Friday, April 11, 2008

Witness to Catastrophe

According to CNN and other authorities, I am trapped inside of a national nightmare. I'm at O'Hare airport in Chicago in the midst of the airline meltdown, which according to CNN and other authorities, has created a refugee camp of surly passengers desperate to go somewhere, anywhere. I keep looking around for the horror so that I can bear witness to this headline catastrophe. I am in the B Concourse -- United territory -- and it looks like every other Friday morning I've sat here waiting for my ride home. I thought I heard small arms fire coming from the American terminal, but it turned out to be the popcorn machine over by the Starbucks across from the Hudson News stand. You know the one I mean.

A woman over by the window at B3 is reading People. I can tell by the "who are these people?" look on her face that she is not a subscriber. She only reads it in airports and dentist offices. There is a slow but annoying drip coming from the ceiling by the pay phone kiosk eight feet to my right. A parade of people have settled into the seat for as long as it takes to get dripped on and then they move. I should warn them, I know, but I am but an observer here -- reporting on this nightmare. I decide I will warn older people with bad hips, but nobody else.

My flight is delayed 40 minutes. A nightmare? Somehow I can't muster my "Flight or Fight" response to this. I don't get too worked up about this stuff anyway. Travel is all about managing your expectations. Whenever I leave home for a trip -- no matter where I'm going -- I assume I will spend the night sleeping in the back of a rented Celica at a snowed-in truckstop in Erie, PA. These things happen. That way, even if I end up in the back of a Jeep Cherokee at a snowed-in truckstop in Erie I can say to myself, "At least it isn't a Celica". If the truckstop is in Wyoming? At least it isn't Erie. A Motel 6 in Boise? It could be much much worse. And if I actually get to where I intended to go more or less at the time and on the day I wanted to go there -- which is usually the case -- I feel a pleasurable swell of surprise and delight.

Our long national nightmare is over. Somebody call CNN.


Blogger Wildwings79 said...

Why is Erie at the bottom of the truckstop heirarchy? I think that's a little unfair, considering the existence of places like Death Valley and Bland, VA.

12:30 PM  
Blogger JustKJ said...

I too have been stuck at O'Hare, usually in the American terminal. Don't count out the noise actual being small arms fire and the popcorn a cover.

AA can be a bit anti-customer friendly. And thier lounge, unlike Continental, only allows one free drink. Grounds for anger in some people.

9:37 PM  
Blogger LK said...

I think I may be stealing this, but I always say: "the road to happiness is paved with low expectations."

I live in Hawaii and small glitches are magnified exponentially because the flights are all so long. I'm with you, I'm generally quite pleased if I get places the same day as intended. Even that time they broke the highway and we couldn't get home from the airport, hey, at least we made it to the right land mass...

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It could always be worse, couldn't it? I mean... heck... you could have been sleeping in the back of a Toyota Tercel along side the road in Cut-and-Shoot (pronounced: cut-n-shoot with a Texas drawl), Texas.

9:07 PM  

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