Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Anticipation is making me wait

Ahhh, Seattle. Where to begin? I missed you all so much, that I’d like to relive my whirlwind tour of the Pacific Northwest by taking you along with me, step by step. From airport to hotel, hotel to client, client to hotel, hotel to airport, airport to airport, and airport to home. I just wish you hadn’t packed so much luggage. What, were you planning on moving to Washington?

So let’s begin: okay, so I’m not really in Seattle yet. In fact, I’m nowhere near Seattle. I’m sitting at Gate L4 in O’Hare, killing time now that I’ve arrived two hours prior to departure, and exposing my nether regions to untold volumes of radiation seeping out of my laptop. That’s okay, odds are, I’m probably not going to be using these eggs anytime soon.

I know I’m here really early. I can’t help it. There’s nothing I hate more than rushing to the airport, stressing out about possibly missing my flight. Well, I suppose there are a few things I hate more than that, like maybe irradiating my ovaries, or eating beef with noodles, but right now, my priorities are a bit skewed.

In preparation for my trip to Mecca, I decide to test out an O’Hare Starbucks latté so I can compare it to a Seattle Starbucks latté once I arrive. I am expecting to have my mind thoroughly blown once I step off the plane in Seattle. Do they have Starbucks vending machines? That would really be something. I don’t think it will be too hard to top this one, since the barista-in-training first made my latté with caffeine instead of without, and then on his second attempt, he gave me whole milk instead of skim. I don’t really object to the whole milk, since I’m from Wisconsin, and therefore have the ability to drink milk straight out of a cow’s udder if I’m thirsty enough.

Okay, I’ve never really seen a cow’s udder, but if someone dared me, I might drink some milk out of one. If it was squirted into a Black Russian. Come to think of it, isn’t there an actual drink that’s made with scotch and milk, or did I just make that up? I should know since Natasha and I took bartending classes together. But I’m getting a little off topic here. The point I’m trying to make is that all my research indicates that a latté should be 25-47% better in Seattle than in Chicago. And if it isn’t, you can believe I’ll be writing a letter to a certain CEO of a certain coffee company.

While waiting at the gate, I witness a reunion of sorts, as a giggly young woman, about nineteen years old, recognizes the woman standing by the gate as a former classmate of her older sister.

“Oh my god! Didn’t you go to school with my sister Rhonda? Ha ha ha! What are you doing here? Ha ha ha!”

The woman looked a little uncomfortable with this display of unbridled giggling, wiped the corners of her mouth with her hand, and said, “Yes, I remember Rhonda.”

And, although she was dressed in an Alaska Airlines uniform, the woman felt compelled to answer the giggly girl’s question, so she gestured to her outfit, raised her eyebrows, and said, “I work here.”

“Oh - so are you a stewardess? Ha ha ha.”

The woman adjusted the strap on her briefcase, smiled and said, “They don’t call us ‘stewardesses’ anymore.”

“Ha ha ha! What do they call you?”

“Flight attendants.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha!”

Later I glanced over and saw the young girl enthusiastically teaching the flight attendant how to crochet. The giggly girl is actually quite sweet.

A dapper man in a grey fedora was standing near the garbage can, looking around suspiciously. He pulled something out of his bag, looked around again, and kneeled down by the garbage can. As I looked up, I noticed that he had slapped a giant sticker advertising some website onto the garbage can. I took note of the URL and will look it up later.

In preparation for my long trip, I walk over by the bathrooms and plug my laptop into the only available outlet in all of O’Hare. A woman with short black hair and an iPod starts pacing in front me, looks nervously at her watch, and asks me if I’m going to be using the outlet for very long.

I told her that my laptop battery was down to 18%, and I was about to go on a four-hour flight, so I kind of needed to charge up. I felt slightly guilty about my non-charitable response, particularly since my laptop was actually at 32%, but what’s more important – writing blogs, or listening to U2? I don’t think there’s much debate there.

The man standing behind the counter at the gate grabs the microphone and announces that our flight will be delayed approximately one hour, due to weather problems. His eyes glance to the left as he says this, so I am certain that this is a lie, but have no choice but to begrudgingly accept his deception.

Once my laptop is charged up, I wonder if the giggly girl would teach me how to crochet?