5 o'clock shadow. Chicago.
Just in case you were mystified by my lack of updates, let me direct you to my Twitter.
Long story long, I’ve been a tad preoccupied with a major research project at work, on top of being gone for nearly three weeks for Thanksgiving and meetings in Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and San Francisco again – in that order.
I just got back last night and have quite a few pictures to post. Much of them I’ve already tweeted (giving you non-Tweeters the side eye yet again). I’ll try to post the rest, stories attached, over Christmas break (Yes, I’m referring to it like I’m still in college).
For now, here are some highlights:
This experience aside, Torontonians are lovely. I’m told there’s this thing on the CN Tower called the Edge Walk, in which you’re suspended above the cityscape with nothing between you and the hard, hard concrete but a flimsy-looking cord. It’s only open in the warm months, and I’ve been invited to do it should I return in the summer.
I think I’ll pass.
Chicago is an awesome city. This place is delicious, and the aquarium was fun. Jellies are always my favorite, because ain’t no party like a cnidarian party.
For my first stint in San Francisco, I stayed in the Tenderloin — a result of coming into the research process quite late and having limited time to book and schedule meetings. Upon dropping me off, my cab driver asked why the heck I was staying there. He also answered my questions of “Am I going to die?” with things like: You’ll be fine. Pause. If anyone comes up to you, just walk away. Pause.
Cab peels away the second I close the door and I’m left standing there with my luggage, a lone tumbleweed rolling by.
Silicon Valley is a neat, smart town. Lots of tech companies and charming downtown strips. There, I saw the Apple Store Steve Jobs frequented, Stanford in all its splendor, and the mighty HP shed where it all began.
I was almost the victim of The Great Bagnapping Disaster. Granted, half of it was my fault for not paying close attention to the carousel (My name is Karen, and I’m a Tweetaholic). But that had never happened before, even when I used a very generic black suitcase, so I figured: Why now?
Sure enough, I looked up from my phone long enough to realize I was the last one standing at baggage claim while a sole red suitcase that kind of but not really resembled mine rolled past.
I lifted the noticeably empty suitcase and checked the tag: Blank.
It was time to panic. I debated between running to SFO airport security and fruitlessly filling out paperwork or hunting down the bagnapper.
I decided to go a-hunting.
Potential Bagnapper #1 was a girl in her late teens or early 20s. I could tell she was creeped out by the little Asian girl chasing her down. “Excuse me?” I said. She walked faster. “Excuse me?” She stopped once she realized her ride hadn’t arrived yet. She was cornered.
Me: Hi, I can’t find my suitcase, and I just wanted to check if (looks down to see her identical red suitcase has a big black tag on the handle. Internal monologue: “Crap. That’s not mine. Or is it? She could have just added it really fast. But it looks like it’s kind of hard to add and remove quickly. Or maybe –”) you might have taken my suitcase by mistake.
Her, not amused: It’s mine.
Me: Yeah, I just noticed the tag. Well, thanks anyway; I wonder where mine went.
Her, still not amused: Well, this is mine.
I walk away, muttering expletives.
Potential Bagnapper #2. Mom standing by the curb waiting for pickup. She’s with some kids, possibly hers, and totally not the bagnapping sort. I approach anyway.
Me: Hi, did you just fly in from Chicago? (Looks down at suitcase. No unidentified tag to be found, and it appears as plump as mine).
Her, friendly: Yes.
Me: Well, my suitcase looks just like that, and I was wondering if it might be mine. Can I just see the tag?
Me, not waiting for a response, already looking at the tag tucked into the backpocket: It’s mine.
Her: Oh my God! I’m so sorry. Here you go. We just bought a new red suitcase just like this.
Me: It’s on the carousel. I’m just glad you’re still here.
Her: I’m so sorry!
I run to catch a cab, aneurysm averted.
Now, I tend to be discerning of people and their intentions, and she very well could have been a tired mom. Except for one big discrepancy: The suitcase on the carousel was empty. Mine was nearly 50 pounds. There was absolutely no way she could have mistaken mine for hers unless she happened to possess Buffy-like strength with the inability to gauge weight.
Somehow, I doubt that.
Final Score –
Attempted Bagnapper: 0
The Undead: Eternity