You’ve never had an exercise in patience if you haven’t ridden the CTA.
Whether it’s being so close to a stranger you can smell their morning breath and see the pores on their face, or if you have spent more time waiting for a bus to arrive than you actually spent riding it.
In the 5 years that I have lived in Chicago, I have experienced a wide array of emotions on the CTA. Happiness–a rarity when I find a seat amidst the rush hour crowds, or when my train is running express to exactly where I am going.
There was fear the time a group of friends and I were on a train and one particularly large, threatening looking man thought it would be a good time to play with a knife he had in his pocket, while shouting nonsense to no one at the other end of the train.
Or the man who wanted to show off his taser like a kid at a Christmas who just unwrapped a new set of hot wheels.
There has been pure disgust while witnessing a few drunk people throwing up on the train over the years. Either that, or watching a crowd of people try to dodge the liquid making it’s way back and forth as the train moves along.
There is anxiety as the train stalls in a dark tunnel underground, with no announcement from the conductor to let us know that we are NOT in any immediate danger that threatens our lives.
And finally, there is frustration, probably the most common emotion on the CTA. Braving Chicago’s bitter winters only to wait far too long for a train or a bus. Delays are delayed further by more delays. People pushing and shoving as they pack onto an already stuffed train like sardines. Fare hikes that are quite unfair. The list goes on.
Until teleportation becomes a viable option, this is how I get from A to B.