My Weekly Commute…

With years of experience – my body somehow knows how to wake up 2 minutes before my alarm goes off, this allows me to silence the noise and sneak out of the bedroom so I don’t wake up the dog or my partner (at 5:00am it’s hard to tell whose bark would be worst). Then I shower and get ready in the guest bathroom where every sound is amplified by the fact that normal people are all still dead asleep in their beds. Then I carefully grab my carry-on bag and laptop bag which I packed and strategically left next to the front door for my stealth-like departure from our home.

The parking garage is a ghost town and the motion activated lights follow me as I make my way to my car. The 35 miles up the 101 is refreshing and awakening with the windows down before the sun comes up… this same commute any other time of day would take 1-2 hours, but at 5:20am I’m pulling into the parking structure of SFO at 5:53am…. 33 minutes this morning, New PR! Plenty of open spots on floors 1-6, but floor 7 is where the AirTran runs and this will speed up my exit time from the airport when I come home – so 7th floor it is. Out of habit I keep the parking ticket tucked into the dashboard so I can easily find it when it’s time to exchange a Childs Ransome for the cost of parking. There is a remote lot, but because I value my life and safety I only park there when my departure and still have ample daylight. The last time I parked there a homeless man followed me asking for change – while my heart wanted to provide what loose coins or single bills I had on me, the reality of the situation was that if I was close enough to hand him money, he was close enough to cause me harm… When your carrying luggage with some obvious valuables (phone, watch, laptop) a dark remote parking garage feels more like a “future scene of the crime” instead of an opportunity to be charitable. So moral of the story – I pay more for parking and I have less worry about who or what is waiting for me in the parking structure (I say “what” because the thought of Freddy Krueger showing up is a fear that I don’t think I’ll ever shake). Then I take the AirTran to my terminal, just one stop to Terminal A “International” this morning. On the commute in I generally grab Starbucks off Homestead Rd in Santa Clara, maybe off Shoreline if I wanna get ahead of the traffic and only off of Millbrae if I really saved time and can kill some time sitting down and enjoying a cup before I pull into SFO. SFO doesn’t have a Starbucks so I’m forced to bring it with me and finish it all before Airport Security (shocker- my coffee never makes it that far). Then I make my way to the TSA Pre-Check line – the once reserved lane for travel professionals and airline crew members is now longer than the general travel lanes. Do I switch over to the generals security lanes to expedite the Pre-check line… eh, I might catch the Bird Flu, MadCow or Ecoli virvus if I take my shoes off – better not (sounds like I’m being sarcastic but I’d be lying if I didn’t play all three of those scenarios out in my head during my 5 second decision making process. If one person sneezes I assume they are carrying the Bubonic plague and going to be sitting next to me on the plane). Then it’s down the terminal – stopping to fill up my refillable water bottle (saving the planet 30 ounces at a time).

And then I park myself near a power outlet and in eye-sight of my departure gate. This part is either the most entertaining or most frustrating (depending on my current mood) – Boarding Groups!

I give the gate agents a ton of credit, I would LOVE the opportunity to do their job just once… I can see it now “For all of you traveling with us to Los Angeles, it’s a long flight and Boy are your arms gonna be tired (it’s a terrible joke, but I would love to say it every chance I got). Check your boarding passes! If you don’t usually fly with us you and your ticket does not say PRIORITY please sit your ass back down – your momma loves you and you come first to her, but she ain’t here so wait till group 105 is called. Military, Armed Forces, Persons with disabilities you may now board… Next: Parents who have children who behave like wild dogs and have never heard the word “NO” – you will be sitting either next to or directly surrounding Matthew Goto (for real though, it always happens). Then Group 1, making your way on the aircraft first is what you paid for – scowling at everyone in group 2-6 as you strut down the gateway is just a guaranteed way to earn your entry into hell faster. Group 2, basically anyone who flys a ton with us and we appreciate your loyalty AND anyone who signed up yesterday for a credit card – please board now (talk about recognizing loyalty). And then group 3-infinity please board as if this is Black Friday and there is only 1 Tickle Me Elmo on board for all 126 passengers… and Grandma with the neck pillow, two bags from the terminal magazine shop, Felix the Cats magic bag of tricks, the floral print rollerboard and the large hat you must have worn at the 1904 Kentucky Derby – you may now board (after you tried to board with Group 1 and 2 and asked twice if this flight was going to Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA… as if there was another Los Angeles flight departing this morning). And as I settle in for another riveting and original “this is how a seatbelt works” puppet-show, my flight begins and my commute continues.
Please keep your service tray in the up right and locked position, all small carry-on bags under the seat or overhead compartment, small portable devices in the airplane and silent mode and sit back and check back soon for another post!

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