There was an ominous storm blowing across California on Sunday, on my way to the airport. The wind had changed to the East, and dry desert air ripped apart brittle awnings and beach umbrellas. Sad horses heads down nibbling on nothing in the dust storm.
I had spent three and a half hours on the phone with the travel agent, and they had not managed to get me an affordable return flight. Perhaps I shouldn’t go? The agent even said “I am ashamed that I was unable to get you a return flight”. Yes, he said “ashamed“, which is unheard of for a customer service representative on the phone. But what he said then, was even more unheard of (if that is possible). He said “You seem like a person to whom things happen for a purpose”. What? Really? He spoke like from another dimension. A Customer Service Sage (CSS). Anyway, I thanked him, and decided I would try again on Monday morning, not quite ready to give up.
When I called them again in the morning things got weird. After we finally found a good return flight on “WOW” Airlines, my credit card did not go through. I called Amex, but the card was OK. It must have been the travel agent’s system. But then, still being on call with the travel agent, multiple calls came in. There was a fire, pretty close to our house. We were in the yellow zone, which means “Evacuation Advisory”, which means you better have your essential stuff ready to go because “Mandatory Evacuation” might follow. Most people with horses, dogs, chickens, lamas, cats etc. get out right away at that point.
That was the moment when the CSS’s prophetic words rang true.
No Frankfurt Bookfair for me this year. Sorry folks.
So we used the “shame” coupon the travel agent gave us for another night at the Berkeley Marina Doubletree, and watched the sun set in the smoke over Mt. Tamalpais and Angel Island. A rare sight.