Sweet Home, Chicago!

No matter where I travel, whether for business or pleasure, there’s nothing quite as comforting as stepping off that plane in O’Hare, knowing that I’m but a short drive from my home sweet home. Within minutes of hopping off the plane after my recent trip to Arizona, I found myself zoning out to the soothing sounds of the Beastie Boys on my iPod and watching strangers’ luggage float past me on the baggage carousel. As I lunged forward to grab a black carryon that turned out to belong to someone else, I noticed a sign on the wall that said:

We’re Glad You’re Here!
Digestive Disease Week
May 14-19, 2005
McCormick Place
Mayor Daley Welcomes You to Chicago!

Now, I realize that I don’t work for the Chicago Board of Tourism, but if I did, I’m pretty certain that even on my worst day I could find a more welcoming enticement to weary travelers than touting Digestive Disease Week on the luggage carousel at O’Hare airport. And, I don’t want to seem unfriendly, but are we really glad you’re here, you devoted attendees of Digestive Disease Week? I mean, really – this country has already taken in the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Isn’t it about time Canada takes one for the team and opens their borders to the sufferers of explosive diarrhea?
The other thing that struck me as odd is the fact that the city is advertising this event as though it might have some sort of draw for the general visitors to our fine city. It kind of seems to me that most attendees of Digestive Disease Week already knew about the event before arriving in Chicago, and as a city, we could have much more effectively spent those coveted airport marketing dollars. Is this really the scenario Mayor Daley had in mind?

“Honey, do you see our bag yet? Remember – ours has the rainbow strap around it to make it more noticeable.”
“No, dear. It hasn’t come by yet. Phew, my dogs are barking. That was one long flight. Nice stewardesses, though! That Cheryl sure was a sweetheart. You know she gave me two extra bags of pretzels? I didn’t even have to ask for them!”
“Gosh, Jim. I just cannot wait to see the city. My first trip to Chicago, and there’s so much to do – the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Museum of Science and – wait a minute! Oh for the love of – Jim! Look over there!”
“What’s that, June?”
“Over there – that signs says that it’s Digestive Disease Week May 14 through the 19th! Can you believe the luck?”
“Oh, for crying in a kerchief! After it was sold out in Tampa, I never thought we’d get a chance to go to Digestive Disease Week again! Please, please, please let there still be tickets! June – quick! Get the cell phone!”
“I’m way ahead of you! I’m going to see if we can still get the four-day unlimited passes. Won’t the boys be thrilled?”

Although, really, who am I to talk? I just spent four days at a marketing conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the grand scheme of things, with my poor eating habits and delicate constitution, attending Digestive Disease Week at McCormick Place probably would have been a better use of my time. Huh. Wonder if I can still get tickets to next year’s conference? I hear they’re holding it in Des Moines!

4 Responses to “Sweet Home, Chicago!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    Now that you’re back from AZ and hopefully over the gut conference and now that we’ve made up after last week’s spoon fight, I’m happy to tell you that I just walked by last ANTM season’s top model. I think her name is Juana House or something? She looked lonely.

  2. Robert Says:

    Welcome home. Did you have problems with your spoons at security?

  3. Steve Says:

    When I moved here last June, it was actually for Digestive Disease Week. I’ve heard Chicagoans throws down harder than anyone else in the world for this, the most holy of holidays.

  4. Jenny Says:

    V: Vivian, Vivian, Vivian. You may know your celebrities, but you don’t know your ANTM seasons. Last season was Eva Pigford. Let’s never fight over spoons again.

    R: You can’t confiscate what you can’t find…

    S: Hope you enjoyed yourself at the conference! I hear they have really good swag – paperweights shaped like intestines, fanny packs made from colostomy bags. Cool stuff!