Getting There (or here - depending on pov):
It was always interesting arriving at O'Hare and going off to look for the connection to Portland while walking among of crowds of people heading off to all sorts of exotic, perhaps even sophisticated destinations - New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Prague, Reykjavik,Vienna, Berlin, Beijing,Tokyo - perhaps even Lhasa via Delhi. Everyone tends to dress for their destination so you'd see people heading to Hawaii already wearing beach clothes and the ones on their way home to London making sure they weren't parted from their umbrellas. Walking along the broad concourses of the alphabet terminals, maybe even getting to ride the underground people mover, looking at the neon light show while listening to Brian Eno's 'Music For Airports', you could imagine being free to go anywhere. Where's the gate to the past you may have wondered but I think it was never there to be found.
I always made a point of visiting the bathroom even if I didn't have to just to flush and watch the seat wrapping revolve to a fresh section. For some reason that particular version of 70's futurism always amused me. Back then, if their was a long interval between flights, it was still possible to leave the terminal to go outside and watch people arriving. Limos, buses, cars and cabs would pull up to the departure doors dropping off passengers in every conceivable mood, an experience that only strengthened my understanding we're all continually just passing through.
But enough of these airport dreams, even if it was O'Hare and just about the biggest anywhere, it would eventually be time to get serious about finding the gate that matched your ticket. Just time enough left to buy some candy, a wrapped lunch and reject the souvenir Cubs hats you'd been so thrilled to find just a few years before. Time to move along to this year's destination.
Without even checking your boarding pass you'd know you'd arrived at the right place the minute you saw all the backpacks with people slumping under the weight. For some reason backpacks, running shoes, baseball caps and birkenstocks were and still are the fashion items of choice for those returning to Oregon. Sigh.. It's a nice city, perhaps even the most Canadian city in the US, but it's a little boring.
I found this drawing today while tidying, an illustration for one of a few not very successful Portland stories I played around with last year. Since it may be just the thing for tacking over the grease spot that can't be scrubbed off the kitchen wall, I'll offer it as a prize to anyone who'd like to write a travel story. It can be long or short, posted as a comment or on your own blog (just tell me it's there) and I'll write your name down for a random draw one week from today.