I mentioned, did I not that the DC Metro doesn’t start till 0800 on Sunday mornings? That the first meetings start at 0800? That just because the Metro opens at 0800 doesn’t mean that corresponds to the time the first train rolls through my particular station? End result is that I made it to Dupont Circle and up the hill to the conference location in time to discover that there was a definite lack of coffee on site. Listening to people discuss dry academics without caffeine in my system is not necessarily my idea of a good time.
My working group is dispersing back to their home countries (Australia, Austria, France, Canada, India, UK, US) with plans made for future conferences and collaborations between.
And then it was time to head for the airport (closing ceremonies are never my things, especially when the last speaker in the conference doesn’t end on time). I was flying Delta. Arriving at the airport early wasn’t a problem. Finding a location where I could sit down was, especially after a gate change.
Did I mention that all the flights were so seriously over booked that the airlines were offering hotel vouchers, meal vouchers, $600 in flight coupons and rebooking to 0600 in the morning. Was not seriously tempted, but it thought about it for all of 30 seconds.
Then the delays started. Slight delay of plane arriving from Atlanta (duh). Followed by mechanical on the way out to JFK. Then the flight arriving in? Medical pickup followed by 20 minutes of deplaning before loading for La Guardia. So we were only 20+ minutes behind for my connector to Detroit. Which was packed. Which was filled with all of the above mentioned passengers attempting to bring their entire life possessions with them on the plane in suitcases obviously too big to fit anywhere other than the baggage compartment. It meant that the boarding process had to be stopped part way through to take cases back out of the plane and check them.
Detroit is just a short flight away. We arrived with 45 minutes till my next flight (not the 90 that I had planned). And the fun started all over again. Announcement – this plane is completely booked. We are looking for volunteers to delay travel till tomorrow morning. Ok – not happening from the looks of things. And…. we need 37 roller boards checked as there is not going to be room on the plane for all of them. !5 minutes later – Folks – we still need 32 large pieces of carry-on checked. If you are in Main 2 or Basic boarding, there is not going to be cabin space for anything that doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you.
And on it went. There were a few intelligent people, but the majority once again had to be stopped on boarding and handed luggage tags. The flight from DTW to SFO is almost five hours. Add in packed plane and turbulence, I was glad for my window seat and head phones. It was after 2300 when we landed at SFO. Looking at the BART.GOV website – the very last train headed toward the city was scheduled for 2354…
Taxi in, escape the plane, hustle to the Air Train, bail out and dash down the steps to BART. The train is there: Antioch (with connections to all stations but for two). The doors are closed. The train is partly full of passengers waiting. Suitcases, lot of suitcases. And the doors are closed. I am at one end of the train, watching unbelievingly as someone at the other end boards. One open door – down at the other end.
Not stupid here, I head down the platform figuring the worse that happens is the train departs and the best is that I can board. Once on, I head up the train three cars and find a seat. Then the doors open for about 2 minutes, close and we leave. I change to Muni at Civic Center. Unlike during the day with hustle and bustle, the station is mostly inhabited by various people who view the station as their home away from home. Muni is much the same. Not many of us taking the various trains, but interesting people watching while I wait for the N-Judah.
I am the only one getting off at UCSF facing the challenge of figuring out which door I may enter, then finding I have to sign in with security. It is just short of 0100 when I get to George’s room. I will not bore you with what passes for a “family sleep chair.” Just to note that I can stretch my legs out if sitting down, or I can curl up in fetal position. But the night will be short….
(date altered so that it comes out on Sunday. Because I feel like it is still Sunday….