Unexpected day in San Francisco

Catching up on July…. The fog delayed San Francisco’s incoming flights.

It did not stop the outgoing ones, and our day began there. The day proper began in Reno, but the day the day began with the fog.

Dave, Laura and I discovered the goodness of breakfast subs in the Reno airport as we waited for the reported fog to lift and the second runway to open. Wake-up times: 4:30, 5:15 and 4:15, respectively and none on purpose. Four hours of sleep would’ve been great if we’d stayed out late rolling strong at the El Dorado craps tables, but we’d all gone to bed at an okay hour after quarter and nickel slots. The same happened to me the night before. Body clocks and session exhaustion won the week, until we went into overtime.

The first leg unfortunately put us into SFO minutes before our flight to Dulles. Laura and I somehow ended up on a train outside. Dave got the last carry-on bag stowed beneath the tiny jet, went a different way and sprinted the length of a terminal. We briefly had Virgin tickets to JFK. We briefly fought with wireless. We briefly turned JetBlue clerks into JFK oddsmakers. We ended up with Virgin red-eye tickets to Dulles, 10 hours after our original plans. Laura was in top biz form, and all the clerks seemed to like the challenge. We got a city day.

BART. No Californa trips since 1980, now two in two months. So weird.

Lunch at Perbacco. Drink featured liquor-soaked strawberries. Main course was a fantastic pansotti, “Ligurian ravioli filled with braised greens / ricotta / herbs / walnut butter.” (Chowhounders love it too.) Dessert involved much chocolate and pig’s blood pudding.

Our visit to the Ferry Building was a stuffed (improper) but fun one, and we headed down Broadway’s strip-club row to City Lights. It’d fallen off my itinerary in June and was worth the wait. Obviously was packed with legacy and the city’s feel (and books — space is tight), but entirely browsable and welcoming. The purchases were On the Road as I’d never read it before and it seemed appropriate and Then We Came to the End fit for a work trip that might never.

Down Columbus to drinks at Coppola’s Cafe Zoetrope — if you don’t believe you can love rosé, Sofia can convert you — and guessed which staffers were you know, in the family. People watching was far better than expected. Waiters with a touch of randomness, heavily painted bartenders, drunk tourists sending a round around, foreign families, and a pretty girl who for the life of her couldn’t figure how to use the revolving front door. Transamerica Pyramid was next.

The day began feeling long on the walk and ride back to the airport. Then stinky baby made a stunning return appearance. But first class upgrades, even with stinky baby doubling the shock by joining us there, were taking us home. The Virgin flight out had been great, and we completed the jet line’s feature set on the return. Walking first onto the plane, getting the walk-by looks, sipping wine before take-off, and getting second helpings of milk and cookies at 25,000 feet during personal La-Z-Boy screenings of Family Guy without commercials.

Drifted in and out between episodes and MP3s. Sat next to a man who mumbled and laughed to himself when awake and who resembled how I imagine Tony Blankley or Christopher Hitchens to look in person. In a moment of great lucidity, he spun to me, pointed to the full moon, and said, “Beautiful! It’s a big fucking orange ball! You could fly right into it! Ha!” I landed refreshed and understanding first class for the first time.

Rode back to office with Dave. Saw 2nd sunrise of day. Went to work.

5 thoughts on “Unexpected day in San Francisco”

  1. Okay…so the picture of you on the plane about sums it up alright. If that doesn’t scream get me home, I don’t know what does. Despite the difficulties, that was a pretty fun day.

  2. Well, see, I’m new to this cellphone photos thing. So, I’ve got some issues with stopping something good to take a picture of it. Why would I stop eating Ligurian ravioli to take a picture of me eating it? By the time I took the picture, I’d probably look more sad than in any of these shots that I was not, at that moment, eating more Ligurian ravioli.

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