The Mother of All Waiting Rooms


Car Rental Center, Ft. Lauderdale. February, 2016

While we’re on the subject of airport car rental centers, the award for the most massive goes to Fort Lauderdale. This multi-story monster houses thousands of cars and every major (and minor) car rental agency in the country. It is “off-site” in that you need to ride a bus from the terminal to get there, and there are two floors of waiting areas bordered by a huge open atrium. It just goes on and on and on. All the cars sleep quietly in the garage behind the endlessly curving waiting area with its gleaming terrazzo floors and chrome stanchions. You pick your car and go.

We traveled recently to visit T’s mom and sisters to celebrate her birthday and arrived at night. The whole building is a bit disorienting, especially after a 5-hour flight.Fortunately, it was largely deserted, adding to the surreality. An enormous space with maybe half a dozen people. I hate to think what this place must be like when it’s busy. We found the perfect vehicle, fired it up and wound our way down the spiral ramp that connects the 5 or so floors of the parking garage. Out to the highway and the half-hour drive into Miami Beach. Easy peasy.



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