Finally at Midway, waiting for my flight back to Austin. I have a few hours before my flight, but I like to get to the airport early. I'll admit that part of that's because I'm my mother's daughter. But also, 1) I LOVE the people-watching the airport affords you and 2) I found on my NY trip that I do my best writing in airport bars.
This trip has been a weird one. Equal parts good, bad, and just plain bizarre. The good part I already blogged about below--my meetings with my Evanston counterparts and my best bud Neo. Also, the driving tour of the John Hughes School of Filming History.
The bad part? Well, we'll just chalk it up to bad timing. See also: the song "Everybody Plays the Fool." As a scientist, I decided to test my hypothesis that if you have a strong virtual chemistry with someone you should meet them sooner rather than later. My observations and data confirm that my hypothesis is quite faulty, and more research is needed.
The bizarre? Thanks to the GPS system I got with my car, I saw practically every inch of the Chicago suburbs, good and bad. I checked the system repeatedly, and each time it showed that it was set to navigate me through the shortest distance between my starting point and my destination. But what it really was doing was sending me on whichever route would possibly make me stop every two blocks at a red light. Often, this was very pleasant...many of the wealthier Chicago suburbs have sweet little town centers with honest-to-gawd village greens. Other times, I spent my every-two-block-stop watching sloe-eyed people lounging against corners of buildings or listening to the deafening beat coming from the car next to me...at least I think it was a car--the tires were so large I actually couldn't see up far enough to determine the type of vehicle. At least not without risking getting shot in the face. Or perhaps that's just my Grandma gene talking again. (Grandma, you know I kid because I love.)
More bits from the trip, divided again into good, bad, and bizarre...(and as I write this, I'm sitting next to an older couple in a pub...the woman is non-stop complaining about the smell, the crowd, the lack of dessert on the menu, the slowness of the service...her husband is pretending to doze. It is a people-watcher's bonanza!)
The good--the Indian waiter at the restaurant in my hotel was so nice I thought he somehow must have intuited the bad parts of my trip. He was so attentive and sweet, and when I wiped up the butter that I'd managed to smear on the table, he thanked me.
The bizarre--A wedding took place at the hotel over the weekend. It was a BIG AFFAIR. Black tie, satiny dresses, everyone dressed to the nines. Yet all involved seemed to be from the Baltic States. It was bizarre to see bridesmaids walking around in their champagne-colored bridesmaids' dresses and hearing them talk in what sounded like Borat's native tongue. Fascinating. This morning, when I went out to put stuff in my rental car, there were hundreds of flower petals strewn about, many of them mixed in with cigarette butts. I thought, quite sincerely, best wishes to the happy couple.
(Brief aside: The grumpy woman next to me in the pub is complaining about how disgusting her cod sandwich is. My thought: That's what you get for ordering a cod sandwich. At an airport!!! But still, she continues to eat it.)
The bad--The couple next door to me in the hotel woke me up with their rowdy sex at 4 am. In a way it was fascinating...this had never happened to me before; I thought you only ever heard people having sex in the movies or in bad novels. But no, there it was...the headboard knocking, the woman's moaning, and then the man's overexaggerated exclamations that he was 'finishing.' Seriously, he was so over the top that I thought about clapping and shouting "WELL DONE, SIR! THANKS FOR THE SHOW!!"
(Update from the grumpy woman next to me: "This place is pretty lame (as she tries to squeeze the last bit of ketchup from her bottle on the table). They can't even invest in ketchup." There's a full bottle on the table next to her, less than a foot away from her hand.)
Enough of all that. Scout Nation, I've got some emotional weirdness to process...I may take some time off from the blog. I don't know how long it will be. Check back in periodically, is all I can tell you. Someday, probably sooner than you'd think, I'll be back from hiatus.
Until then, here's the BEST part of the trip...I'm going home. I'm going home to see my babies, whom I've been apart from over a week. As the song below says..."I'm going home to the place where I belong, and where their love has always been enough for me....