May 30th, 2005

The Windy City, the final day...

We got up at 8:30, and after showering and packing, went downstairs to Mrs. Park's Tavern, the hotel restaurant, for our complimentary breakfast. I had a "Southwestern Omelet," which consisted of chourico, green onions, and Jack cheese, and Steve had an omelet with bacon, onion, and cheese. It came with toast and hash browns. We both had juice -- I had tomato, Steve had cranberry -- and I had coffee, while Steve had a diet Coke. Delicious, and all free.

I walked over to Walgreen's and bought some postcards and a fridge magnet. I bought the cheesiest magnet; it's in the shape of a flip-flop, complete with the toe straps in 3-D. We saw a lot of people in flip-flops while there, so that will remind me of that.

We checked out, and hopped a cab to O'Hare. Our cab driver was singing to himself on the way. He seemed happy in his work.

Steve called his mother and had the most detailed discussion about some food item served at an event, and as to how it was served at this particular event, and how, in general, it should be served -- not cold, but not too hot, either. The conversation made me smile.

Once there, I said to the cabbie, "You are a happy man. All that singing."

"Actually, I was just trying to stay awake," he replied. Kinda glad I didn't know that earlier.

We tried to get an earlier flight through Cincinnati, but there were none that would get us back to Raleigh any earlier than our current flights through Atlanta. We stayed put.

Steve signed up as a frequent flyer with Delta, with the most fun gate agent there. She had helped us check for alternate flights, and then worked with Steve in filling out his application. We were at the kiosks, and she said, "Step down here to my office," which was just two windows over and looked the exact same as all of the other windows.

"Do you like what I've done with the place?" waving her hand around as if pointing out elaborate furnishings. She was a trip. Steve had fun with her. Her hair needed some work though, bless her heart. It was a dingy red, with about an inch-and-a-half of white at the roots starting at the part in the middle of her head. Did I say, "Bless her heart?" Great personality, though.

We had about a 2.5-hour layover in Atlanta, and spent an hour of it (over)eating at Chilies in the airport. At our gate (an hour early), I wrote out some postcards, and had no sooner said, "I wish I had a desk to write these on," when I looked up, and to the left, to find, what looked like, a "laptop bar." There were stools to sit on and outlets all along the back of it for laptops, and other gadgets. Very cool! Delta has finally done something right!

This cute little black boy, maybe 12 years old, took the seat next to me and plugged in his DVD player. He looked over at my laptop, where I was devising this entry, and saw the picture of me that's up in the right hand corner of the entries.

"Is that you?" he asked?

"Yes, it is."

"How'd you get that in there?" he asked.

He was a talkative little kid, and I engaged with him. He was on his way back to Los Angeles, and his flight was boarding in about 10 minutes. Thankfully.

Other than being super crowded, our flight to Raleigh was uneventful. Just before boarding, I saw Justin and his girlfriend, and said hello. He later retrieved my bag for me upon exiting, as I'd had to store it two rows behind where I was sitting. I hate when that happens.

These are some of my favorite "memories" of the beautiful men in Chicago:

And these were the 1st Runner Up (on the left, and my personal favorite), Winner (in the middle), and 2nd Runner Up (on the right) of this year's International Mr. Leather contest: