Monday, August 14, 2006


Back from Chicago. What a trip. Chicago is an amazing city; I wish I'd had another week there. Everything we tried to do--a few hours here, a few hours there--I wanted to spend a day just exploring. The Oak Park neighborhood, filled with beautiful old Victorian houses, bungalows, and the first Frank Lloyd Wright homes; the Magnificent Mile, which would inspire even me to shop and shop; the Art Institute. So much stuff happened in one weekend that it's all in bits and pieces now in my mind and I can't comprehend it all.

We flew out the day after that foiled-terrorist-plot thing that raised all the Terrorist Levels or whatever to Orange. Everything went really smoothly as far as that went though. Except that my mom thought that my luggage was her gym bag (they're identical ugly green duffel bags) and tried to put it back in the car, thinking that Dad had grabbed it out of the bedroom by mistake or something... I panicked: that's all my stuff, what are you doing? That's my bag! Solution: I'm getting a smart carry-on bag for my holiday present, one of those square-ish rolley ones, like everyone else in my family (and the airport) seems to have.

Driving in Chicago is CRAZY. They don't use 'lanes' the way that we do--driving straight forward in one lane or moving to another lane to drive in that lane. They just act as though there are no lines whatsoever painted on the road. And they take the attitude that to signal turns is to let the enemy know your plan. Downtown there are hoards and hoards of pedestrians and cyclists, it looks like Manhattan. They just surge into the street randomly, brazenly, knowing that no motorist would mow down 20 walkers at once.

The Jeep Liberty wins the coveted Worst SUV Ever award. I mean the only good thing about SUVs is the space, right? Luggage space and leg-room? It has none. Our luggage barely fit; backpacks and things had to be carried on laps. Backseat as cramped as my Chevy Cavalier-- a compact car. (Luckily as the Chief Navigator I rode shotgun most of the trip.) On top of that the thing had the child-safety locks set on the back doors, so nobody could get out of the back seat until somebody came around and opened the door from the outside. This went on for a day and a half, until we figured out how to unset that feature.

Spending 86 million consecutive hours with my family makes me crazy. Crazy. We do better with moderation, not with flying together, eating together,


Under the right circumstances and with enough wine, my family will dance. With each other. In public. I'm scared to see the wedding videos.


If my entire family has entered an art museum and I wander away to contemplate some paintings in silence, my mom will call my cellphone to ask if I'm okay. Where am I? Did I get lost? Spending more than 1 day with us makes her forget that KK and I are 23 and 25, not 3 and 5. I guess it's sweet really.


We barely made it onto the plane back in time. You know what I said about the Jeep Liberty? It goes double for Thrifty rental car company--don't use them if you can help it. When you live in Dallas, it's easy to forget what a great airport we have. Clean, modern, well-laid out. Up-to-date systems, efficient equipment. We just take it for granted until dealing with some old crumbling structure filled with catatonic personnel. Like, I don't know, Chicago O'Hare?


I got in trouble with Mom for stopping to talk to the handler of one of the bomb-sniffing dogs. But it was the most beautiful German Shepherd--long haired-- and they were still putting their shoes back on...

The handlers are actually the dogs' owners; they take them home at night and spend all day and night with them. Like pets, but pets that deter drug traffickers and terrorists.


Benjamin said...

Your trip sounds like fun. However, it is best not to pester bomb-sniffing dogs. Only a true sociopath would do such a thing. Witness the link below:

Mara said...

I wasn't pestering... I just said hi.