Circling the unspeakably large terminals at O’Hare airport recently I spied a monolithic, block-shaped Hilton hotel that struck me as being positioned unusually close to the runway. The red light that ran along the roofline leapt out against the night’s blackness as the red HILTON logo hovered over the runway path, a Gatsby-esque Owl Eyes keeping an eye on the airborne comings and goings out of the greater Chicago area. And in doing so, I, to no one’s greater surprise than my own, chose for a moment to consider you, our old friend Paris Hilton.
Never mind what you’ve been up to of late, if only because I really don’t care; I’m sure some Abu Dabian DJ and failed reality project and line of purses shaped to look like dollar signs or vaginas are managing to keep you occupied. But, Paris, in your down time, by a pool in Bel-Air, or darting to and fro on the runways of the world do you ever experience a quiet moment as I just have tonight? Do you ever stare out the window of a car or an airplane, spying one of the shining examples of your great-grandfather’s (Great Grandfather? Great-Grandfather.) sure-footed 20th century entrepreneurial exuberance and consider what they mean to you?
Do you ever contemplate Gampy Conrad’s foresight, acumen, energy, discipline… your thin, aquiline honker becoming increasingly out-of-joint? And has anyone else witnessed you experiencing this moment? A kind of meta, Hilton opposing-mirror-gazing-bonanza akin perhaps to the thrill Karl Benz’s descendants feel every time they operate something with a two-stroke engine. Innovator that your great-grandfather was, one wonders how he’d feel contemplating his legacy… the legacy the family has perpetuated, engaging as it has in sex-taped-ness, noteworthy car accidents and Beverly Hills housewifery. I for one, wonder how all that, that nonplussing juxtaposition, makes you feel.
But these, Paris, are not my questions to consider, for they are yours. Yours, as you look up from some aimless tapping at your mobile device, most likely already instructed to be in the off-position, as you stare across the yawning expanse of terminal at the shining beacon of your family’s affluence, your grandfather’s indelible influence on the face of American travel as you proceed down the runway… unsure of, when you and your airplane reach the end of the rows of lights yawning before you, just what exactly it is that will happen.
Happy New Year.