Well, the weekend in Chicago and Savanna, attending the Celebration of a Very Special Life gala thrown by Alan, was truly wonderful. I'm proud to say that not only did I successfully ignore my introversion and hesitancy and just take a deep breath and plunge into the social aspects of this weekend, but that it was a complete success. I now feel much closer to about a dozen people with whom I've shared many experiences, but little or no face time, in the past. Everyone got on famously, and the weekend was chock full of laughter, reminiscences, and not a few tears as we all realized that the only thing that could have made it better would have been in Adrianne had been there with us.
Well, physically, that is. To say her presence was felt throughout the weekend would be an understatement. Quotes, anecdotes, and jokes about or relating to Adrianne were in steady supply. But the most obvious and clear indication of her presence was simply OUR presence. 14 people, flying in from Washington, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Tennessee, and California, nearly all of us nervous and stressed over the oddness of awkwardness of transitioning a textual relationship to the more intimate one that incorporates physical presence. Where you can't edit yourself, and people can see so much of what makes you tick. Or tic, for that matter. Most of us had little in common outside of our association with Adrianne, at least on the surface, and yet here we all were, coming together from every corner of the USA, to meet, and grieve, and laugh and smile in her honor and in support of her husband. To say that were are an aspect of her legacy wouldn't really be overstating things at all.
So, yeah, the weekend was amazing. I can't wait to see these folks again. But then there's the downside.
Long story short:
I missed my flight. Stayed at the roach motel. Still trapped in Chicago and trying to get home. Yippee.
Long story long:
My friend Mia and I were running a little bit late, but reached the Midway area at about 1 hour before my flight left, after which she was going to have to return her car at O'Hare (because they were being jerks and threatening to charge her hundreds of dollars if she didn't do so) and then catch a shuttle or train back to Midway in time for her 6:00-something flight. Well, there was some sort of horrible traffic backup at the terminal caused by everyone from the Notre Dame game heading to the airport at once. After waiting in traffic for about 20 minutes I jumped out of the car, grabbed my bags, and trotted the 1/4 mile or so to the terminal. When I tried to check in they said sorry-no-can-do even though the plane wasn't leaving for 27 minutes -- if you're not checked in 30+ minutes prior, you're screwed.
Oh, and no more flights to Austin. So yeah. Welcome to my extra night in Chicago. And since I'm at Midway, and everyone else who was staying until Monday was over by O'Hare I couldn't even make the best of it by getting together for one last meal/drink with them. So, after wandering around in a bit of a daze for an hour, I started trying to book a hotel room. Well, I was far from the only person who got shafted due to the obscene traffic problems -- dozens of folks were doing the same thing. Finally managed to book a room at the Carlton Inn Midway for the bargain price of $129 a night.
I caught the shuttle van to the Carlton. It's a tad... well... seedy. One of those old motor lodge style places, where your room door opens out to the parking lot making it really easy for ruffians and hooligans and thugs to burst in on you during the night (ironically, more or less what we thought the Quite Lovely Super 8 in Savanna would be like...). The neighborhood is more or less typical of neighborhoods near airports, i.e. hookers and crack should be readily available. Note, however, that Crack Hotels ALSO provide free high-speed wireless these days. What a world.
Sigh. So, in the past 24 hours I ate brunch in a castle, and then 12 hours later ate pizza and drank beer alone in a seedy hotel, listening to the sounds of police sirens throughout the night. Now I'm sitting in Chicago Midway, nervously watching the weather outside and trying not think about the all-too-short layover I have in Minneapolis, which could become not nearly enough time if my flight is delayed even half an hour. And while the juxtaposition will make this story more interesting, I really just want to get home.
Now Playing: Siouxsie & the Banshees, "Twice Upon a Time"