Fourteen Hours to San Francisco

MARC train to Washington DC, Metro to National Airport, walk around terminal wondering where the ATA desk is, walk the entire length of the airport to Old Terminal A, be told that ATA desk isn’t open yet, walk back to Terminal B, eat a too-sweet Cinnabon with a too-flat iced mocha, walk back the length of the airport to Terminal A, confirm reservation, walk through security without a hitch, sit and wait, get on plane, sit at window, take pictures after takeoff, fall asleep.

Wake up, land at Chicago Midway, emerge from plane into a veritable sea of holiday travelers milling about the cramped corridors of Midway airport, go to transfer gate, learn of one-hour delay, go to food court, buy mushroom-emmenthal artopita, hunt around for outlet in airport with too few outlets for too many laptop-bearing travellers, accidentally drop pita on floor at gate, quickly pick up pita and brush off while muttering “Wala pang five seconds,” eat pita, find outlet, plug in laptop, suddenly unplug and stand up again as counter attendant informs passengers of abrupt change of gate to another gate two terminals away, hunt for outlet again, find one at elevator where one cannot sit to use computer, leave laptop in backpack and set beside outlet plugged straight into bag, sit opposite bag to read a book while informing passing security guard that yes, the backpack is mine and no, I am not a terrorist bomber, my laptop is simply charging, wait and read and look at the billowing snow outside until called to board two-hour delayed flight, get on plane, sit at window, take blurry photos of Sears Tower on the horizon before falling asleep.

Wake up, land at San Francisco International, come out with only handcarries, call brother, wait outside terminal. Get picked up, head home to San Mateo. Eat. Talk at length. Fall asleep.

Total travel time from Baltimore to Washington to Chicago to San Francisco: 14 hours.