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February 20, 2017

Pittsburgh Train

6:17 am MST Leave house
7:00 am MST Arrive canopy airport parking
7:15 am MST leave canopy
7:25 am MST Arrive DEN.
7:31 am MST Clear security
7:38 am MST get to gate c34

In the morning, I wake up and drive to the airport. On the way, I rehearse the city that I'm flying to. "I'm not flying to Ontario today. Today, I'm going to Oakland."

I plan my arrival at Terminal C this time. Now, when I arrive at Terminal C, I don't just look for Oakland (and I pray that the monitors are working properly and for once, they are.) But this time, when I see Oakland, I check the flight number also. Flight Number 1376 to Oakland. There it is. Gate C34. Now, I race down to the gate.

I record my time every step of the way. Not for any real reason. Just so I can get some understanding of how much time I spend commuting.

7:48 am MST get preboard pass
8:06 am MST boarded plane
8:35 am MST pushback
8:46 am MST Wheels up
10:19 am PST Wheels down
10:22 am PST at gate C34

"I need a preboard pass for Flight 1376 to Oakland," I gasp. I'm so proud of myself. I know my flight, my destination, and I've even made it to the right gate this time.

"Do you need a specific seat on the flight?" she asks.


"Do you have your boarding pass on your phone?" She asks.

I proudly show her my boarding pass. She hands me a piece of paper.
The one thing that I always, always, always forget to ask is "how full is this flight". Like, the last thing you want is Lurch sitting beside you in the middle seat on an empty flight.

I board the plane and now I panic. I can't reall which side of the plane I should sit on. Finally, I decide on seat 2A. I usually sit on the other side of the plane for this flight, but I figure it will all work out. The whole flight, the ground is completely socked in in fog and rain clouds.

We land and I bolt off of the plane to the BART to Oakland Airport connector. Only now do I realize that it's raining pretty good. And, I don't bring my Colorado jacket to California because it's too heavy. But I failed to check the forecast in Oakland, or scratch that...I new it was raining in Oakland, and I was too stupid to bring an umbrella or a rain coat.

10:24 am PST deboard
10:30 am PST BART connector
10:44 am PST coliseum station

At the Coliseum Station, I go to use my new BART Clipper Card. I'm so proud that I have the card. I just got it last week. I use it now instead of the little temporary paper cards that the tourists use. Now, it's like I'm an authentic SF Bay Area commuter with my blue plastic Clipper Card.

I put my card up to the turnstyle and somehow, it's declined. It directs me to see the agent in the little monkey cage beside the turnstyles.

"Why won't it take my card?" I ask her.

She looks at my card, and then back to me. Something is wrong. Only now do I realize that I'm trying to use my Southwest A+ Frequent Flyer card isntead of my new Clipper card. They're both blue, but other than that, they look nothing alike.

I'm just mortified to realize my stupidity. I switch and use the right card and now I'm down at the Colisuem Station, waiting on the Richmond Train.

The BART train system is not easy to figure out. Not for me, anyway. I have a photo of the BART train map in my phone, and I screen shot the photo every week to keep it in my recent photo group. There are a lot of trains that come by here, but the only one I can take to get to work is the Richmond Train.

11:00 am MST Richmond train.
11:10 am MST 19th st station

So, I hop on the Richmond train and head for the 19th Street Station. Now, it's easy enought to get off at the 19th street station, but there are countless entrances to this station from the street level, and after weeks of practice, I've gotten pretty good at popping up on 20th Street and Broadway. But it took me a while to figure it out.

So, I pop up at 20th and Broadway in downtown Oakland, CA. I decide that I'll be clever and go ahead and grab lunch before heading into the office. Now, I should point out that today is a holiday. President's Day. But I've decided to come into Oakland a day early to get some work done and also see the city.

11:20 ikes

I walk north on Broadway to Ike's. I just realized that Ike's was on Broadway last week, and I've eaten there several times.

When I get to Ike's, the place is deserted. All of the chairs and tables are stacked up in the dull rain at Broadway and Grant.

I go inside. No one is inside. They don't have tables or anything. You're supposed to sit outside and feed the pigeons. But today, no pigeons. Only a rained out plaza. I order my sandwich, then sit around and wait indoors.

11:35 leaving ikes
11:45 kaiser building

It's only a few blocks to the Kaiser building, but it's cold and rainy and miserable and when I get to the building, it's completely locked. Tighter than a frog's ass.

Now, I'm not really sure what to do. I didn't bother to make a reservation anywhere for this week, because....well...because I'm an idiot, I think.

So now, I'm not sure what to do. I check the rates at the Marriott, but it's $300 a night, and my cell phone is about to die. I'm trying to find a room on AirBnB, and my phone is dying, and I don't have a charging cable for my iPhone, for reasons that escape me. Normally, it's in my suitcase. Today, it isn't there. Who knows why?

So, my phone is nearly dead, and I can't charge my phone because I don't have a cable. Also, my laptop is nearly dead, and I don't have a place to plug it in. I don't have a place to stay. And I'm outside in the cold, wondering how I got here.

12:19 pm PST

My phone is about to die, and now, I start searching for a place on Air BnB like it matters. I've got to nail something down here. I'm not good at using this Air BnB App. It's very confusing to me. But finally, I figure out how to tell it that I want a whole house, not just a room in a shared house. Last week was a nightmare, sharing one house with 3-4 other people. Ugh. I want my own place this time.

I'm looking for a place near Rockridge Station on the BART line, but the place I liked last time appears to be booked up. Finally, I put in a request to rent a private place several blocks away from Rockridge station, but the check in time is 3:00 p.m., which won't do. I need to check in immediately, so that I can get in out of the rain. So, I leave a note to the renter/slumlord, and it says that it hasn't officially booked, as the slumlord has to agree to the terms I've stipulated in my little note.

And my phone dies.

So, I'm sitting outside like a homeless person, wondering how I get myself into these situations. A cold wind is blowing, and I'm shivering. I need shelter. But I can't even make a phone call. Slowly, I begin to realize how screwed I really am. Like...I have cash in my pocket, but I don't have a functioning cell phone. So, I can't even go online and look for a place to stay. I can't call Uber. Or Lyft. Or AirBnB.

Now, I start to think about the homeless people. What would a homeless person do? I remember how every time I go into a coffee shop or a McDonald's, I see countless homeless people huddled inside for shelter.

Now, I have a plan. I'll march down to Mia Terra Coffee Shop on 20th and Broadway. If I buy a coffee, they won't throw me out, and they have internet access.

12:29 pm PST Arrive at Tierra Mia Coffee shop.

So I walk about 4 blocks in the rain, order a cup of coffee, and sit down insde the Tierra Mia coffee shop. It's good to be out of the weather. That was a crucial move. That was smart. Now, I'm out of the weather. But I can't charge my laptop because all of the other patrons have hogged up all of the outlets. Also my cell phone is dead, and I don't have a cable to charge my phone, and my laptop is nearly dead, at least I have internet access and my laptop is still functioning (barely).

I sign into AirBnB and the woman messages me and tells me that I can have the place, but that the maid will be cleaning the place until 3:00 p.m. I briefly scan the email she sent, and see that it says "the key is under the mat" and I'm like "great"...at least I have a place to go to get out of this weather.

But now, I can't call Uber or Lyft with my phone, as it's dead and I don't have a charger. So, I decide to hop on BART, ride to Rockridge Station, and then walk the remaining distance (about a mile) in the rain.

Fortunately, when I come out of the Rockridge station, I see a bus parked under the overpass and I'm like..."hey...people ride buses, don't they?"

So now, I'm interrogating the bus driver. She leaves in about 12 minutes and goes pretty much where I'm going. So, I climb onto the bus without paying and sit there and wait 12 minutes while she does whatever it is that bus drivers do when they're not driving buses.

Eventually, she drops me off and I walk about 2 blocks and find my Air BnB. Perfect.

I walk up to the place, and look under the mat, but there's no key there.

Now, I'm royally fucked. I have no internet access. No cell phone (it's dead). And I'm not near really anything. So screwed.

Now, I'm thinking that I'll have to find an apple store and get a cable to charge my iphone. But, I can't call Uber or Lyft, and I don't even have internet access at this point. mother. fucker.

So, I'm thinking it's a mile walk back to the Rockridge station....my whole day is pretty much ruined at this point. Then, I come up with another plan. What if I just stashed my little CC Filson suitcase and camera on the front porch, and then started going house to house, knocking on doors to see if someone could help me.

So, the second house, a woman opens the door. I explain my situation. She lets me in, and gives me a charger that fits my iPhone 5S, and I see in her front family room, charging my iPhone. "You know...there's a CVS pharmacy about 3-4 blocks from here...just go down that road," she offers. Like...who even knew that CVS carried iphone chargers? I certainly didn't.

She disappears into the back of the house.

After charging for 5-10 minutes, I can use my cell phone again. I message the woman and she explains that I was supposed to go to the back door to find the key under the mat.

Now, I walk back over to the house, and now the maid is there, and she's laughing, and lets me into the house. I grab my suitcase, and go inside the hosue. The house is huge. It's a queen anne revival style house, and it's massive. Kitchen, foyer, family room, dining room...I'm thinking how lucky I am to have found this place on Air BnB. And all for only $83 a night. What a deal. I should write a book, I think.

There's even a cell phone charger on the counter that fits my iphone 5S, so I take that, and now I'm charging my cell phone in the family room and, at some point, I mention to the maid that the key was supposed to be under the mat, and suddenly the maid realizes that I'm not supposed to be here. Because obviously this place doesn't rent for $83 a night.

"If the key was supposed to be under the mat, then you're supposed to be downstairs. Not here. Come..."

Now, she's explaining to me that I have to leave, that someone else is living there. I'm supposed to be downstairs. Will this day never end?

So now, she whisks me out of the house and into the cramped basement apartment which seems like $83 is about right. Not the whole house, obviously.

At some point, I realize that I no longer have my Canon DSLR with the 17-85 mm lens. This is not a good feeling. Maybe I left it on the bus? Or the plane? Or the coffee shop? Who knows.

I get the maid to let me back upstairs, and then I go out onto the front porch, and I find where I left the camera underneath the bench. Lord I am losing my mind.

I return to my little basement prison, and I tell the maid, "When you get ready to leave, maybe you can drop me off at the CVS pharmacy," which she agrees to.

2:51 pm PST

When we leave, she's driving this insanely nice crew cab truck. She drops me at the pharmacy and drives away. Insie the pharmacy, I buy an iPhone 5S cable and an umbrella. Total cost? $45. i think the cable was $30, which is highway robbery, but what else can you do? I can't live without my phone.

Then, I walk home in a driving rain, with my new umbrella, and my Canon 100-400mm IS USM and my DSLR, shooting every flower I pass because, hey....if we're not going to go out and see the world, then why are we here, right?

Posted by Rob Kiser on February 20, 2017 at 3:56 PM


Ug, all of a sudden, I feel cold, wet and tired. Think I'll go take a nap. :)

Posted by: sl on February 26, 2017 at 8:52 AM

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