My great intentions for Holidailies are slowly becoming delusional, that is clear.
On Wednesday morning, I left Esteban in our suite in the Venetian, hopped into a cab and headed to the airport, where I was headed to San Jose for 22 hours. I had overzealous intentions there — I hoped to hop over to see my friends Fred and Tex and also do a flyby hugging of Mopie and my niece-by-proxy Mina, along with meeting my boss about important stuff and his boss, about even more important stuff, and also spend about four hours at a fancy dinner with fancy people in downtown San Jose. On top of this, I was flying into SFO, but my rental car was sitting at San Jose Airport, through a pique of clusterfuckery that I won’t even get into.
I landed and was making great time, as I only had carryon luggage and was seated in the forward cabin, plus I used Uber to snag a car almost immediately. I made it to the rental lot at San Jose airport with plenty of time to spare, and was absolutely starved, so when I passed an In N Out Burger, of course I had to swing in and snag a cheeseburger. Ah In N Out Burger, your fries still suck so hard.
My boss wanted to meet as soon as I got to the hotel, but we didn’t have firm plans, so I thought… hmmm, I could swing up and hit some quality time with Fred and Tex right NOW and then just meet up with him later. However, guilt and commitment overwhelmed me and I didn’t really want to tell him that I couldn’t meet with him when he wanted me to because I was chatting up friends on company time. So I parked the car, checked into my room and then texted him. And then waited. And waited. And then waited some more. Then he finally texted me and said that we’d meet in two hours because he had something else going on. Gaaah! I totally could have made it to Fred’s house and back if I had just gone there first. Ah well. I caught up on American Horror Story instead, which turned out to be a sorely needed moment of No Brain Engagement that I had been missing during this trip. Certainly I had a million other things I should have been doing, but the brain apparently needed to just shut down and watch Jessica Lange being amazing.
Sidebar: Seriously, I think Jessica Lange’s gorgeousnesss has prevented the world from seeing how truly fantastic she is as an actor. I would argue that she’s Meryl Streep amazing. Consider the fact that she positively disappeared into her role in Grey Gardens while Meryl Streep was going down on Tommy Lee Jones in the awkward “Baby Boomers Can’t Get It Up” movie. Discuss in the comments.
I met up with my boss in a piano bar (See also: things that never happen unless one is on the road) and we talked about the state of the nation and how Ralph Lauren makes the best ties in the universe (not really). Then we had our fancy dinner of fanciness and I had a dorky moment of squee talking to the CIO of Tivo, Inc. Seriously, though, San Jose has the ALL THE BEST companies.
I hung out with the movers and shakers until I could beg off due to the jet lag. You see, I managed to maintain my CST cicadian rhythms in Vegas, because I never went outside, and I was hoping to keep one more day of the 5:30 am automatic wake ups so that I could pack up and get onto the 880 before the traffic surge. I set an alarm just in case, and wouldn’t you know it, my time outside in the San Jose sunlight was enough to throw me back a little bit. I was slower than I wanted getting up and dressed, and then wasn’t really considering how freaking far everything is. In my mind, I always think San Jose is 20 miles away from Oakland, but it’s more like twice that and I am stupid.
Then the valet took forever to get the car, so I didn’t get out onto the road until about 7:10 am. This was, by the way, not early enough. I hit the road, hoping to swing by Mo’s house before she had to leave for work, but when I hit traffic after ten miles and came to an actual stop on the freeway for 5 minutes, I was quickly realizing that I’d never make it before she needed to leave. I pulled the plug on that plan when I was just getting to Hayward at 7:45 and dashed off my apologies to Mo and Mina. Alas, it was not meant to be this trip. See previous entry about there never being enough time.
I turned and headed to Fred’s, and just to show how completely backwards my planning is, I only got there fifteen minutes earlier than I had planned (underlining the reality that there had been no realistic way to do both visits and I am totally bad at estimating time when I travel). I had a delightful visit with Fred and Tex and got to meet their kitties and see the gorgeous new digs (seriously coveting their light-filled kitchen/family room space overlooking an old orchard) and spend some time hanging out. Then it was off to the airport.
I have a bad habit when I fly out of San Jose where I totally miss the flight and end up on a later flight. Knowing that, I take the latest flight I can get to give me ample room. Then, my crazy thought process wants to fill up that extra time with stuff, thinking I have a cushion and plenty of room to spare. It was this logic that had me looking for the nearest Ike’s sandwich shop. I thought that I could get a Menage a Trois to go and then eat it on the plane.
This, by the way, was insanity. The nearest Ike’s was in Stanford, a good 20 minutes past the airport. They bake your bread to order. It was almost lunch time, so there would undoubtedly be a huge line, plus the normal huge wait for your sandwich, then another 20 minutes. I thought: Well, it’s 11:00 right now, my plane doesn’t board until 12:40, so it’s so crazy that it just might work! I drove along with this plan in my addled brain for at least fifteen minutes and then decided that I was letting my stomach override reason, since I still had to put gas in the rental, get it back, catch a shuttle and do the various security pat downs and crap. So I skipped my plan for breakfast/lunch and headed directly to the airport…
…where I learned that my plane didn’t BOARD at 12:40, it actually DEPARTED at 12:40. It was boarding ten minutes after I arrived at the security line, e-boarding pass in hand.
And THAT is how I keep almost missing flights out of San Jose. I am my own worst enemy.
I don’t wonder though if it’s not some kind of Freudian self-sabotage, that I don’t really want to leave and that I keep resisting the departure. I could easily see myself living in the Bay Area if it didn’t cost eight million dollars and also, if Esteban would ever resign himself to a winter without snow.
Obviously I had no time to grab anything to nosh, since my plane was boarding almost immediately. I got settled onto the plane and had a fairly uneventful flight, punctuated only by the delightful moment when I noticed the guy across the aisle from me was watching the exact same episode of The Walking Dead on his iPad that I was, only I was about half an hour further into the episode. Ha! I love the future.
We flew into the dark, literally, as the accelerated sunset is kind of freaky when you’re flying eastward. One minute, it’s sunny, then you look up again and it’s all rosy and then the next time you look, it’s completely pitch black. As we got closer to Minneapolis, we could see snowflakes shimmering around the landing lights. I thought “Delightful!”, not realizing that those pretty Christmas-y snowflakes were about to create another travel nightmare.
We landed twenty minutes earlier than expected. I was glad because my connection was going to be somewhat tight — an hour between landing and takeoff doesn’t seem like a bad connection, but when you factor in the fact that MSP is the world’s longest airport and the regional flights leave out of C concourse, it’s a good half hour of walking to arrive just as your flight starts to board. So I was feeling really good about landing early. Maybe I’d have time to actually get something to eat! I spent the taxing time wishing that my adoration of ChikFilA’s carrot salad could make me forget their homophobic support of inequality.
However, once we were on the tarmac, we couldn’t get to the gates because there were planes on the de-icing pads, blocking the way. I had needed to go to the bathroom about fifteen minutes before we landed but figured I could wait until deplaning and use a Real Human-sized bathroom (plus, someone rotten egg bombed the forward cabin lav and it smelled like raw sewage out in the cabin, so I really didn’t want to go into some kind of ass-gas death chamber). I texted Esteban to let him know that I was on the ground in MSP, and as it turned out, he was ALSO at MSP, still waiting to take off in his connecting flight to GRB (he was on the earlier connection). Things were that backed up.
Then we couldn’t pull into our gate because the plane next to our gate was too big to fit our plane there too. Then we pulled around the terminal and waited while they tried to find another gate. Minutes ticked by, a half an hour. If a passenger was out of their seat, the pilot couldn’t move the plane, so I sat there and watched my eyeballs float. Finally, an hour after we’d been on the ground, the other plane pulled away and we were allowed to go back to our original gate. THEN they couldn’t dock the jet bridge. It was like watching someone try to thread a needle while wearing gloves. It was almost like they were fucking with us. I thought the passengers were going to riot, as there were many MANY F-bombs being tossed around.
I didn’t get off the plane until 7:15. I walked and walked until I finally got out of the G concourse and then had to give up and go to the bathroom or risk peeing my pants in the main terminal. I had pretty much decided on my argument to Delta about how they needed to rent me a one-way car so that I could drive home that evening, since I knew that flight was the last one scheduled to GRB that night. Then I spotted the world’s oldest man on an empty golf cart with C terminal written on the front. I asked if he could help me make my connection by giving me a lift. He agreed and off we went, picking up other people who had been screwed by the San Jose flight of No Gate along the way. I was a bit worried that he would be an Old Man driver, but he actually put the pedal to the metal, to the point that I considered throwing on the seat belt that they give you. You go, Captain White Hair, you are awesome.
I made it to my flight after the entire plane had loaded, but it turned out that the plane was trapped by more planes de-icing and blocking the path. We finally pulled away after half an hour, only to get into the line for de-icing, where we spent another half hour.
Incidentally, Esteban managed to land, wait for his checked baggage, meet his dad and drive out to our house 20 miles from the airport to get my car and drive 20 miles back to the airport before my plane even took off.
Finally, we landed in GRB only 90 minutes later than we were scheduled (because in the air, no cops, no stops) and I met Esteban outside and we both agreed that we never wanted to travel anywhere again.
Except that I’m doing another two-city trip in just six days. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.