I couldn't really recall if I had ever been to Florida, though I thought perhaps I had at graced it some point; however, not in a way that I could remember, so this would be for all intents and purposes my first trip. It would be a short trip, but one where the plan was to make the absolute most of it that we could make. I was good with that.
After working all morning on the day before New Year’s Eve, I realized at some point I would have to stop and pack. How to pack for Florida? I was under the impression it would be warm, but not cold, and eventually checked in with the Artist to get her opinion.
“Kind of like early fall: warm but with cool evenings.”
I packed things that I thought would basically meet that description, although I was going to have trouble in the jacket department. I had to take my winter coat (there was no leaving Chicago without it) but that meant not having room for a lighter jacket, as I'd planned to stow my coat in my checked bag as soon as I got to the airport. In the end I went with a little sweater and hoped that would take care of any of my weather-related inconveniences
Last-minute packing is my favorite bad habit.
The Boy gave me a lift to the airport, for which I bought him lunch. When he dropped me off he reminded me to relax and have fun. I do love that man.
It felt weird being in O'Hare for a flight to somewhere other than Korea. It always feels weird to not go to Korea. I was also thinking of how it must have felt to have been trapped in the airport for almost two days and I could sympathize with my poor lady love going from gate to gate waiting to get on a plane. Fortunately, she did make it out of the airport, although much later than planned. Apparently the Honey Jack turned out to be the game changer.
The day after I left her with a lingering kiss and a promise to be thinking of her, she had woken late, had breakfast, and then went in for round two of “try to get a flight.” When she started the process again, apparently one of the women at the terminal had been there the previous day and rememberd her. Before even talking about the flight, the Artist had pulled out what remained of the Honey Jack and passed it over, like an offering to the old gods.
“I won’t be able to take it through the gates anyway.”
This may or may not have greased any wheels but what did result was getting checked into the flight—apparently at the counter. Granted this had both a good and bad effect. The good was that they were almost sure to be on the 6:30 flight out of Chicago. The bad was that Chicago was experiencing a spat of inclement weather. The latter caused her gate to be changed at least three times and the flight was delayed by at least three hours. In her last call to me I had offered to come back to the airport yet again, but she begged me off, with the sincere hope that she was going to get out of what had become the Kafkaesque hell that is also known as O’Hare International Airport.
Not getting a call that evening I had worried, but the next day I got messages and learned all was well. Now, having followed her saga, it was my turn to journey down the long tunnels of O’Hare. Unlike the Artist, my trip was rather banal, comparatively. I had a glass of wine before the flight. Boarded and lifted out on time. Landed in Atlanta on time. Transferred and got to Florida about when expected.
All things told, a rather dull trip. The only real complaint I had was how long it took, as it seemed an eternity, while, really, it was only about five hours total flying. The waiting around just got to me.
Landing I was confronted with a long walk toward a cab stand and the balmy cool, somewhat humid air of Florida on a late winter night.
It felt luxurious. Palm trees ruffled in the late-night breeze, and I couldn't help but think of Jeju Island, regardless of the fact that Jeju was neither tropical nor relevant.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014