Sunday was supposed to be a laid back day. But then I experienced a failure to check my travel arrangements. I incorrectly remembered my flight departure time (having mentally pushed it back two hours) and I was so sure of my imaginary time that by the time I realized my error, it was no longer physically possible for me to make the flight. I called the airlines, the gentleman told me my best shot was to continue to the airport and throw myself on the mercy of the agent there, who could put me on standby somewhere. Which is what I did. The lovely agent scrolled through my choices, found one with a different connection (but that returned to the same airport - very important - are you listening stupid airline that screwed me over a few years ago?). She grabbed my bag, handed me my boarding pass and told me to run. I managed to make it through security without a diva moment (I am in a hurry guy taking his sweet time getting the laptop into the tray!). And I was not quite the last person to hop onto the plane. It was a middle seat, but I was not in a position to complain. (Although I will have some thoughts on how to be a good passenger later). And I had my books. And a functional ipod. However, the rush and all that had meant I had missed my lunch. Or getting a drink past security. So, it was a really crappy time to discover that in the six days since I had last flown with them, US Airways had started charging money for beverages. All of them. (Yes, they were lovely and accomodating, so I am over it, but really. Thank goodness I had some dried fruit in my bag.)
The changeover in Charlotte went fine, and I did find food. And I made it home to discover that my secret dream for a new suitcase had been answered, sort of. Because, the handle on my suitcase, which usually collapsed with some careful jiggling, had apparently not collapsed or extended somewhere on route. So, the bag was tossed around with the handle extended, and, well, it bent. So that the handle had a perfect forty five degree bend in it. It is now bent and shredded such that the handle is never going to collapse again.
And since I hate to leave things on such a note here are some random observances from the streets (and halls) in San Francisco.
-At one point I surmise I am near some sort of vet or animal kennel because in quick succession I see a woman with a (leashed) cat balancing on her shoulder and another woman with the cat carrier strapped to a shopping cart.
-It was easy to spot the tourists who had assumed that California + summer = hot, because they would be out in their shorts but wearing their matching San Francisco sweatshirts and hats. (To be fair, I read up and still couldn't believe. But I also left the shorts at home.)
-Panhandlers were quite creative with their stories - requesting money for journeys home, for alcohol research and for ransom for the dog. And while I certainly don't know all the circumstances, I did notice that one panhandler who had been seated in a wheelchair left the wheelchair there while he took a break.
-Over by Coit Tower I paused before crossing as an SUV had just pulled up to the roundabout and then paused. Then the windows popped down and three cameras popped out as they all tried to capture the view of the city below. (At that point I felt it was safe to cross (I was not in their picture line).
-I was asked for directions. Sure, it was by someone who was clearly not from the US, but my directions were pretty good. I was, however, unable to tell him where all the good clubs were.
-And at one point I watched three people who were clearly together cross the street. Two of them were wearing I heart NY t-shirts and the third had on a scripty NYC t-shirt. Had we not been going opposite ways I would have loved to ask if they were from there or (more likely) that was their previous spot on vacation.
Food; Chai, fruit and cheese plate, chicken pesto sandwich, smoothie, iced tea.