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.