Thursday, December 19, 2019
One of Chicago's best-kept secrets is that you can park at O'Hare International Airport for $2—for one hour, which is plenty of time to wander in, collect your loved one, and wander out. Given that, why anyone drives to the gate, fighting through masses of cars, half trying to merge into the rightmost lane and get in, half trying to merge into the leftmost lane and get out, through an obstacle course of traffic cops, bags, cabs and assorted distractions, is a mystery. I figure nobody knows they have the option.
The downside of parking to collect or drop off your charge is that one does spend time standing in the airport. Airports are, as a rule, unlovely places, particularly the baggage claim area. And in that light, I suppose any attempt at decoration should be welcome.
But really. Look at these three rectangles of cloth. One blue. One red. One green. At first I wondered about the color significance. Red and green for Christmas, obviously. And the blue ... for Hanukkah? A sop to the Jews? I floated this theory by my wife, and she suggested that the blue was for United: we were in Terminal 1, United's terminal. Their airline color is blue.
For some reason, I considered the three flags separately from the three stars, which had a charming, childlike, misshapen quality to them, and the two balls. It's a very big terminal, and the decoration such a feeble, inadequate, puzzling half-flourish. I mean, United is still solvent, correct? You'd think they'd put on a better show than this parody of minimalism.
Then again, I should not complain. At least Terminal 1, which I visited before Thanksgiving, has chairs. Not many, but an intrepid couple in their late 50s could snag a pair, given enough patience.
The same can not be said for Terminal 2, where I spent time Saturday. No chairs, no decoration to mock. (Well, no decoration that I noticed). Not that I'm nocking it. I'm not. What would be the point of that? I'm questioning it. I thought of contacting United, finding the person responsible, but they'd probably never do it, and if they did, what would that person say? Whoever did this, I'm sure, was operating under a variety of constraints. Or at least I hope they were. You hate to think United told them to go crazy, deck the halls, expense be damned, and this is what they came up with.