Tuesday, May 13, 2008
My Kind Of Town
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.