Sunday, September 26, 2010

Toll

I am on the road for a few days, visiting my mother in Pennsylvania before heading to Washington DC for a work training. Travel went fine, and the highlight was that the toilets in O'Hare are now digital. You may think I'm joking, but you know how some toilets have plastic wrap on the seats and by pressing a button you can get a new clean sheet of saran wrap? The toilets in O'Hare have that, and I think it's odd that they spend so much attention on a small detail like toilet seats when they overlook other minor details like having ACTUAL PLANES leave the ACTUAL TERMINAL and fly to other ACTUAL LOCATIONS in some semblance of timeliness.

Getting stuck in O'Hare is especially awful because it's so close to home that if the plane gets cancelled it's tempting to sling the bag over my shoulder, start walking, and stick out my thumb; surely the drivers of Illinois, who are praised across Wisconsin for their kindness and good judgment*, will take pity a simple girl from the dairy state and give me a goddamn ride already. I'd even chip in the $0.40 for the toll, although I understand that now it's all electronic and the state of Illinois has eliminated one of the very last bastions of satisfaction left to humanity, which was cobbling together an entire toll's worth of pennies and throwing it in the basket with a giant CHING.

*If you are from Wisconsin you will understand that I am being sarcastic here. If you are not from Wisconsin, perhaps instead you can get enjoyment out of the fact that I worked very hard to correctly spell "judgment."

When I visit my mom, she always takes me clothes shopping because she knows if she didn't I would still be wearing a skort and a hoodie sweatshirt that I've had since eighth grade. I am just not into clothes. I mean, I am IN clothes, in the sense that I am wearing some, but if a fairy godmother gave me three wishes, I might use one of them to wish that I could wear the same clothes every day and not have anybody notice. I already wear the same black skirt to work four days a week which is akin to a dream come true so perhaps I should hoard my wishes instead and save up for something big that would benefit the entire human race. I can already hear David urging me to use those wishes to take out Favre.

In the store, the normal routine is that my mom brings me clothes and I try them on and then wait for her to tell me whether I like them or not. At one point today I stepped out of the dressing room to show her the shirt I was trying on and when she wasn't within eyesight I called out, "Mom!" Four middle-aged women turned around, all of whom I suspect would have been willing to give me their opinion on the shirt.

The toilets in O'Hare not only give you fresh plastic to rest your buns upon, but each toilet now has a small digital screen that shows the number of seconds until the new plastic will emerge. The screen also flashes short operational messages and tips. Gosh, I wish I were kidding about this. I wanted to take a picture of the toilets with my brand new cell phone that I just got a few days ago, before I remembered that my cell phone is so fashionably retro that it doesn't have a camera. Also, there is no "zero" on my cell phone number pad because that concept hadn't yet been invented at the time my phone was manufactured.

O'Hare airport was named after flying ace Butch O'Hare who died in WWII, and I feel a little sorry for his family who no doubt thought at the time that it was a very big honor for Mr. O'Hare to have an airport named after him. Nowadays I wonder how they feel about having their loved one's name on a facility that many travelers despise with nearly every fiber of their being (but being sure to leave out a few extra fibers so they can hate LAX too). The O'Hare family might want to swich the O'Hare name to a structure with a little higher status, like maybe a jail or sewage treatment plant. At any rate, the kids and I managed to make our way through O'Hare with a minimum of trauma, although I'm not sure I can say the same for my fellow passengers: they had to witness me in a skort.

1 comment:

  1. i HAVE seen that auto-sleeving device. don't think it was o'hare... we are those crazy types who often fly the wrong direction... like to MPLS.. to get to Florida. I did bust a gut on the David-and-the-Weather-Channel bit. There are MANY MANY people who call the reference desk at the library each day to inquire about the forecast. One man always wants to also know wind speed. And he doesn't sound 70+ either. All of those folks would've been right there with Dave filling sand bags.

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