Trained Out AF
This isn't a happy, cheery, holiday post. Instead, this is a day in the life of a train commuter in Chicago. This can also be read as a how-to. How-to-be-a-decent-human-being-while-riding-public-transportation (especially during the holidays).
Each day I start my commute at the California blue line station. In winter, after snowfall and sub-zero temps this includes ice skating down the sidewalk with at least two people behind me who think they can move faster (side note - I dislike walking so I walk pretty darn fast). By all means fellow commuters, I'll move aside on said ice rink sidewalk to let you pass and then almost fall.
Then comes the entrance to the train. It’s incredibly nice to hold the door open if someone is directly behind you. If someone holds the door open for me, I definitely smile inside for a good 45-60 seconds thinking how kind that random stranger is and how you hope they have a wonderful day, they deserve it.
Next, you make it to the platform. You stand huddled with all your fellow blue line commuters and it would seem you are all seemingly normal. You know, just riding the train to work, doing big things, paying the bills, playing your part in the daily grind. The girl to your left baked treats presumably for her coworkers. The guy on the right has gift-wrapped presents in tow. These people are nice, right?
You’d think so. Until the train begins approaching...
The train comes and you can see already there are no seats available. Said man with the gifts charges towards the door, probably cutting off a pregnant woman, or knocking some kid in the head with his bag. While everyone inside tries to act like there is no room for anyone or anything more in the train car (rarely is this the case).
You pushed and shoved and squeezed your way on to the train. Now that you're on your think the rest of your commute is east, right? Wrong again.
The kid two seats ahead of you is blaring some vulgar rap music while an elderly woman – probably with her grandchildren sits next to him hearing every cuss word and disrespectful lyric.
Then there is the young woman with a backpack the size of a small family that is hitting you and bumping you every three seconds.
The man on your other side keeps stepping on your feet.
The conductor announces a delay because an “unauthorized person is on the tracks inside the tunnel” (real life, this happened the other day).
Someone nearby decides now is the ideal time to start eating their McDonald’s breakfast.
Tourists with eighteen bags, taking up four seats while taking selfies spill into your personal space.
The girl next to you is in a heated text-arguments with her boyfriend. Wait, that’s entertainment for people like me who secretly love people who have the large font option on their iPhones.
Then, finally. “Next stop, Clark and Lake.” Thank G. One more stop. But suddenly, said tourists are now making frantically getting up because Clark and Lake is their next stop. They can’t miss their stop. They better get up now and push through people with their 18 bags in tow.
Finally you approach Clark and Lake. You’ve made it. You can finally get off this train. As you step off and finally take a breath of [somewhat] clean air and feel a sense of accomplishment for only being 8 AM.
Moral of the story - be nice to your fellow commuters, and humans. Hold doors. Say thank you. Turn down your music. Don’t take up five seats for yourself during rush hour. Don’t eat smelly food on the train. Don’t walk in the train tunnels if you’re not supposed to, it’s really a burden for those who want to get to work on time. If you bring baked goods on the train, make sure you have enough to share (half kidding). Just be a nice human, period. Merry Christmas!