Friday, March 26, 2010

Today I saw a girl carrying a duffel bag that weighed as much as she did, a pillow, and a smaller messenger bag. I felt really bad for her.

I did not feel bad for the guy wearing the crocheted Pikachu ski cap. No sympathy. That was your own choice, man.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A breakup letter (apologies in advance for taking this too far)

Dear CTA,
I'm not sure we can be together anymore. After the way you've been treating me the last few days, I have to seriously reconsider my options.

Your customers have been standing on my feet, as though I'm invisible, and yet, you do nothing.

You send me letters scolding me for my behavior. It's not like I'm cheating on you, CTA, you didn't recognize my card. It's not nice of you to fly off the handle like that.

You are becoming more and more unreliable, your hygiene is questionable, and don't get me started on your dreams to be a roller coaster. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll lose my breakfast before I get to Damen.

All of that I thought I could live with. "I'll give you another chance, these cutbacks are tough on everyone. It will just take getting used to," I said. We've had four years together, CTA. Four years of my life where the majority of my travel has been with you. I can't help but think you've forgotten all we've been through. I really was hoping for the best, CTA. I had faith in you, faith in my tax dollars, and faith in the city of Chicago that truly, you would be a better CTA in time. I even filled out my census forms for you.

CTA, I was prepared to give you chance after chance. This evening though, when I really needed you, you weren't there.

You left me out in the cold for nearly an hour. It was during rush hour, when service is not supposed to be noticeably less frequent. You drove past me twice. Surely there was room for ONE more person, just one more, but no, you chose to ignore me. What's worse is there was no alternative other than to wait on you. My only other choice would have been to walk for fifteen minutes, then go back down to the loop, only to come back another 4 miles west and walk another fifteen minutes until I finally got home. Surely you didn't want me to do that...did you? You ignored me!

I take that back. You didn't ignore me. I did hear the horn on the bus beep twice as it sped past me. Thanks for the shout out, CTA. That's not salt in the wound at all.

I don't think I've ever cried over waiting for a bus, and I like to think I'm not one of "those" girls who cries every time something doesn't go their way...but you know what CTA? Congratulations. You made me cry tonight, and that is where I draw the line.You don't even care. The tears were wasted...and frozen in this stupid weather.

CTA, I wish I could make a clean break. I wish I didn't have to rely on you. CTA, I wish you were better for me. I've come to trust you, to rely on you, to enjoy time spent with you. The fact is CTA, I can't go through with this break up letter. I need you.

I'd like to think you need me, I'll go on believing that for now.

Yours truly (and reluctantly),

Scolded by the CTA

We all know how I feel about drive by parenting...but the CTA has stepped it up a notch.

Yesterday I talked about how the gate locked up on me and I had to run my card through twice. Not a big deal...or so I thought. I received this email from the CTA about my card, and a feature I apparently activated, along with a strong reprimand (or so I read into it, because it makes things more fun that way).

" You recently used the passback feature of Chicago Card Plus. This feature allowed your Chicago Card Plus card to pay the fares of up to seven customers at the same time. The pre-tax dollars reloaded to your account, however, are meant to be used by you only during your commute to and from work. If you would like to continue to use the passback feature you must assign a credit card to your account."

Snooty emphasis to be placed on the phrase "The pre-tax dollars reloaded to your account, however..." Ok. Duh. I know. Blah blah blah it's only for me. I am not nice enough to pay my friends' fares anyhow. How about this:

"You recently forced me to inadvertently use a feature on my Chicago Card Plus that I did not know existed. I do not desire to pay the fares of up to seven customers at the same time. The pre-tax dollars reloaded to my account are, in fact, used for my commute to and from work. I would not like to use the passback feature. I expect my monthly pass to offer me unlimited transit throughout the month, and I would prefer not to get alarmist emails scolding me for using your rail system. Stop eating my money, get your turnstiles working, and we won't have this problem ever again."

I'm going to start drafting my breakup letter to the CTA. Then I'm going to move to Milwaukee.

(Like that's ever going to happen. I'm definitely addicted to the dysfunctional CTA relationship).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A little bit about me

This morning, the card reader didn't read my card...but it beeped like it I tried to walk forward...and slammed into a locked turnstile. Thanks for the bruise.

Someone decided they had to stand where I was standing. When you picture this...picture someone looking at the spot where I am standing, ignoring all other space around them, and then choosing to be as close to where I am standing as possible without actually standing on my feet. And he had some weird nasty post nasal drip thing going on so he was literally sniffling IN MY EAR. EEEEEEK! Poor me.

Then I tripped up the escalator.

I just want you all to know I am not exempt from the mockery in these pages. I can mock myself as well.

Today I saw a girl crocheting a scarf. Go her.
I saw a man carrying a folding chair on a suitcase with him. That was strange.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A list of why

Why do college boys always have the worst hygiene?
Why does Axe body spray insist on marketing itself as a shower alternative?
Why was there a bumper on the sidewalk next to someone's flower garden?
Why are there so many lawn gnomes in my neighborhood?
Why is Tuesday the worst day to ride the L?
Why do people forget their manners so quickly when it comes to exiting the train?
Why did no one offer the poor guy with the cast on his leg a seat?
Why is it so cold?
Why are there crocuses blooming next to poinsettias?
Why were the poinsettias plastic?
Why does this person have plastic poinsettias?
Why is the half french braid girl friends with unibrow dude?
Why do I not know what Lady Gaga REALLY looks like?
Why is there a bright orange desk decorated with an old printer doubling as a flower vase on the roof next to a platform?
Oh CTA, so many unanswered questions.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Teal socks are in!

They are! They are! (Though I will never wear them).

Someone was wearing 80s style high top sneakers (ahem, Zach Morris) and sunglasses I swear I've seen Usher wear. Nevermind that this was not only in the subway, but also before the sun was actually up. Fashion statement made.

Today's soundtrack was brought to us by the 19 year old with impending hearing loss in the near future standing by the door.

I am not impressed by men who remove their shoes on the train, nor am I impressed by men with far too much hair product in their hair and their collared shirts unbuttoned just enough to see a cascade of chest hair. Way too early in the morning for that.

I do not envy the lady who had to bring her cello on the train with her this morning. That would stress me out.

My stop smelled like chocolate this morning. Thank you, Blommer Chocolate Factory for spreading your goodness throughout the downtown area. What a way to start a Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I see the same two high school girls every morning. One member of the pair always has a french braid in her hair...only it looks like she got tired of braiding halfway through. I suppose it would be more appropriate to say she has half a french braid in her hair.

On channel 5 news this morning (which I watch religiously because I definitely have a minor crush on one of the morning news anchors, and the weather man is quirky yet lovable--like your uncle at thanksgiving dinner), one of the headlines was "CTA plans to save money by cleaning buses less often."

Tomorrow's headline will read "Purell sales in Chicago skyrocket after population gets grossed out by bus sanitation." Ew, CTA, ew. Blech.

How does one politely inform a fellow CTA rider that their zipper on their pants isn't zipped up? It's an awkward situation for all. How did you happen to notice the zipper? Who are you anyway? Where can I zip my zipper discreetly? There is no comfortable answer to this.

I think I mentioned a lady a while back who has grown children and is now going back to school. Her husband invented something for KitchenAid but she stayed home for the kids, etc. etc. She's in culinary school now. She carries knives with her everywhere. That's unsettling.

Spring is here for the next couple days at least. The NBC 5 weatherman says it's supposed to snow this weekend but I won't let that steal my joy. Commuting in warm weather is much more enjoyable...even if the buses aren't cleaned as often anymore. (Shudder).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The soundtrack of the CTA

When I am not listening to other people's conversations (discreetly of course), or to the operator remind us not to try and board as the doors are closing, I try to play "name that tune" with people's headphones. After I get past the initial sadness for them that they will lose their hearing by the time they are 40, I silently thank them for playing their music loud enough for me to enjoy.

I'm pretty sure I heard Tilly and the Wall yesterday, which shocks me. Excellent taste, my unsuspecting music provider, excellent taste!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maybe I'm a little OCD

Good morning, Chicago. It's actually a beautiful (but chilly) day, and I'm happy for that.

Remember a while back when I spoke about drive by parenting? Reread if you must...
It happened again this morning, only I was an innocent bystander unable to express my sympathy for the poor kid who was parented.

It was crowded, of course, and this kid who is no more than 13 or 14 was standing on the train trying to let more people on but also trying to keep his spot. Apparently his foot was too close to the door or something, because a man from the other side of the partition yelled "DON'T PUT YOUR FOOT THERE!"

Awwwww. That was completely unnecessary. Poor thing.
The worst part was that the man then looked around at all the riders who were now eying him in shock, rolled his eyes, shrugged and acted as if he was perfectly justified and we should all be agreeing with his anger. Wow. Relax.

In other news, I'm certain my OCD has kicked back in. My newest frustration? People who breathe with their mouths open on the train in close proximity to me.

Take for example this morning, when some dude breathed his nasty morning breath all over my hand through the first two stops. I moved and was fine for a couple of minutes...until he moved...and resumed breathing on my hand.

It just really grossed me out. I'm sorry if that's weird.

Side note: Dear girl who was standing on the super narrow escalators this morning. I hope it made you self conscious that so many people were trying to get around you this morning. It's ok to stand on an escalator when it is wide enough for two lanes of traffic, but when it's only wide enough for one at one of the busiest stops in the Loop, maybe...just should take the elevator instead? Kthanks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm all for St. Patrick's Day and the parade (which was today, for those of you who live in a dark corner of the world that has absolutely no fun ever and didn't know that was the deal today). It was cold. And rainy. And this crazy dude tried to pick a fight with the person standing in front of him because he once stood where this new person was now standing blah blah blah it was dumb (not the parade, the almost fight. Awkward).

That's not what I'm here to discuss.

I'm talking about the sea of green on the blue line today. The group of 17 year olds wearing shamrocks on their faces and giggling like...well...17 year olds.

Oh, I'm also talking about the GIANT GREEN PONCHO.

I'm all for celebrating. It's fun. But to the wearer of the green poncho--don't you think you went a little overboard?

Probably not...I later saw a man wearing a glittered shamrock headband.

All in all it was a pretty fantastic day to peoplewatch on the CTA.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Blue Line and My Own Suspicion

I love the smell of the Blue Line in the morning (not).

This morning as I boarded my train, there was standing room only--which is pretty normal and doesn't bother me at all. As I find a place to plant my feet, I settle in for a normal morning commute. Nothing different about that.

A man sitting in the seat next to where I was standing looked up at me and offered me his seat. I was stunned. This was so polite! It's a Monday morning! Bless his little commuter heart, what a gentleman. As I sat though, I grew suspicious about his motives.

Perhaps he was just being considerate and his mother raised him right.
Perhaps he thought I was elderly (most likely not).
*Gasp* Perhaps he thought I was an expectant mother!!!!! (Ohhhh I hope that's not the case....)
No, no, it can't be any of these things.
Then it dawned on me....
The train smelled particularly strong...maybe the seat he was sitting in was the source! Oh no. What a way for my Monday to start.

Cautiously I placed my hand on the seat trying to determine if I should move.

As it turns out...I have an overactive imagination and he really was just being kind. Go figure.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thank you, Casimir Pulaski

Though I'm not entirely certain what you did (I should look it up in Wikipedia...I will eventually), I really appreciate what you're doing for me today (as it really is all about me...shudder...I'm not that self-centered, I promise). Commute took 15 minutes less. Most importantly...there was no line at Starbucks. Thank you, Casimir Pulaski.