Or as was almost my case, not getting there. Since no one at the base answered my phone calls on Saturday afternoon, I concluded that the flyer was in fact telling the truth, and that the office was closed on Saturday. Well fine; I grabbed a cab at the airport and embarked on the 40-minute, $100 ride to a hotel in Edinburgh, Indiana, the town closest to the one open gate of Camp Atterbury. I snuggled into the comfortable room, wondering how long it would be before I would enjoy a comfy bed, big TV, and high-bandwidth Internet access again. After a couple hours’ nap, I hiked over to the “commercial district” (Edinburgh’s claim to fame is a huge complex of outlet stores, surrounded by restaurants and other businesses to cater to the flow of charter buses) and had a nice steak dinner at a place called Montana Mike’s. It wasn’t very good, truth be told, but I was pretty sure worse was in store so I made myself enjoy it.
The IRDO (Individual Replacement Deployment Office) opens at 1100 on Sundays, so I “slept in” till 8, then showered, dressed, repacked, and went downstairs to travel to the camp. That’s where I realized I had made an error. I should have just stayed near the airport and caught the shuttle from there to the camp. Turns out that the shuttle wouldn’t go two miles out of its way to come by the hotel to pick me up; I had to arrange my own way to the receiving center. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but the nearest cab companies were in towns an hour or more away—Edinburgh apparently was too small to support any. But the guy working the hotel desk that morning gave me the name of a local guy who runs a “limo” company. I should have been suspicious when this clerk smiled and showed that he had maybe eight teeth distributed evenly around his mouth, but I called the number he gave me with a hopeful heart. I got shunted to voicemail, and left a message at what sounded like someone’s personal email whose name was nothing like the name the clerk had given me. While I waited for the limo driver to call me back, I called other hotels nearby to see if maybe they had shuttles. None did, but one of them mentioned I should try the local “city cab,” and gave me the same number that the clerk had given me—but with two digits transposed. I called *that* number and was rewarded with a voice saying I had reached City Cab. Joy! I told him my story and he said he would be by to get me in about 20 minutes. While I waited, I went over to Snaggleclerk and asked, “That number you gave me, 314-blah blah blah… was it really 341-blah blah blah?” He leaned over to look at the Post-It note stuck to the printer behind the desk and said “Oh yeah.” That’s all. No apology, no glimmer of recognition of his failure. So, Hilton; is this really the BEST you could do, even in Godforsaken Edinburgh, Indiana?