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8:40pm on Tuesday, 10th April, 2007:



So here I am at Chicago O'Hare airport, with three hours to spend looking around the place before I fly on to Indianapolis.

I don't know about the Windy City, but it's a pretty cold one. Flying from 27 degrees in the UK to below zero here, you notice these things...

At Heathrow, I had to hand over the credit-card sized handy-items kit I had inadvertantly left in my pocket. I remembered it too late to take it out and post it to myself. I'm pretty sure I could have got it through the X-ray machine, but it was that faint chance that I might fail at the US end and find myself wearing an orange jump suit for the next 5 years that put me off. When I asked the guy at check-in if it was OK to carry in my hand luggage, he audibly gasped. "It ... it contains all the items we tell people not to bring with them! Scissors, blades, sharp points...". He couldn't seem to believe I needed to ask. Even though the maximum blade length was 3cm and the scissors couldn't cope with anything thicker than cotton, and if I really wanted to do some damage to someone I'd hit them with my laptop. Oh well.

I was in seat 38A, or at least that's what it said on my boarding card. Somehow, the guy in 38B seemed to believe that the logical way to label seats was with B next to the window, and he completely missed the signs on the arm-rests saying exactly which seat had which number. I let him stay there, as I prefer aisle seats for long flights so I don't have to wake anyone up to go to the toilet.

Naturally, having told 38B he could stay in 38A, I discovered that sound only came out of one of my earpieces. However, the movie selection was so bad I didn't watch anything anyway. I thought I might get to see Casino Royale, but it turned out to be something about Beatrix Potter. Isn't she Harry's mother?

Of course, even if you want to go to the toilet you can't always get there. About 5 hours in, I had an impromptu nosebleed. It's not something you really want at 35,000 feet with the seatbelt sign on. When I finally did get there to wash the blood from my face and hands, I had to wait: the toilet was already occupied, and remained so for a further 10 minutes during the course of which it was flushed three times. When the door opened, who should emerge but the flight attendant who had been serving me: one Holly, who speaks about 6 languages and wears about 6 times the amount of perfume necessary to dizzy an ox.

The tedium of the security checks at Chicago was momentarily relieved when a man up ahead, challenged to dispose of his coke can or drink its contents, opened it up to release a huge plume of froth that doused him, the X-ray machine, someone else's shoes and two security officers. Methinks it's an orange jump suit for him!

I note from the plaques on the wall that there's an American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Hmm, I wonder how they conduct their experiments without crossing any ethical boundaries? Surely it can't be that there's no science whatsoever involved?

Right, now to go spend some of these dollar things that seem to pass for currency here even though they're practically worthless.

Referenced by Some Security....

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).