I’m at SFO, waiting for go to Washington. I’m flying the redeye to Chicago Midway, and thence to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. I should get in just in time for brunch.
As usual, I stripped off all my metal on the ride from long-term parking to the terminal; I prefer that to fumbling around in the security line. (I think I picked it up from a colleage who spends a LOT of time in the air, and whose travel habits would make Frederick Taylor and Frank Galbraith weep with joy: they can get through security and customs faster than any other human I’ve ever seen.) I notice they’re doing boarding pass checks twice, right before you go through the metal detector and another time immediately after; I’m not sure what the point is of checking them so close together.
Since I’m flying ATA, which may or may not be an actual airline (the low cost of the tickets make me wonder), I’m in Terminal A, which is one of those from the days when airport designers thought that the hub-and-spoke model of terminals was The Wave of The Future. After 30 years, the results are more like the set of Twelve Monkeys than a bright shining future. At least the place has a decent number of electrical outlets, though none really close to an unoccupied chair. Consequently I’m sitting on the floor, behind a row of seats.
This may, however, be the terminal where the end of the great Steve McQueen movie Bullit was shot. I know it was in a new terminal, and I know this because Pop insists that he’s visible for about two sends in one background, leaning up against a post as Steve McQueen– well, I don’t remember what he does, but needless to say he’s in the foreground.
My fellow passengers are taking one of two attitudes to the whole redeye experience: most are treating the flight itself as the smallest interruption in their night, and are already asleep (or as best as they can manage) in the waiting area; a small number are reading, talking, or staring zombie-like into space. I’m the only one who appears to be doing anything productive. But since I’m insane, and tend to treat overnight flights as something out of Homer’s Odyssey, or at least that episode of The West Wing where they’re flying all night on Air Force One, that’s only to be expected.
I’m sure I haven’t forgotten anything, in part because my bag weights three times as much as I think it should for a trip that is going to last almost exactly 48 hours (I touch down in SFO Monday night just before midnight). Part of it is that I’ve got to carry six different bricks with me, to recharge various devices (computer, iPod, phone, etc.), and part of it is that I have my good shoes in my bag. For the flight I decided to dress downscale, and go with a highly comfortable cargo shorts and old Eddie Bauer shirt combination, rather than an outfit that says “I’m a busy professional so just give me my damn seat thank you very much.”