#90: The Madhouse That Wasn’t

November 23rd, 2012

“This is O’Hare, as far as this train goes. All passengers must leave the train. Thank you for riding the CTA Blue Line.”

The train came through the darkness to light, pulling into the train station at O’Hare International Airport. A couple slumped over their roller bags in exhaustion as if they were coming from the airports instead of heading to.  The world’s tiniest service dog peeked around, appreciative of all the new sounds it could hear on its master’s behalf.

We braced for the madhouse to follow; they for the security and liquid-tossing and random old people who I’m pretty well convinced get rides to the airport just to have skycaps run them back and forth across the concourse in the little carts with flashing lights.

I was there for the bus. The Van Galder to home, passing through crowds and madness to sit in a groundplane. From there through vanishing cornfields and springing-up Monopoly houses that make up the I-90 corridor to Rockford, birthplace of the Sock Monkey, Cheap Trick and me.

It was the day before Thanksgiving. We were at O’Hare.

And then… nothing.

Granted, I was heading to the bus. The moving sidewalk past the mural of world cultures (culminating in the Sears Tower and Smurfit-Stone, of course) was a ride of less than a city block, then up to the Cubs parking level and a few feet to the bus.

But there was nothing. None of the chaos or madness I had been trained to anticipate from movies, TV and those news reporters who make a yearly tradition out of stories they know where will happen.

Maybe I was early. Maybe those TSA guards aren’t there to keep terrorists and liquids out, but holiday insanity and wacky “Home Alone” style antics in. (“Oh no! We forgot Kevin!”)

But everything was nice and fine and easy. I got a seat on the bus and didn’t even have to have anyone next to me. There wasn’t even much traffic.

It was a holiday miracle I appreciate all the more more now that I’m safely tucked at my parent’s house typing on my dad’s iDoohickey, all filled up with turkey, pie and Cheap Trick music.

Merry Thanksgiving, everyone! And to all a good night!

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You are currently reading #90: The Madhouse That Wasn’t by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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