Monday, August 17, 2009

Home and mostly .....

... over being peevish.

Our scenic tour of Montreal is going to be temporarily interrupted so I can bring you the "joys" of travel through O'Hare International Airport.

First of all, if I ruled the world:
1. every airport security checkpoint would be run as efficiently and orderly as Montreal's
2. every airport would be required to have enough seats at each gate to accommodate all the fannies potentially able to fly on the largest plane serviced by that gate +20%
3. all airports would be banned from trying to go green by shutting off their air conditioning systems
4. United Airlines would learn, to their shock, that Canada is not a U.S. state. (Their website says all international flights but Brazil don't have luggage fees. And two of their employees very patiently explained to me that Canada is not an international country. Dear dip sticks -- you have 2 choices, it's part of the U.S. or it's not. Here's a hint, it's NOT!)

I arrived at my departure gate at O'Hare to find 2 planes worth of people milling about in an area only half big enough for 1 plane-load of people. Seems like they were having a hard time getting flights to NYC so hundreds of people were stacked up directly across from the TSA entrance gates -- can you say walkway choke point?

The only places with air conditioning in O'Hare are the enclosed shops. Seems that in an effort to go green they've shut off the HVAC to the terminals. Great plan guys! Let's get lots of stressed people together, run them shoeless through security, have their planes habitually leave really late, and THEN let's turn off the air conditioning so it's at least 85 in the cramped corners you've shoved them into. Good thing you probably got most of their firearms during the security check.

I had 3 hours to "enjoy" O'Hare. It really is quite scenic, but it was too hot to notice much and it was a couple hours before there was anywhere for me to sit down so I was a little peevish even with the aesthetics. So I had plenty of time to work out an open letter to the powers that be---

Dear O'Hare Airport:
You have one of the world's 4th busiest airport. Congratulations. Given that you have this huge quantity to people walking through your terminal all day long every day of the year, whatever possessed you to buy the extra-wide motorized carts for transporting the handicapped about the airport?

If you had measured your aisles you would find that they are only wide enough for 2 skinny people to walk down them and still have room for your carts. And those skinny people only fit if they have no children with them, no rolling luggage following them, and they can't be walking together because then you'd have to allow room between the 2 of them.

And, I'm also wondering if you have extra maintenance fees on those carts or did you get extra-long warranties on the horns? Your drivers seem to find the most effective means of movement to be pushing the pedal tot he floor and honking continuously. Given that I watched one of your drivers purposely hit a woman because she didn't move fast enough in response to his honks, you might want to rethink your driver-training program. One of these days the odds are going to catch up with you and that "nudge-them-til-they-run" protocol is going to run smack dab (literally) into an attorney. Won't that be fun to watch?!

Finally on the O'Hare front, once I finally got a seat at my gate I was able to indulge in some prime time people watching. I'd like to share a few insights (please bear in mind I was in a very peevish state by this point)--
1. How do you choose to partner a shiny, plastic, tiger-fur print large tote with gold metallic trim with a small Burberry purse?
2. If you get a rolly cart the size of my purse (medium-ish -- say 12 inches high and wide and 4 inches thick) and a purse the size of a large bed pillow, aren't you getting things a little backwards?
3. Don't buy a rolly bag if you can't zip it closed on your laptop (honest, I saw several of them go by looking like pregnant accordion files with laptops and DVD players waving out the top).

Finally, Chicago changed my language of choice. There I was waiting for my plane and cataloging in my head all the things I thought O'Hare should fix. I got to like the 10th one in 10 minutes, and completely unbidden my brain giggled and said "manish tanah" (pardon my spelling). Yup, once in Chicago I seamlessly switched from Frussian to Friddish. [manish tanah -- why should this be any different]

Ok, you've been very patient with my rants, here's some Montreal scenery for you --
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I loved this one:
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There are lots of building shadows like this one which just make me smile:
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They must really hate messengers:
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A WorldCon-friendly doorfront in the old city--
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Dear anonymous office person, I like you!:
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If you're going to do construction, the least you can do is make your site look good:
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Those are the cobblestones that didn't play nice with sandals.

Please not the distance from meter to parked car. It made me smile at least--
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Snip said...

Sounds like you had an interesting trip! Thanks for sharing the details about WorldCon.

Daffycat said...

Oh, I totally agree, O'Hare SUCKS.

Looks like you had a great trip in spite of it though!

Karen said...

Gotta love O'Hare! NOT! been there with my 2month old nephew years ago and those damn cart guys didn't want to give me a ride to the other side of the universe while i carried him in his carseat since i didn't have a stroller with me. idiots, finally got a ride when a nice couple that was on the cart told him to stop and give me a ride! thank goodness for them or all hell would have broken loose! And, yes they love those flippin horns! OY!
glad you are home!!!!

Kathy A. said...

Oh girl you make me laugh. I have shared the horrors of OHare but not in summer - thank goodness. Glad you made it home safe and sound. Love those Montreal photos. I have one of that same clock somewhere lol

Cindy said...

Too funny!!! You really gave me a good laugh this morning :)

I absolutely refuse to fly out of O'Scare unless there is no other choice. I have managed to avoid it for a few years now.

Your Montreal pictures are wonderful!

Siobhan said...

Love the post! I don't mind O'Hare too much... it's Midway that scared me. The runway is super short and I swear the pilot barely got the plane to stop in time. The pictures are fabulous!

Cyn said...

Hi Ruth,

Loved the pictures of Montreal!

DH is from Chicago and he usually flys into and out of Midway to visit family. If we go as a family we drive! Yep, I rather spend 14 hours in the car then fly. :-)

Glad to hear that you are home safe and sound.

What's been happening on the stitching front?

Windy Meadow