Fortunately, I had put on my brown leather Adidas yesterday morning, and checked everything but my shoulder bag. Thus unencumbered and with the best possible traction, I was able to pick up amazing speed on the moving walkways of O’Hare.
My plane from Syracuse, which took off three hours late, landed 30 minutes after my San Francisco connection was supposed to have taken off. But this was O’Hare, where all flights are delayed at least a little. The monitor said United flight 155 to SFO was still at C15, status “CLOSED”. I ran.
A shuttle bus connects concourses F and C, and from the window I could clearly see the beautiful bulbous nose of a Boeing 767 nuzzled up against gate C15, jetway still attached. The bus pulled up to C concourse’s slushy back entrance and I bounded upstairs, ran over a Japanese teenager standing dead in the middle of the moving walkway, and crashed into gate C15.
Which was empty as a morgue save a few bored travelers already awaiting the next departure. No blue-suited United personnel anywhere. I beat on the closed jetway door. Contemplated opening the door, but chickened out. Cursed a few times.
That was how I came to be pressing my face against the window and gesticulating at the pilots through their window not 30 yards away. (The other travelers didn’t even look up.) I thought I saw the copilot look over. I waved my ticket and pointed at the jetway. Now the pilot looked over. I put my hands together as if I were a Catholic holding a tearful conversation with Mary. He shrugged his shoulders and looked away. I cursed some more and went back to the jetway door to beat on it.
Three more guys, businessmen, arrived, puffing. I told them what was up, and we all gathered at the window, staring at the pilots like choirboys. A flight attendant stuck her head into the cockpit and gave us the thumbs up. Miracles. Five hours later I could smell kelp in the air.
I have no idea where my bags are.