Friday, December 08, 2006

Travelling sucks

For the people who follow my life the way I follow “Dexter” on Showtime, here’s today.

I got up around 9:30 or 10 and reposted my ad on Craig’s List to try to sublet my apartment, which has been pretty frustrating. I also logged on to a bunch of car insurance web sites and worked on a final packing job for my trip out to California. Finally filled out the change of address thing on the USPS web site, too. A number of insurance companies couldn’t get the zip code I’ll have through their little brains. Guess I didn’t need their insurance anyway. I settled on AAA – their rate is competitive with the best offers I got and they were recommended to me by one of my favorite people. I got through a lot of the application process and then had to stop until getting some information from my father, but also because I was meeting a friend for lunch.

After lunch I showed the apartment to a couple people. The last person who came happened to come at a time that my roommate happened to be home and they could meet, which has been a major stumbling block in the whole process this time. He liked the place. Roommate liked him. Worked for me. So we went to HSBC and pulled a bunch of money out of an ATM and then I finished packing my laptop, got everything into the lobby, and hailed a gypsy cab.

The specific amount that I payed that cab driver is going to be sealed away in a vault for twenty years and opened only for our children’s children who will be ready to handle it. Along with UFOs and the Kennedy assassination. However, I don’t have five arms and I would have needed them because I grossly underestimated the capacity of my seabag and ended up with a seabag stuffed full, a carryon piece that I think has never been as densly packed as it is right now, a snowboard with extra stuff shoved in the bag next to it, a messenger bag with some extra pairs of boots, and another small bag with my snowboard boots, which I stuffed with socks in a vain attempt to save space. The thing is that I don’t think I could pack any more efficiently. I need clothes, which are in the carryon. I also need my hand tools in order to pick up freelancing gigs, which may or may not happen but will cover the additional cost of bringing tools in one job. The board and boots are a no-brainer, I’d like to go dancing more than once in the next five months, and one pair of casual, comfortable footwear seems like a fairly reasonable desire.

I need new luggage. That doesn’t suck. I need a big suitcase with wheels and space for things and a handle that comes out the top. I need a carryon piece with no tears in the seams and zippers that all have pulls. I need one of those snowboard uber-cases that has room for a board, boots, maybe a helmet, and maybe even a little bit of clothing.

So that’s yet another item for the growing list of stuff that I can’t live without for another minute. I’ll probably get it about the same time as I get snowboard pants that don’t have duct tape trim, an XBOX and HDTV, a laptop that can play games made in the last two years, and maybe a Lotus just to round out the collection.

Whining about my material wants aside, I got to the airport with a fair amount of time before my flight. I went to one of the little terminal things to check in and discovered that I couldn’t check more than two bags. D’oh! So I went to the line to check in with a real, live human being. He had the same last name as me. So I piled all the bags on the plate thing and he commented that it seemed silly to pay an extra pile of money for a fourth bag if I could maybe do it in three bags instead, and went to find a box. Shortly afterwards, he returned with one and I emptied the contents of my two smaller bags into it. Eddie L. Wright, you rock.

So I’m finally divested of my four pieces of checked luggage and I’m down to a rolly-bag, laptop, and helmet. Score.

I got to the security checkpoint with enough time left. Not the margin I’d wanted, but enough. So I get to the front of the line and do the little taking-off-the-metal dance. Which for me takes a while. Boots with nickel-plated rings. Belt with eyelets. Change, keys, cellphone. Jacket and vest. Laptop has to come out of the bag and into a bin. Laptop bag gets a bin. Toothpaste has to come out of the little bathroom kit burried in my carryon. And it’s another item that TSA has taken from me, but at least a cheap one. I think they have declared a vendetta against style and hygiene. At least I ditched my hair products (don’t ask how many) in New York. I may stop carrying bags on the plane on future flights, at least when I’m not already exceeding my checked baggage limit. On a self-congratulatory note, I did manage to walk through the metal detector on my first try. Of course I forgot to take my massive, stainless steel watch off. I wonder what other massive stainless steel items I might get through…

So after much drama, I finally got onto the plane. And we sat on the runway. For an hour and a half. Actually in the air writing this. I feel all jet-set. Now… Computer games.

So the rest of the trip went alright. I landed in San Francisco only about forty-five minutes late. I think the pilots probably secretly like it when they get delayed for take-off, because they get to push the plane a little for the rest of the flight. I took my helmet on as a personal item or something, and on the way off, the crewmember commented that he didn't think I needed it. At the baggage claim, the box I used to duck the extra excess baggage fee showed up looking pretty destroyed, but the stuff that was in it is all fine. I really need new luggage.

No comments: