Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Where: Chicago O'Hare Airport. Concourse L.
When: An hour before departure. 15 minutes after check-in. 5 minutes into a realization of general fatigue after three days of catching up with friends and family.

So, there I am, looking for a shot of caffeine which might do me a world of good, prime me up for the wait for boarding and set me up for reading a book that has been middling so far. The Seattle-ite in me looks for the familiar - the same brand that comforts millions worldwide. From waking up in the morning to staying up at night - the long-tressed lady framed by a green circle is the oasis for this desert-trapped traveler.

Wait. Something's wrong. I've walked through the entire concourse. Passing my gate, down to the end, there's no sign of the place. Nor of any other place that would provide succour, except a sports bar that doesn't look like it serves my favorite poison. I pass a Hudson News, noticing that "The Da Vinci Code" is out in paperback. Mental note to buy the book later is made.

I re-trace my steps to the mouth of the spoke, wondering if Howard Schulz missed a trick somewhere. Is is possible that a whole concourse with 12 gates does not have a Starbucks? How could this happen? What happened to the Starbucks Coffee Company I knew in NYC, the one where I could cross a street to go from one of those to another? What is this world coming to, if you cannot have a cup of not-so-great (but not-too-bad) latte while waiting for your flight, which incidentally is now 20 minutes late?

Ah. There it is. Some construction work obscured my view, causing me to not notice the place the first time around. Sanity is restored. Caffeine shot (only my 3rd of the week,mind you. I'm no junkie. Maybe I'm still in denial) is ingested. With renewed vigor , the trials of Elizabeth and Darcy are returned to. As another acquaintance would've said - "Starbucks is everywhere. I'm going home and buying a few shares right away."