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.