Monday, October 02, 2006

Windy and Rainy in Chi-town

O’Hare International Airport—By the time you read this (I thought to myself), I will have flown from Chicago to Houston, picked up my luggage, driven home, unpacked my gear, and slept the sleep of physical exhaustion, only to arise early, shower and dress, and drive into the station for Tuesday’s show. (William Faulkner would love that sentence!)

That’s because as I wrote this, I was sitting in the airport at one of those rows of computer kiosks—where you can plug in your laptop, sit on a stool, and take care of a few items before your flight leaves—and there was no power to the electrical outlets.
Not one.

For nearly a half hour, my antidote for boredom was watching harried travelers in suits, jeans, and sweats, plop down on either side of me, faces twitching in anticipation of a fresh jolt of juice from a 110-box. Like digital junkies looking for their next score of one’s and zero’s, their frustration was palpable when they realized they could not discharge their craving because there was no charge coming from the wall.

This could happen anywhere.
It was happening tonight in Chicago.
Beneath a poster extolling the virtue (or at least the idea) of recycling, people were taking up their post on the floor next to the only live outlets around.
Chicago, the land of superlative comparisons.

I thought traffic in my town was bad; it’s worse here.
I thought the weather was horrible where I live; it’s more ornery here.
I thought the trees and architecture and friendly people that I love about home existed only there; they’re here in abundance, too.

Chicago has a well-deserved reputation for hospitality, enthusiastic support of their athletic teams, and unabashed patriotism.
Sounds like Texas.

Someone asked me this weekend what I was doing, way up here from Texas. I told ‘em I was scouting out some territory we could annex.
Tonight, I was just scouting for a room.

Remember, I said I thought I'd be home while you read this? Not tonight.
Socked-in at O'Hare by weather that would make a Gulf Coast thunderstorm shudder: wind and hail, lightning and thunder.

I'm hunkered down in a hotel room on the highway near the airport, with hail clattering against the window, and gravity-defying rain blowing in all directions, including down.
No one is flying home tonight.

See you in the morning on the Radio, from The Windy City once again.

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