If there is one thing I love about living in Chicago, it’s that no commuting day is a dull one – there is always something eventful that happens here. I love how diverse this city is; I’ve been fortunate to live in various Chicago neighborhoods and therefore experience “it all.” There is a lot of sadness and heartbreak in this city, but there is also a lot of adventure and craziness that quickly turns into stories I love to share at any chance I get.
One of my favorite transportation stories involves a woman, her son, and the Green Line train. The Green Line? If you’re from Chicago I can see you, raising your eyebrows right now gettin’ all judgy. If you don’t live in Chicago, let’s just say this particular train goes through a rough neighborhood, so it tends to be pretty loud, crazy happenings, lots of booze either rolling on the ground or being spilled by the guy sitting in the seat next to you… and whenever I rode the Green Line? Well I pretty much white-knuckled it the whole way home.
This particular day had been another crazy day at work, and I was SO ready to just be home. I’d accidentally left my headphones sitting on my office desk and therefore had the pleasure of listening to the surrounding conversations on the train. Normally this would be something I’d look forward to, listening to the craziness, but this particular day? NOPE. I was sick of it all. I’d had enough of the homeless guy begging me for money – just like he’d done the day before and the day before and the day before, not realizing he’d already used his story on me previously. That’s the thing- you live here long enough and you start to recognize who’s truly in need of money so that they have a place to sleep that night or grab a bite to eat versus the kid who skipped school that day and wants your money so he can go buy drugs. And while I was somewhat getting a kick out of the lady next to me telling her girl friend about how her baby daddy better “trust and believe” (yes, actual verbiage) that if he didn’t start paying child support she’d take him to the Maury Show (totally would’ve watched that one), I was definitely getting sick of the guy sitting across from me, staring at my chest.
All of a sudden, some kid just a few seats down from me starts having a complete tantrum. I’m talkin’ total meltdown, you guys. For a split second I thought Right there with ya, kid until his mom started yelling back at him telling him to shut up, etc etc etc. She was straight up hollerin’ … and by “hollerin'” I’m talking full on f-bombs being dropped left and right. Did I mention this kid was probably 3 or 4? I was in shock, even more so to realize that no one else on the train seemed to notice (or care) that this mom was verbally freaking out on her kid. So as he continued to scream, the mom yelled back “Knock it off!” and I’m telling you- without skipping a beat- the kid says to her, “Mom! I will TAKE you!”
So naturally I burst out laughing… uncontrollably… realizing how horrible this was that I was laughing, which only made me laugh harder. This laugh, you guys… it was the kind of laugh that’s a mix of complete amazement, shock, nervousness, and terror… you know the kind. It started out super loud and obnoxious and slowly turned into the silent laugh where my shoulders were moving up and down and it probably looked like I was having a seizure. The kid was so caught off-guard that I was laughing – truly out of control laughing – over his comment that he stared at me… along with his mom…. along with everyone else in the train car. Who’s the crazy one now??! I quickly thought of literally anything else to get me to stop laughing so I wouldn’t get beat up. Not even the dude asking for money would come near me. So that took care of… well… pretty much everything that day.