Truth to tell, I'm glad we were flying United through Chicago the day before that horrific event rather than the day after; I can imagine the residual shock, outrage, collective weltschmerz of airline passengers that next day - especially the passengers populating the United terminal of Chicago O'Hare - would have sucked the flavor out of the trip.
But on the day of our trip we were blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to one unfortunate fellow passenger as we strolled through the terminal during our three-hour layover.
As for me, I like airports. They feel to me like little indoor cities, places out of place and time, far from the everyday routine, places of brief respite from the normal obligations and responsibilities that pull at us all day long.
And just as some cities are bigger or nicer or more interesting than others, the same is true of airport terminals; and like the city on the outskirts of which it resides, Chicago O'Hare is to me one of the biggest, nicest, and most interesting airports of them all.
And so last Saturday we spent a pleasant afternoon between flights exploring the neighborhood of the United Terminal:
And yet there are some times when even such an airline-ticket-voucher hound as myself does not wish or absolutely cannot afford to relinquish one's seat for any price to accommodate an airline's bottom line; and for me, as for passenger Dr. David Dao the following evening, this was one of those times:
Early the following afternoon I had a very important birthday party to get to.
Unlike Dr. Dao, I was able to be where I needed to be.