First Post Pandemic Flight

For all of my life I have been a traveler. It helped that my father worked in London when I was young and my first job out of college was that of a traveling salesman. Being a consultant with international clients eventually got me all over the world. Then in retirement I traveled with Russ as much as his job let me. So a two year plus break from going to the airport is the longest I have ever gone since childhood for flying on a trip.

I can’t say that I have missed flying, but I have missed spending the weekend in a fun far off city. When Russ had this trip to Chicago he asked if I wanted to go. It is our thirtieth anniversary next week and he had a lot to make up for In our twenty-fifth anniversary trip.

I am happy to say that I officially missed traveling. We didn’t have any major plans in coming here. We have spent lots of time in Chicago before. We just hung in the city, going to the art Institute, eating at interesting restaurants and walking our feet off. Well, mine were walked off and Russ just got his normal daily amount of steps.

Our best meal was at The Girl and The Goat. The staff was fantastic, belying the idea that there are no good service workers left. Although the best meal was there, the best thing we ate was at a little Oyster bar in Lincoln Park. It was thinly sliced lemons that were fried as part of calamari. There we had the most opinionated waitress who said after we were served that , “I would never recommend that dish.” She was wrong, it was the best thing we ate. Of course everything she recommended was twice as expensive as anything else. We didn’t get Oysters in the middle of the country.

Our best breakfast was at Eleven, a great Jewish Deli. It was so good we ate there twice. On those days we didn’t eat again until dinner. I am always happy at a Jewish Deli. The best thing on the menu there was “Guilt. $0, there is always plenty to go around.”

Our best activity, that I can talk about, was a visit to something called Mindworks, which is a kind of lab that the Booth school at U Chicago runs to do mind experiments on willing percipients. It is in a storefront on Michigan Ave. I was in an experiment that was supposed to be about memory. Another man and I were told to read a paragraph, then we were moved to a waiting room where we were told we had to stay in our seats for ten minutes. The lab assistant told us we could look at our phones. I leaned over to the man and told him he was not allowed to hit me and I wouldn’t hit him. As a nice older gentleman he readily agreed with me. The lab assistant shut the door and I asked the man where he was from. That is our family ice breaking question. He said Mexico City and a long conversation ensued.

At the ten minute mark the lab assistant took us back to our first room to answer questions on computers. They had nothing to do with the paragraph we read, but instead asked if we talked to each other and who talked first. After the experiment the lab assistant told me I was the fastest first talker she had ever had. Surprise, surprise. Russ was in a virtual reality experiment. The best thing about that is he learned he can use virtual reality with only one working eye.

Flying home was not so hard, but still the least good part of a great weekend. Russ goes back to the airport tomorrow for another business trip. I can see that we are quickly moving out of the pandemic life. Now I am wondering when I am going to have time for all my pandemic hobbies if I am going to travel again.

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