Thursday, October 20, 2005

Laura in Chicago

In my fourth hour at Chicago O’Hare, the first Air Canada flight has arrived, and alarmed passengers burst forth in full scurry. I have just had a lovely meal of fried carbs with cheese goo and cheap booze with my friends from the Carolinas. They are passionate about football, Barbeque, and the Carolinas. This week, they were much more fun than my fellow Canadian traveler, who spent his time in futile anti-Bush and pro-gay marriage debates with Southern (pronounced Suthern) and Mid-Western Republicans.

I have once again concluded that the wireless network at O’Hare, though prevalent, is impossible to log onto. You should not end a sentence with a preposition (onto). I have concluded that, though it is prevalent, it is impossible to log onto the wireless network at O’Hare. I have concluded that the wireless network, onto which is impossible to log, is prevalent? Today I was told by a Texan that my accent was hard to understand. And writing also challenges me. My language skills are clearly in jeopardy.

The man who sits beside me has three wrinkles behind his ear. I wonder if these collect lint. Over dinner, I debated with an overweight Carolinian whether he should get a tattoo of a rose on his back or of a bull (with nose ring at navel) on his belly. There is a lot to consider, including lint, wrinkling and hair. Luckily it takes more than that to put me off my cheese goo.

A man crawls behind the phone booth to plug in his cell-phone. This is because I’ve taken the only prime plug location, with much deftness and skill. Next time, I’ll be in the gold lounge and he can have this spot.

I have just laughed out loud, making me the craziest person in this waiting area, i.e., the subjects about whom I normally write. Please note narrow escape from preposition sentence termination.

A loud fan blows the juice out of my eyes and the hair out of my head. When I lose my hearing, I wonder how much of it will be because of machinery. The rest, of course, will be from my 10” car subwoofer. Pimpin’ ain’t easy.

The man has plugged in a 7 year old cell phone, and must keep his head out and low due to the cord’s short length.

The generic business man, Bob, with graying hair, bulging stomach under wrinkled blue shirt, laptop over shoulder, continues to walk by. Over an over, 5 and 10 of him at once. Where’s Waldo? Bob’s everywhere.

I pilot rushes out from the gate. Sudden onset of fear of flying? Realization that this was not a simulation?

Air Canada is paging an Ottawa passenger, which seems impossible, due to the large and ever-increasing time before our departure. This passenger is probably still in Concourse G with her Carolinian friends, who all stand up when she leaves the table.

I am now cold to the point of slowed movement and stiff joints. I have tried to read my book. Purchased in the Ottawa airport, it’s about a women’s literature group in Iran and the struggles they face. Since I’m a woman, read books, and face struggles, I thought I would be entranced. So far this has not proven out. When I first started to read it, I saw Dean in the airport and talked (ed note: drank) with him instead. But I can’t find Dean now.

The Tulsa flight, whose aircraft is having serious maintenance issues, has boarded. Yet Air Canada remains inactive.

Evidently this waiting area is the love shack, as there are many people cuddling.

A man wearing a huge fanny pack with his tight jogging pants has a blackberry holder on his belt, but the blackberry in his hand. Furthermore, he holds his other hand up to his head, making the phone signal. Why not put the blackberry in the fanny pack, the fanny pack in the bag, and the bag in the hand. Ultimately, I recommend putting the joggers in the garbage and wearing the khakis which are undoubtedly in the bag. He has now left, obviously to do this.

Fanny pack man has come to talk to the woman across from me about blackberries. Then his life story begins. She does not care, as she just wants to cuddle with her husband. It is a travesty that fanny cannot berry.

The agent at the gate is on the phone. “Hello, just calling you to let you know that the planes are not leaving. Well, the main reason is that we want Laura to be tired and grumpy for girls’ poker night. Really, there was a runaway pilot? He was probably frightened of the business men.”

The cuddling couple across from me speaks lovely Franglais. The man has a good sense of style, and is not afraid of jewelry. I am jealous of them, but luckily his jeans are wrong and his hair is scruffy.

I continue to think I recognize the business man. But that’s because I’m crazy.

Behind the face-smears on the window behind me is a pickup truck. In the back are 5 purple rubber gloves and a spray-bottle. Theorizing on the cause of this occupies a good 15 minutes for me. All that’s left of Michael Jackson impersonators after being sprayed with “quick-dissolve spray”? After a dish-washing party with an amputee? Making balloon animals?

Montreal flight is 2 hours late and fanny pack man still doesn’t make it on before the final boarding call. I think it takes a long time to drive from Chicago to Ottawa but it’s looking like this is something I should have considered.

I have bit into the apple I took from the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I hope that its juices evaporate to moisten my eyes and that its healthy goodness balances the cheese goo.

Of the 6 other women in this waiting area, only 1 does anything to her hair in the morning. My hair takes me 20 minutes every morning. Over the next 50 years, this will take 6083 hours, or 253 days. Is credibility in business worth it? And yet the business man who continues to walk by is often unkempt. The male life expectancy is shorter for other reasons, or this would not be fair. I wonder how much of my life will be spent in airports.

Speaking of unkempt, an unshaven greasy man in a purple shirt runs over the cell phone man’s feet and suitcases fall everywhere. Instead of “I’m sorry”, purple man chooses a “Oh dear, oh dear” as his response. This was likely a suave pick-pocketing maneuver of a spy.

In a sudden spurt of intelligence, I’ve moved one seat over to mitigate the effects of the fan. For warmth, I am cuddling with both laptop and power supply (recalled due to potential over-heating).

A man rushes by and walks into a chair. He turns and apologizes to it. He’s a Canadian.

My brain has started to ooze out of my left ear. This likely started earlier, when I was confused as to which rental car agent walk talking to me. Passers by remark on this being the second strange event of the day after the fleeing captain.

A man swears at the garbage-collector lady when she tells him in Spanish that she knows nada about where to catch the shuttle. There are three Air Canada agents waiting 2 feet away behind the desk.

It is 9:30 (flight now 2 hours late), and the construction crew have started to do work in the area outside of the gate. Why now? Concerns that an earlier start might, say, cause delays? I consider leaning over the barrier and watching for entertainment. Update: two other waitees chose this option, so I will not be a follower.

A hybrid business man/leisure traveler has sat next to me to eat his meat bits. These are made with the fingers of chickens and dipped into white goo, which matches his shoes. He is not wearing his wedding ring cause he’s trying to pick up on his business trip. Luckily, the chicken finger move doesn’t work on me. Though I am considering when a fourth meal for today would make sense. The food stalls are too far now, though, and my feet too large.

The Montreal flight, which boarded 30 minutes ago, continues to sit at the gate. Waiting for the runaway pilot? Missing 5 purple gloves?

Sucking noises are made as part of the meat bit eating. This cancels my hunger. Man stares at me to induce conversation, a second failed maneuver on his part.