Two and a half weeks ago, an e-mail heavy with apologies and light on details arrived in my inbox announcing that guitar camp had been canceled. I was shocked; we guitar campers start looking forward to the next camp as soon as the closing ceremonies of the previous camp are complete. THAT’S how much of a good time it is. Such was my agitation that I ignored my usual phone phobia and called my friend Beth to let her know, as she doesn’t check her e-mail with the same frequency as I do. (I forget, working on my computer all day and having it on all night at home, that some people do not live on their computers. Generally, these people are less pasty and more fit than myself; but I digress.)
Most of the guitar sisterhood lives in California, and generally drives up to camp in Mendocino, but every year a few of us come from out of state, me from Tucson, Beth from Wisconsin, and last year, we had a pair who came to be known as the “Jersey Girls.” Naturally, we have had our plane tickets for 2 months, and we were at a loss as to what to do with them. As you may have had the misfortune of learning, changing a plane ticket is always a Herculean task, and nearly as nasty in the end as cleaning the Augean stables. The good news for me was that this year I had decided to fly Southwest into Oakland, instead of United into San Francisco, which gave me the benefits of greater time flexibility and a ticket that cost half of what it normally did. United usually has me flying an 8-hour day, almost always with an additional delay on top, to get from California to Arizona, which is just ridiculous. Southwest is also very humane about cancellations. As long as you do it in advance, there’s no penalty, and what’s more, they’re nice about it on the phone. As an airline, they have never pissed me off, which makes them tops in my book. They also have a sense of humor, company-wide; I have heard the best pre-flight speeches by flight attendants on Southwest, good enough that on one occasion I applauded. I appreciate that kind of effort.
Problem was, I would have to use the ticket before camp next year, so I couldn’t hold on to it until then, and I have no reason to go to California otherwise now. Southwest flies other places, but you have to go to L.A. first. It wasn’t practical. And Beth didn’t know what she was going to do about her ticket.
So we talked and determined to go out anyway, stay in San Francisco, and hang out in our pajamas playing guitars for the weekend. Then we decided to send out an e-mail to other potential campers and see if they wanted to meet up while we were there, in a sort of informal shadow camp deal. Some did, and we will be spending most of the day Sunday in Oakland at a fellow camper’s place, raising an estrogen-fueled ruckus. Good stuff, Stella.
By the time you read this, I will probably be on the plane to Oakland, where I, my backpack, and my guitar will take BART UNDER the San Francisco Bay (in a tube—how cool is that???) to be dropped off at Union Square, where I can walk the 6 blocks to our hotel if my foot is up to it, or take a cable car that will drop me at the door. I am fairly swooning at the romance of showing up in San Francisco with only a duffel bag and a guitar, and a heart full of dreams…a mere 41 years too late for the Summer of Love. Okay, it’s a duffel, a guitar, a heart full of dreams, reservations at a nice hotel, and VISA. So I’m a middle-class hippie; whaddayawant?
I will do my best to engage in blog-worthy adventures while I’m there. See ya on the flip-side.