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Leaving San Francisco

The fun and excitement didn't stop once the NBB show was over. The trip home was interesting too.
By Ron Kotrba | February 11, 2009
Leaving San Francisco last week was a trip. I'm sure some of you heard and saw the lady banging the metal pie tin with a drumstick right outside the main entrance to the Marriot hotel on Mission and 4th, as so many of us rushed out of the hotel Wednesday afternoon to the airport. She, the lady banging the pie tin with a drumstick, said nothing perhaps as prescribed by permit with her cronies handing out flyers saying Caledonia was unfair. I stood there for like 15 to 20 minutes waiting in front of the Marriot for a coworker so we could share a cab to the airport, and no one bothered to even try to hand me a flyer. I was really curious as to what it said.

Eventually my curiosity to read what was on the flyer, which by this time was being handed out to everyone except me, got the best of me. And finally finally after watching a police officer who appeared on the scene out of thin air to hassle the shuttle bus driver with a load full of passengers, each looking at their watches wanting to leave and the driver with the thick Russian accent was more than accommodating to the officer's requests; yet the officer, as belligerent as he was, assured everyone watching that he was bound to get to the bottom of whatever he was getting to the bottom of, which, to everyone watching, was clearly nothing.

The officer was causing a scene, or at least it seemed that way to me. He was sweating and out of his element with everyone against him in principle and in practice let the man go everyone looked to be thinking. Issue a monetary fine to his boss, or throw his boss in jail. I actually heard the cop say his violation was punishable by jail time. Come on. Don't punish the lowly worker for the misgivings of his superiors. Anyways, after a while the cop said, "Go on" and that he'd "get to the bottom of it," then finally after the suspense was killing me, I was handed a flyer. My coworker showed up at that moment, so we got in the taxicab and rode to the airport. The suspense was over.

The hotel contracted out its window washing to nonunion workers. They were paying them a lot less than they should be paid for such dangerous work.

Then we got to the airport. The flight to Minneapolis was delayed by like a half an hour, and we only had a 50 minute layover in MSP which is the longest airport in the world if you've ever had to walk its course.

On that long, delayed flight to Minneapolis from SFO, I walked toward the front cabin on that 757 to use the restroom. It was occupied so I waited until the person inside came out, but when she came out she looked at me and said, "It's clogged." What was I supposed to do?

I entered and conducted business without incident, to exit finding the lady pointing at me with the flight attendant standing next to her. I threw my hands in the air and said, "Apparently it's clogged," and the attendant lifted the lid while the door was still open, and she said, "Did you try flushing?"

"No, I heard it was clogged," I managed to say as I laughed, and then I single-filed my way back to my seat.

So the pilot failed to make up any time in the air, as they always claim to be able to do. We touched down 20 minutes before our connecting flight to Grand Forks, N.D., was scheduled to leave. That sucked. We landed and stopped short of the gate, and the pilot came on the air and said they weren't expecting us and they had to get one of those jet ways. Oh great, even less time to impossibly get where we needed to be. Finally, after a few more excruciating minutes, we pulled in and deplaned.

My coworker and I arrived in MSP airport that night in gate F14 or something, and had to connect in record time to gate A13. Okay. This is where knowing the layout of the MSO airport comes in handy, because that connection literally runs the length of that airport the longest airport in the world, with the exception of the Detroit airport maybe, but at least those shuttles in D-town run when you need them to. We walked. And walked. And walked. Finally, we walked some more.

It was invigorating. I didn't want to stop walking. A lady peered out from way far away, and my coworker shouted, "Are you waiting for us?" The answer was yes, and she told us she was instructed to wait no longer.

On the flight to Grand Forks, I had two cups of coffee. After all, I still had to drive once I got to the airport and I was completely exhausted. My coworker asked if I could sleep after two cups of coffee. Ha. Normally, I wouldn't even think about it, but he must have jinxed me. I couldn't sleep at all that night. I went to work the next morning feeling terrible. I got a few things done, my expense report, and took the rest of the day off. It was nice. I picked up my dog Barney from the kennel he's a 100-pound chocolate lab and went home to crash. San Francisco was great, but it's good to be home.