Friday, August 13, 2010

On the Road Again

Chicago is humid. At 9 o'clock in the morning, I'm greeted by the sweaty faces of the commuters at the bus stop on the corner. Taxi's fly by and SIR hails a white one just for me. He hoists my suitcase into the deep trunk, one of the little things he does that makes me (and the Little Cuter) love him. There's not a misstep in his wonderfulness – I go through doors he holds open, I enter elevators before he does, his eyes are always roving, wondering if there's something else he can do to make my stay more perfect. He looks at my girl the way a mother wants a man to look at her daughter. It makes it easier to leave, knowing she has someone who is looking out for her.
*****
O'Hare is no more manageable at 9:45am than it was at 5:45pm. The breakfasts are overpriced ($12 for eggs, toast, frozen potatoes and a coke) and the crowds are moving right through the middle of the over-wide walkways. Is there some special terminal dispensation from the “keep to the right” dictum we follow everywhere else
*****
Overweight children are everywhere. Eight year olds should not have bellies oozing down over the tops of their shorts, especially when they are eating a plate of french fries and chili. At 10 o'clock in the morning. Little girls in crop tops are cute when they are 3; by 10, it's a little bit creepy. And when their tummies are protruding in an imitation of pregnancy, well, I just want to go up to their parents and smack them. There's a 3rd grader sitting across from me whose underwear is proudly sticking up above the waistband of her shorts. It's a red thong. What are her parents thinking?
*****
My gate was changed, and my walk has just gotten longer. K-19 is, of course, the very last gate in this octopus tentacle. There are no moving sidewalks so this must be considered a short walk. I'm fit enough to manage my suitcase and myself; the obese couple looking mournfully down the corridor were obviously girding themselves for more exercise than they'd had in a year. Once again, people are walking down the middle of the aisle. Perhaps I am just a little too sensitive today?
*****
What makes passengers think that they can change their seats with impunity? Two UofI clad girls have moved 3 times since I took my seat. They want to sit with one another, but men keep coming to spoil their plans. At last, the taller one gave up and moved back to her assigned seat. Her compatriot is now squished between two gigantic men.
*****
Stop Islamization of America was the headline on the CNN feed in the waiting area. Apparently, a group of New York women have raised funds to produce ads for the buses and subways with that headline in an attempt to block the construction of the Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. I can't revisit my outrage (you can read it here),but the sandal-wearing 20-something Christian kids reading this post over my shoulder were as appalled as I am. “Jesus says we should forgive our enemies,” the young man explains. I'm not a believer, but this made me feel glad that some people are. Whatever gets you to the place that I deem right, eh?  
***** 
It's raining west of JFK and LaGuardia and the landing patterns are disrupted. First we are taking off, then we are delayed 15 minutes, then we are leaving in 4 minutes. I don't pretend to understand air traffic controls, but this seems pretty odd. On the other hand, why am I looking a gift horse in the mouth? Is it better to sit on the tarmac in Chicago or circle the airspace above Queens? The pilot assures us that, even with the 15 minute delay, we'll still arrive 10 minutes early, thus proving once and for all what I've been feeling for a long time – the airlines have added 30 minutes to every flight-time to improve their “on time” performance. With that in mind, the flight attendant's repeated requests to take our seats so that we can have “an on-time gate departure” make much more sense. It's not a real departure, we're not taking off, but once we leave the gate someone gets to say that we departed on time. Sigh.
*****
Mad Men creeps into this post, too. I'm thinking of Betty and Henry's flight to Reno. She's wearing heels and a proper dress, he's in his suit and tie. On this flight, I see nothing but sneakers and sweat shirts. There's not a pair of stockings on the plane, not even on the well-dressed elderly woman whose suitcase nearly beheaded her before she agreed to accept help putting it in the overhead bin.
 *****
American Airlines somehow managed to take off late and land us early. I'm looking to meet up with MTF when her plane arrives and then we are off on the AirTrain and the subway to Manhattan and our night on the town. I'll be back on Monday with an up-date on The City and the girls. 

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