I finally returned the Ford Fusion this morning–early–at SFO. Despite my newfound ability to attach sentimentally to inanimate things, I developed no love for that tin can. I’m a little girl who likes a big engine.
I’d forgotten to fill the tank with gas. Well, not so much forgotten. I’d been told I couldn’t expense prepaid gas. But there are no service stations between Burlingame (where I stayed last night) and SFO that are not terrifying at 4:00am. So what might have been inexpensive gas became…practically, gas by the litre. NB: The cost of the car for 9 days was…$133. The cost of the refill tank was…roughly the same. Jesus. The gentleman checking in the car gave me a lecture. I wanted to shout that Thrifty could suck it and that the customer is always right and if I wanted to pay for the gas I damned well could…but that seemed a bit…unseemly. Particularly at 4:00am.
Regardless, the car is back; I’m on a plane; and I am homeward bound. This time, in an aisle seat.
Working with the hospitality industry–especially luxury hospitality, as I do–has made me incredibly critical of American domestic travel. We’re so spread out, people. We travel to live; we travel to work; we travel to connect. Why do we purposely make this a miserable process, then grub and grab and destroy any bits of convenience or sunshine geared at making this process less unpleasant?
I shake my head.
Take, for example, the fact that Google is offering free wireless on Virgin America flights for the holiday season. I usually pay for the wireless on these flights if I have to fly east in the day time and “lose a day.” It’s worth the $9.99 to me. The internet is blazing fast, and it’s fantastic.
This is my first free-wireless flight. Almost every single row of seats has at least one laptop flipped open; internet browser popped up. Many of these people would probably not pay the $9.99 because they either won’t be reimbursed for it; or they don’t have to do the work they’re doing; or they don’t want to pay. Regardless…there are many, many more internet users on this flight than usual. As a result, my wireless is…crawling.
I would rather pay the $9.99 and be able to use the internet in a way that works for my business needs, than have it be free and have my purposes thwarted.
The tragedy of the commons.
So I’ve left San Francisco, for what I thought was going to be the last time for a while, then found out I need to be back on Monday.
In between now and then, I have to move. Move my things out of the remaining space I still share with the man to whom I am still legally-but-not-quite-completely-married; from whom I am not-yet-fully-divorced; move my things out of storage; move into my new apartment. I feel like I’ve been on the move forever now, and it seems so disorienting and surreal.
I have to complete the mundane tasks of moving–calling ConEd; calling TimeWarner; remembering where things are; remembering to get a cashier’s check to pay the movers; remember to keep my head screwed on straight; remember to tell my boss where in the country I am.
Travel drains, sometimes. Travel wears; grates; frays relationships. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Because if I were stuck at home, it would be my personality that would be doing the damage on people, and I’d rather have an excuse.