I’m in Chicago this week – first time being back in the city in almost 2 years! – so I thought it might be fun to share some more of my Chicago-living CTA Adventures!
It’s true. I really have some hilarious and crazy stories, a lot of them involving the CTA (the trains that go around the city). These things that would happen to me back when I lived in Chicago were so epic and entertaining that all of my coworkers couldn’t wait for me to share a new one. It seemed like every other month I’d come into the office (or send a mass email on the way home) with the very latest CTA mishap… like the time my shoe fell off the platform and I had to ride the train home with one shoe on, or the time a three year old told his mom (and everyone else on the train car) that he would TAKE HER (I mean, whatever that means) if she hollered at him one more time and I laughed so hard that drool slid out of my mouth and onto my shirt. But another one of my favorite stories is the time a short, stocky lady straight up body checked me across the street.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Truth be told, I’d seen my fair share of CTA adventures – so much so that Christian was a bit concerned and begged me to start taking the Metra train instead. I’d been taking the CTA Green Line which… goes through some pretty rough parts and carries some pretty rough characters. The Green Line train is typically super loud, makes a million stops, is super dirty (as in, there’s most likely urine in one of the cars), and yes- it’s not the safest line of train to take. The Metra on the other hand is faster, cleaner, makes fewer stops, and while it does cost more and you can’t just catch a ride whenever – because all the stops are scheduled throughout the day – it’s safer. And so after a few conversations of Christian expressing his concern, I told him I’d start taking the Metra.
I know what you’re thinking right now – why would you ever take the Green Line? Why was this ever a question of taking the Metra over the Green Line? Well for one, I was used to taking the CTA. If you live in the city, that’s what you take (although not the Green Line, you’re most likely taking another color). Plus, I liked that I could catch it any time, any day. There was no waiting 15-20 minutes for the next scheduled train; the Green Line ran about every 3-5 minutes during rush hours. And mostly- because the CTA was downright entertaining. And I loved that – I was guaranteed entertainment every single time I rode the CTA and that’s the truth. But, I digress. I’d agreed to start taking the Metra, starting on my way home from work one Monday evening….
And WHAT THE HECK. Seriously, it was the most glorious ride of my life. It was relaxing. A bit boring, yes, but I was really happy about the clean, non-urine smell. I was so relaxed that I literally almost fell asleep. And it was so much faster, I was home in record time. Only a dollar more to ride the Metra but I was convinced – it was worth it and my life would never be the same. So, I took it again the next morning to work. And once again – it was glorious. I was riding the train with other classy business guys and gals and I realized it was mentally helping me relax and prepare for my day of work.
So fast forward a little over a week and I was totally a Metra snob, loving every second of my mature train riding experience. It had occurred to me that it was a bit boring – way less exciting than the Green Line – but not enough of a bummer to make me want to go back. And so just when I was thinking the rest of my train riding days were going to be boring and normal…
I got body checked by an old lady who was a whole foot shorter than me.
Yes, seriously. We were both walking near the train station one night after work, both of us in somewhat of a hurry… because you have to go by the schedule, you know?! You can’t just show up, you have to catch the train. (It’s very Mary Tyler Moore.) So sometimes that means you have to walk really fast, and sometimes that means you have to full on sprint. But on this day I was walking at a pretty good pace when I was about to cross a busy street and looked to the left to watch for oncoming traffic (you know, because I didn’t want to die) and this woman, who was going the opposite way and clearly saw me walking, was in the biggest hurry of her life and wasn’t about to slow down to avoid hitting me. So not only does she walk straight into me (and we’re going like 10 mph – bookin’ it for a brisk walk), but she BODY CHECKS me. She kept walking, as I laid on the ground while a few other people came to my aid to pull me back up – as I PUT MY EARRING BACK IN MY EAR since this woman’s sheer force knocked it out.
I didn’t have time to cry (or chase her down and push her and say nanny nanny boo boo) because THE SCHEDULE but it was on that day that I realized, Those Metra riders are fierce and I will never again doubt the entertainment on any of the trains in this city. I also learned that when in Chicago, you stop for nothing. Not even for traffic. Not even for humans.