Tuesday, October 04, 2005
perhaps it's no coincidence that 'cedar rapids' anagrams to 'crap is dared'
(me in front of the "Tree of Five Seasons" sculpture in Cedar Rapids)
This past weekend was my first time flying in and out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From afar, I've long admired the seeming chutzpah of Cedar Rapids. I've always--or at least when it does not result in incoherent foreign policy or the dismantling of our domestic safety net--been a sucker for the aggressively aggrandizing lie, for the kind of hucksterism that does not just try to convince you that his lemons are lemonade, but that they are a lemon-colored limousine that you would be crazy not to want as your own.
One obvious disadvantage confronting Cedar Rapids in its effort to appeal as a tourist or permanent destination would be its wildly variable weather. Other cities in the same situation might offer meek or mildly apologetic slogans about how it's a great place to visit during some parts of the year or a great place to live despite the weather. Not Cedar Rapids. Instead, it proclaims itself to be "The City of Five Seasons."
Yes, really. In response to all those folks moving to areas with temperate weather year around, not only does Cedar Rapids emphasize that you are supposed to enjoy the changing of the seasons, but it boasts that it actually somehow has one more season than everywhere else. Whether this extra season implies three equinoxes or three solstices is not specified.
I asked my friends what the fifth season was called and when it was. They couldn't really say, except that it wasn't actually a specific time of year but something that was supposed to transcend all seasoning. Online sources indicate the fifth season is supposed to be "a time to enjoy," which makes me glad it's not supposed to be a specific time of year or else I'd wonder what they expect you to do during the other four.
At the Cedar Rapids airport, I noticed that my flight was going out of Gate B7, and that another flight was going out of Gate C6. Madison, which seems like it would have at least as much air traffic as Cedar Rapids, only has like 9 gates at its airport, and they are numbered 1 to 9. How, I wondered, does Cedar Rapids manage to use up three letters and 6 or 7 gates within each letter. My investigation of the airport led me to conclude that "Concourse A", if it exists, is not anywhere inside the normal passenger part of the airport. Meanwhile, Concourses B and C aren't very far apart--there are some consecutively numbered gates further apart in major airports--although you do have to go up a small escalator to get to Concourse C. But then, I saw on Concourse B their strategy for getting 7 gates out of 3 doors:
("Concourse B" at the Cedar Rapids airport)
In fact, there are nine gates on Concourse B, although Gates B8 and B9 looked like what other airports might refer to as "side doors to be used by maintenance personnel."