You can park at O’Hare airport for $2, and not just for 20 minutes, but a full hour; $5 for the first three hours.
So much about air travel is idiotic, dysfunctional, costly or all three that you’d think this fact would be better known. It makes sense. Rather than loop around the gates, trying to spot your incoming passenger with one eye while noticing the triple-parked Kia you’re about to rear end with the other, you can park, pay a couple bucks, greet your loved one with civility — the rarest thing in air travel nowadays — and be on your way.
The third time my wife mentioned this bargain to me, I realized that she was slyly suggesting I park when picking her up Thursday on her return from six days in Los Angeles, where she went to drop off our older boy at college and then visit family.
So I did. A good husband takes a hint.
Not wanting to be late, I pulled into the airport 15 minutes before her flight, parked and ambled over to Gate 3, where the ARRIVALS information board told me that, parking notwithstanding, the airport had not changed that much. Most flights were late, between two minutes and three hours. My wife’s was an acceptable 12 minutes late.
I strolled over to the exit. There were 100 teenage girls crowded against a wall, facing a dozen Chicago and airport police. At first I thought “school group” maybe assembling after a trip before leaving the airport. But from their body language — looking hard to the right — and the cops, I quickly realized they were waiting for somebody.
“Some band,” a cop said. I yanked open my mental file drawer of hot new bands and found a dusty scrap of memory with New Kids on the Block scribbled on it. But they formed in 1984 and are all pushing 50.
Using my investigative skills, I walked over to the line of girls, picked one, and asked.
“Five Seconds of Summer,” she replied.