That Generic Hotel Lobby Atrium Look

IMG_4918Some time in the distant past, someone designed, for the first time, a hotel lobby with a towering atrium and glass elevators and concrete walkways that allowed you to look down on other patrons far below.  It apparently was a hugely successful design, because it has been copied again, and again, and again.  My current hotel is just another example.

So many hotel interiors have that interior atrium design that the look has become generic, giving business travel a kind of mind-numbing sameness.  It’s one big reason why I like to stay in old hotels if I have that option.  At least the old hotels tend to have a dash of individuality and flair.

O’Hare

O’Hare.  Mention it to any business traveler, and you are likely to hear a groan and a war story about some travel mishap.

O’Hare.  The fifth-busiest airport in the world.  Named for World War II flying hero and Congressional Medal of Honor winner Edward Henry (“Butch”) O’Hare, who bravely faced down a group of bombers heading for his aircraft carrier.

O’Hare.  It’s unavoidable if you live in Columbus and need to go just about anywhere to the west.  You’re likely to be routed through O’Hare on the way out and on the way back.  You keep your fingers crossed that there won’t be a line of thunderstorms, or snow storms, or wind storms that blow out your travel schedule and bring the nation’s air traffic system to its knees.  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wandering through one of the bustling concourses at O’Hare, wondering how you’re going to get to where you want to go.

O’Hare.  I spent the night there once, after my flight in from the west coast was delayed and I arrived at O’Hare at about 1:30 a.m. to learn that every hotel room in the airport was booked and my flight out would leave at 5:40 a.m.  There was no place to sleep and no where to go so I walked back and forth on the concourse, like one of the dazed passengers on The Poseidon Adventure, counting down the minutes until my flight left.  It was probably the longest four hours of my life.

O’Hare.  I’m heading there today, and I’m hoping it doesn’t rise up and bite me, again.

The Arugula Initiative

Every year, when I go to the doctor for my annual physical, I hear the same thing:  you need to change your diet.  Consume less red meat, try to eat more fish, and — especially — eat more vegetables.  So, as the date of my annual physical nears, I always find myself trying to choke down some green, leafy item so that I can tell my doctor, in good faith, that I’m trying.  I’m like the kid who hopes to make up for months of complete inattention to dental hygiene by brushing and flossing diligently on the morning of his dentist’s appointment.

IMG_4810The doctor isn’t fooled by this charade, and I feel bad that I am not more compliant with his instructions.  He’s a doctor, after all, and has gone through years of education and training that allow him to say, with absolute conviction and sincerity, that I should eat more vegetables.  The problem is that I just don’t like vegetables!  At a restaurant, I’ll always order soup rather than salad — or if the soup options are of the gazpacho variety, I’ll just eat bread until my steak, medium rare, is brought to the table.

Fortunately, my lovely wife has come up with a solution to this problem.  It’s called arugula.  When she first asked if I liked arugula, I thought she was referring to that part of the human body that hangs down from the roof of your mouth at the back of your throat.  Instead, it is a leafy vegetable that looks like a weed from your garden and has a spicy taste.  Who knew?  It turns out that if you apply some tart vinaigrette dressing and add some parmesan cheese and blueberries or nuts to a bowl of arugula, it is reasonably edible.

So, we’ve been eating arugula lately, to the point where we must be mindful of arugula fatigue.  Arugula farmers the world over are celebrating the arrival of another convert to arugulaism.  And, when I go in to see my doctor for my check-up in a few weeks, I’ll be able to tell him I’ve been eating more vegetables — and for once my statement will have the incidental merit of being true.