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2005-02-08 - 10:32 a.m.

Stories from the train –

-The Orange Line Halsted stop has seven turnstiles (I think! I’m not good with numbers...). Two are normal (use farecard; walk through turnstile bar), one is a handicap entrance (large swinging door instead of turnstile), and four are exit only. I’m not sure why the CTA thought this was a good idea as most of the customers using this line come to it via bus (#8 Halsted, #62 Archer, or #44 Wallace/Racine) and so large groups are all trying to get through at the same time – but that’s the way it is now.
So I got off the bus, walked in, and saw that there were 3 people in each line for the regular turnstiles, and one person already walking through the handicap door. A CTA employee (a large, older black man) was standing over it making sure that only one person walked through at a time, and he was also steadying the door as it swung shut from the person in front of me. I waited for him to nod to let me know that it was time to touch my farecard and then a small, middle-aged Asian woman ran in front of me, put in farecard in the slot, and walked through without a glance at me! The CTA employee looked at me (somewhat worried, I think, that I would make a scene), and when I made a confused face and shrugged, he started laughing like it was the funniest thing ever. “You got burned!” Yup. This whole waiting until it’s officially my turn to go in has just got to stop. (And I did, just barely, make it on the train – so I’m willing to laugh!)

-Yesterday afternoon’s commute shall hereafter be known as “The Day of the Chocolate.”
I walked out of my building downtown into the rainy, foggy, dark afternoon, and smelled just barely burnt chocolate. Like fondue or barely burnt chocolate chip cookies. Now, I’m not a chocoholic and I don’t eat a lot of sweet food (Unless I have PMS. Then all bets are off.), but this was an amazing smell and made me want to track down its source. But, I walked to the train station instead.
On the train, I found a seat facing backwards. A woman (black, average size and weight, teased and short hair) was seated in the forward facing seats near the door between cars. At the Adams/Wabash stop, an older (maybe late 50s?) white man got on and stood leaning against the wall with the call button and blue light – maybe 2 feet from the woman. He started going through a blue Dominicks bag (and not quietly, either), pulled out the biggest chocolate bar I’ve ever seen, and started breaking off pieces and eating them. It wasn’t particularly interesting. Until I looked at the woman again and saw her face – she was absolutely horrified! She watched every piece go from his hand to his mouth with an shocked-and-appalled look, until he was finished and put what was left of the massive chocolate bar back into his briefcase. I don’t know why. Maybe she’s diabetic or on the Atkins diet or just feels very strongly about the CTA’s never-enforced no-eating-on-trains policy...

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