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2005-02-01 - 8:12 a.m.

Things that annoy me about Chicago

-Why do so many buildings use marble for their sidewalks? It's probably the slipperiest (not sure if that's a wordÖ) substance they could find unless they were to use frozen Jello. When walking down the sidewalk, I generally have other things (taxis running red lights, walking straight into preaching street crazies) to deal with. I'd much rather not have to half slip and try to catch myself while looking around to make sure no one noticed. Also, the buildings that use marble the most are the Federal buildings and the Post Office. Apparently they're not worried about lawsuits the way private entities are (Who cares!?! Let the taxpayers pay them off!)...

-I hate dealing with people selling fundraising candy. I'm fine with most panhandlers (as long as they don't get overly aggressive), but teenagers walking around with old, stale peanut M&Ms put me in a bad mood. Then I feel like a jerk. But ick! I don't like peanut M&Ms in any situation, they're expensive, I feel I can do more good by supporting Streetwise , and the kids are usually darn good at selling so half the time I end up with them. And really Ė should you be selling fundraising candy for the Mt. Carmel basketball team to tourists at Erie & Michigan who don't care? (my latent suspiciousness starts to show up as well Ė why are you here? Why are you so good at forcing people to buy this crap?)

-Non-rush hour bus service. Now, service during rush hour is fine. I know what time the bus comes and I know how long (under 10 minutes) Iíll have to wait if I miss it. But taking a bus on a weekend or at night is a bit of a gamble. A typical bus incident is as follows: stand for 25 minutes, decide to start walking the right direction glancing back every few seconds to make sure itís not creeping up behind me, notice the bus while Iím halfway between bus stops, start running, and then see three busses fly past before I get to the stop. This may be partly my fault Ė if I just had more patience I might be at the stop so the driver knows I want to get on, but then when I do wait at the stop I know Iíll never get where Iím going.

-I love the CTA, and defend it when people start complaining about it. So I am even more annoyed when it proves me wrong and reinforces everyoneís favorite stereotype Ėthe Red Line smells like urine. It doesnít (well, most of the time). When I went down into the Jackson stop a few weeks ago, though, I was very upset that there was a distinct smell. It wasnít technically urine (yes, Iím still defensive), but it was definitely a porta-potty urinal cake. No question about it. This problem was compounded when a woman standing 10 feet from me waiting for the southbound train started smoking her nasty cigarette butt. I understand that the main problem is that I have a freakishly sensitive nose (I would be Bionic Nose Woman if I had a superpower), but I still get annoyed when Iím proven wrong like that.

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