Sunday, December 14, 2008

Come On Ride, the CTA Train... Woo! Woo!

Chicago is a wonderful city and has a lot to offer. It's affordable, great food, fun night life, corrupt Governors and it's accessible. Between the "L" Trains, Buses, and Taxis it is very easy to get around the city. At the same time the convenient transportation has its negatives.

On a Saturday evening, my GF and I were traveling up north to Lincoln Park to meet some friends for dinner. You would think a few stops on the red line and then a transfer to the brown line would be an easy 25 minute task. But as we've learned throughout the years, nothing in the awkward chronicles world is easy. The first step was to walk from our condo to the red line. This usually is a short walk that takes five minutes. With the blustery winds, spitting ice rain drops, and overall cold temperature the walk felt like it was an hour. It was so nasty out, I almost felt like I was about to throw up. When I saw the sign for the red line, I thought I was walking towards heaven. (Which in reality would consist of rainbow sprinkles, muppets, and breasts.)

We walk down the steps to get on the train. Right before we hit the turn-styles to swipe our CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) cards, there is a homeless guy arguing with one of the CTA workers. Not a big deal, seen it before, but its nothing you like to see. We wait for the train... I'm always a big fan of walking way down the concourse, that way the train won't be as crowded when you get on it since the majority of people are lazy. The train comes and we get on a car that is not too crowded. We sit down and enjoy the ride. Not so fast... The train has a horrid, dispicalbe vomit smell. Not just a standard vomit smell, that I can tolerate. I'm talking about a mega nastry, vile, stench smell so bad, that would make horse manure seem like a perfume. People are on the train had to literally cover up their noses. I'm not trying to point figures, but there was a homeless man sitting a few seats in front of us. After an extensive investigation, we came to the conclustion that his feet were the source of the vomit smell. My GF could not tolerate the smell any longer, so we had to change cars at the next stop.

We change cars and get away from the heinous stench. Now we can comfortably enjoy the rest of the ride. Not so fast... A different homeless guy walks in and gives his 20 second plea for money. I do feel bad for the situation he is in, but given that I've been unemployed for the last few months I unfortunately have nothing to spare. The homeless man moves on to the next car. The train stops, a man gets on, and sits behind us while he talks on his cell phone. He is carrying a large garbage bag with lots of crap in it. I don't intend to be nosey, but when somebody talks really loud I have trouble blocking it out. So it appears this individual is talking to an ex-convict, who just got out of jail and is now homeless. The individual says, "I know your homeless, but I can't help you unless you got your papers in order. Do you have your Social Security Card? Your Birth Certificate? You gotz to have your papers."

So apparently what we have going on is a guy who has a ex-convict, homeless friend and the friend needs his help. The conversation takes a bit of a peculiar direction when the individual on the train starts asking more about his friend's background. "When you call, just ask for Allsion and tell her that I sent you. But they're not going to help you out, if you got shit on your background." I picture the ex-convict/homeless guy on the phone saying "What do you mean by shit?" The individual on the train replies, "Like have you ever killed anybody, raped anybody? Minor defenses are okay, but if you killed or raped anybody then you're in trouble.

As this very pleasant conversation is going on, all of the sudden there is an unbearable screeching sound going on that almost made my ears bleed. It was one of the worst sounds I've ever heard in my life. It was like the combination of fingernails on a chalkboard, going to the dentist, Fran Drescher Karaoke, and my parents making sweet love. (Okay, maybe I went a little far with the last one.) Apparently, the sound was from the train scraping against the tracks during one of its turns. After 30 seconds of this, the screeching sound died down, and it was time to pick-up from our delightful phone conversation.

The individual on the phone then says, "What about any sexual molestation? Because you might have to be around kids or something. Oh sorry man, I can't help you out then." So apparently this ex/convict/homeless friend on the phone, was able to pass the test with murder and rape. But when it came to sexual molestation, he surrendered in defeat. I don't know about you, but molesting always gets me too. As the conversation came to a close, it was finally time to get off and transfer trains. Fortunately, nothing else of importance occurred on the second train and we made it to Lincoln Park safely.

So the next time you want to complain about the CTA and the increase in rates, think twice about it. Make sure you enjoy the free amenities that come with it. Such as, the crazy guy arguing with the CTA worker, the smell of horrid vomit, pan-handlers asking for money, lovely phone conversations about murder, rape, and molestation, and random screeching sounds that will make you go deaf. I love the CTA!

I'm Out!

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