If You’re Traveling to San Francisco…

23 02 2008

If you’re traveling to San Francisco from Los Angeles, keep these things in mind:

1.  You will get up early, depriving yourself of much needed sleep, in order to get to the airport on time.  But do not fret – your flight will be late.  Three hours late, to be exact.  And so you will sit in the same uncomfortable black vinyl chair in the terminal, not wanting to lose the electrical outlet to someone else, as a soap opera plays loudly on the television behind you, hoping for the rain clouds to clear in a city that never sees the light of the sun anyway.  You will try to be productive, but with each passing hour, your thoughts will only focus on the sleep you could have had.

2.  You will wait, parched, as if suddenly in a desert, for what will seem like half of the flight, to hear the rickety clank of the beverage cart rolling down the aisle with the promise of a 5 oz. beverage.  Don’t lose hope.  It WILL come.  Oddly enough, you won’t think of it when you are sitting captive in the airport all day long, but as soon as you climb into the air, your mouth will feel dry and you will think: “I paid hundreds of dollars for this ticket; I damn well better get my ice water.”  Do NOT lose hope.  It WILL come.  Of course, when it finally pulls up right next to you, awaking you from your vertical slumber, a guy from first class will saunter down the aisle to the attendants, slyly mentioning he is from FIRST CLASS, and ask to get by to use the restroom.  The cart will leave you momentarily.  But do not lose hope.  It WILL return.  And when it does, ask for a water AND a coke.  You damn well better get your money’s worth.

3.  After drinking the water and the coke, you will have to pee uncontrollably about ten minutes before the plane lands.  Those will be the longest ten minutes of your life.  And do not be fooled by touchdown – you will taxi to the gate so long you will think you were driving back to LA.

4.  Once you get off the plane and find the bathroom, you will hear a lady in the stall next to you talking to herself.  Do not be afraid.  She is actually talking on her cell phone while she pees.  You will flush your toilet just to make sure the person on the other end knows she is in the bathroom, and you will smile.  But remember – it is still entirely inappropriate, even though you do the same thing at home.

5.  No matter how many times you have flown and picked up your baggage on the other end, you will stand next to a deserted carousel rotating round and round and round while you wonder where your bags are.  You will go through the usual questions in your head, all while trying to look outwardly confident to the few others around you.  You will check for the flight number, look for familiar faces, and plan how argumentative you will be when you trounce to the airline counter and demand your money back.  Do not lose heart – your bag will always seem like the last one, but it will come.

6.  No matter how many signs there are, you will still wonder if you will ever find the BART, and when you do, you will get on a train wondering if it will take you where you need to go.  Don’t worry – you can ask everyone else on the train where it is headed, and they have no idea either.

7.  As the train zips along, you will notice how brightly the sun is shining against the backdrop of the most vibrant, full rainbow you have seen in ages, and you will think to yourself: “I’m glad they delayed our flight for three hours.  We wouldn’t want to land in THIS weather.”

8.  You will see a man on the train who looks strikingly like Jason Bourne.  Do NOT ask him if it’s really him.  If it’s not, you will look stupid.  And if it is, you will blow his cover and he will kill you.  Be content to sit in your seat, pretending that it’s him, and feeling a little safer and also completely terrified that the world’s most wanted and immortal spy killer is sitting ten feet away.

9.  When you walk out of the BART station, you will be overjoyed to find your hotel just across the street, along with a Starbucks, a Taco Bell, and a 7-Eleven.  You will have your own room with an ocean view and the day’s journey will all be worth it in the end.