Rambling Dispatches: CTA

cta train

Every week in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he sees fit.

So this past weekend felt so slow for news, aside from hearing that Amanda Bynes got an offer from VH1 to work on a show, which is totally coincidental since she’s facing six months in jail for two counts of hit and run and VH1 definitely doesn’t hire trainwrecks, right? Instead of going after the news, I thought I would write about something that’s bugged me for years. That thing is Chicago’s “L,” or elevated transit system. I ride it every day because I commute now, and I can’t help but observe my surroundings. Maybe I’m safer there because I’m at less risk of getting into a hit and run, since that shit carries very little jail time apparently and so inevitably everyone is going to start doing it. Anyway, here are the top 3 reasons why the “L” pisses me off.

1) No learning passes for foreign people.

Now, this isn’t me going all Gran Torino, because when I say foreign people, I mean all people outside of a city with public transportation. Have you seen rookies trying to ride the train? It’s aggravating. And the city doesn’t have a plan for it. I would propose a learning permit, where you are forced to just go and ride the train, or bus, or hail a cab, during the day when people are working and traffic is slower. You have to learn.

I saw a person directly in front of the doors at the Jackson Red Line station that was exiting a train in the middle of morning rush hour, and just standing there. Everyone had to go around this guy like he was forcing a fork in the damn river, while he just stood there confused and tried to push through the crowd. That fucking guy should have been pushed down and out of the way, or a cop should have just come over, pulled him out, taken his CTA pass and said, “You can earn this back when you pass a four-hour class this weekend.” It’s what they do to assholes that can’t drive and cause a mess, so why not with people who can’t seem to understand that standing in front of a door is a pain in the ass for everyone?

2) Not a single person is happy in the morning or afternoon.

This stands in total opposition to everything I just said. Contrary to the popular belief created by this column, I’m pretty happy most of the time. Being a happy person, I tend to smile at people who make eye contact with me. Why the hell should I feel bad for doing that? Well, have you ever smiled at someone on the train at eight in the morning? Try it. You’ll be surprised just how many people are put off by a damn smile. I smiled at this girl on the train who looked like she was having a bad day, thinking a simple smile might help.

I’ve never seen such a look of contempt in my life. Screw you, lady, I don’t need you ruining my day just because your giant-ass Starbucks coffee hasn’t kicked in and you just “cannot be bothered until your coffee kicks in.” And it’s not just ladies, but everyone. I was on a train where the conductor was telling everyone to have a good day at every stop, and the people just rolled their eyes every time. That’s just mean. It’s some guy being nice, but fuck him apparently, because it’s early.

3) The Pink-Eye Window.

What’s the pink-eye window, you ask? It’s that pane of glass that separates the door area of the train from the seats directly to the side of it. You can sit next to the glass, and if you’re my height, your face is level with the empty space between glass and divider. Then some tall person comes over and leans on that divider, and that divide becomes a shelf placing that person’s ass squarely in your face. One wrong shake of the train, and there you are, getting hotboxed on a packed train, since it has to be packed for a person to be leaning against that divide.

No escape, just you there, calling a doctor and setting up an appointment to get the eye drops that will fix the aftermath of this unfortunate situation. Why the hell do CTA trains have that area? Did they not test that when they developed the train? Place that opening a little higher, or maybe just don’t have it at all. I don’t like looking to my side and seeing the ass-shaped blob oozing into my field of vision as I pray for a safe journey. I already have to brave the Jackson transfer tunnel, in all its piss-smelling glory. Don’t test me further.

  • Mr Hirsch

    You clearly ride the CTA with passion.