Closing up shop
- Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006

It may be time for a change
- Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entry in the air
- Friday, April 21, 2006

Still here
- Thursday, April 20, 2006

Music of the moment
- Wednesday, March 1, 2006



101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


Dancing Brave
Fugging It Up
Kitty Sandwich
Mister Zero
Sideways Rain


My crew
Our host

2000-12-06 - 14:30:16

Thoughts from a travel day


I checked in for my flight to Chicago yesterday with a lovely little clerk named Lisa -- short, petite, waif-like in a way, with long blond hair and a hint of southern belle Alabama accent. A good start to the day, we parted with smiles.

It reminded me of the other day at CVS, when Rebecca, probably working after school, seemed nervous, flustered, trying to impress me almost. I think she liked me. I gave her my hard-to-spell Polish last name so she could look for my photos under "C." When she found them, she asked my first name, then asked if there were five envelopes. "Good thing there were," she said, showing me one of them, "see, this one looks like a 'P'." She chatted while totaling the purchase, smiling the whole time, and when I took the receipt from her, our hands touched. On the way out, I wondered if perhaps it was a subconscioiusly purposeful act on my part -- just something to make her day.

Somewhere over the flat fields of Ohio, the coulds opened to reveal the snow-covered farms of the American midwest. Dark lines -- the straight roads and highways -- divided the landscape into squares and rectangles, at times altered by a meandering river or twisting rural road. Major roads come to an intersection in small downtown villages below, where the buildings are distinguishable from the open fields of white. Clouds and earth are almost one and the same, until the blue water of Lake Erie shines through the break in the cumulus.

At the end of O'Hare B Terminal sits a woman who looks like someone I used to date in college. Short, blond, good figure, but a new hairstyle (if it were her) of wavy shoulder-length hair. I stand and stare for a while -- with no worries of detection as she reads intently her book -- after first thinking it could be her, although last I heard she was in Russia. But the longer I look, the less familiar she appears until it is no longer her and instead perhaps a glimpse of her 10 years from now, legs crossed, still beautiful, reading alone in O'Hare at the end of Terminal B.

So my drinking made me miss a 1:45 American flight to South Bend as four flights (two to South Bend) on United Express are delayed because of "computer problems" in Appleton, which "releases" the flights, whatever that means, since all the planes are physically on the tarmac at the moment.

I was down at a tiny corner bar enjoying an early afternoon Sam Adams and heard the announcement for "a few" seats on American Eagle on a "first come" basis, but I was too far to make it to the desk. After a few moments' hesitation, I decided to see what options I had, and left having only finished three quarters of a $4 bottle of beer. I just missed getting a seat on the flight and when they got 10 more, it was too late to make it to the gate, in another terminal. Argh. Now Tri Cities, Tennessee, gets to go and I'm left sitting here in the warm sunlight coming through the window from outside, cold Chicago.

And the pretty lady seems to be gone.

There's an old, white-haired man next to me with wife and "NFL Alumni" bag -- perhaps Tom Pagna?

All of a sudden, at 2 p.m., the next scheduled update on the delayed flights, they announce immediate boarding for my South Bend plane. I'm one of the first three on, and before long, we're on our way with half a dozen empty seats, landing at 4 p.m., only an hour later than scheduled, and 20 minutes ahead of the first bus that would arrive that some people had taken from O'Hare, not knowing if these flights would ever get off the ground.

I deplane and make the short walk across the tarmac into the airport, glancing across the runway at the light snow falling and the dusted white landscape. Flying in from Chicago, the few breaks in the clouds revealed the choppy blue water of Lake Michigan, then the snow-covered towns of the state of Michigan, stuck in the middle of a lake-effect winter snow. The ground was white, save for the cleared main highways, but the smaller side and residential roads were still covered, the only definition the tire tracks from the days' traffic.

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