Urban: Staying Classy in San Diego

September 9, 2010, 9:36 pm
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Sept. 9, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- The early morning traffic was light, nobody was in line at curbside check-in at the Oakland airport, it took all of two minutes to get through security, and I scored a front-row aisle seat with nobody in the middle seat for the flight.And guess whose bags came off the luggage carousel first?All of a sudden I heard Sean Connerys character from Finding Forrester in my head.Youre the man now, dog!This is gonna be a cakewalk, I thought to myself, strolling confidently through the San Diego airport, bubbling in anticipation of the sunshine sure to blind me the moment I stepped outside. Ah, but the best laid plans of mice, men and overly optimistic journalists often go awry. That point gently peppered my melon shortly after I burst through the sliding glass doors that take travelers to the line of taxis.Sunny San Diego? Try soaked San Diego. Rain? Now it was the voice of John McEnroe, circa Wimbledon vs. Bjorn Borg, in my head.You can NOT be serious!!And then William Forrester returned, only with less of a regal Scottish lilt. Youre the wet dog now, man!Yet things picked up a bit from there. The cabbie actually knew where the Giants team hotel is; to my eternal fascination, thats never a lock in any big-league city, despite the high quality and downtown location of most such properties.Nobody in line at the front desk. I got to check in right away even though it wasnt quite 10 a.m.. And my room? Peep it in on my flip-vid page for this trip. Its gorgeous, big enough to host a small wedding reception, one block from Petco Park, and features a balcony that offers views of the back of the ballpark on one side and a waterway on the other.The sun even broke through by noon, so I went for a walk. Ran into Brian Wilson, who was strolling the streets solo and entertained me for a few minutes as only he can. Ran into Amy G, who walked a few blocks with me back to the hotel. There we ran into Barry Zito, headed out for breakfast.Now it was Ice Cube in my head.Today was a good day.Ah, but its not even close to over, now, is it? It still can, and probably will, get ugly at some point.Actually, it already had. As I walked out of the hotels front door, two teenage boys bum-rushed me, baseballs in hand. At 6-foot-6 and about 235 pounds, and with a job that often put me in places where professional athletes can be found, Im often mistaken for an athlete and asked for an autograph.Never mind that these people obviously have no clue that my signature would de-value their baseballs instead of the intended opposite. Its flattering in an odd way.Until, that is, I tell them Im a nobody.The mistake I make is in accepting the ball before I tell them. Youre not on the Giants? one of the boys repeated.No, I said with a laugh. But Im taller than all of them.To which the other boy snatched the ball out of my hand like Steph Curry stripping an Angolan point guard.As they stalked off, I heard one of them refer to me as a jackass.Thats when Ron Burgundy made his inevitable appearance in my head.Stay classy, San Diego!
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