|The panel Murder Across the Pond, which I moderated.|
All historical novelists writing about England.
|Louise Penny and Cara Black|
|Lisa Brackman, nominated for Hour of the Rat|
and Tim Hallinan, nominated for his
hilarious Junior Bender series.
|At the banquet with Jeff Siger, nominated for|
Mykonos After Midnight
From Monterey, the gracious and dear Ken Isaacson, whom many of you know from MWA, and his charming and beautiful wife Silvia gave me a lift to SFO Airport, where I caught the BART to Walnut Creek and the home of a long-time and dear friend.
When I first saw the Bart Station in the airport, I was envious. Why don't we have this in New York, I wondered--sleek, attractive public transportation inside the main terminal. I asked at information and found that I had to buy a ticket for $10.40 from the machine against the wall. Piece of cake, I thought. I buy NYC Metrocards and Metro North tickets from such machines all the time.
The first machine I approached was this one that takes only cash. I decided to wait for one where I could pay with a credit card.
The picture on the machine indicated that one put in the credit card face out. I did. A message told me that my card could not be read. I tried again with the same result. Repeated with two other cards, with the same frustrating result. I went back to information, where the attendant demonstrated how I should hold the card, exactly mimicking what I had just done six times. I went back to try again. Seeing me still struggling, the attendant left her booth to help. She reversed the card, put it with the strip facing her. Voila!
The next step was hilarious. The screen pops up telling you are automatically buying a ticket for $20. Next to the left-hand buttons are the words:
- Subtract $1
- Add $1
- Subtract 5 cents
- Add 5 cents
To buy a ticket for $10.40, I had to press the A-button ten times, and then press the D-button eight times, at which point I could buy my ticket for the right amount. I laughed out loud. That's California for you. They get the hard stuff right, like building a great train to the airport, and then when it comes to the small details, they manage to come across as completely loony.
Molly met me at Walnut Creek and took me to her home on the campus of the Athenian School in the foot hills of Mount Diablo, which looks like this:
I am very happily ensconced here until Monday morning. If I have to buy a Bart ticket on my way home, at least I have successfully completed the training program.