The Great American Ride – Part Six 29 May 2018

It was even harder to get up than the previous morning. We headed for the airport. We found a real hell there. After September 11th bombing, the security in US airports was insane. That’s why there were huge queues and crowds of people. So big, that you couldn’t see a free space. Each person was stripped to underwear and hand luggage carefully checked. This took a very long time and you had to come four hours before the flight, not two. It turned out we were late, and then some. We checked in and stood in the check queue. The end of the queue was not visible. I was looking at my watch and I knew we would miss the flight. Again, the many times repeated question, “Let’s ask someone”. Again, my question remained unheard. But this time I was not passive but very active. I repeated it twenty times, and Julian said that it was calculated and there was no way we could miss the plane. I got very angry and decided to act. I went to the first policeman, I explained to him in my Bulgarian English our situation and asked him to help us. Apparently, I was pretty convincing and sincere, because he said I should go after him, but quickly. I called the others and our policeman passed us through the whole crowd and we turned up at the front. He took us straight to the check. He talked to the border police a little, and they waved us to go to them. They stripped us, checked us, and told us that there’s a train to our gate.They told us we were almost missing the plane, and we had to run. From there sprint to the train, and it’s not there.

I almost had a heart attack when I thought of the whole fuss, and if after all this we missed it. The train came, we got on it, and we left slowly for the gate. It was a game of nerves. The doors opened and we rushed like rockets. Julian couldn’t, however, because he had a legs surgery recently. I shouted that I would go and ask them to wait. From afar, running, I saw the gate and there was no one in front of it. The gate had a sleeve. I saw a bell and I started to ring hectically. I saw one of the air-hostesses coming to us. She unlocked the door, said in a questioning tone the names of all three of us, and with annoyance asked us to enter quickly. We waited for Julian and we got in, all sweaty. Everyone was giving us a bloody look because the plane was delayed for us. We sat down and it took off. I started waiting for an apology and at least a thank you, because if I had waited for them, and if I had listened to Julian’s words, we would still be in the queue and waiting. But no – I received neither gratitude nor apology. I decided to wait and see how long it will take until they think of it. Well, they didn’t. I myself wheedled it out of them, and even kicked up a row. I understand that sometimes I can be annoying, but I’m not an idiot – I let them make their own assessment for themselves. This time I couldn’t be angry because we were going to San Francisco. I was pleased with myself and I was even proud of what I did. I even figured out what my reward would be. Since we were about to get a rented car again, I said I wanted not just any car but a huge, red pickup truck. We saw such pickup trucks constantly around us, and I was only clicking my tongue. Now we were going to drive such in San Francisco.

We landed, and we had already forgotten the mishaps with the plane. We went to the rental cars to rent the pickup truck. It was quite expensive, but I was firm about it. I said I would pay it and in a few minutes Julian was driving a fantastic red pickup truck. We were seeing everything like from the second floor of a residential building. It was great. We started sightseeing San Francisco. You don’t often find yourself in a city where you would like to live. It happened for the second time to me since Moscow. The atmosphere of this city was unique. The great wooden houses, the hills, the old-time trams, the ocean seen from every high point of the city, the sunny weather, the Golden Gate Bridge – all these made this day one of the best days in my life.

For the day to become such, the company, the place, the time, the events, the emotions have to fit perfectly, like in a puzzle, and if one of these components is not proper or not in place, there is no way to happen. It may not be so, but I think and really believe that a person has at most ten ideal days in his life. Days that prove to him that his life has not gone in vain. These days leave such a trace in the mind that when you think about what has happened, for example, in the last fifteen years, these few perfect days are the first to emerge. Now I evaluate that this is really difficult and it doesn’t happen often. That’s why we must accept life, not be angry with anyone and wait for them. They will come. Good things are rare, and as they appear instantly, they disappear same way. After this day, I had several more such days, about which I will talk more later on in “my trips”. One was in Panama, the other – in Argentina.

I was expecting San Francisco impatiently, the weather was sunny, I was with my best friends, the atmosphere of the city made me feel free, the ocean gave the impression of breadth. All things on this day had been arranged in the best way, and the memory of that day always makes me smile and go back with pleasure in my thoughts. I really don’t know how to describe such a day and that’s why I won’t do it. I’ll give you advice where to go and what to visit. The Golden Gate Bridge and the park in front of it. Ride the trams through the city and the hills. Walk down the coastal street, right up to Pier 96, where the sea lions gather. Sail by boat to Alcatraz.

In the late afternoon, it was time to head to Santa Barbara because we would be going back not by plane, but we would drive the red pickup truck.

The last seventh part follows.

29.05.2018                                                                                           Vladimir Karamazov ®