At about 1:30, Kevin headed down for a last walk through the Leather Vendor Market, and we said our good-byes, as he probably wasn't going to get back before I left for the airport.
I thought I'd take a little walk for some exercise and exiting the hotel, I walked to the right, which people have referred to as "toward the lake." When I got to where the road ended, however, there was no lake, only a little canal to one side, which presumably lead out to said lake.
I turned around and walked back to Bockwinkle's, where I bought a ham sandwich to eat later on the plane, since I was flying back coach class.
When I returned to our room the room service cart was blocking the door, which is what they do when they're cleaning the rooms, and I scooted around it to get in. I exchanged hellos with the housekeeper, and finished packing a few remaining things.
Before rolling my suitcase and laptop out of the room—and promptly, unknowingly, leaving my ham sandwich on the bureau—the housekeeper said to me, eying my bags, "Sir, may I see your key for a minute, please?" She waved it in front of the proximity reader to make sure it opened our door, and then said thank you satisfied that I wasn't some stranger making off with half the contents of the room she was cleaning.
I took Stetson Street down to Lake Street and over to the train station, where inside, one worker was standing outside the information booth talking to the guy working in it.
When he finished explaining to me how to cross platforms to the blue line (to avoid a transfer from the red line, which I could have taken right where I was), the worker standing outside the booth said, "You can just follow me. That's my station today, and I'm 'bout to walk over there." Yet another nice person in Chicago. I have found everyone nice, and helpful, here.
I had $1.25 left on my CTA fare-card, so I added a dollar to it for the $2.25 trip, which was uneventful. The train I took was the blue line ending at O'Hare, which was obvious by the amount of luggage in around most people on the train.
I tried to check in at a United Airlines kiosk in Terminal 2, and it showed my 6:01 flight leaving at 4:03, and it said that I couldn't check in electronically due to some security nonsense or other. There was a sign near the kiosks indicating that agent check-in for United Airline was in Terminal 1.
After checking in with an agent, and not recognizing anything "extra" done to preclude my checking in electronically, I entered the most outrageous security line ever. It was Disney line like in its six lines that snaked back and forth before reaching the entrance to where you got in line for the x-ray machines.
I don't know if this memorial banner is up all the time or was specifically put out for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but it spoke to me for some reason.
- AA 11 - On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the aircraft flying this route was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists and deliberately crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 92 people aboard, including the hijackers, plus an unconfirmed number of people in the building's impact zone.
- AA 77 - On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the aircraft flying this route was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists and deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people on board, including the hijackers, as well as 125 people in the building.
- UA 93 - On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the aircraft was hijacked by four al-Qaeda terrorists, and subsequently crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, near Shanksville, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles (130 km) southeast of Pittsburgh and 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., killing all on board including the four hijackers.
- AA 175 - On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the aircraft flying this route was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists, and deliberately crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 65 people aboard including the hijackers.
I didn't notice when I got in it, but my line was for the Backscatter x-ray machine only. There was a regular machine next to it, and I assumed you went through that one, unless they suspected something or you were randomly chosen to go through the full body scanner.
But that turned out to not be the case, so I did the full body scan. I was careful to take everything out of my pockets and put them into my laptop bag; however, I left my boarding pass and my driver's license in my left pocket.
After going through the scanner, a (hot enough) guy patted me down and then asked me what I had in my left pocket. "Just my boarding pass and my driver's license," I said.
"No coins?" he asked, and darn it, sure enough, I did have coins as I'd had a quick bite, since I left my sandwich back at the hotel, and I'd gotten change back when paying for it, which I'd completely forgotten about.
After we'd boarded the plane, the pilot came on to tell us that a "maintenance issue" was being looked at that they hoped to have cleared up "soon." We ended up having a 30-minute delay, and I found it hard to remain positive with the flights on both end of my trip having delays.
There were a couple of kids sitting nearby on the flight back that: 1) talked way too loudly—and unsurprisingly I suppose—as their dad had no concept of an "inside voice" himself to offer as a model to the children, and 2) made me glad I had my iTouch and earbuds with me.
As I was standing in the aisle waiting to deplane, a young man was talking to his seatmates saying that he was on his way to Camp Lejeune and the he was being deployed in three weeks. He was going to Afghanistan and commented that he was actually looking forward to finally going, that he'd been "in" for almost two years now, and he hadn't "seen any action."
As the line started to move, I said to him, "Thank you for your service, man."
When I got to the plane exit, the pilot was standing in the cockpit doorway, and remembering the O'Hare memorial, I said to him, "Thank you for your work."
Joe was an absolute dear and picked me up, complete with a hamburger that he'd grilled for dinner and had left over. I devoured it as soon as I got home. Delicious. Thank you, my friend.
I made a concerted effort to not look at my work email inbox tonight to put the last ounce of vacate in vacation.