Scenes from the CTA: Friends with problems

(Setting: Eastbound 66 Chicago bus, early morning, sitting between young men, late 20s to early 30s who have already been engaged in conversation)

Man 1: “That’s when I was locked up in Kane County.”

Man 2: “Haha. Where’s Kane County?”

Man 1: “Not too far from Chicago.”

Man 2: “Did you hear about Ray? Just got locked up for possession.

Man 1: “Aww, man, no way.”

Man 2: “Yeah he got 12-15 for possession. 125 bricks. Now, he’s trying to get an appeal. His lawyers are working on it.”

(Conversation continues. Topics include jobs and sons getting cell phones for making the honor roll)

Flash forward nine hours

(Setting: Westbound 66 Chicago bus. While standing and chatting with a co-worker, a young man is speaking VERY loudly to a twentysomething woman about his OCD)

Dude: “It’s not really about math. It’s something inside my head. An anxious feeling that makes me turn the light switch on and off a certain amount of times.”

Lady: “Oh wow.”

Dude: “I used to wash my hands until they were raw. And sometimes I’d clean my fingernails until they bled. It’s just something inside my head that I can’t explain.”

Lady: “Yeah a friend of mine’s friend has OCD and can’t be around anyone who’s ever touched a hooker or stripper. It makes him feel dirty.”


I’ve been caught off guard quite frequently lately by the oversharing of CTA passengers. There’s also the guy who was talking extremely loud into his cell phone about being fired from a security job that he never should have had in the first place because he had two felonies. And the man from the Ukraine who wanted my opinion on whether it’s better to be a doctor or a lawyer (he was studying to be lawyer). I’m not sure why, but I’m amazed by the nonchalant ease with which people talk about being locked up or having friends who are afraid of people who have touched hookers and strippers. These are things you don’t expect hear on your way to work or home.

It can be sad too when people overshare. I genuinely felt bad for the man who was talking about his OCD. I think he needed a friend.

Met any interesting characters on the CTA lately?


1 Comment

Filed under Chicago, CTA, strangers, Weird

One response to “Scenes from the CTA: Friends with problems

  1. blackwatertown

    Sounds entertaining. Though I guess you have to be careful not to look too obviously interested, no matter how loudly the conversationalists are sharing.

    I once took a Greyhound from San Francisco to Arizona during which it emerged that every passenger apart from me and my companion was fleeing a broken relationship.

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