It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicago transportation: Not all created equal

When it comes to using public transportation in Chicago, you quickly realize one thing: it ain't equal.

For the past six weeks or so, I've been part of the daily grind for grad school. I've had to take a train downtown in the morning and back home in the evening. I learned quickly there is a fine art to have to time it out just right so you can actually get on the crowded train without having to start your very own mosh pit. (Look out people! I'm coming in!)

I had been taking the red line L train for about a week when I started complaining to Mike that I could never get a seat because of all the bums passed out on it, and I was pretty sure I was getting the H1N1 virus just by touching the train's handles. He suggested I take the brown line since it goes to the financial district, so it might be a little cleaner.

The brown line. Look, there are seats!
The next day, I decided to give the brown line a whirl. As the doors opened, it was suddenly like everything was in slow motion and the angels were singing a lovely tune. There was not only room for me to get on, everyone on board was clean and reading things like the Wall Street Journal. Score! I thought, "How have I not discovered the awesomeness of the brown line earlier?"

As I was riding towards the Quincy stop, I started thinking about just how different the red and brown lines really are....

--On the red line, fellow train goers offers you a hit on their bong. On the brown line, they offer you a dollop of their Grey Poupon.

-- On the red line, fellow train goers are reading "How to successfully rob someone on a train." On the brown line, they're reading "How to protect yourself in a city" or "Why not to take the red line--one victim's story."

-- On the red line, you don't want to have your cell phone out, for fear it could get stolen. On the brown line, you can easily Skype your family back home in Minnesota.

-- On the red line, you'll likely smell like a mix of urine and Cheetos after you get off. On the brown line, it's more like an expensive cologne or bourbon.

--On the red line, you'll hear some crazy person yelling that the world is ending at the end of the day.  On the brown line, it's more of a warning to get your stock options in order.

--On the red line, if someone sneezes on you, you're most likely getting a flesh-eating virus. On the brown line, well it doesn't matter, because they covered their mouth with an embroidered handkerchief.

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