Thursday, February 26, 2009

Transient Memoirs

Attention please, airport security restrictions will be in effective until 5am, only ticketed passengers and airport employees with proper identification may remain in the terminal building, all other individuals must leave the terminal building at midnight.

I am to a point now where I am actually analyzing this statement that so plagues me and describes my plight. Here I sit in Chicago O’Hare Airport at 2:30 in the morning staring at an empty terminal that will soon be filled with life. Who does that voice, I mean someone had to record that universal lady robot announcer voice in order for it to be reused millions of times for little infomercials like this that so irritate innocent people like me. What is the terminal building exactly? If only ticket passengers and employees with proper identification are allowed in the terminal, why is it that I was ejected by a security guard after showing him my ticket? So yes, it is that early or late, depending on your state of mind and point of view, so early or late, that I am beginning to go a little loopy, so I figured I’d write to entertain. Generally my blog entries are pretty thoughtful and have some kind of new insight to share, but this, no, this one, this one will not be that way, this blog entry will be my first of pure comical relief. Without further postponement (drum roll please), I give you free entertainment at my expense.

I wake up this morning (Wednesday) with great excitement, I could barley sleep the night before, you know the kind of excitement you feel as a child on Christmas eve, you want to sleep because you know you will sleep and the morning will seemingly arrive quicker, but you cannot because enthusiasm has released so much adrenaline into your body that you find yourself staring at the ceiling and wondering why you can’t sleep. I finally do fall asleep because I wake up this morning, ready to conquer the day. My mind was already in my future destination, but physically I made myself get up and go to work. The day went by pretty quick up until about lunch time.

My friend Andy and I started what we have coined urban food endeavors. Basically, we notice little hole in the wall joints, the type of places you would not go alone, and decide to go try them out. We have found some great food and some not so great food. I’ve began inviting other friends along to this because Andy is in and out of town so much. I wanted to just catch up with Jake today before I left to go out of town so I decided we’d go grab some lunch, but not any lunch, no, go out on an urban food endeavor. I find this little joint called Man’s Grille. It is an old factory worker’s diner that used to be for the Chrysler plant, but since it shut down, it is still going on its own and now known simply as Man’s Grille. I do not exaggerate in my description here, this is a true account of our adventure. You walk in and it smells like week old bacon grease, we walk to the back to escape the smell to sit in what looks like an addition to the original building. This addition though looks like an old men’s shower room, seriously, small cheap tile up to about shoulder height and mirrors placed about every three feet. You can still se the top of the concrete block walls that hey painted over revealing the old yellow tobacco colored base. There are NASCAR signs everywhere and an extension cord duck taped to the wall to provide electrical support to the other booths form the one electrical outlet in the room. They bring your menu out, which is hand printed. After deciding on an inner city delicacy you are met by a huge plate full of food hidden beneath the most gravy I’ve ever seen served at one time. When I saw my meal I looked around at everyone else’s table to see maybe if I just order something disgusting. Nope, every meal I saw was smothered in gravy. It is just that kind of joint. The food is mediocre, but the atmosphere is unforgettable. I will end this description with a quote from Jake as he text messaged me from the bathroom after lunch…”Never again!”

After lunch I come back to work feeling like I would actually like to throw up, but can’t so I just settle with drinking as much water as possible. The day really starts to fly by then because I realize it’s almost time to get off and then that means I can go to the airport and fly home, Jacksonville, FL. Becca wanted to borrow The Dark Knight so I brought it with me to work. She got off work, Harry & Izzy’s, and brings me this brownie smothered in hot fudge, caramel, pecans, whipped cream, ice cream and a cherry on top in exchange for the movie. Of course, that did not last long on my desk and only added to my desire to throw up. I’ll be honest; I still have a lump in my throat and wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to puke it all up. After setting up all my away messages and making sure someone in my department will back me up while I’m gone, I gaze upon what I see as pure glory at the moment, a clock that reads 4:30PM. Time to go home! I race home to grab my luggage and meet Andrew who has already been there waiting for like 10 minutes.

I arrive at the airport full of joy and excitement! My bag weighs two pounds over the limit so I take a pair of shoes out of my bag. Now I’m walking around the airport with a pretty nice looking messenger bag with a pair of shoes tied around the strap. I board my plane to start my trip back home to Jacksonville, FL. I get on the plane headed towards Chicago, this strikes me as odd, but I’m not one to stress out, so I just roll with it and figure I’ll figure things out when I get to Chicago. I get off the plane with about an hour to spare until my flight from Chicago leaves to go to Jacksonville, FL, or so I think. I go check out the departing flights screen and do not see any flights going to Jacksonville, FL. Now I am really starting to wonder if I am being punk’d and looking around for Ashton, but he nor a camera crew are anywhere to be found. I decided I’d be responsible and instead of trying to figure all this out myself I would help provide a nice Southwest rep some job security and ask them. I ask about the next flight going to Jacksonville, FL and she responds, “Honey, you’re going to Jackson, MS, right?” Epiphany strikes in my mind as the unusual circumstances of me having a layover in Chicago and not being able to see a flight to Jacksonville on the departure list come together. When I booked my reservation for this trip I must have selected Jackson instead of Jacksonville. I’m not sure how I can be that absent minded anyways, but it is what I did apparently. My friend Danae likes to tell me that I need to get a wife to help me not be so disorganized. I admit to the nice lady what must have happened and we share a couple good laughs about it all because honestly, it is funny so I laughed at myself. She says she can get my on a flight to Jacksonville, FL in the morning from Chicago and rearrange my returning flight to go straight from Jacksonville, FL o Indianapolis on March 3, when I am returning, or at least when I planned to. I know what this means…a lot of money, another dumb out of pocket expense I could have avoided by just slowing down. Apparently God has given me this charming personality for good too, she gives me some kind of discount and only charges me $34 to change all the flight info. So I walk away from the counter relieved and thankful. I get about 10 steps away and another great realization hits me on the forehead like a run away train. I checked a bag in Jacksonville, FL and that bad boy is going to Jackson, MS now. I get all the appropriate numbers and call and make another lady laugh. She says she will catch the bag in MS tonight and have it flown to Jacksonville first thing in the morning (Thursday).

This now grants itself to an interesting opportunity. Now I get to mimic one of the movies I’d say is one of my favorites, The Terminal, with Tom Hanks. Staying all night in an international airport, how fun, what great adventures I can get myself into here. Tom Hanks fooled me. This is nothing like that movie. I find a couple of comfy leather chairs in the back of the terminal and start to get comfortable. I fall asleep for maybe 10 minutes before I am awoken by the shuffling of new arriving feet to Chicago. I’ve suddenly become that weird dude you see when you get off the plane where ever your destination is, shoes off, head phones on, sitting in one chair while another holds my feet. I finally get comfortable around midnight after all the flights have come and gone and try to sleep, ah peace. Nope, cleaning crew shows up to do their daily tasks. I keep fighting sleep and literally watch the clock minute by minute, which feels like hours. I finally put on my headphones, listen to a good soundtrack, Crash, and find a comfortable position to sit/lay in. It feels like I have been sleeping for hours when a security guard wakes me up. I look at my watch and realize I have only been asleep for 20 minutes. He says, “Sir you will have to leave the terminal until it opens back up again in the morning at 5.”

This makes me question that annoying public service announcement:

Attention please, airport security restrictions will be in effective until 5am, only ticketed passengers and airport employees with proper identification may remain in the terminal building, all other individuals must leave the terminal building at midnight.

I have my ticket leave me in peace! So I move and am now in the ticketing area and I will have to go back through ticketing and all that jazz in the morning.

All this I write as I sit beside a very odd person, which seems like the mass populace in the Chicago airport at 3 in the morning, a lady to be exact wearing bright blue sweat pants, what look like genuine cowgirl boots, a heavy winter Tommy Hilfiger coat, and a very nicely trimmed goatee. She just decided to take her boots off, which revealed a stench that honestly is making me gag. How do you gag while not making any rude noises or facial expressions? No I am not kidding. It’s been quite the adventurous trip thus far one I am sure to not forget for a very long time. Thanks for reading this huge blog, hope you enjoyed! Leave a comment, let me know what you think.

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