This past weekend I was out in Chicago for a couple gigs and to shoot some interviews for the FE Blog*. I ended a great weekend by doing some interviews with key pioneers of the Lake County Illinois (North Chicago, Waukegan, Zion) Hip Hop scene, of which I was a big part of. I was so lost in the interviews, I left with barely enough time to catch my flight at Midway Airport.
I arrived at the airport with probably just enough time to make it to the plane. However, I found out that it was cancelled due to snow in Minneapolis. The next available flight was at 7 AM. Not a big deal, I had my lap top and could get caught up on some work anyway. Plus I hadn't slept in the 3 days really so what's more night gonna hurt, right?
After an uncomfortable night in a airport terminal chair I went to catch my early morning flight...only to find out that it had been cancelled as well. From that point on I would be on stand-by for what ultimately ended in a 26 Hour in Midway Airport ordeal...
I kept the world at large (Yeah, my escapades are world news peoples!) up to date via my Facebook page. The growing sentiment was "that sucks." Although, it's not the kind of thing I would make plans to do, I actually kind of liked it (please use your "De La Soul Is Dead" character skit voice there...). I maintained on my page that I was fine and sort of "enjoying" my stay in Midway, but I don't think people believed me...perhaps the equivalent of my sarcasm crying wolf...
In any event, what I found most intriguing about the experience was the sort of natural human reaction that was created as a result. Of course, it's common knowledge that people will "come together as one" in times of tragedy. However, even something as simple as being on stand by for 9 consecutive flights can cause people to "unite"...trust me I've been there...recently.
Throughout my 26 hours in Midway, I had all sorts of one-on-one as well as group conversations with people, that given our flight(s) being on time, we would have most likely never even spoke to each other....
I learned a lot about people, individually and overall, through this experience. Personally I'm naturally intrigued by observing human interaction. I'm the kind of person who goes to the mall when I need inspiration to write, because you can absorb and observe every sort of human emotion and energy there.
Speaking of which, it was great talking to the lady from Long Island, NY who was on a vacation trip to the Mall Of America with her two kids. Or the older gentleman from the Twin Cities who I talked to for a while as he suggested restaurants I should try (ex: Psycho Suzi's...can't believe I've still never been there). We also discussed how we both haven't been to the Dakotas yet and how much MPLS Downtown and Uptown areas have changed in the last 10 or so years. There was the young man coming back from a ski trip out West and as he waited in the airport booked his next Ski mission in Alaska. There was a young lady, who is a teacher at local technology school who was vacationing on bike riding missions thru out the country. I briefly talked to two dudes flying into MPLS to buy a car and drive back home to Dekalb County. I spoke about Virginia Beach with a man who had just dropped his family off there to visit family and would soon meet them in Florida for vacation.
That's just some of the interactions I can recall. Of course, there was plenty of talk about our predicament, how it was being handled and when we would be getting home, but honestly we didn't dwell on that too extensively. Actually, more popular discussions were about the food options we had available in the airport and how to try to eat somewhat healthy there.
As the day went on and the bulk of us moved from terminal to terminal hoping that our name would be called in that magic "Stand By Lottery," our bond increased... Dramatic? Yes, but that reflects the tone. We would express signs of relief when certain people or groups made it on flights; families on vacations, elderly couples, a mother with a young infant, etc..., even though we ourselves were still stuck. By the time the last few flights came around, those signs of relief became handclaps and cheers. Ultimately, they had to schedule a special flight just to get all of us remaining stand bys out of there. Not sure how many, but we filled a plane. This took place about 10:30 PM or so on Monday night.
That was the most excited pre-take off moment I've ever witnessed. It was complete with jokes from Captain and crew, interaction of cheer from the passengers, and other ridiculous hijinks. For some reason, the exiting of the plane and the airport reminded me of the end of a Die Hard movie...ha. Some people had already lost touch with the "bonding" we had and just walked away aimlessly to their next mission. However, many others of us smiled at each other and waved good bye. Others wished each other luck in life and things of that nature. It was really surreal in a sense...
The conflicting thing about it all is I don't think it will make any of us, myself included, really take that extra effort to strike up conversation with someone unexpected the next time the moment presents itself. We tend to have a lot of walls up...I'm not suggesting that those walls don't serve purpose, it's just unfortunate that they are needed or deemed as needed.
Perhaps you can prove me wrong, whenever you are in public next and have a free moment take a look at who is next to you and strike up a conversation...a lil human interaction is good for you.
WRITERS NOTE: To keep this positive story all humanitarian and stuffs I chose not to poke fun of some of the people in "Operation: Stand By" who just make it all too easy to do so...
*Thanx to Chicago for an amazing weekend!! I had a great time and besides the extended stay in the airport, per above, and despite several attempts, not being able to eat at the Chicago Diner, everything went according to plan...well, according to expectations is better said... :)
Shouts to everyone I got a chance to hang out with, interview, DJ alongside, etc... I can't remember everyone, but here's a start: Rude One, J Pratt, DJ PNS, Shazam Bangles, Foster a.k.a Hunter, Stizo, Max Herman (great photos!), Brent, Alex (SHV), Erica, Lumba (Rubberoom), SPO, Dirty MF, Tony Baines, Kendra, Illusion, Spontaneous, Pistol Pete, Ness, Jodi, Bally Mucks Bar (and their patrons who love their Old School Hip Hop and Rhymesayers!), Immortal Griffen, Thig A Ma Jig, Demonology, O Type Star, Lionel Freeman, John (Frontline), Editkut, Stedy Serv, Tim Stroh, Verbal Kent, Mass Hysteria, Sean Doe, Cosm Rocks, Sean (Chrewd), Larry (Wauk Town), Nelson, Tone a.k.a Enot, Itch, Konee Rock, Criminal Law, Smokey The Bandit, DowShay (though I still call him K Prince!), Big Mike (MC Council), Cooley G & The Wauk-Side Music Fam, Showboat, and many more I can't recall right now!! Oh yeah, of course, all my peeps in the Midway International Airport!
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