Chicago adventures

A Novel. (Based on a true story.) (This really happened.)

August 7, 2014
We may be leaving Chicago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to share with you the horrifying commuting adventures I’ve had over the years in this town, right? RIGHT!
I’ll actually be starting the commuting up again in a few months as I will be working 2 days a week at my former corporate job. This is a temporary thing to help out while the Office Manager (and one of my dear friends!) is on maternity leave and, you know, birthing a human. It was the least I could do. The timing of this child’s birth works perfectly with my moving plans (thanks, baby) and while it may take me a few weeks to get used to waking up super early again, I have to admit I’m excited to finish out my time in this city with some of my most favorite coworkers & boss. (Plus, this means more commuting adventures, which I’m SUPER pumped about.) 
But for today, I’m going to share one of the most memorable adventures of commuting in Chicago.

“When Life Hands You Lemons, Just Grab Some Tequila! (The CTA Strikes Again)”

Years ago, I left work after a really really long day, ready to be home in pjs, and relax on the couch. Little did I know the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) had something else in mind. 

As I made my way to the bus stop, I remembered I didn’t have any money left on my bus card, so I would now have to walk a farther distance to the train station instead. I finally got to the train station, paid $2.25 to then spend 35 minutes watching 3 trains stop, no one getting off and no one able to get on because it was so crowded. After the 3rd train stopped and went again- without me- I thought, screw it- I have money on my card at this point, and surely I’ll be able to walk back outside and to another bus stop only a few blocks away. I managed to find the slowest walking human known to mankind and – of course- because it was too crowded on the street, I was unable to pass this person and walked behind him THE ENTIRE WAY TO THE BUS STOP, GOING 1 MPH. 
I got to the bus stop only to watch my bus pull away. Juuuuust missed it. (Of course I did.) I waited 20 more minutes for the correct bus to come along, got on the bus, the bus then drives off and  proceeds to merge onto Lake Shore Drive (aka: there’s no getting off now.) I then realize I’m on the wrong bus. I sit 30 minutes in dead-stopped traffic (yep, still on the wrong bus) until I’m finally able to get off the wrong bus and wait another 10 minutes for the correct bus.

I finally get on the correct bus and it’s so crowded I have to stand the whole way home, smushed next to “that guy who doesn’t believe in deodorant” and “that gal who smacks her gum as loudly as anyone has smacked gum in the history of gum smacking.” What now feels like 2 hours later (it just about was) I finally get home, take Oooj outside, wait on 3 elevators to go back upstairs. Finally get upstairs, feed the babes, I’m too stressed to eat so instead I blast some Eminem and dance “gangster-ly” around the apartment, violently waving my hand up and down as I rap. I get a voice message from X, singing to me and telling me he’s going to come pick me up and feed me tequila.

X & Em go out for margaritas and all is right with the world once again.

For more of my Chicago commuting adventures, check out
Part 2: I Will Take You. 
Part 1: CTA Cinderella.

Linking up with… 
Treasure Tromp The Grits Blog

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  • Oh man sounds like one adventure. Seems like whenever we're in a rush the world is moving slower or more annoying then usual. It's funny how that works. I'm glad you were able to get home safe and sound though. I liked part 1&2 too.

  • I love your stories about CTA. I have to admit though that after this one you must have the patience of a saint. Of course tequila helps I bet. 🙂

  • Oh my goodness. Your adventures are hysterical. This is just not okay. I've been there when the transportation just isn't going your way. It's a pain in the behind. At least you got tequila in the end. That makes everything better.

  • I want to visit Chicago but my husband keeps telling me that it has the highest rate of crimes and murders. I don't know how you and Steph do it. That scares me!!!

    I do like the idea of riding a bus or train.

  • I went to DC in May for work training. It was a big group of us, and most of us had never been there before. We had to take the metro everywhere and it was soooo stressful and scary because I had never done anything like that. I drive myself everywhere in STL – and even if I don't…our MetroLink is tiny compared to Chicago and/or DC!

  • Getting on the wrong bus is the worst! So glad I'm not commuting anymore.

  • I was just in Chicago this weekend and luckily avoided public transportation. I get enough of that here in Boston. If it makes you feel better, they drive past you here too when full. Awful.

  • Ohhh, Chicago. When you're back working in the city, maybe we can grab a blate (blogger date)

  • ha, exactly! And I always seem to have these commuting fiascos after "the longest day ever."

  • Oh you are sweet because it felt like just the opposite! I really thought I was going to freak out when the elevator going up to my apartment was crowded and I was waiting. For a split second I seriously considered walking up 19 flights of stairs.

  • It is so annoying sometimes but always makes for great stories to share! 🙂

  • Oh for sure- tequila makes any rough day better! 🙂

  • Speaking of tequila, I bought the bottle premixed Jose Cuervo mix the other day….DELICIOUS and strong. I highly suggest for at home margaritas

  • ugh, yeah. He would be correct, although I will say that I've never really been in an area where those shootings, etc happen. (And I'm not walking around downtown at 11pm, you know?) You should still visit someday! I remember the first time I rode the train here and I felt SO legit, haha.

  • oooh! I will have to try it! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • (Me too. I get in my car now and think- oh, this is a PRIVILEGE!)

  • I've never been to DC so I'm not really familiar with the transportation there but I would think it's all pretty similar. When I first started taking the train here, I was so stressed because they have different "color" trains that go different places but are all on the same track. BUT- driving downtown?! Nightmare. (We are going to be in STL for a hot second this weekend for a family reunion!) 🙂

  • This cracked me up! I have never been to a big city where I had to ride a bus so I can not imagine! and for some reason I always get stuck by the guy who doesn't believe in deodorant! ICK!

  • "Awful." haha. It really is!!!

  • YES, Nina!! That's a must! 🙂

  • oh my gosh- I feel like 40% of the people here are "those people" who don't wear it. I mean… you gotta "do you" I suppose but I think it should be a law if you're commuting with other people! 😉

  • Yikes! It would've taken a lot of strength from me to not be super grumpy after that long commute! I live in Houston and sometimes the traffic can be quite bad — this morning, I sat on the entrance to the freeway for 25 minutes.

  • Ugh I honestly couldn't do the commute thing in a big city. I just don't have patience lol! Glad you made it home safe and sound for some tequila 😉

  • My cousin used to live in Chicago and she rode her bike everywhere, probably for this very reason, haha

  • This is quite possibly the best short story I've ever heard. I love the gangster hand-waves. That's probably the best part. Oh, and the "feed me tequila". Best husband ever!

    xo Denise

  • Well, I won't go by plane soooo I'm not sure! Lol

  • Oh I was pretty grumpy! (But yeah, for me it's better than driving in traffic. Still working on my road rage!)

  • I'll be ready for wide open spaces here soon enough! 😉

  • oh yeah the parking $$ is nuts downtown! He is most likely taking the Metra (the train for the burbs)… which is different from the CTA. Much nicer and safer 🙂

  • For sure!!

  • haha! Sometimes you just gotta rap a little Eminem after a hard day…

  • I complain if I have to sit in traffic for like 5 minutes, total commute…. That's a crazy story!!

  • ashortblonde

    This literally made me cringe and reminded me why I drove everyday! I hated all of the waiting around!

  • Ah, another horrendous commuting story! I swear, for all the good points of mass transit, there are soooo many bad ones! The tube over here (subway/underground) is not air conditioned. So take that man who doesn't believe in deodorant, multiply it by 20, add in a dose of people so hungover that they're sweating stale lager, and blend it all up with a total and utter lack of any breeze at all except for a tiny stream of hot air coming from the window between carriages….yup. That's summer commuting in London. Jealous?
    Gotta love X with the tequila though – way to save the day!! =)

  • haha, I know!!!

  • I suppose it's all relative but it was brutal, I'm not gonna lie! 🙂

  • oh wow!! Not air conditioned?! Do you feel claustrophobic?! Sweating stale lager hahah. oh man that sounds so rough! You'll be glad to be back in NY, I'm sure!

  • amy

    hahaha…I'm sorry I'm laughing at this, but seriously today on the subway I remembered a couple of your adventures on public transportation and it made me laugh out loud! And yes…tequila fixes everything! I can't wait for Judy to exit my body so I can once again enjoy a margarita or seven.

  • haha!!! Oh my gosh, I love it. Oh, Judy, that sweet babe! But I can't wait for you to enjoy some ritas too!! 🙂

  • yes, the Metra…that's what we take. 🙂

  • Meg Henning

    ugh the guy who doesn't believe in deodorant should be walking to his job, you had me cracking up, love this story! you deserve a margarita for sure

  • Agreed! I mean… either he should be walking- or just put on some dang deodorant!

  • In a crowd someone walking slow has a lot of guts, and can be quite annoying. it is like driving behind the slow person in traffic and not being able to pass them.

  • Totally!! I try to remind myself that I could stand to slow down a bit but when all you want to do is get home- gah!!!!