Monday, August 25, 2014

$15 Burger

Is it sacrilegious to write that I know for sure that my parents are no longer with us, because while waiting for my delayed (vu den) American Airlines flight, I stopped in an airport restaurant and paid 15 dollars for a hamburger.  If my folks were alive, and knew that I paid that much for a burger, I would be getting an e-mail from my father that my mother would have dictated.

And they would be right.

I got to the airport early as is my tendency post 9-11.  Now, thirteen years after the abomination, airport security does not require the delays that once were characteristic in the early post twin tower years.  Still, I have recollections of very long lines and don't want to miss a flight.  A number of times that nearly occurred--though not in the last half dozen years.  Regardless, I get to the airport early, do my e-mails while waiting for the flight, and in the case of American or USAir always have even extra time while their late planes get to the destination.  Remarkable how rarely Southwest and JetBlue are late.

Anyway, I was here early, saw the predictable sign that I even had more time because the plane was delayed, had not eaten much since around 11, and was hungry.  There was a seat at the bar so I parked myself and my bags.  

(An aside, I just saw that my flight is now delayed three hours. Just great. And since this is one of the rare times I have checked a bag, I cannot take one of the earlier flights because if I were to do so, I would still have to wait for my bag to arrive with the later flight).

So, when I got here I sat at the bar and opened the menu.  There was no item less than ten dollars. I had a hunger for a burger.  Can't recall what they called it, but I spotted the burger on the menu.  Maybe it was called the airport burger.  I ordered it. 15 bucks.

Sometimes these gala burgers look and taste special. The sourpus bartender who took the order asked me if I wanted "everything on it."  I am not a picky eater so I figured "everything on it" would include lettuce, tomato, maybe some mushrooms and onions.  I said, yeah, everything on it.

Out it came. Not much there.  No lettuce, tomato, or onion.  Relatively small burger--bout the size of a quarter pounder at the McDonalds around the corner at the food court. On top was a piece of american cheese that looked like it had been tossed maybe frisbee style on top of the burger and covered about half of it.  On top of the cheese was one sorry piece of bacon.  That is it. But, ho ho, the ketchup was not in a bottle but served in a paper cup.  When I was a kid and got a burger in what we called "luncheonettes" such cups were where the cook stuffed the cole slaw.  There were a few fries on the plate.  End of 15 dollar dinner.

With the beverage and tip, my trip to the tavern at the airport cost me close to 30 dollars.  Wherever they are, my parents are rolling their eyes and wondering about my wisdom for having decided to dine there.  And they are right.  Meanwhile, before we board the flight, I will probably have to go to McDonalds and buy a three dollar burger because I will now not get into my hotel in Chicago until midnight and I am hungry already.  Odds are fifty fifty that the carrier loses my bag.

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