chicago – o’ hare.

February 1, 2007

growing up in canada, it’s always been strange to compare one’s life there to a life in the united states.  i suspect much of this is because, from my perspective, american culture falls into an uncanny valley of sorts: so similar, yet so different.

stuck, as i am, at chicago’s o’ hare airport, i’m stricken by how different everything is here. no rye or clamato at the bar, one-dollar bills instead of loonies, no french on labels, announcements from the department of homeland security, stars and stripes, mcdonalds as a metonym for the food court, mahmoud ahmadinejad and hugo chávez on cnn.

i understand now why ross acted with such condescention for canada, calling it “america’s cute younger sister.” he couldn’t see why anyone would want to do things differently than the hegemon.

chicago’s not all like this, i’m certain. of course, neither is lots of the united states. still, as stephanie told me once, an airport brings out pretty much every emotion that a human being could possibly experience – be it trepidation or anxiety, happiness or relief. as a microcosm, a symbol, a gateway to a country’s soul, i suppose that one can learn plenty from an airport. no wonder airports make their international terminals grand edifices – though chicago’s, i should mention, is a notable exception to this rule.

my flight has changed. i’m now flying to manchester, then stockholm, then paris (a week later). hopefully nothing else goes wrong. i don’t think i’d be too happy with a lentil bake on the way to vancouver.


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