Saturday, August 8
9:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time
...though I am technically flying over the central time zone. Do time zones exist at 38,000 feet? I say no. I have entirely too much square footage of arm and leg to ever be comfortable in this seat. I lean over my tray table, trying to stretch my neck. Mmm, peanuts. Good old Southwest! Used to be the no-frills airline. Now it's the only one that lets you check a bag for free and gives you salty snacks. My tray table smells like an old, overused kitchen sponge. Probably from the sponge that wiped this thing down. Did someone puke here?
9:45 am, bizarre Arizona "we don't believe in Daylight Saving Time" time
Phoenix. What an asshole airport. I just spent $15 on a salad. I know, that only means that I'm at an airport. What gets me about this place is that I had to ride a dozen 1/4 mile moving walkways to get to this food court. Even the airport is absurdly wasteful in its sprawl.
3:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time
San Francisco! Civilization!! I am riding the BART from the airport to downtown. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I had no trouble or stress getting from the terminal to the luggage claim to the shuttle to the BART. It's all so... self-explanatory.
Dan and I wander from our downtown hotel east to the Ferry Building. It's an unusually warm evening in SF. I'm thrilled to be back in a thriving city, with lots of people and tall buildings (none of which appear to be abandoned). As we head down Market Street, we see a grown woman holler at a pigeon. I feel a flash of warm fuzziness for Detroit, where this sort of public nuttiness is so common. Here in paradise, it's sorta quaint.
Ferry Building - I must stop in at the Cowgirl Creamery cheese shop. Hey, they're selling my company's cheese! Crap, it's even more expensive here than it is at home. I run out the door.
Speaking of expensive, I spend $18 on a bowl of clam chowder at the Hog Island Oyster Company. Totally worth it. The broth is lightly buttery, infused with bacon fat. The clams are still in their shells, piled in the center of the bowl and topped with bacon, corn and potato. I like that it takes a little time to detach the clams from the shells. It prevents me from downing the bowl in one fell gulp.
Dan asks me to join him at a sociology conference reception, hosted by his University of Michigan compadres. Sure, what the hell. I'm giddy.
It's a typical grad student gathering where everyone talks shop and I haven't much to say. It's the stuff of some really un-fun parties, but it doesn't bug me as much in this decidedly academic environment. It is a conference, after all.
What's really cool is that the reception is on the gazillionth floor of a fancy hotel and there are chocolate chip cookies + wine. I sit by the window and take in the view.
Heading back to our hotel, we spot a sushi place where a lot of Japanese people are hanging out. I make a mental note.
Despite the cars and the crowd and the street saxophonist playing "Happy Birthday" to no one in particular and the Santana cover band in the distance and the TV tuned to AMC's neverending run of "Stripes", I... am... drifting... to... sleee...