Friday, March 2, 2007

thanks for the blog fodder, CTA

So I'm an irresponsible citizen and I let my vehicle registration expire. Sue me. While I'm waiting for my new stickers to arrive (in the next couple days, according to a shockingly nice and helpful employee of the Illinois Secretary of State) I'm back to taking the CTA from Logan Square to Hyde Park. Every day. And while this takes a long time, it's not that bad when you go at rush hour and things are running really frequently. And I get a lot of work done. But I don't really wake up early in the morning any more, and so I'm getting on the blue line around ... ohhhh 10:30 or so every morning. And you get a really strange mix of people at this time. Some students. Some vagrants - such as the young men tagging the train car this morning and talking loudly about their latest experiences with excrement (I kid you not) as confused suburban families stare at them and Chicago residents stare down at their shoes or absently out the window hoping not to be the target of harassment. Lots of old rich women, and I'm not sure why. Don't old rich women take cabs? That's what I always thought. But in the mid-late morning hours they're all over the blue line in their fur coats (seriously. fur coats on the el.) and cashmere scarves. Then on the red line I was treated to the very strong scent of urine. Someone recently told me that they saw a woman get on the red line and sit down on the urine-soaked seat. Now whenever I smell pee on the train I can't stop thinking: "whereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepee OH GOD I HOPE I'M NOT TOUCHING IT" until I get to school and wash my hands under the hottest water I can stand so that my knuckles are cracking open and bleeding. But the best part of all, and always the most entertaining, is the 55 bus. Oh, 55 bus. Yesterday afternoon I got on the bus leaving campus around 3:30, which was stupid of me because at this time it's general overrun with horrible loud school children. A group of girls who looked to be in about 9th grade got on and sat in all the seats surrounding me, yelling across me. No big deal. Then one of them pulled the stop request cord (whatever you call that thing...) to get off, but was still yelling to her friends from the back door, and missed the stop. When one of her friends realized she'd missed her stop she started tugging on the cord and screaming "BACK DOOR ACTION! BACK DOOR ACTION! BACK DOOR ACTION!!!!!" while her friends (and I, actually) erupted in hysterical shrieking laughter. That is the funniest thing I've heard all week. Back door action girl, I love you.

Oh, here's the full story of my Secretary of State experience - I called Springfield to find out when my new tags would be arriving, since I sent away my renewal a couple of weeks ago and I now have expired stickers on my car. After 8,000 menus, being on hold for about a half and hour, being transferred, and being on hold some more, I got the most pleasant Illinois drivers' services employee I have ever heard of. I explained the situation to the woman, acknowledged that I should have sent my renewal request weeks earlier, yadda yadda, and the woman looked up my information, and told me that according to the computer my registration is up to date and I can expect my sticker in the next couple of days. I asked if, since I am current according to the computer, I would be okay driving. She sort of beat around the bush for a minute before saying, "well, it really just depends on how much of a jerk the cop is." BEAUTIFUL. I love you as well, anonymous civil servant. Way to provide pleasant, reasonable, and realistic service. I'm totally blown away.


ER said...

those schoolgirls sound hilarious, but if I had to content with urine on the el, I think I'd just stay home.

More puppy pics?

ER said...

I mean 'contend'

Humingway said...

I'm perfectly content with urine on the el.