Friday, February 23, 2007

At Gate 88

close enough

The SF airport has one of the greatest airport bookstores in the world -- Compass Books. The place is fantastic: well-stocked with high-quality fiction and nonfiction, healthy stacks of recent Nat'l Book Award, Pulitzer, and Booker Prize winners, satisfyingly obscure staff recommendations, philosophy, religion, and poetry (!) sections to balance the expected business and current events sections, super-literate clerks, and, best of all, and most perfect, a rich collection of pulpy airplane books (thrillers, mysteries, etc.). And all this in an airport book store. It's enough to help me forget my nine hours of legal purgatory in the conference room.

I had some fun buying Mrs. Octopus some presents. I got her Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I am sure she will like (I'm going to read it on the plane) and a sweatshirt from her alma mater at the "U Threads" store up here. (I hope she doesn't read this before I get home.)

A very spent looking woman is hunched over her roll-on bag in business attire here at gate 88 speaking into a cell phone, wearily telling someone to "Just send me a link to the PDF." Just now she yawned and said "Well, he's not a key player, but he can definitely help."

She could be describing the Octopus.


Anonymous said...

I've been spending lots of time at SFO too (I'm usually at gates 74/75, though) and agree with your observations re: the bookstore, particularly given the lack of other decent retail venues at SFO. Food is usually not that great (the dim sum place is pretty good if you're gate is out there). However, I highly recommend the Turkey Supremo (not "supremo" but something that sounds like that) at the stand right across from the watch store, near subway. It's turkey, stuffing and cranberry. Dee-lish. Also, the folks at the See's Candies are really nice (the actual counter, not the carts) and always willing to offer free samples. Call me when you're around for more than 8 hours!


OppReport said...

The Octopus would like The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, which is somewhere in the pile of Nat'l Book Award winners. It's heavy on the science without really being about science at all.

Octopus Grigori said...

LC: Nice to hear from you. I always end up eating at that Japanese place near Compass Books. I generally get the Healthy Tofu udon.

OppReport: I can't believe you killed your blog. I like Richard Powers, although I do think he's a bit goofy sometimes (he's a gigantic, hopeless nerd and probably a little Rainman-ish); The Echo Maker is on my hold list at the LA Public Library. (They hate me there.)

Kris said...

I don't do a lot of business travel, but when I'm in an airportI like to make fake business calls. For instance, "Dammit Larson! I don't care if it's Christmas eve - have that report on my desk by 8AM Monday!"

Anonymous said...

How funny--the japanese place is exactly where I used to go (seafood udon for me) before I discovered the delicious Turkey Metro (not Supremo--I finally remembered the name). Udon's only an option if you're stuck waiting around the airport for a long time; I've managed to get my timing down so I'm usually not farting around for long.


chanchow said...

I like my presents.