We’re Glad You’re Here!
That’s what the big banner in the baggage claim area at Midway Airport in Chicago says. And to drive the point home, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel assures us that “It’s more than just a slogan!” Mr. Warm n’ Fuzzy says that it’s a way of life for everyone here in Chicago. EVERYONE! NO DEVIATIONS WILL BE TOLERATED! I feel so welcomed.
Nonetheless, Midway airport has just become my new least favorite airport. There may be airports I would like even less, but I haven’t been to them yet.
I awoke Thursday morning at 2:30 in Princeton, West By Gawd Virginia. Drove 677 miles to Princeton, Illinois, with a stop at the company office in Richmond, Indiana. Delivered the school bus, got a ride to the AmTrak station, a train to Chicago, the L to Midway, and I’ve been sitting here since 11:00 PM. It is now 3:15 AM. My flight leaves for Atlanta at 7:05.
For the last few hours before arriving here, I was ravenous. But I thought, “I’ll just grab a bite at the airport.” But by the time I got here, there was not a bite to be grabbed. And the TSA people apparently go home about 11:30, because I was told I can’t go through security until maybe 4:30 or 5:00. So I said, “Well, there’s someplace to eat here, right?”
“No,” he replied. I could have stopped at any number of places to eat when I walked from Union Station to the CTA station… but no. I was just going to “grab a bite at the airport.” Midway apparently pretty much shuts down at midnight.
I said to the guy, “But this is Chicago! The city that never sleeps!”
“That’s New York,” he said.
“The city of Brotherly Love!”
“But… but… it’s a toddlin’ town! The Bronx is up and the… oh yeah. That’s New York too.”
So. I sit here (yeah, yeah, all broken-hearted…) in the baggage claim area…. and wait. I would now eat bologna after it’s gotten slimy. I would eat liverwurst on stale rye. I would eat cough drops off the floor (mmmmm…. cough drops….)
Not that there isn’t any entertainment. No, there’s a guy driving what looks like a little floor-polishing Zamboni… and he’s having entirely too much fun… almost ran over my feet just a minute ago.
And there were some Naval recruits coming from or going to the Great Lakes Training Center, near one of the baggage carousels a few minutes ago, with an instructor, who was instructing them quite loudly.
Midway should try be a little more like its bigger and better cousin, O’Hare. Come to think of it, I’m not all that crazy about O’Hare, either. But it seems that if the mayor was really glad I’m here, he’d get me a nice Italian beef…