At about 5:20am on Saturday morning I got a call which I promptly ignored. After all who would call someone so painfully early? That's just rude. Minutes later it all made sense: that was my cab downstairs waiting to take me to my 6:30am flight to Chicago. I had promptly slept though my alarm and now had to finish packing, get myself ready, make it to the airport, and board my plane within an hour. Blammo. Impossible? I think not. O' ye of little faith, prepare to be amazed.
I made it downstairs by 5:40 only to see that my cab had left...the only option of course was to drive myself. I was in my car by 5:45 and speeding at 100mph like a madman I made it by 5:57am (12 minutes!). I promptly cut every line and was in the plane on time. The slightly shocking thing is that I only received the Indian double-take twice. What is this double-take I speak of? Well I'm glad you asked.
For reasons unclear to a lot of people I have decided to holdoff on shaving as long as I possible can. Saturday morning marked one week and let's just say I had the beginnings of a beard. While this is all fine and dandy, the reality is that I also happily placed myself as an interesting facial profile for people traveling in airports. At the risk of glossing over an important racial/social issue, let's just say that I've been a part of more than my fair share of "random passenger searches" while going through the airport and the scruffy pre-beard was not exactly helpful.
My dad was once the only person on his entire flight stopped for one of these random searches and he flat out said "listen, if you think I fit a suspicious profile and want to check me, just tell me, I'm okay with that, but please don't insult me but telling me that this is a random check." Needless to say the security officials were not pleased. Either they were searching for brown people or Minnesota Viking football fans who have a strong love for LA Kings hockey fit the profile they're searching for, because I too am blessed with the same profile as my dad... if they were searching for Oakland Raider fans that would be understandable.
In any case I actually was able to breeze through security and what I didn't realize is for some reason I was seated in the front row. Needless to a say a brown person, unshaven, and in the front row of a plane on the day after "United 93" was released in theaters isn't exactly a welcome sight for some airline stewardesses. And thus while one was walking the aisle she gave me the distinct double-take to ensure whether I'm a threat to national security or not. Luckily the only anti-establishment propoganda I possessed was the Rage Against the Machine & Asian Dub Foundation on my iPod.
Anyhoo, the upshot is this, I think my stance is pretty similar to dad's: I find it just as ridiculous as the next guy when old grandmothers are forced to go through airport searches to help impart the notion that the searches are indeed "random." If you think I'm threatening, that's fine, but just don't tell me that it's only by accident that you're always checking me. And you know what else, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that American Muslims are just as concerned for their safety as non-Muslims Americans while flying. But who am I, I am but a Hindu who practices false idolatry. Oh yeah, by the way, before my return flight back to NY this morning, I shaved.
Okay, enough of the social commentary, here is my weekend in pictures:
Okay it's a little blurry to make out (keep in mind I was driving and it's my camera phone), but you can see that in my sprint to get to the airport on time on Saturday morning I raced past the 100mph barrier...
I went to college here and if you ask me, Chicago is one of favorite cities, yes perhaps even more than NY. (nothing of course beats Huntington Beach). On the right hand side you can see the scaffolding for the new Trump building
One of my mental issues I deal with is that I see references to the world of finance everwhere I look. In this case when I spotted the Fannie May chocolate store on Michigan Avenue, my first thought was of Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA). It's a corporation that buys mortgages on the secondary market, pools them, and sells them to investors. If you have no idea what I'm talking about please ignore this and skip to the next picture. Remember I really can be cool. Sometimes.
Game 4: Bulls vs. the Heat (United Center, Sunday afternoon).
The Bulls won and the series is tied at 2-2. How we were able to get tickets for the game is nothing short of a miracle. Although as a lifelong Laker fan it's always be a bit odd booing Shaq. On a sidenote, one of the best places to hear the national anthem is at a Chicago sporting event, bar none (ideally a soldout Blackhawks game)
In this city if you're a ballplayer who's done the city proud, you're a legend for life. I spotted this license plate while leaving the game... but why this fan chose to only salute Jordan's MVP in '92 and not any of his 6 championships or 5 other MVP's is beyond me. I guess those license plates were already taken.