Trains, planes and automobiles have been transporting folks from one location to the next since their introduction into mainstream society. Since the age of eight, I have been fascinated with those various modes of transport – yes, all of them.
It wasn’t until I made it to adulthood and realized, ‘yeah – unless it’s a classic car, it’s not that fascinating’. That’s especially true when you consider the myriad of things one has to deal with when utilizing public transit to get around the great city of Chicago.
Every day, at every hour on the hour, there are strange things taking place with the Chicago Transit Authority – better known as the CTA. Take one ride on the train and you’ll be privy to the bitter smell of a head of lettuce dipped in urine permeating the air. You’ll bear witness to the cell phone arguments that are loud enough for the entire train’s occupants to hear. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever present person who’s dealing with mental health issues.
But as city slickers, we’ve devised a strategy to get us to and from our destination without losing our cool. We focus on our cell phones, barely registering the weirdo wearing a lampshade and mismatch tennis shoes. And that scent, not the loveliest smell in the world but we adjust. At the end of the day we get used to the quirks of public transportation so we can live to ride the train again.
It gets us where we’re going, saves gas and time on the commute. We brave the storm and go on with our day. Even though we sometimes come out of it smelling a tad bit rancid, we move on. Speaking of moving on… I’ve just missed my stop.
Janean L. Watkins found her niche in writing and photography as a student at Northeastern Illinois University. During her time there, she created .:Seeds:., an award winning literary arts journal. As Editor in Chief of Independent newspaper, she led the university newspaper to win awards from both the Illinois College Press Association and Associated College Press.
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