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Chicago on a Winter Night
pokemon
unwiredben
Due to the magic allocation of bargain seats, both of my flights for my Christmas trip went through Chicago and had long layovers. I'm writing this in a seat on the edge of terminal H at O'Hare, just behind the Sunglass Hut and a few meters from the BackRub Hub, a nice place to sit and wait. I just had dinner at the Chicago Tap House, a bar and grill at the end of terminal G where American Eagle roosts their planes. The flight into Chicago was uneventful: we had a half-hour hold leaving Chattanooga due to congestion, but we made up a lot of that in the air. I got to try out my microbead pillow as a flying sleeping aid, and it worked admirably, giving my head someplace to nestle along the exit row window panel. The approach into Chicago was at the end of sunset, and I watched a cherry sun vanish into the west and the grid of planned suburbia appear below, turning into a yellow haze in the distance.

Dinner was leisurely. I got a portabella grill; a single small cap grilled with zucchini, bell peppers, and spinach, served with focaccia bread, romaine lettuce, and a pile of fries. It wasn't too bad, and I ate it deliberately, pulling out each piece and enjoying it separately. The Tap Room wasn't too crowded; I caught one of the high tables and read the ebook of "I Am Charlotte Simmons" while some bowl game played on the television monitors stationed along the perimeter.

It might just be the natural flow of evening, but O'Hare seems more sedate than when I was here eight days ago. People are still rushing around, but it's the rush of people eager to return to their homes, rather than the anxious energy of the outbound traveler. The music store across the atrium is playing a mishmash of music, mainly country and movie soundtracks. Christmas music has dissipated, although wreaths and garland still adorn many of the American gates.

A few years ago, I flew through Phoenix in late December, and I snapped a picture of one of the unused American West gates; the employees had altered the signage to report on a flight to the North Pole. On my flight from Chicago to Chattanooga last week, the flight attendant announced that we'd be flying at an altitude of 28,000 feet and six inches. Amid the glitches of holiday travel, I'm grateful for a little whimsy.

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