I never even considered smaller, regional airlines when I decided to take to the skies. In my mind, a Flying Career should look more like Paris and Hong Kong than Peoria and Hartford, and for a while, mine did. Boy watching in Sydney, boy watching in London, boy watching in Taipei — yes, mine was a glamorous life. Since coming home to Denver a few years ago — quite by choice, I should add, and with no regrets — my gig is straight domestic all the time, and sometimes that career looks funny to me. The places you end up that you would never choose to go! But somebody chooses to go there, and the airline you work for chooses to take them there, and so you find yourself abroad in the streets of places like Sacramento.
Rather unassuming for the capital city of a place like California, and kind of in the middle of nowhere, on the surface, a Sacramento layover has limited appeal. If I must fly domestic, I want New York City! I want Seattle! Come on, at least Vegas. But then this morning, out in the sunny downtown streets of Sac (with my scuffed up pedicure), I realized I quite like it here. This part of downtown, near the capitol, is awash with public art and little cafes. (And there’s palm trees!) Because it’s where California’s business gets done (or, well, should be getting done), people are out. Men with big butts in business suits, women with big lattes in splashy sundresses, groups of scrapbooking conventioneers, and that cute skinny hipster kid over there watching me take pictures. Of course there’s a Starbucks and a Subway, but little Mom & Pop businesses abound. The Thai food is delicious, my fave coffee spot doubles as a nightclub, and the Romanian/Hungarian/Greek soup place has a line out the door.
Half a million people live in Sacramento — I get that it’s not some little backwater burgh. But it’s always funny to me to come to a place that’s completely off my radar and see that life thrives in its kajillion ways. I am reminded (constantly) of just how big the world is. Just how many people live in it and find ways to make their mark. Through their art, their soup, or their coffee. Even when you travel it with your eyes wide open, you only ever see specks of the world; you catch fleeting glimpses of the wonders of life in this Universe. We had a long day of flying yesterday, and today holds Chicago in store, an operational black hole for my airline as for so many others; I was gonna need at least a glimpse of the wonders of the Universe to be able to face this day. And I got it. From a cute skinny hipster kid in Sacramento, of all places.