Don’t ask me how but we both ended up stranded at the same hotel during a storm. Granted she was there a number of years ago but still, I slept in the same room. Called, strangely enough, The Amelia Earhart Room. The government didn’t launch a 4 million dollar search for me the way they did for poor Amelia, so I just waited for a clear runway.
I couldn’t make up a story that was more convoluted and fraught with ice, snow and derailed planes (that’s an oxymoron, I think). I already told you about the front end, trying to get OUT of O’Hare; it was essentially downhill from there. American Airlines ultimately canceled over 1200 flights but not until they delayed them all for 24 hours. As a result, they probably won’t catch up until Easter. I assure you, there are still folk in week old underwear huddled under their winter coats on airport floors across the Midwest.
The Landmark Inn is as elegant as the description and pictures suggest, perched there on the edge of Lake Superior. Personally, I have trouble looking at Lake Superior in the winter time and not thinking about the Edmund Fitzgerald and all those poor sailors who froze death in less than 5 minutes. It’s just plain cold. Cold,cold,cold in that way that makes you shiver just to see it. The Landmark stays cozy and warm with fireplaces in all the rooms and right now they have a tall and glorious Christmas tree in the front room. There’s a good pub and a fine restaurant so if a person has to be stranded it’s a good place to be, especially at the "hospital visitor" rate of 89.00/night.
I was at the hospital most of the time rather than in front of the fireplace in the pub. Bud’s surgery was more extensive than anticipated but he’s been on the mend for the past couple days. The day of, he had trouble shaking off the anesthesia and the brief moments he came to, utter nonsense was coming out of his mouth. He would be snoring and a nurse would ask me where I was from and when I responded, "Chicago" he’d come to and shout "Goddamn Bears. They better not trade him to the Packers!" and then he’d go back to snoring. I discovered that even in a coma, Bud conveys his political views. I was watching the news channel on the hospital room TV and every time they showed the President’s picture he would open his eyes, exclaim "asshole!" and then pass out again. I apologized to Bud’s roommate for his language and the roommate said he shared Bud’s opinion. When Bud did come around he asked me, "Well, how am I doing?" I said, "You’re doing fine but I didn’t think it was possible for you to swear more asleep than you do awake." Bud looked genuinely chagrined and said, "Oh, shit. I hope I didn’t offend the nurses." And then he asked every nurse who came in if he had offended her with his language and apologized for everything he might have said while unawares. Other than the swearing, he’s a delightfully funny, smart and considerate person and the nurses adore him.
My sister was en route to him when I finally got a flight out, with a lay over in Detroit and three more canceled planes. My last delay was in the gate area across from one of those airport tequila bars. The delay allowed two dozen businessmen to get thoroughly souza-ed as they yelled at football games. The UCLA game was on and that was of interest to all those Michigan fans waiting to find out UM’s final ranking. At one point someone screamed, "I LOVE that linebacker!" and someone else screamed, "He’s got man love!" and the next thing anyone heard was a whole bar full of grown men chanting at the top of their lungs, "Man love! Man love! Man love!" What the???
Naturally they were all on my flight, with upgrades into the exit rows. Naturally, the plane backed away from the gate and then was delayed another hour on the runway. The flight attendants offered a beverage service while we waited- just what they needed. United gives out little cheesy crackers shaped like tiny airplanes along with their drinks. The last time I could bring myself to look back at the ongoing party, five men in business suits were waving around 1 inch crackers, making zoom-zoom-zoom noises and then shrieking with delight at their own amusement.
Is it any wonder women just shake their heads in amazement at the other half?