the windy city airport mishap. disclaimer: it’s a long story.

You guys, I’m so bad at this.  I’m sorry.  There was never a Part II post to my last one.  And now the moment has gone by.  So just know that Victor, CO was a creepy and mostly abandoned mining town.  I was afraid of being chased by incest mutants and came face to face with a fox.  It’s a great place.  You should visit.  Be sure to stop at Dirty Sally’s for a Jameson on the rocks and a hot dog made specially by a sweet man named John.  But then get the hell out of there.

The next adventure I had was to Chicago.  I got to go for a work trip that changed my life.  I’d tell you about it, but it’s deep and meaningful.  I’m keeping those kinds of serious things out of my blog so you’ll have to ask me about this personally.  Let’s just say I was at an inner-city school in which students worry about where they’re going to sleep and what they’re going to eat.  Sometimes, they watch their friend get shot outside of their home.  When I thought about what consumes my worries I immediately felt like a bitch.  Perspective.

I got to spend Saturday exploring.  I walked too much.  My chest hurt and my nose was running a lot.  Totally worth it.  Big cities are just neat.  I have this problem where I’m convinced I want to move to every rad new place I go.  I was pretty ready to move to Chicago until the morning I had to leave.

Work booked my flight out at 6AM on Sunday morning.  The airport is a solid 30 minutes from where I was staying downtown.  I had to plan well.  The concierge told me that I could take the “Orange” to Midway and that the subway platform was just 3 blocks from my hotel.  So at 3:30AM, I walked out into the streets of a dark downtown Chicago by myself.  I think I mentioned in my last post about that whole imagination thing.  And how it takes me to all the worst possible situations.  This was magnified in crime-ridden Chicago.  I walked as quickly as I could and kind of wanted to cry.  Every time I saw someone I held my breath and chanted “Please don’t mug me, please don’t mug me.”  There were several things that crossed my mind, but the most important of these were the Ninja Turtles.  I felt legitimately disappointed that they weren’t going to come out of the sewer and beat up bad guys if I ended up in danger.  That lucky freakin’ April O’Neill.  Thankfully, I didn’t need them.  I soon found a Dunkin’ Donuts and a nice man working there.  He gave me coffee on the house and the rundown on the subway system, as well as a plan B. Just as good as a superhero.  I walked up to the platform to get my transit card.  I put in $20 and…nothing.  No card.  No change.  No more $20.  Damn thing ate my money.  I felt confused and scared again until a security guard walked up.  I asked him to tell me how to get on the subway, to which he responded, “Honey, it’s Sunday.  The Orange doesn’t run until 5:05.”  Shit.

My next option (and probably should have been my first, but I’m a cheapskate) was a cab.  It was then I heard a lot of voices.  By now it’s pushing 4:00AM.  There was a club closing and groups of drunk people leaving.  There was also a line of taxis waiting to take advantage of them.  I waved one and was headed to Midway.  I appreciated the driver’s silence and his incredible, heated, ass-warming seats.  When I arrived I gave him money and asked for change.  He took the tip he wanted and gave me what was left.  I was too out of my element to argue so I reminded him I needed my suitcase and went on my way.

Airport security.  I’d made it.  I was so ready to be sitting down and napping.  I waited patiently in a more-active-than-I-predicted-at-4:30AM line.  I walk through the detector thing and get dinged.  I had been “randomly selected” to be screened.  Fantastic.  But, I’m a sweet little white girl so I knew it wouldn’t take long.  Bring it on.  They take a white pad and wipe my hands with it and then insert it into a little machine for reading.  I watched the screen go from “Processing” to a red and flashing “Explosives Detected.”  Y’all. They detected explosives on my hands.  I teared up and was ready to be prosecuted.  With a quiver in my voice, I asked the lady if this happened often because I was confused and obviously innocent.  Funny how things like this make you second-guess yourself, though.  I started to wonder if I was, indeed,  a threat to society.  She explained that there are things in makeups and lotions and other cosmetic products that are used in explosives.  (Ladies.  Did you know this?  I will be using water and water from now on.)  After they rummaged through every one of my bags and publicly humiliated me, they took me and my things to a small dark room about the size of my wingspan.  The entire walk there I was panicking.  “Was I about to get naked with these ladies?  How clean were my panties?  Oh my gosh, it’s that time of the month.”  I was trippin’.  I arrived excited to not be asked to strip, but she explained in more words than I’m about to use that I was about to be felt up.  While she narrated, I had blue gloves all over my person.  Like.  Groping me.  It was extremely unpleasant and awkward.  But at the same time, it was kind of gentle and nice.  She was polite.  So polite that when I was released I didn’t know what to say but “thank you”.  Thank you for what just happened between us.  I never even knew her name.

So.  I’m through security and searching for my gate now.  I have some time to sit and watch the small children next to me eat beef jerky that looked delicious.  Soon I’m boarding.  I walk into a mostly empty plane looking for my seat, 6F.  I find it.  Sitting there, passed out, is a man I had seen earlier.  His distinct Kanye West look was noticeable.  And I’m always on the lookout for celebrities in large city airports.  I asked the people sitting next to him to give him a poke because he was in my seat.  I explained to a half-awake, likely hungover guy that he was in the wrong seat, but that I’d be glad to sit in his if he’d let me know where that was.  Dude couldn’t find his boarding pass.  I was holding up the entire plane and had the flight attendants yelling “Ma’am.  Ma’am!  Please take your seat” at me.  This is the moment I came closest to crying.  He finally pulled the crumpled ticket stub from his pocket and I went to sit between 2 old ladies.  My original seat was a window.  Of course this one is middle.  Seated.  Waiting.  It’s now 30 minutes past our departure time.  Lights and TV screens had been turning off and on all the while.  The captain finally explains that they have a “control panel malfunction and are completing maintenance procedures” and we’ll be leaving soon.  You’re kidding me, right?  Had anyone on that plane experienced what I went through that morning they would have felt just as afraid of this plane going down.  Imagination again.  I’m on a broken plane and I’m dying today.  That’s the direction the last 3 hours was headed.  Towards a firy plane crash.  Eventually, however, we did leave.  And after a couple  hours of dozing off and my head awkwardly and unconsciously bouncing off the shoulders of the women between me, I made it back to Colorado.  Alive to tell about it.

This was a long story.  I apologize for that.  However, no one is ever there to witness things like this happening to me.  My life is ridiculous.  I can’t make this shit up.  I liked Chicago, but I’m cool with not moving there now.  So no worries, Ma.  I won’t be further away than I already am.  Despite my traumatic airport experience, I did enjoy my stay.  Here are my favorite pictures that make it seem like rainbows and sunshine.

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Chicago Public Schools social worker. AKA “badass”. loved her.

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foggy Chitown.

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this school will forever have a special place in my heart.

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JB knows food. Smoque BBQ is the best.

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my Friday night view. totally worth the $13 martini.

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enchanted.

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