Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Slippery Phones on Way to SFO

As my flight out of SFO wasn't until 18:05 today, I was in no particular hurry this morning. Around 10 AM or so, I found nothing else with which to kill time, finished off my packing, checked out of the hotel, and walked the 3 km or so to downtown Mountain View. I have two pieces of luggage with me, but I was able to couple them together and pull them behind me as a luggage train. The included breakfast at the County Inn is nothing to write home about, and the room was too crowded (and they have a sign saying you can't take food out of the room), so I had breakfast in downtown before catching Caltrain to Millbrae. I was, naturally, many hours early, and it turns out that this was a good thing.

The Caltrain web site said there was a free shuttle bus from Millbrae station to SFO, but there were no signs on the northbound Caltrain platform instructing people where to go. I eventually worked out that you had to go up to the concourse level, cross over, then back down to the southbound side of the tracks. By then the shuttle that was there had already left, but I had lots of time. Eventually the bus came and sat, as did I. That bus was schedule to meet the southbound train and wouldn't be coming for a while, but that wasn't a problem to me.

Just before the southbound train arrived, I got a Twitter message from Bob Hole telling me that my personal mobile phone (the one I just got activated yesterday) was sitting at the station agent desk at Millbrae station. It apparently fell out of the new holster, someone found it, and the agent (I assume management or contractors since the workers are on strike) alertly called people on the phone including my mother, who was rather confused about it.) I hopped off the shuttle just as its doors were ready to close and went back up to the station agent's desk. Had the shuttle left earlier, or had I been in more of a hurry, I would have either had to leave the phone behind and hope it eventually made it back to me, or else head back to the station from the airport. (As it happens, I would have had enough time to do that.) Again thanks to Bob Hole, I knew to call my mother and reassure her that all was well.

Obviously, the new holster isn't doing any better than the old. I put the holster away and put my phone in my pocket. When I get back from this trip, I'll try to figure out some other way of holding on to my phone that doesn't lead to it constantly slipping away from me.

The United check in desk was all but vacant, and I was concerned that they might not even let me check in. (That's happened once; I'm told you can't check in more than six hours early.) But they did take my bags, collected the excess-luggage fee (I've packed a bag of Cheryl's stuff that's been stored with me to take to her using a piece of luggage that I was intending to retire anyway so it's okay for it to not come back with me), and went for a walk around the International Terminal. There's currently an exhibit about the history of the America's Cup that I thought was interesting. By then it was about time for lunch, so I went to the food court, and finally subjected myself to Terrorization. Because it was between "banks" of flights, it was quiet and relatively quick through the Taking Shoes Away checkpoint.

As part of the United credit card I got recently, I have a couple of passes to the United Club, and today was an excellent day to use them. I checked in and looked around. This club is huge! I fired up my computer, found the wi-fi to work, and settled in here to relax for the three hours before my flight. There are times when giving yourself more time than you really need works out for the best.

When I last checked, the seat next to me was vacant. Here's hoping that it stays that way for the flight tonight. I hope to actually get some sleep, but I'm not confident. I can sleep on trains, no problem, but planes aren't that easy. Even on the first class flight from Sydney, with lie-flat seats and a place to connect my CPAP, it was a challenge.
Tags: trains, travel
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