Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well, after the first day back at work, The Ford is finally feeling recovered from his vacation.

A ton of fun was had in the Springs, but, man, the traveling to and from S-U-C-K-E-D.

Colorado Springs: Flight out of C-Springs left town at 6:30 a.m., but The Ford didn't arrive in Detroit until 6 p.m.

First up, a 2-hour flight to Minneapolis. Uneventful, except for the crapload of Springs middle-schoolers flying to New York via Minny on my same flight. The girl sitting next to me was watching Donnie Darko on her laptop. Cool, but a bit scary at 7 a.m.

Minneapolis: The Ford has decided that it's not waiting in airports that he hates; it's sitting around and waiting in airports. So he took off and made several circuits of the Minny airport, which, thankfully, is semi-circular. (There's only so many times The Ford can walk up and down the straight-line terminals in Detroit without losing it.)

Among the folks he saw while walking about...

1.) Hot women.
Seriously, Minneapolis might be one of the most underrated cities for women. Or maybe it's just the airport. But man, the talent at 10 a.m. on a Monday, well, it beats the hell out of the businessmen I was sharing a departure gate with in the Springs.

2.) John Thompson.
Well, at least The Ford THINKS it was John Thompson. Big giant black dude, looking a bit run down in a sweatshirt and hat, with a small backpack on his back, moving slowly on the moving walkway. Not standing. Just not hustling. It makes sense, too, before you start thinking The Ford is one of those people who thinks he sees John Thompson whereever he goes. Over the weekend, Georgetown, coached by John Thompson III, was playing in the NCAA basketball regional in Minneapolis. Of course, you'd think Mr. Thompson would fly on their charter, were he accompanying his son/former team, and not just be wandering aimlessly through the airport, but, well, The Ford isn't one to question John Thompson.
Which is actually why The Ford isn't sure if it truly WAS John Thompson. Unable to think of anything to say to John Thompson other than, "Hey, I just watched a documentary on how 'Nova beat your Hoyas in '85. That was cool," which would probably get The Ford beat up by a very old man.
Instead, The Ford coolly got off the moving walkway ahead of Mr. Thompson and stood next to a directory, appearing to be studying where the nearest Sbarro was, all the while keeping an eye on the big man on the walkway.
Of course, The Ford is notsomuch cut out for private eye work. (Keep your "private dick" jokes to yourself, please. This is a family blog, at least until we get to the semi-naked women.)
He never did get a clear look at the guy's face, since he veered into one of the news kiosks as soon as he got off the walkway.
The Ford chalked it up as a lost opportunity and moved on in his nomadic trip around the airport.
3.) Milo Bryant
Yes, The Ford ran into his former coworker from The Gazette flying back to the Springs from the NCAA hockey regional in Green Bay. The Ford thought he recognized Milo as he was walking by him, but after the John Thompson debacle, he wasn't up for any more detective work. So he motored on, until he very faintly heard a "Hey, Ryan." Turned around, and there's a guy who looks an awful lot like Milo staring at him. Bingo. So, we walked, we talked, a good time was had by all, though we did almost throw down with an airport employee who refused to go a foot out of his way to avoid hitting us with a trash can. Yeah, it's not a great story, but it's a nice coda to the unfinished nature of the John Thompson anecdote, don'cha'think?

But soon enough, it was time to leave the Land of 10,000 Lakes -- from Minnesota to Chicago.

Yes, the dreaded 2-stop flight. Oy.

And of course, while Minneapolis, which is a great airport (complete with pinball machines in strategic locations) was only a 2-hour wait, Chicago O'Hare, a lame airport that's actually regressed since it was build in the 1970s, presented a 3-hour wait. And, of course, O'Hare is so far in the boonies that you can't even LEAVE the airport to go do anything.

And so, The Ford walked. He walked through Concourse E, past the memorial to WWII hero Lt.Col. Butch O'Hare, into concourses B, C and D. All equally lame. All the while talking on the phone with a friend who lives in Chicago, who was, at that moment, driving past O'Hare on her way to home and work from a weekend in the 'burbs.

Good times.

And then, a single circuit of the airport enough for The Ford, he sat down with a crappy personal Uno sausage pizza, and waited. And waited. Finished off his pizza. Finished off that day's Chicago Tribune. Finished off that day's Chicago Sun-Times. Finished off two fantasy baseball magazines.
Folks, things were so bad, he was about 5 minutes from breaking down and buying either porn, or the copy of FHM with Anna Benson on the cover, once he decided which was less embarassing to be seen with. Luckily, at that point, The Ford's plane began boarding, meaning he only had to stand in line for 15 minutes, and trudge through a giant puddle of spilt chocolate milk, to finally be on his way back home to the Motor City.

Of course, once he got back to Detroit, he had to track down his suitcase. After waiting through three different flights' baggage, then giving the still-moving carousel 10 minutes to disgorge his garmet bag, The Ford was forced to admit his luggage might be lost.
A quick walk though seemingly half the airport put him in the lost-baggage-claim area, at which point a very helpful clerk noted his bag had already arrived. 3 hours ago.
Shipped ahead of his flight.
The Ford doesn't know much about the world of travel, but he's pretty sure having your luggage beat you to your destination is a HUGE sign you got screwed in your travel plans.

Never one to let a bad day of travel die, The Ford decided to hit Dearborn for a bit of grub and graphic novels. He also learned that despite living here for two months, there are still many parts of the city he can get lost in, especially since it appears to have TWO, non-contiguous Mexicantowns. This is good to know, but unpleasant to discover after 12 hours of travel.

Eventually, The Ford found his way to Dearborn, tipped off, oddly enough, by a familiar titty bar sign. And you thought The Ford studied the titty bars cause he was a perv. Heh.

And from Dearborn, he did eventually make it back to The Official Building, vowing never to leave town again, at least until he flies to Hawaii in June. (And if there's a layover at O'Hare then, he will kill someone, just to liven up his stay in Chicago. Chi-town, you have been warned.)

In other news: The Knicks, thanks to their adoption of Sacramento's "look like a stripper" approach, steamrolled into the Eastern dance bracket finals, earning the right to get steamrolled by Miami. Meanwhile, The Official Dance Team of The Official Blog of The Ford is in the Western finals. Oh, yeah. Of course, they're going up against the aforementioned Sacramento Pole Dancers, who, with their razor-thin margins of victory, are starting to gain a "Hoosiers"-esque status in The Ford's mind. I think we can all guess what the movie based on an upset of the squads from big-city Seattle, Miami or New York would be called.


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