I didn’t get groped at O’Hare, but the noms are bad

I got to the airport three hours early so I could chill at the United Club lounge, which I joined for a bargain (relatively) last year. I was hoping to get comfortable seats, wireless (both of which I have), and something good to eat.

Sadly, the noms are dire: worse than I’ve had in any other visit before. In fact, all there is to eat is some salad, cubes of cheese, and cut-up pita bread. That’s what I ate, but I hoped for more. Yes, there are free drinks, but not all the beers are free: if you want anything more than a Bud or Miller Lite, you have to pay $5 (I had a Bud). Since when do airport lounges charge for booze? And is the food always this bad?

Oh, and it’s crowded, and there is not a negligible number of people wearing face masks against viruses, which don’t work well and, at any rate, there’s no coronavirus here.

Get off my lawn, United!

The good news is that I breezed through TSA and nobody laid a hand on my nether parts!

J’ecrirai plus de Paris. . .


  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    People often think face masks will protect them from viruses but they do the opposite – they protect others from your virus so if you have a cold of flu, wearing a face mask reduces the likelihood you’ll infect others. If people knew this they’d never wear them as I find most people are self centred.

    • Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      If you have a bad cough, wearing a face mask can save you a lot of dirty looks.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        I was sick for 3 weeks over the Xmas holidays & I swear I caught something when some adult sneezed with no effort to cover his mouth or nose while I was walking through the lobby of a children’s hospital. Ugh. Other people.

    • Mike Mayer
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Wearing a mask also signals to others that you are contagious so they can stay away.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        I should wear one all the time just go get them away from me. I find them a bit hard to breath with on though which is horrible if you have an illness that is impeding breathing.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          Well, if wearing a mask is just to frighten others away, put in some carefully disguised holes so you can breath easily. A gap under a pleat for instance. 😎

        • rickflick
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          On second thought, it would be more effective if you just ripped a large, obvious, hole in the mask. You’ll breath very well and folks will scatter like chickens. 😎

          • boudiccadylis
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            And they steam up ones glasses.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 24, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

              Yes. I think it’s a conspiracy by Big Facemask.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            Yeah because they will think you are just nuts. It would be pretty funny to wear a mask with a whole ripped to stick your lips out of and then walk around with a serious look on your face. I don’t think I could manage the serious look though which would make me look even more deranged as I wandered around laughing manically through a hole in a mask.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 24, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

              No, I think you could bring it off easily. Just imagine yourself in an episode of Seinfeld. Anybody can act. 😎

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

                I was laughing so hard at the thought of this that I had tears in my eyes. Then I came back and saw it again & laughed all over again.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                My morning’s mission is accomplished. I made someone cry. 😎

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Here I have a different opinion so call me self-centered and going against recommended “best practices, which don’t seem so good to me.

      Very good that face masks protect others from one’s virus but if I were in close quarters with people who might be infected, I’d wear a mask because given that coronavirus is said to spread not only by touching objects contaminated by the virus, it’s mainly spread directly from person to person – in close contact – within 6 feet, and when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus is transmitted in the spray. Without a mask it can lodge in a person’s nose or mouth. Of course, a mask isn’t foolproof and one shouldn’t be lulled into thinking that the mask “inoculates” the wearer against contracting the virus.

      I’ll never forget an instance several years ago when I was just getting over a really nasty flu or cold that had gone into my lungs. I was sitting on a crowded bus and a woman across from me was coughing and hacking like all get out. She looked directly at me and sneezed and coughed right into my face. She didn’t apologize, just looked at me. I wondered if she’d done it on purpose, some people like to share their misery. Needless to say, not long afterward, I was horribly sick again. Probably got bronchitis but maybe mild pneumonia.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      But this is precisely why the people in Japan (at least, and I assume Korea, China, etc.) wear masks – they do it because they do not want to infect others. It may be a cultural artefact, but masks, at least in Japan, long precede more-or-less lethal inhaled infections.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes but that isn’t the culture in the West. In the East they are much more collective thinking. In the West it’s all me me me me and the mask wearing reflects that.

    • Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      More bad news about Covid-19 – it’s possible for an asymptomatic person to infect others:

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Surprise. Surprise. I remember joking about having a cold & being a temporary biological weapon. It will probably be my comeuppance to be taken down in such a way.

  2. GBJames
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It saddens me to hear that you were forced to drink Bud. Grievous times.

    • Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I know. I could have had Lagunitas IPA for $5 (the only other beer) but I don’t like it (it’s too heavily hopped) and it’s also 5 simoleons.

    • Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink


    • Ken Phelps
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      On the plus side, the stench of the Budweiser beer-substitute liquid product may have given you the aura of a reliable ‘Murkin, off to do God’s work.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me that the late, great Chef Tony said the most soul-deadening meal he ever ate was at an airport Johnny Rockets:

    I’ve spent enough time in endless layovers at odd hours in airports to understand what he meant.

  4. Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Your experience at the United Club Lounge reminded me of the famous Groucho Marx quote:

    “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

    Nom Voyage!

  5. Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    After 39 trans-Atlantic flights. I have decided not to eat anything anywhere in any airport – period! Even the in-flight rubber chicken is a step up. 🙄

  6. C.
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    In semi-related news, well, it’s about flying, mostly: “Mad” Mike Hughes, flat-earther extraordinaire, man who built his own rocket to fly up to “prove” the earth isn’t round, as seen on Tosh.o, crashed and died. Apparently rocket science is hard…not as hard as the round earth he crashed into though…

    • rickflick
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I saw the video. As the rocket lifted off, a parachute was released prematurely and the ship went up a while and then turned and arrowed down into the ground at what must have been a pretty fast rate. I was sure it was unsurvivable. Poor bastard.

      • C.
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps this is a classic case of Dunning-Krueger. I just can’t imagine thinking you know more than generations of scientists and engineers. To be so completely in denial of reality, I just cannot fathom.

        I didn’t see the video, not sure I’d want to. The details in various news articles were vague and I wasn’t sure exactly what happened. That he would die due to one of his stunts came as no surprise. I guess I can admire a person so dedicated to their cause that they’d be willing to risk all but still, what a pointless waste.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          I think Dunning-Krueger pretty much explains it – together with, perhaps, some kind of fatalistic bravado. Something like Knievel.

        • RPGNo1
          Posted February 25, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          The man has truely earned the Darwin award.

  7. Simon Hayward
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    For united transatlantic flights I normally eat either at Torta Fronteras in terminal 1 or at the sushi place between T1 and T2. Both overpriced, but they get you past having to eat the evening meal on the plane.

    Things will improve once you cross the pond. The United flight to Paris shows on time so bon voyage.

  8. Jim batterson
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Well it looks like jerrys flight pushed back from the gate four minutes early. Estimated flight time is a bit over eight hours. If anyone is having a sleepless night you should be able to follow the progress of his b767 flight to charles degaulle on flight aware at. https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL987

    • rickflick
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I see the flight was planned for a speed of 519 mph, but it quickly got up past 580 already! He’ll be early.

      • Jim batterson
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Looks like he should arrive a bit early…just in time for a fresh coffee and pastries en paris. That should cleanse the taste buds from his unfortunate experience in the red carpet room at ohare.

  9. Dominic
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Corona virus could be there – we know now some people may have it & not know! 🙂

  10. chrism
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t travel much anymore, but I still keep up a credit card that both lets me collect points for Air Canada, use their priority check-in desk and use their lounges plus those of associated Star Alliance airlines. I have to pay an annual fee, but by paying for everything that I possibly can with this card, the points I get are worth more in terms of tickets I can buy (usually for family members these days) than the cost of the fee.

  11. Jim batterson
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you matthew. Btw according to flight aware jerrys plane landed a few minutes ahead of schedule at 0214 chicago time this morning. So he should be out and about searching for his first lunch.

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