San Francisco – Day 5 (Monday, November 4, 2013)

All Good Things…

Waking while still a little full from last night’s feast, I hopped out of bed and packed. My flight was in the mid-afternoon and hotel checkout wasn’t until noon, so I had some time to kill. Steve texted me about hanging out as his apartment, so after stuffing my bag for the flight home, I wandered over to the apartment. Chit chatting over tea, Steve and Joël looked sufficiently relaxed, even after such a whirlwind weekend. By the time we finished the massive bowls cups of tea, stomachs were growling and Joël suggested walking over to Lower Pacific Heights for some breakfast at the Curbside Café, a little place that serves AMAZING breakfasts (Steve recommended the Eggs Florentine…definitely get it if you go there). Being my usual pre-trip self, I was frequently checking my watch, even with plenty of time (I really need to work on relaxing more before engaging in my travel plans). Steve, Joël and Arnoud made a detour to check out a few shops while I wandered back to check out of the hotel, then met them at the apartment so Steve could give me a lift to SFO.

The Journey Home

Since my flight was after the beginning of the week rush, SFO was relatively calm as Steve dropped me off. In fact, it may have been the easiest and fastest I made it through TSA and airport security ever. Not being the largest airport, SFO is surprisingly easy to find your way around, unlike the unmarked hot mess that’s Los Angeles (LAX), the required train ride from one end of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DWF) megaplex (a.k.a., the 51st state) to the other, or the seemingly endless walkways of Dulles (IAD). According to the boards, everything was running on time and at whatever gates they were supposed to be at… until I arrived at my gate. The gate’s board kept alternating posts about half a dozen other flights, none of which were mine. A quick scan of the gate area told me that there were a lot of confused travelers and the clerk at the gate desk looked a bit more perplexed than most would or should be. I walked up and confirmed that I was in the right place – it was just a “technical difficulty” (something you always want to hear at an airport). A knit-hat-wearing hipster college kid with the mother of all acne attacks sitting near me, and who overheard my entire conversation with the gate clerk, struck up a conversation with me:

Hipster College Kid: Dude, are we in the right place?
Me: Oh yeah, it’s just a problem with the boards.
Hipster College Kid: Cool…dude…are you sure we’re in the right place?

He repeated this conversation a few times, leaving me 1) wondering what he was on, and 2) tempted to lie and convince him to go to another gate at the opposite end of the airport. Luckily, whatever he was on kicked in and I left him at peace to snore it off. Truth be told, I would never really do that to anyone, especially since it would come back to bite me in the ass sooner or later.(1)

Unlike the flight to San Francisco, the flight back East was filled to capacity, and I was trapped in a window seat next to a couple who spent the majority of the flight curled up together and out cold. This wasn’t so bad except that my return flight curse kicked in and the girlfriend sitting next to me was firing off “silent but deadlies” the whole time she was asleep.(2) I was never so grateful for relieving myself before a flight and thank God I didn’t have any checked baggage when we landed. The only real annoyance was the plane’s service and entertainment computer crashed shortly after takeoff, so unless passengers paid with cash, ordering food and anything beyond sodas and water wasn’t possible, and you couldn’t access any of the entertainment features. With a few movies saved on my tablet and enough reading material and crosswords to catch up on, I was fine. I even managed to doze off for a bit (and I rarely can sleep on anything moving). The flight made great time, landing almost 45 minutes earlier than planned, and if it could, my bladder would’ve shaken the pilot’s hand for a job well done. While trying to disembark, the couple in front of me were taking all the time in the world walking off the plane. It turns out, the wife was more focused on her phone than walking, and I accidentally bumped my carry-on into her heels once or twice. Clearly annoyed, she turned to me and said:

Woman in Front of Me: Keep bumping your bag into my leg won’t get me to walk any faster.

But before I could utter an apology…

Woman Behind Me: Then put the phone away bitch, because you clearly can’t do two things at the same time!

The other passengers laughed and cheered.

Welcome back to the East Coast, Scott. We’ve missed you.

(1) Well played, karma, well played.
(2) The couple I sat next to on a flight back from Hawaii earlier this year had similar issues, but I figured that was because they were a little drunk and/or just Australian.

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