Tag Archives: El

Tiny snapshots of people’s lives

Admit it. You’ve done it…briefly look into other people’s apartments. You do that too, right? Right?

Before you think I’m a huge perv, I want to clarify that I’m not a Peeping Tom. And I don’t study neighbors like I’m Jimmy Stewart in a scene from Rear Window.

I’m talking about those tiny moments, when walking down the street,  you catch a glimpse into someone’s apartment. You might notice a bold wall color, painting or other item that gives you a snapshot of someone’s personality or style. Or you may catch a flash of action that you wouldn’t be privy to otherwise. In these moments, you’re not meaning to be nosy, but it’s hard not to notice since it’s in plain view.

I attended a dinner party last night. The host lives across the street from one of the high-rise apartment buildings that trickle down Lake Shore Drive.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Standing on the balcony, which faces this building, a few other guests and I couldn’t help but notice a woman doing aerobics across the way. Directly to the right, a couple was eating dinner. As someone pointed these neighbors out, the host explained that he often reads on the balcony and has observed some strange behavior patterns as a result.  Some of which should never be seen by others.

We probably don’t have as much privacy in our apartments as we think. This is especially true for  my friend who recently bought a fantastic loft space that’s parallel with an El platform. She can see the commuters, so that probably means they can see her. My situation is not exactly the same, but I can see my neighbors across the street when their blinds are open, which means they can probably see us.

Um bye. I have to go and shut my blinds.



Filed under Chicago, neighborhoods, strangers, Uncategorized, urban behavior

Spitting games

I don’t ride the El that often anymore. I’m generally ok with that, especially after what I witnessed last night.

Heading toward the Loop to meet up with some friends, I took my seat on the Purple Line. I noticed a gentleman in front of me, and as I got comfortable, I observed the pleasant, clean scent he emanated. Passengers got on and off as the train made its way around the Loop. Watching carefully for the Washingon/Wells stop, I was interrupted from my iPod listening by a hacking sound. I look up and noticed that the man in front of me had spit on the floor. Really? Is that what we’re doing now? I was repulsed and regretted thinking that he smelled nice.

The culprit

The culprit. I was close to posting the spit picture, but I decided to spare you.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look at the puddle of spit for long because my stop came up. As I walked off the platform and down the stairs, I almost stepped in an unrelated puddle of spit. Gross. Just makes me wonder how often we step in others’ spit without noticing.



Filed under Chicago, CTA

Up Close and Personal

Have you ever noticed the awkward dance among strangers on crowded, rush-hour trains? The diverting of eyes, the uncertain placement of hands, the overpowering scent of inexpensive cologne…minus the liplocking, it’s eerily similar to one of your middle school make-out sessions.

Stop to think about this for a moment—the CTA is probably the only place in the city where it’s acceptable to be within make-out range of complete strangers, and it’s not considered cheating. If you were at a club, for example, this scenario would look entirely different. All rules regarding personal space go out the window when you’re on public transit. There is no way possible that you could get your full two feet of personal space during rush hour. You’re lucky to get two inches, in fact. I can’t tell you how many times I have rode home with armpits in my face, especially armpits belonging to sweaty Cub fans who are on their way to Wrigley.

The awkward dance may get even more awkward if the expected 200,000 increase in ridership occurs. Let’s just hope your fellow passengers use breath mints.

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Filed under CTA, Personal space