Sunday, May 27, 2007

Welcome to Chicago

Apologies for the long week of silence. I have moved to Chicago for the summer and I do not yet have internet access, so I have to hunker down at the internet cafe a few blocks away if I want to check my email or update my blog. But now that I am in and settled, I thought I'd update you on the move.

On Wednesday I hauled my two ginormous exactly 50 lbs suitcases and three carry-ons (I know the limit is two, but I looked so bedraggled by the time I was boarding the plane the flight attendants needed little time to determine it wasn't a rule worth enforcing and let me by) and fell into a cab to the airport. Despite the fact that I could barely maneuver the bags by myself (even if I do a great pack mule imitation), I had all of my baggage i's dotted and t's crossed, because my friend Jess had warned me that any time she flew one-way, she was searched. And sure enough, after I checked my bags and tottled with my three carry-ons through the metal detector, the guy who triple-checks your boarding pass announced with a booming voice, "Ma'am, you have been selected for a full search! I need a female assist over here for a non-alarm full search!" Then he put me in the glass box. You know the one, with the little shoe mats inside it? So I stood in the little glass box as hordes and hordes of my fellow passengers filed past me, the glass box prisoner.

Had this happened 5 years ago, the other passengers may have looked on me with fear or contempt, this blonde ponytailed terrorist the airlines had managed to capture before she wreaked havoc in the airport food court. Don't those denim capris and pink toenails look a little too American? Who is she trying to fool? Luckily, however, the other passengers are just as weary as I am by the whole airport process, and most passed me with encouraging smiles or "hang in there's." There but by the grace of God, you could see in their eyes. My favorite passerby was the woman and the small boy who passed after I had been standing in the glass box for about forever. The boy was clearly in the "why?" stage of development, and took a break from asking why the screeners wore blue to asking why the lady was in the box? His mom glanced up at me, sized me up and told her son "she probably did not mind her manners when she was asked to sit quietly before the plane comes." The boy stared at me, this mannerless convict for a second as his mouth formed a tiny red "o." He asked no more questions, lest he be the next hauled into the stockades.

FINALLY the female assist shows up. Apparently she was off swabbing down people's laptop bags and could not be pulled away. She takes one look at me with my tank top, tight fitting capris and bare feet and laughs. Then she reaches forward and gives a slight pat to my stomach, the only part of my clothing that could possibly be concealing anything (if it were, say, a piece of paper), and says "thank you, John has finished checking your bags, you are finished." I waited no less than 20 minutes in the glass box for her to pat my stomach. I would have rather just removed the shirt for the original security checker and gotten on with it.

The rest of the move was largely uneventful, save it taking me 20 minutes to go 30 feet to the cab stand once I collected my huge bags again. A couple of women offered to help me (I love Midwesterners), but considering I estimated each bag to outweigh them both put together, I declined. I stumbled in and out of a cab for the second time that day, and now I am settled. It's a fine little studio apartment with an amazing view, and I am only a 15 minute walk from work. Pictures and updates about my first few days in the Windy City to follow soon.


Melanie said...

While this story was interesting on it's own, it certainly would have had a fun twist had you actually lifted your shirt for the male security guard. Next time I vote you do that. :)

Anonymous said...

nice post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you learn that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.