Tag Archives: CTA

Santa moonlights as a CTA conductor

Chicago sure goes all out for the holidays. Point in case: the million lights up and down Michigan Avenue, trumpets and holly flanking Macy’s, and the Chriskindlmarket in full swing. And let’s not forget the CTA holiday train.

I was waiting on the train platform after work last Thursday, replaying the dreary events of the work day through my head. Then, the CTA holiday train pulled up.  Day —> turned around. I’ve only been on the CTA holiday train once in the past six  years. Happy surprise.



Santa seats and holiday music!

Not pictured: Santa. Or my new BFF, Emily. The cutest little girl sat next to me on the holiday train. We made pizzas on her dad’s iPhone. We shared kitty stories. She asked me if I had babies (seriously, you too, Emily?). And then she called me her best friend. All of this occurred within the span of four stops.

So, even though I haven’t bought one Christmas present yet, I’m starting to become less of a Scrooge. I can’t get behind the mad commercialism of the season or the nonstop made-for-TV Lifetime Christmas movies. But the CTA holiday train? I can get behind it.


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Filed under Chicago, Holidays

RIP Tom Hanks?


Did TMZ break news I haven’t heard yet?

Or is someone referring to Tom’s role choices in The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons? (I mean, come on, the movies weren’t that bad.)

There’s probably just a joke I’m missing. Typical.

Taken near the California Blue Line stop.

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Filed under Chicago, random

Scenes from the CTA: Awkward convos and questions

I have a borrowed theory that everyone on public transportation is either miserable or acting like they’re miserable. I also have a theory that everyone is awkward, or at the very least, acts awkwardly. Point in case: last week on the train. I rarely take the train, but boy I am glad I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have overheard these gems.

Three best things overheard on the CTA last week

1. Business lingo

Scene: Brown Line, between Chicago and Sedgwick

Cast: Two (presumably) Lincoln Park girls

Dialogue: “I tried to google to find out the difference between a CEO and a COO. And I’m still confused!

2. Shirtless in Chicago

Scene: Red Line, around the Granville stop

Cast: Conductor to a particular passenger on a moderately full train

Dialogue: “Sir, I’m going to need you to put your shirt on.”

3. City talks

Scene: Red Line, around Lawrence

Cast: Three fashionable young guys in their mid-20s


Dude #1: “There’s a great view of the Chicago skyline there.”

Dude#2: “What’s a skyline?”



Filed under Chicago, city life, CTA, Weird

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?

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Filed under Chicago, CTA, strangers, Weird

Scenes from the CTA: The Ass Man

Date: April 7, 2010

Time: 5:46 pm

Location: 66 Chicago Bus

(Cold windy, Chicago day. The bus driver has just closed the door, and  high-powered executives, busy moms, hipsters and nerdy passengers struggle to hang on.)

Bus driver

Sir, could you please step back? I need to see my mirror.


There’s no where TO go.

Bus Driver

I can’t go anywhere until you move away from the mirror.


I can’t go anywhere unless it’s UP SOMEONE’S ASS!!

Bus Driver

Maybe that’s where you SHOULD go!


Maybe that’s where the CTA SHOULD GO!

(A juvenile, angry exchange between the Bus Driver and Dude about getting off the bus and needing to to make a radio show in 20 minutes proceeds as passengers look on quietly.)


(After a few minutes of welcomed silence)

Sorry if I grabbed someone’s ASS. It’s too crowded in here!!


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Filed under Chicago, city life, CTA, frustrations

Circle the wagons

Just because I haven’t posted in more than two weeks (inexcusable) doesn’t mean I haven’t seen anything odd around my neighborhood.

Like this wagon hanging out by the Division Blue Line station a few days ago.  From its rusty wheels and paint-chipped, wooden exterior, you might think  someone left it here circa 1940.



Did the wagon run away from home and lose its courage once it saw the stairs?

Was the wagon a getaway vehicle for a renegade mother and her child on the run from the law?

The wagon certainly has a story, but it wouldn’t tell me. The wagon’s proximity to the stairs actually reminds me of a mischievous story my husband told me about himself and his brothers when they were kids. Apparently, Joe and his older brother talked his younger brother into being the guinea pig for riding down the stairs in a laundry basket.

I don’t recommend doing the same thing with the wagon. I can’t imagine it would end well.

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Filed under city life, CTA, neighborhoods, Weird

Need a new sports coat?

This lovely sports coat, located at the Damen and Chicago bus stop, could be yours!

Get this before it's gone!

Get this jacket before it's gone!

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Filed under Chicago, CTA, Weird