Killing time at OAK


Most of us encounter these days.

“It’s just part of traveling.”

“Yeah, the sucky part.”

Early in our relationship, the universe stranded Susan and me in Minneapolis. Thunderstorms rocked the eastern half of the U.S. “We’ll put you up in the Holiday Inn and book you on the next flight to Albuquerque.” After morning brunch at the Mall of America, we resumed our trip. All in all, a positive experience.

Years later, with two preteen kids, our two-hour drive to Dulles airport ended with sad news. “Come back tomorrow. All flights through Chicago are canceled for the day.”

And today, almost as bad as our Chicago trip. We left home at 7:30 am EDT. Our connecting flight delayed, now due to land at 12:16 AM PDT. If we find our Airbnb by 1:30, I’ll be pleased. Twenty-one hours of domestic travel. Off to an ugly start.

Oakland International Airport wowed me. Impressive noise-suppressing acoustics. Ample seating at each gate, plenty of room to linger and mill about, to eat meals picnic style on the floor, to roll out a yoga mat and lie down. I ate a portobello wrap for dinner—filling, healthy, delicious.

We crept past eight o’clock local time. I try to avoid telling time using my morning time zone. My brain tells me I’m approaching midnight—closing time for me. I go to bed by ten most days. Eli and I walked down to Peet’s Coffee. A closed sign sat on their counter. I must look pathetic. “We’re already closed, but I’ll take your order anyway.” A decision to regret. Pouring the cream, I spilled a quarter of my coffee on their counter. I didn’t even tip.

Sophie and Eli amuse themselves by reading one-minute-stories printed on receipt slips spit from a kiosk. “Jeff, you should submit your stories.” Susan, as usual, is beyond encouraging. The crowd thins and thins again. We rule gate thirty-one, we have the space to ourselves. Our frustrated, pissed-off Eugene-bound co-travelers sit at gate twenty-nine, stewing, oblivious to our happy, caffeinated party just down the hall.  

~ ~ ~


Today promised to be a slow day. A diner breakfast, lazy browsing at Cabella’s, birding in an arboretum, vinyl shopping by the university, regrouping at our rental house and planning the next few days. Last night, our car rental agency generously waited for our plane to arrive before closing up shop. Lodging check-in went without a hitch. Our house features comfortable seating and high quality bedding. As far as tough travel days go, this one almost went perfectly. Just that nasty delay on top of an already obnoxious lay-over. Hard to get here, time consuming anyway, but worth the trip.

Today’s highlight: we saw Stephen King (maybe) using the self-checkout at the Safeway. Also, no one broke their pelvis. Tomorrow we visit Crater Lake. Shaping up to be a nice trip.

28 thoughts on “Killing time at OAK

      • I think it’s a bad year for allergies too. Ben and Daughter both have been sneezing and snuffley. I’ve been waiting for mine to kick up, but so far so good🤷🏼‍♀️ (I probably just jinxed myself😂)
        I think itchy ears could be something else🤔 (though I can’t remember *what*) unless that’s a regular symptom of allergies for you. Keep an eye on it.

        Glad to see you’re gonna see the Redwoods. I still vividly remember the family trip when I was about 12 years old.


  1. Hey Jeff, I thought of you yesterday during our three yearly First Aid update. I guess several allergy oriented answers are embedded above and it is good to know you are out and about. Your travelling tale has convinced me not to fly north this winter. (Southern Aussies head north for winter sun). There’s some mighty fine (if interloping) sequoia around 200 kilometres from my home that could be worth another look. I can’t recall if they are a Redwood but your post and reader suggestions got me thinking about them. All the best.


    • Without getting to the redwood forests yet, we’ve seen some pretty ridiculously majestic trees already. My daughter is minoring in forestry so we’re getting an academic perspective on top of the jaw-agape gawking. I find air travel pretty stressful, but I like going places to explore. If I had more time, I’d do it all by car.


  2. No one broke their pelvis well this trip is already shaping up better than the last! Sucks about the delays though. I hope you guys get all the R&R and quality family time you need now.

    I vacationed at a little Airbnb on the CA/OR border just south of Brookings once, gorgeous area there. Love the redwoods too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s all wonderful so far. Our trip down the coast was pretty cool. We played on some sand dunes and explored a deserted beach, and at some first rate mexican food. Brookings looks pretty cool. There’s a dispensary on every corner. I think I’m going to go browse tomorrow and see what I can learn about weed and Tourette Syndrome.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was thinking the same thing about the broken pelvis in the beginning. Good thing that hasn’t happened! I hope you have a wonderful time away exploring new areas and the worst part of your trip is over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very cool out here. We’ve all been pretty laid back and have seen a ton of great sights. This morning I ran a path in Eugene that was designed by Prefontaine before he died. Seemed criminal to leave Eugene without going for a run.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, Jeff, when I read the title of your post, I read it with the emphasis in the wrong place! To me, it sounded like there was going to be a murder [killing] at Oak! Okay, silly, I know and forgive me for my silliness – I’m exhausted from all the goings-on at my house and longing for the weekend to come when I get a short respite from it all.

    Sorry, your holiday got off to a rough start, but I’m so glad to hear that things are better for you all now that you’ve arrived at your accommodation. It sounds like it’s shaping up to be a great holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful time and come home rested and refreshed. Looking forward to hearing more about your holiday, perhaps, in a second post? Just concentrate on enjoying yourself in the meantime.

    As for itchy ears, doesn’t that mean you’re coming into money soon!? Oh, no, sorry, I’m wrong – that’s itchy palms! You can have itchy ears with allergies, although I’m sure you’d rather have the money than the allergy. Have fun and take care. Ellie 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

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