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Friday, October 23, 2009

Up, Up and Away from OAK

I’m going to venture a guess and say that the Oakland airport is NOT one of the 365 best places to visit in the Bay Area, for a few reasons: (a) It’s in Oakland (need I say more?); (b) it’s 8 a.m. and I don’t see one traveler carrying a to-go coffee cup, which means either there’s not a Starbucks in the terminal or everyone here is crazy (because who doesn’t need caffeine this early in the morning?); and (c) my gate smells like an 80-year-old lady’s upholstered chair that has been in a barn for 10 years. Plus when I’m at this airport, I recall the horrifying TV shows that Darren watches about our country’s most dangerous street gangs (formed right here in Oakland, surprise) and I remember the four police officers who were shot dead in this city just a few months ago. Then shivers run down my spine.

But the airfare out of Oakland is a heck of a lot cheaper than the fare out of San Francisco, so I continue to ride BART across the Bay and a take another 20-minute shuttle to an airstrip that gives me the creeps. I must say, though, it’s a Friday morning, and the place is dead, which means no lines for check-in, security, or the women’s restroom. Hallelujah! And no people equals no mess, so the toilettes and sinks (and floors!) in the bathrooms are sparkling clean. I don’t even need a seat cover.

“How ya doin’ today, hon?” the lady at the check-in counter asks in a New York accent when I arrive at the desk. There’s no one else in line. Precisely 10 minutes pass from the time I stepped off the shuttle to the moment I sit down at Gate 3. I’m convinced this is a new world record.

After about 15 minutes of blogging at the gate, an old man shaped like a candy cane dawdles toward me. His back is hunched high above his neck and head. White hair explodes from his ears, which balance a thick pair of black-rimmed glasses.

“Excuse me, but you are a very pretty young lady,” he says, his voice shaky. He must’ve had grandchildren my age, and his presence comforted me. “And it looks like you’re very industrious.” My laptop and BlackBerry had fooled him into thinking I’m busy at work, when really I’m blogging and texting my friends whom I’ll see tonight in Oregon.

“Have a great day,” I say sweetly after a minute of conversation.

I’m taking a four-day weekend to visit my two sisters in their college town, Eugene, and tomorrow the three of us will drive the hour and a half to my parents’ house in Beaverton. In some ways it’s fantastic having a job that allows switching shifts instead of asking for time off. I’ll be out four days and no one will say anything about it. No need to use any of my allotted days off; just go ahead and pull the old switcheroo. It’s like I never left.

Then again, my four-day weekend is unpaid and I’ll have to work 10 days in a row when I get back. But, hey? C’est la vie.


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  1. Have a great time lil megs. I cant wait to hear about your trip! :) xoxo

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  2. I'm so happy you're home and I can't wait to see you tomorrow!

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