Sunday, April 01, 2007

It Is Still Sunday Morning -- Here

Another sunny Sunday morning. Another tasty cup of coffee: Kona this time. But sorry, there's no WPFW this morning, no acoustic guitars. Instead, I'm looking out my fourteenth-floor window at bustling South Waikiki. I've got to give a tutorial at a symposium in a couple of hours, and I'm just checking the email and getting a little caffeine in the system before I hike over there.

I figure yesterday was about twenty-one hours, door to door. And did you ever hear of an airline called ATA? Apparently they're owned by Southwest -- I thought I was flying Southwest. So in Oakland, there's a line of probably seventy-five people to check in at the gate. They kept announcing that the flight was "severely oversold," looking for volunteers to take a deal. They said they were oversold by twenty-five people. When I got to the desk, they asked me what kind of seat I wanted. As usual, I said "aisle." So the guy took my ticket and said, "We'll page you twenty minutes before take-off."

This threw me. After confirming the plan with him, I walked away with no ticket, no boarding pass, just this guy's word that he'd page me. Apparently he couldn't be sure of getting me an aisle seat until he saw who else was checking in. I didn't like it.

So I stayed close by. Finally I went back to him and said, "Hey, if I hadn't wanted to sit on the aisle, would you have assigned me a seat?" He looked at me in vague recognition, then said, "Oh, hey, I got you a seat," and handed me my boarding pass.

As we boarded, I heard the flight attendants laughing about how this flight was oversold by fifty people. Funny, that wasn't what they were telling us. Found my seat, and sure enough, I was by the window, jammed in beside two big guys.

This airline doesn't give you anything. Five and a half hours in the air from Oakland to Honolulu, and not a peanut. Oh, they'll sell you a peanut. But, I don't know, maybe I get it from my old man, but I'm cheap that way. I don't want to encourage these guys. I noticed nobody else did, either.

After dark, the side of the plane got really cold, where I was sitting up against it. The flight attendant came by, and I said, "Could you please bring me a blanket?"

"Blankets are nine ninety-five," he said.

I said, "Are you kidding me?" He just kept walking. Seen it before.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details of the baggage carousel, the shuttle. Apparently the prevailing attitude here in Hawaii is to not be in a hurry, let's say. I got to my room a little after midnight. The streets all around were thronging with people. I ran down to the corner market for some milk and bananas to bring back, having seen that I have a refrigerator and microwave, and not having had more than a couple of peanuts all day on the hop over to Oakland.

The scene on the street was spectacular. Man, they're dressed to the t's, they're out showing off. I love crowds and the noise of partying crowds.

Back in my room, about twelve fifteen in the morning, I heard keys in my lock. I opened the door to a surprised lady, with a guy standing behind her. Confusion ensued, as she tried to figure out what floor she was on. Part of the problem was she didn't what floor they were supposed to be on. They key only has the last two numbers of your room number printed on it, not the first part, which is your floor. The guy just stood there behind her, wondering what she was getting him into. Sorry I missed it. People were banging around the halls all night, singing and shouting in the street, I love it.

Forecasts called for rain every day, but it looks beautiful out there now. Well, I guess there are more clouds than there were when I started this. I think I'll take a slow stroll over to the hotel where the symposium is (I never stay at the conference hotel).

Don't try to pull anything while I'm out of town. I've got eyes in the back of my head, you know.


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