Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Kind Of Town

why yes, you ARE jealous

Chicago is. We're just back from there, and I've just finished loading an obscene number of pictures from our trip, which centered around the non-profit Ford Motor Fund's "Driving Skills For Life" program. Feel free to have a sneak-peek at the photos, if you like, while I finish writing up my post about the experience, which I will link from here as soon as it's done.

For now, I can tell you about a couple of the most-memorable things I heard while traveling. One was just a one-liner from an event organizer in Chicago, who was speaking on her walkie-talkie to another organizer:

"Yes, all the bloggers have been banded!"

I thought that was just delicious. Because really, when you think about it, shouldn't ALL bloggers be banded? You know, like migratory birds? It would be an easy way to keep track of us.

At the Little Rock airport, I witnessed what was a near-perfect parable on how NOT to behave in an airport, post-September 11. The flight before us at our gate was departing for Dallas when we arrived. It was scheduled to depart at 10:10. At about that time, after the plane had been boarded, and just as the gate person was calling stand-by fliers, two men and a woman with a toddler came ambling up to the counter, indicating that they were booked on that flight. The gate attendant said, "OK, you can board if you go right now--go!"

So the would-be passengers told her that they had one more person in their party, and needed to wait on her. To which the gate attendant replied, "Well, the rest of you can either go without her, or you can all wait, and we'll book you on a later flight, but this flight is leaving, so if any of you want on it, you have to go right now."

There was some further discussion, which was getting heated, between the "big guy" of this party and the gate attendant. She called for backup, which came in the form of a fellow in a jumpsuit and orange safety vest, with a shaved head and a very no-nonsense demeanor. Big Guy launched into his tale of woe, which was basically that, as his party was going through the security checkpoint (which, on this day, at the same time, had taken Alex and I exactly 3 minutes from start to finish), the missing woman had had some liquid product, makeup or something, confiscated because it was over 3 ounces. Rather than relinquish the product and make it to the gate on time, she'd gone back down to the baggage counter to check her bag. The rest of them had come on ahead to the gate to get the airline to HOLD THE PLANE. You know, like holding a taxi. It's the same thing, right?

Well, when Mr. No-Nonsense reiterated what they'd already been told by the gate attendant, Big Guy's frustration just boiled over, and he uttered an expletive and removed his backpack and flung it so that it hit the counter and slid to the floor. Mistake number one. Mr. No-Nonsense said evenly, "I wouldn't do that if I were you." At this point, did Big Guy realize he'd crossed a line, and apologize? Nooooo. He replied, "Well, you're ****ing us up!" quite loudly. I will never forget what Mr. No-Nonsense said next.

"You just bought yourself a Greyhound Bus ticket."

And then they immediately called out the first four standby fliers and loaded them. And then, while I was making a smartypants comment to Alex about the importance of controlling your temper, I dropped my container of milk on the floor so that it exploded in a most spectacular manner. The end.

Chicago is still one of my favorite places, Giordano's still has the Best Pizza Ever, and I am definitely going to find a way to go back soon with the whole family. Thanks very much to my mom for keeping Bella and one of the poos for us (on Mother's Day, no less), and to Michelle and Mandy for keeping the rest of the dogs. Especially Mandy, who had one of her charges dropped off to her after just having been carsick in her crate. WE ARE GOOD FRIENDS TO HAVE.


  1. NP,

    Interesting post.

    I'm basically a one-trick pony who wants everyone to realize that this security whoo-haa is the most outrageous non-sense which is all part of a great big lie about what happened on 9/11.


  2. Ha! I love when stuff like that happens.

    And I agree with you on Chicago, and NOT just 'cause I'm from there. We may not get out to see you, but perhaps we can meet up in Le Windy City for pizza (Due's = teh awesome) and Lincoln Park Zoo and fancy drinks at the Art Institute. Say yes!

  3. I loved Chicago, too, and I can't wait to take my husband back there with me someday. I drove there before, and we can do it again!

  4. Chicago is indeed a cool town! I'm lucky that my best friend has lived there since '95, and knows all the cool little tucked away treasures. The girls and I and my sister and her kids make a girls trip down there every year.

    AAAAARGH! The airport is not the place to launch into special snowflake entitlement behavior. Nearly every bashing TSA agent blog I've read invloves something that is simply protocol...eg: "OH NOS!, the TSA agent made me take off my jacket!! Can you believe those goons?" Millions of travlers here dude...please try and be an adult, especially In Front Of Your Children.

    Maybe someday I could meet you in Chicago on one of your trips? :)

  5. Is some of the security crap? Sure. But why, why, why? do people think they get to be special or different or not follow the rules the rest of us have?

    I hate it when people stroll in late (when you are supposed to be there WAY early) and expect to be coddled. GROW UP.

  6. HA! Awesome. I need to switch jobs, 'cause I'm not allowed to tell people off when they're being asshats.

  7. I was at Giordano's on Sunday! We were there from The San Francisco Bay Area. What a great city to visit!


  8. Well I can't decide if I should spank you for not calling me, or spank myself for not realizing when I saw your tweets that you were in town (Chi-town, that is.)

    We must elevate your pizza palate next time you are here, together, dearie. Yes, Giordano's makes a fair stuffed spinach 'za, but the pizza horizon is so very much wider than that! Tut tut. When're you bringing the whole fam damily? You could all stay with me *and* get your poodle fix. How do you like them apples?

    -Barb 'n Yogi

  9. "special snowflake entitlement behavior"

    LOL at Michelle! This sums it up perfectly. I'm surprised the other passengers weren't high-fiving Mr. Orange Vest as they boarded.

    Just like you don't mess with waiters, you don't mess with people in travel. My husband, who rents moving vans, can put anyone he likes (or doesn't like) on a national Do Not Rent List. I love thinking about the next time asshats go to rent a car.

  10. You are SOO lucky! People watching at the airport is TOP NOTCH! Throw in the "You just bought yourself a greyhound ticket" and a bag of popcorn, and frankly that night makes the highlight films in my life!
    Admittedly, I have been that girl in line trying to argue my case against throwing out my 36oz jumbo can of hairspray. I may have actually said "If you think you have to worry about terrorists, just TRY to take that hairspray from me." I have since settled down...I have also been felt up at La Guardia and didn't even get dinner out of it!


    I'm crushed.

    Oh well, I'll just have to go to the Orlando one without you then...


    Glad you had a blast. Wish I was there...


  12. Just thought of the best family trip EVA! Go to the airport and watch all the fools loose their minds at check in. With popcorn.

    That would have been mucho entertaining for me.

  13. Giordano's! Yum!

    Chicago's got some good eats.

  14. "You just bought yourself a Greyhound bus ticket."


    I LOLd at "Like it's a taxi, right?" *still chuckling*

    My fave stop in Chicago was the Billy Goat... Tavern? The borger, borger, borger, chips no fries place.

  15. Sometimes, people truly amaze me. And not in a good way. Sheesh.

  16. :) That was great - I sooo want to get to Chicago

  17. Awesome pictures, as always!!