Steve McQueen

The kamikaze shuttle van driver was doing his very best audition for the apparently in-production sequel to 1968’s Bullitt. Racing as though he were in a Mustang, the extra-long van seating ten zoomed up and then down the hills on the streets of San Francisco, bound for the airport.

Scheduled as the shuttle’s last pick-up by, the trip was supposed to take 30 minutes. “Last” in this case meant “last” but not counting the three following hotels we stopped at for six more passengers.

Up front, riding shotgun, was a French woman named Brigit. Of course. What else? And bearing perfectly no resemblance to Bardot. But throughout the trip, beautifully conducting a wonderful orchestra playing elegantly European classical music. It was almost as though it had been recorded.

Freeway traffic on five broad lanes was fender to fender and bumper to bumper. At 11 a.m. Where are all these industrious Californians going at that hour? Oh, wait. Between the hotel and the airport is Silicon Valley. So, they were on their way to work. And set to arrive at lunchtime. Doubtlessly served with avocados.

Arriving at the United terminal, McQueen, the shuttle van driver, asked his passengers if any was flying 1st class. This head-scratcher prompted discussion and debate. As if any of we passengers in the rust-bucket shuttle van would be so bold as to pretend to be first class fliers.

In our heart of hearts, we all knew we were bound for steerage.

The scheduled 30-minute drive, computed with the precision of NASA, was, like “last,” code. Thirty means fifty. Because fifty is pretty much thirty with only minor modification to the shape and sharpness of the curves on the first numeral.

So absorbing was the first class matter that McQueen missed the terminal Bardot was to depart from. He – and she – would have to enjoy an airport 180.

But, to coin a phrase: Like, whatever.

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