Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Great American Disappointment Company

Since I had an hour to kill in the Sea-Tac airport while on a layover to Chicago, I decided to suppress the urge to buy a $10 pre-made sandwich from the sandwich cart and ferret out some better food, since this would afford me another chance to get in my daily dose of walking; (see, Mr. Neurologist? Dedicated). I consulted the airport map and determined that the Great American Bagel Company was not so far away and I could snack on a multigrain bagel with some form of protein and delicious melty cheese to get me through the long journey to Chicago.

What I hadn’t factored in, however, were the facts that a) I do not have the fleetest of feet (the fact that I was recently out-run and cussed out by an 80-year-old guy with a walker should have alerted me to this fact, but didn’t), b) that I was carrying a backpack that weighed as much as your average competitive gymnast and c) that I was also dragging a little carry-on suitcase on wheels in an effort to avoid having the O’Hare airport lose my luggage for the 900th time. I also hadn’t factored in the several steep uphill ramps, which is problematic since the only way I can go up inclines is to swing my leg (and arm) in a ridiculous arc while pointing my toe in a near-perfect imitation of the Ministry of Silly Walks Monty Python sketch. (I do, by the way, have a “Ministry of Silly Walks” shirt, but I’ve stopped wearing it so much because whenever I do, people always come up to me and launch into the whole “dead parrot” skit, which always causes me to give them a blank stare and briefly wonder if they are insane because I have forgotten that I was wearing the shirt, which results in embarrassment for the both of us).

It turns out, as well, that what the airport map had depicted as a quick, breezy jaunt was actually a twenty-minute slog. On the way, I was subjected to a bizarre photographic mural of a magician and his assistant, both of whom had electrifyingly green eyes and these creepy grins. Now, see, murals of mountains and trees and skylines I can understand, since these remind passengers that there is a world outside of the concrete-and-fluorescence purgatory of airports and are also metaphors for life (take the road less traveled! The sky’s the limit! See the forest through the trees!) But what kind of acid was someone dropping when they were sitting around a table at a design meeting and deciding, “You know what will really cheer passengers up and ease their transition to new destinations? A mural of magicians! Doing creepy magic tricks and wearing top hats! And to really fuck with people’s heads, let’s get the photoshop people to give them glowing eyes so it looks like they’re staring you down as you stagger to your boarding gate. Wouldn’t that just be a breath of fresh air in a weary world?”

After twenty minutes and a little bit of magician-induced trauma, I arrived at the Great American Bagel Company with high expectations. I ordered a turkey sandwich on a multigrain bagel with roasted red peppers and cheese, toasted. I think the toaster must have been on the fritz because instead of toasting it, the machine only sucked out every last drop of moisture. The multi-grain bagel was topped with something that resembled chicken feed, and biting into it caused me to cut the roof of my mouth in three places, (which, if you’ve been following my great To Floss or Not to Floss? debate, could lead to a massive infection of my hip, and death by bagel is not exactly the way I want to go). The bagel was so hard that I could not bite into both halves at once, but when I got rid of the first layer, I found myself staring at the (unmelted and not-at-all-delicious) cheddar cheese, which was turning white from the water of the turkey and the roasted red peppers. I was about to complain, but the girl at the counter was busily tapping yellowed patties of pressed chicken against the cutting board (to soften them up? to defrost them? to determine whether or not they were actually food?) and I figured that her intervention might not improve the situation. Even though I had paid $8 for the sandwich, I could not choke it down.

Instead, I dined on a Snicker's bar. By this time, I realized that I was going to be late for my flight, so I booked it past the creepy magicians towards my gate and arrived, panting, puffing and thoroughly sore, with only a few minutes to spare, still hungry. So, if you’re listening Great American Bagel Company, I want my freaking money back. You should give it to me because there are few forces as formidable as quasi-cyborg with a lot of time on her hands and a fondness for composing scathing letters.

Oh, and in other news, some old lady just smoked me in the head with the door of the airplane washroom when both of us were coming out of opposite cubicles at the same time. I am not having good luck with the elderly today.

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