you realize, is a futile attempt to communicate substance, and ultimately, dehumanizing.
I knew I would be especially challenged, since my goals in life were much different from having to be consistently employed, and therefore those gaps could be construed as less than favorable to a potential employer, at least, on a superficial scale.
But the overall scale, I realized, is just as superficial for those who show a consistent work history, as well. Engagement in apps that are supposed to expedite the job search are instead behemoths, a portal, where simply submitting your resume is an experience fraught with problems.
The apps have a certain degree of formulaic intelligence, but this intelligence lacks substantive value. The focus is not to explore the differences, the variety each person has to offer, what makes them unique, those attributes, but instead to chop you up into bits of nonsensical pieces, segregate those into abysmal demonstrations of who you are not, rearranging you into something unrecognizable – I didn’t say that! That’s NOT me. This is a formula that yields aberrations, an imperfect host, that stuffs you into a box, as though you are a piece of furniture being advertised on specific sites. If only you were.
What is the purpose of downloading a PDF version, for example, of your resume if its structural integrity is destroyed in the process? Isn’t that the whole idea behind a PDF document? That its structural integrity remains intact, so that no one can tamper with it?
And yet, this is exactly what they do. A formula determines what parts of the PDF are relevant – buzz words, perhaps, or the names of corporations – that are ultimately irrelevant, an example of bad arithmetic, ultimately incoherent, and the process of correcting these errors is far more time-consuming than what you really should be doing: Making connections with prospective employers.
Instead you are side-tracked from your principle goal, and must learn to navigate these bizarre algorithms, which often lead to nowhere, and attempt to bring coherence to your narrative, fully aware that there is no formula that can fully explain the art of being human – at least not yet.

The Human Imposter

The Human Imposter
Part 1
One day I discovered that where our tails had once been, scales now began to appear and develop. The rest of my flesh was still intact, but for how long? While most prefer to think in terms of evolution, I was forced to consider de-evolution as an alternative to orthodox doctrines. Could I be going backwards? How far had I evolved if this were, in fact, the case? Did I evolve into a worthwhile specimen?  
Instead of ascending to higher planes, I was returning to that cosmic pool where everything – at least in our world began – 
The Cosmic Soup. 
And if that were the case, would that be the end, or would that merely begin the entire cycle again. And what would the journey backwards consist of? Would we go back, using the same route? But first, back to getting here …
If that were so, that would mean that at some stage, we were anything but human. We could’ve been dogs, tigers, elephants or mastodons. But what would those who had become mastodons, for example, having faced extinction – what would become of them? Would there be a hidden door, hitherto unknown, to becoming human – just when we thought we had figured out the puzzle, a piece would then dislodge the entire frame of thought?  
Would they ever get here? –
Was there a door, or some other type of latch, whose existence we had not been privy to, and which would then require yet another adjustment?
Or would they simply stop and become Soup?  
If that were so, then how did that influence those others who became what we are? – 
The ones who completed the entire cycle? Would a person who had once been a tiger, for example, now be a danger to others? Who would the rats that populate our cities and countryside become?
It seems that if this were so, we would have to rewrite biology (and other) textbooks, to explain the enormous shift in scientific thought, to explain how this freshly picked bulb proved the entire body of knowledge and thought completely wrong. Everything would have to be rewritten. 
If that were so, then we could place each version side-by-side, and study the errors in thought we had made and how those errors yielded false conclusions. And we would always have to leave space for that knowledge we still did not possess, and may never possess – Ignorance, the knowledge of The Unknown. 
Now that kind of job would interest me – reviewing the lineage of flawed ideas, knowledge, perceptions, and perspectives, and their application in the world I live in.