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Add your crazy commuting stories here

If you ride public transportation on a regular basis, you have a story.

A story about that crazy lady yelling Bible verses. About the sleeping guy who smells like he hadn't taken a bath in weeks. About the rude ticket agent. About the woman fighting with her boy friend on the cell phone.

And we all want to hear them.

Click on "Comments" below this post (or scroll down below the last comment) and tell us your story. I'll make separate posts of the good ones.


This happened to me about four years ago; I was on the Red Line somewhere around Lake. A woman with two small boys had gotten on to the crowded train, so I got up to gave her my seat and went to stand by my friends, where I couldn't help overhearing her conversation with one of her children.

The little boy was asking about the emergencies sign--specifically the part about the third rail and why one shouldn't step on it. This provoked an odd monologue from his mother:

"Well, when the little boy steps on the rail, he DIES. And then they take him to the hospital and they put him in a bed, and his mommy and daddy come and say goodbye to him. And then they fix his hair all nice like we did with Grandma when she died, and then his mommy and daddy put him in a box. Then they say goodbye and put him in the ground like we did with Grandma."

That's gotta be one screwed-up kid now.

Hey Kevin...

Thanks for the email (over on the political blog side). I don't typically ride the cta (suburbanite, here) but I have a somewhat funny story for you.

Friday my bf and I went to the taste. That was the first game of the subway series. There was a man there who was trying to sell passes for the cta. I saw him as we were going into the taste but didn't think much of it.

As we were leaving the man was screaming at the pedestrians "BUY BUY BUY" and eventually we heard him saying "TAKE THE RED AND SEE RED AT THE SOX CUBS GAME." And all that led to "KICK YOUR COMPETITORS ASS ON THE RED LINES".

Crazy I tell you.

One night, on my way home from work, there was a woman on the train next to me with a little kid (old enough to talk, but young & small enough to still warrant a stroller). They got on at the Damen Blue Line stop. As the train lurched out of the station, the kid looked up, all alert and kind of startled, and shouted, "UH-OH! BLASTOFF!"

(Just found this blog--yay!) Here's one of my many CTA stories: This happened several years ago when I had longer hair, down to about the middle of my back. I was riding on the Purple Line up to Evanston, and an older, inebriated man got on the train at Howard and sat down behind me. He was rambling on loudly, to no one in particular, but then he must have focused on me because he started saying, "Oooohhh. You've got such lonnng, pretty hair. You wouldn't mind if I touched it, would you? Such long, pretty hair." I cringed, but I kept my seat and didn't say anything ('cause I'm a coward sometimes). The guy said again, "Aw, such long, pretty, pretty hair, can I touch it? You wouldn't mind if I touched it, right?" The next moment, I feel his fingers lightly pulling on my hair. Creeped out, I immediately jumped up and walked back to the vestibule. Another passenger standing there looked at me and said, "Don't worry, it happens to the best of us."

Great site! Exactly the kind fo site I am doing but for the NYC area! www.commuterchaos.com

With the more temperate weather lately, I've been biking to and from work a lot and not riding the CTA as much, but since it was supposed to rain all evening yesterday and I planned on being at work until about 3am, I decided to take transit.

Now, I'm quite accustomed to the fact that the #66 Belmont bus only runs every half-hour during "Owl Service" hours, and the busses usually run pretty consistently. But occasionally, one runs a bit late, or more often a bit early. Such was the case last night.

I could conduct a lengthy diatribe about the unusual people I encounter riding the bus so late at night as frequently as I do, but last night was a first for me....

Creepy stalker guy: I arrived at the bus stop having just missed the one I intended to catch. After a few minutes wait, I saw the next bus headed eastbound to complete it's journey before turning around and charioting me westward towards my home. I knew the wait wouldn't be terribly long.

A cab passed me by, and the lone, (presumably) drunk middle-aged male passenger leaned out the window and asked me where I was going. Of course, being a female standing at a bus stop at rougly 3am, I neglected to answer. The cab drove on. I chuckled a bit and thought nothing more of the event. Until, of course, the cab pulled over about a half block west of the bus stop and the passenger exited.

It must have taken him 5 minutes to walk the half block back towards me, stopping every so often, failing to succesfully hide behind trees and sign-posts. When he did finally reach me, he passed by, simply uttering, "the bus WILL eventually come." He continued walking another block east in a manner matching his approach.

About this time, the bus was in sight about 3 blocks away. I was just barely creeped out enough to pray that the guy wasn't able to board.

I was quite relieved when the bus passed the position where I'd last seen him, but my relief was temporary. I soon realized that he had hired a cab, which was following the bus.

The man proceeded to follow the bus in the cab from Southport to California/Elston before he gave up and turned around and headed back east.
I was able to disembark as normal at Pulaski and traverse my 4 blocks home in safety, but it really made me re-think my refusal to pay the $10 cab fare from work to the house at 3am.

July 29, 2004
Got on the train this morning, angling for a coveted seat, when I spotted an empty row with a bag on it. A homeless woman was across the isle with another bag, so I figured it was hers. She didn't say anything when I went to move it.

Over just a few seconds, I gingerly grabbed the edges of the bag, noticed it was very tattered and looked full of papers. As I lifted it I was surprised by its weight, then noticed it was full of dirty, empty food containers. Carefully hoarded garbage. I put it on the floor, checked the seat, sat down. Then hit by a wave of disgust at having touched the bag of garbage and the smell of the homeless woman, I decided that a seat at the other end of the train was looking pretty good and made a hasty retreat. Washed my hands repeatedly the moment I arrived at work. Next time I'll stand.

Okay, HERE's one you won't see every day....

Quincy stop, 7:12 AM. One side's the Brown Line, the other side serves Orange and Purple.

I'm sitting on one of the benches, trying to stay awake. Out of the corner of my eye, I see motion in a place I don't normally expect to see motion. I look over.

Across the platform, on the Brown Line side, a man clambers down off the platform and ONTO THE TRACKS. As casually as though he were crossing Jackson against traffic, he crosses over to the Orange/Purple side and boosts himself up.

The weirdness is only enhanced by the fact that the man is WEARING A SKI MASK. On the second-to-last day of July.

He strolls back and forth along the platform, apparently holding a monologue under his ski mask, and he boards the next Orange Line train when it pulls in.

Needless to say, I've never been quite so glad that I was waiting for the Purple Line!!

Has anyone else noticed the Venus Razor ads on the Red Line? From Belmont to at least North and Clyborn, someone's cut one of the legs out of EVERY picture. Is this an art project or something just a bit more...creepy?

Well, I got a creepy situation on the Local 49 bus in the summer of 2003; I was coming off of work, and I was going to meet my friend at the Movie theatre (I was set up on a blind date). I sit on a Nova, in the back, when I saw my ex girlfriend Angela...

...before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that Angie was my girlfriend for 6 months, and I broke up with her the previous summer--she's been relentlessly stalking me since Spring of 2002, and she was still after me at the time...

...so her and her blonde friend Pamela, were looking at me, with the ex giving me several gestures, including a one-finger salute. She also gave me that death look, as she came closer to me, it seemed that she had a blunt weapon...turns out to be a pillow she bought at the Target. I saw her and asked her "Hi, may I help you?" She answered back "wouldn't you want to know, you cold-hearted bastard?" (keep in mind that the phrase is much more graphic). We kept yelling for 10 minutes, and she came up to me, and slapped me in the face, and she told me "this ain't over, mutha f-----!" For a caucasian girl, thats alot of foul language.

A guy was looking at me and he chuckled as he asked me, "She got a spell on you". I replied, "Yeah, she got a spell on me, but she can't seem to spell 'diet'".

The Red Line is always a showcase for study of the mentally ill. Once I got on the train and sat down in an aisle-facing seat and after a while I felt something touching me. I looked down and a woman sitting in the seat next to me was fishing around in my pocket with her hand. I asked her to stop what she was doing and she babbled some paranoid phrase at me that scared the hell out of me.

The other day in the morning was on a crowded rushhouse train and a woman was sitting in front of me with the seat next to her occupied by a shopping bag. She was clean and didn't look crazy, but I know the signs and if she hasn't moved her bag in a packed rush hour train for others to sit down there must be something wrong. And there was. She had some tics, where she was constantly adjusting her long hair in and out of her coat. I though she might be obsessive-compulsive. Then when the hair ritual was done, she would raise and lower her arms a number of times as though she were doing exercises. After this she would get up, walk the length of the train, stand in front of the doors, tap the glass on the doors a few times, and then sit down and begin the whole process over again. It was interesting that she never spoke during the whole time, usually these type of folks are muttering things to themselve and to the universe in general.

saw two today that would be tattler worthy. First of all on the red line southbound the car I got on at Argyle reeked of B.O. There was no doubt about it, but I wasn't interested in changing cars, so I just sat down and started reading. So this trashy looking woman gets on at the next stop and sits in the seats across from me then immediatly jumps up. She screams, "I AIN'T SITTING HERE! IT FUCKING STINKS! I KNOW WHO IT IS, IT'S YOU! (Pointing to the lady directly infront of us both.) YOU FUCKING CRACK WHORE, YOU CAN FUCKING GO TO HELL, I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE. AND BOOZE ON TOP OF THAT! She then preceded to change cars.

Then on the way back northbound, it was too crowded to sit and fucking hot and miserable, so I was standing by the door, to at least get some fresh air. A skinny girl with very nappy dreads was talking quietly to herself the entire time that I was on there, but a few stops before Argyle, she got up and starting talking to the people around here. She was quite well spoken, despite being totally crazy. "Trevor, you have to use that you, I don't think it will work, but you have to use it. I can't tell if it's an angle or a side, but you have to use it." Then a few moments later, "You know, I can't grab the bars, because everyone on this subway is fucking disgusting. No I changed my mind, I'm staying right here." She then stumbled and fell down. Got up after a few seconds and then started spitting. Sadly my stop was next, so I didn't get to see the show continue.

Jeff (above) and I were hopping on the red line at North/Clybourne on our way to the Jackson stop at about 4 PM yesterday. As we walked down the stairs, I noticed a youngish girl, late teens, maybe early 20s, just past the landing, on the left, laughing hysterically. On the right, a little further up the stairs, another girl appeared to be sitting on the steps.

"How rude," I thought. "Why are they just sitting on the steps, where people need to walk? Silly, selfish girls."

As we got closer, I looked down at the one "sitting" and notice a puddle spreading out from underneath her, then immediately noticed her bare butt hovered over the step. No sooner did this realization hit me than the laughing girl apologized to Jeff who responded with a very magnanimous, "It's quite alright!"

I was so clueless in my indignation that someone would be sitting on the steps that I didn't notice she was actually trying to pee down a grate. On the steps. Going down to the trains. At 4:00 in the afternoon.

This led to a very spirited discussion between Jeff and me of just what circumstances would lead us to pee on the steps of the North/Clybourn red line stop in the middle of the afternoon. We both agreed that our situations would have to be dire indeed, and involve either severe sickness or intoxication to the level that neither of us has ever managed to experience, despite our best efforts. The two girls didn't seem drunk, or sick, or anything other than normal girls, who I guess just had to pee really bad.

In defense of the peeing females above: You guys, who can duck down an alleyway or water a car tire whenever the need arises, don't know how good you've got it. I once spent the better part of an hour, and $5.50, trying to find a public bathroom in the vicinity of Belmont and Clark--the $5.50 was because I ended up having to buy a magazine for the privilege of being allowed to use the ladies' in Borders. Had an El stop with a convenient grate been handy, I can't say that I WOULDN'T have availed myself--but then again, I had no one to stand guard, so I probably would have been out of luck.

At least they used a grate--I once saw a woman take a squat on the far end of the Howard Street Red Line platform one Sunday morning. There are no grates, sewers, drains, pipes, or even large-size cracks there--and what's more, that platform is directly overhead of SOMETHING!! I'd hate to have been standing beneath...

A man standing nearby while this went on was deeply amused and actually asked her "Do you want a newspaper, while you're there?"

I'm a girl! But I admit that being able to pee outside in hostile places is one of my super powers. Were I (god forbid) in such a desperate situation, I think I would have gone down an alley or behind a building or even in between parked cars. But I recognize that desperate times, etc.

PS I like your blog!

frm--my bad! Strange, how assumptions work in the land of blogs and anonymity... And thanks for the compliment!

As for outdoor hostile peeing, I'd be sadly out of luck regardless--my kidneys are so shy that I practically have to be inside a locked concrete bunker to do any business of that kind. The things that our childhoods leave us with.....

This was some time ago when I was living off of the Damen brown line stop, but I still laugh about it so thought I'd share...

Nearly every day when I took the brown line from Damen to the loop a woman would get on I think somewhere around Irving Park. This was an older lady who had a wooden hand. Nothing funny about that except it was not a "flesh-colored" wood, it was dark and even though it was by no means one of those life-like varieties, she used nail polish to paint where the fingernails might be.

Right before rounding the curve to pull into the Belmont station, the brown line always slows to a stop to wait its turn at the platform. Without fail the wooden hand lady would start yelling. It started as bitching to herself in too loud of a voice, but would inevitably escalate into a tirade about how the city was responsible for all her problems. A typical rant...

"Why are we stopping!? You know what this is about- the City doesn't want us to get to work on time! Why are we stopped, I can't believe this! I swear I'm gonna start driving because THE CITY is making me late!!! That's what they want you know, they want to take all your money but they can't get you to work on time! WHY AREN'T WE MOVING!"

I miss this lady. She gave me a daily chuckle.

This isn't MY story--but since I'm every bit as guilty as the guy in this story, I take it personally!!!! Can you believe they gave someone a ticket for SLEEPING on the train?????? Like half the passengers on a given train aren't sawing logs at any given moment!!!

Here's the full story...

CTA's SnappyFriends

Hey, has anybody run into this guy on the Red line, he's a fixture there for what seems to be years now. Here's his pitch (word for word). I've run into him so many times, I have it memorized...

Line 1: "I'M HOMELESS..."
Line 2: "I'M HUNGRY..."
Line 3: "I HAVEN'T EATEN IN 3 DAYS..."
Line 5: "PLEASE..."

Loop back to line 1 and repeat indefinately

Separately, is anyone out there using SnappyFriends? I love this thing... it's perfect for remote tech support with buddies, but my friends aren't too geeky. Check it out at snappyfriends.com.

Three Card Monty?

Lately, on the Red line in the afternoon mostly between Belmont and Lawrence there is a guy - usually quite well dressed (if not ghetto fabulous) begins a little schpeel with a little fuzzy ball and three bottle caps on what looks like a tiny green pool table. And sure enough, For a fee you get to find the ball, it's easy, anyone can find it. Mysteriously another ghetto fabulous guy (though this one is mroe 'roughneck style') with two long braids seems to be the first to come up with $100 to play - and he wins! It's a miracle! It;s a good thing he got on the train before the gaming guy. Well, just when you think it MAYBE a set up, another ghetto fab woman who just happened to pop on the train before the gaming guy also comes up with a hundred to play and guess what? That's right, she wins! Must be luck.

if you want a good laugh about commuting stories, this is your place http://www.TransitHell.com

Is anyone else annoyed at the new announcements? I mean the ones saying the CTA needs us to contact state officials and tell them they'd better come up with the money to cover the CTA's budget shortfall. I've been hearing this on the bus lately, and it makes me want to yell at the disembodied voice "Well, who the hell waited until now to announce they're out of money and need to cut service/raise fares?"

Yes, I too am annoyed.

However, if you start yelling at the Disembodied Voice, you will undoubtedly become someone else's Crazy Commuting Story. Just keep that in mind. :)

Yeah, but I wouldn't have to share my seat.

Been meaning to post this one for a while: has anyone else seen the real-estate sign on the west side of Western Avenue, a little south of Irving Park, on which someone chalked the following:


I'm thinking a bus either threw someone off or blew by someone...makes me giggle every time I pass. (That, and the guy just north of Lawrence who sits on the hydrant with pigeons perching on his lap, shoulders and arms...)

Here's my small, yet odd contribution:

About a year ago, in the summer, I was coming home on the Evanston Express. I, like many of my Purple Line bretheren, had succumb to the gentle rocking of the train from Belmont to Howard. So, having fallen asleep, I awoke between Howard and South Blvd. to a man who had taken the liberty to shine my shoes.

He strongly suggested that the shine was free, but the tip was on me. In my daze, I mumbled something like "No thanks." To which he began to become slightly taken aback. I stood up at Main St. and gave him a crumpled dollar and got off.

To this day, I'm not sure what was used on my shoes, and if a sleeping person can legally enter a binding contract for services.

Keep on Ellin'

On a redline Lcar:

A black lady walks in from the adjacent Lcar, and shouts: "Alright y'all, y'all's got 30 seconds to give me 30 cent, or I'm gonna blow this train to kingdom come! I mean it, I'm gonna blow this bitch up!"

While standing near a door, in a crowded morning commute on the redline:

Notice something fall from a girl's person, who was wearing a miniskirt. Unidentifiable object is white, and red, and happens to fall on my shoe as she exits my Lcar. Turns out the questionable object was a tampon...a blood engourged piece of putrid cotton...I'm just flabbergasted. I kicked it instinctivley, and turned my head when the thing went flying through the air to land in a baby carriage. I heard some screaming as I exited.

I take the L red line almost every weekday from Morse on my way to UIC and back. Last week I boarded the red line on Jackson on my way back and felt a slight tap, tap, tap. As I looked up I noticed the blind hobo that, together with his cane, was walking up the aisle taking to everyone and asking for help.

I looked at him shortly and went back to my reading since I'm not really sure he's actually blind or just faking it but he has one crazy popped out eye that gives me the creeps and alwasy feel is watching me. I had never paid attention to what he says so I turned off my iPod and listened to his monologue: "People, I'm not wearing any sunglasses so you can see that I'm really blind. I'm a intelligent and able yet no one wants to give me a job. I can read and I can type. I can really type really fast. 60 words per minute (WPM). Do you know how fast that is? Yet no one is willing to help me out. People please aid a poor blind man".

Now I wonder... what the hell is he going to type? He could type 1,200 WPM but HE CAN'T READ !!!! His employer would have to hire him, and another person to read to him so he can type.

Tonigh I'll go to sleep and laught at his logic. Yet I'll be afraid at the same time. Because everytime I close my eyes I feel his crazy popped out eye watching me... all knowing.... all seeing. It can see inside my soul.

Setting: Heading south on the redline from Howard.

Situation: My wife and I were returning home from the supermarket. Another woman boards the train with us carrying a Jamaica Jerk bag. After a few seconds on the train a great smell reaches our noses and we look for it's origin. The woman had opened her bag and was getting ready to eat. Now, there's nothing wrong with this of course since I've seen people eat everything on the train (from BK, tacos or burritos, etc.etc.). My wife and I look at each other cause it smelled really good. Until she takes out a lemon and starts squishing it on her hands and all over the floor of the train. She made a huge puddle just to wash her hands.

Woo-hoo!! May I be the first to offer my congratulations:


(I didn't know "the pink-haired girl" was your daughter!)

I was heading to class, taking the Red Line from Howard to Loyola, when a young African American man in a black-and-gray checkered jacket got on at Morse.

Casting a wary glance around the car, he took a seat directly in front of me, and began to busy himself. First, he pulls out a short cigar, cuts it open, and empties out the tobacco onto his lap. Then, he pulls out a small bag of marijuana and begins to fill the wrapper with it. When he is done, he wraps it and seals it with his saliva.

Turning around to look at me, he says, "Time to roll up! Get high!" with a grin.

"Yeah," I reply as my stop comes up and I get off, wondering how long that guy is going to last.

I'm fairly new to the city, having transferred here from suburban Atlanta about 18 mos. ago.

I recently returned from a trip, took the Blue Line from O'Hare to Washington, and was awaiting the Red Line train about 10 pm.

As we boarded the train, a man got his foot caught between the platform and train. I dropped my bags and grabbed his leg to extract his foot, then, as the door closed, the man stepped off the train, causing me to suddenly realize my wallet was missing. I grabbed my bags, jumped off the train and grabbed the guy, along with a diminutive young woman, who was screaming at the guy and his friend, accusing them of stealing my wallet.

As I was detaining one of the thieves, his friend tossed my wallet onto the platform and shouted, "There's your wallet, man". There were at least 10 men sitting or standing on the platform, and not one took any action to assist me. Finally a large man picked up my wallet and brought it over to me (I was still struggling with the thief). After finding all was intact, but the cash, I shouted that I wanted my cash back. The accomplice threw some 20's down, and I ended up recovering most of my cash, and letting the thieves run down the stairs and away.

As I looked up, partly in disbelief that no one had offered any help, a CTA worker was standing 20 feet away, having witnessed the whole incident. The young woman screamed at the CTA person that she had done nothing to help, then shouted, "I know how to get your attention!". She then lit a cigarette, whereupon the CTA worker shouted at her to extinguish it, causing further screaming from my new friend about where CTA's priorities were.

I took the next train home, and explained the incident to my doorman. He just rolled his eyes and said, "That's the oldest trick in the book, and you fell for it. You're lucky the guys didn't have a knife."

And, you know, I guess I am. But the enduring impression I have is that as the only white guy in the entire subway station, the only person to offer any assistance was a tiny black woman. She gave me the motivation to get my wallet back, and actually chased the perpetrators down the stairs, screaming the whole time. This is the most public thanks I can offer her.

First time here -- haven't seen any warnings, but thought I'd put one here. Garfied stop, Northbound Red Line, middle of a weekday a few weeks ago: a couple sat at the far end of the platform, next to the heaters -- chilly, windy day. 3 guys approach, with guns, demand money. They get $75, one stayed with the couple a few minutes, threatening to hurt them if they tried to pursue, as other two ran away.

Moral, especially for new riders: always stay near groups of people, to discouage muggers.

Not a Typical Cell Phone User Annoyance Story.
I just wanted to share my brief story about a young hoodlum on the brownline a few weeks ago. I just happened to be riding the train with a co-worker on the way back from work. We got on at Clark and Lake. My coworker and I were chatting when a young man, perhaps in his early twenties, sat down. He dialed a number on his cell phone and began speaking to someone. Of course he was talking so loudly everyone around him couldn’t help but overhear his conversation which sounded something like this. “Yeah VH1 wants to put me on some reality t.v. show. It’s with some f***ing big t**ty broad. I could *uck her. My coworker and I immediately look at each other, “OOhhh,K.” He goes on and starts arguing, “listen you c*nt I’m trying to treat you with respect, you could have been part of my life you stupid b*tch. By the way don’t ever threaten me because I’ll kill your whole family.” The conversation literally took place over the period of ten minutes. Meanwhile everyone is just looking at each other. I see a woman with her son covering his ears. I was so embarrassed, it was one of those moments you wish you had stood up for everyone on the train. I guess it’s not like the old days were an old lady would straight up smack you in the face and say something like, “that’s for your mama.” I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only person that thought this person was just about the most ignorant person we have ever encountered. He was a typical poster child for Joliet state prison. I really couldn’t help but thinking afterward that this guy was probably not even talking to anyone and was just literally “screaming for attention.” I don’t really think anyone would threaten someone over the phone that loudly on a busy train. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I'm just curious, maybe some of you may have seen this too. There's a guy that gets on the red line at 63rd St. going north during rush hour every morning. He tries to be familiar with some of the nice looking young women riders but I've never seen this guy sell one bottle of oil. Maybe its just me but I think he's a spy, selling oil is just a front because he never sells any, you can hardly hear him mutter "oils" and he goes through the cars so fast only fine young women seem to be able to get his attention. What do fellow riders think?

One day while I was riding the Montrose bus home during the afternoon rush from high school, a man causally got on the bus holding a heavily laden black plastic garbage bag and a very large butcher knife. He held the bag and the knife such that the driver didn't see the knife. He paid his fare and sat in one of the single seats. As if it was completely normal, he used the knife to scratch his back and ran the blade up and down the leg of his jeans in a sharpening motion. Fortunately, he got off the bus about 5 or six stops later.

The Puffy Jacket

This happened about 2 years ago, on the Northbound #11 Clark bus. My (then) girlfriend and I got on the bus near Diversey during rush hour. The bus was quite crowded, with all the seats taken and about 75% of the standing room taken up. Right near the front was a yound woman wearing a bright yellow, incredibly LARGE down-filled jacket. The lady, and the jacket, had to have been at least three feet across. Since she was standing right at the front of the bus people had to squeeze past her, and every time they did, they would brush up against her jacket and she would scream at people to stop touching her. Within a few blocks people were standing right next to her, pressed up against her. She kept screaming, over and over, "STOP TOUCHING ME!" and she was shaking with visible anger while her tirade went on. Fortunately, she never did anything, but it was equally humorous and firghtful watching her get brushed up against and seeing the explosive reactions.

I know that Bill Cosby was talking about the New York Subway, but his routine, "A Nut In Every Car," applies to Chicago trains and busses.


Well, the CTA is always interesting. I found out about your website from the AMA PM Update - Great idea! Anyhow, I was on the bus on the way to work as usual and this girl and her boyfriend were sitting across from me (probably in their early twenties). They were just talking and suddenly she sneezed - ALL OVER HER SWEATER. It was a perfect stream of snot on her sweater. That is not even the most disgusting part. She took her hand and wiped the snot off her sweater, then wiped in on the seat. What is even worse is that her boyfriend didn't seem to mind since he leaned over to kiss her immediately following that. I was so appaulled by the incident that every time I see those two I feel sick. Unfortunately, they are at my bus stop every morning. I can't believe my friends still ask me why I carry antibacterial wipes with me everywhere!

I don't live in Chicago anymore, but I love this website--it makes me feel like I'm still doing my daily commute on the Purple Line Express. Anyway, I wanted to share one of my own CTA stories:

I was on the Green Line, and we had just pulled into Clark and Lake. An elderly woman was standing right in front of the doors, preparing to exit. Just as the doors opened, she passed out cold. Fell flat on her face onto the platform, her feet still inside the train, and she wasn't moving. As the rest of us settled in for the lengthy wait for the paramedics, a young guy, probably about 20-ish, spoke up: "S***, man, just drag her over to a bench and let's get the f*** out of here." Such compassion.

So I was riding the Brown line the other night (South from Belmont to Quincy) around 10pm, minding my own business when a guy gets on the train. He and I are the only ones in the car. This guy looked like he hadn't slept in about 4 weeks. He walks up to me, and starts engaging me in conversation about his crack habit, and how he anticipates getting off at the Chicago stop to go purchase some crack.

I learned two things from this man during our brief conversation. One, when you purchase crack, be sure to hand the exact amount of money to the dealer. Two, a much more profound lesson, that when it comes to crack, "One rock is too much, and one hundred rocks are not enough." Don't do crack, its a nasty nasty habit.

Not so much of a story but I guess a bit of a rant.

I can't understand the people who sit in an empty row of seats on the train and instead of sliding in towards the window, they maintain their position in the aisle seat. Now this doesn't pose much of a problem on empty trains or off-peak hours, but there's been numerous times I've seen when the train gets full and there's people standing all around while the lone empty window seat remains unoccupied, all the while the aisle seat elitist appears to not have a clue as to what's going on.

Move Over.

Don't make me crawl over you to sit down.

Move Over.

Or at least get up to let someone get into the window seat.

Additionally, what happens to people's basic etiquette on the train? When I happen to be seated in an aisle seat (and of course there's someone seated in the window seat) and the window seat occupant's stop arrives, more times than not, instead of a polite "excuse me", "out please" or even "move" all I get is the person pressing his/her body into mine alerting me that they want out. Perhaps I should become the reverse "aisle seat elitist" and instead make people climb over me to get out.

This morning I entered the train turnstile at Belmont and witnessed a small man brush into a very large woman's side. They both turned around and scowled at each other intensly.

Finally she yells, "You better watch out or I'm gonna beat your @$$!"

The man turns to her and says, "@$$hole!"

Then she starts SCREAMING at him as he went through the turnstile and ran for dear life. It was 7am. She was ready to throw down on a small little man at 7am. Wow.

Around 6:30 or 7 last night (Tuesday November 17th) at the Howard El stop I saw the police trying to communicate w/ a young man dressed in a combo Ninja/Urban terroist look. He was wearing a ski mask and sunglasses, black fatigues, and a ninja type shirt. The police were there to question him but they looked a bit scared of him, he was terrifying looking, I got out of there quickly. He must not have been too scary b/c another cop was waitng outside next to his car having a cigarette.

"shot, stabbed, ran over, ball-batted, and shot again" - guy on north av bus at around ashland

This has to be back around 1993. I was in middle school taking the Montrose bus to California. The bus was pretty packed but I had found one of those seats near the front...completely surrounded I felt something on my kneck. I reach for it and I end up picking a cockroach off my kneck...f*cked up part is that we didnt have roaches at my home... the lady next to me witnessed this..made a discusted face got up and shot to the back of the bus. I walked to school for the next week.

This one happened last Monday. I'm on the blueline train headed from Addison to the forest park terminal. So everything is fine, everything is good. I was stuck in standing room by the doors. At about Chicago Ave this old black homeless dude gets on. Now I've smelled some smells in my life but this guy smelled like death-rot I can't explain it except to say it saturated the entire car. I'm a long time cta user and I have a high tolerance for funky stuff but i couldnt breathe...I was attempting to breathe thru my mouth and started gagging... at the next stop I shot out the door and ran to the car behind me... thank god. End.

I got the best pick-up line EVER from a CTA patron.

About four years ago I was taking the red-line southbound to the Garfield/55th Street station. From there I planned to take the 55 bus east to Hyde Park, where I worked at the time. Getting off of the el, I proceeded up the ramp and out of the station turnstyle. As I walked up the ramp, I noticed a man rush to get off the train at the last minute. I presumed he had almost forgotten his stop, so I paid him little mind. It was a cold winter day, so waiting inside the cover of the station I watched for my bus to come up the other side of the street when I felt someone bump up next to me.

"Excuse me" said the man I had seen rushing off the train. I turned to look at him. He was a young man in perhaps his mid-twenties oufitted in a new Chicago Bulls jersey, new baggy pants, new sneakers and a sweat band around his head that said "let's get physical." "Yes?" I responded, I thought maybe I had left something on the train or perhaps he thought he knew me. "I saw you on the train," said the man "and I just had to get off to ask you if you would go out with me." Seeing me hesitate for words he hurried on. "You don't need to worry. I mean about diseases or nothing, I ain't been with no woman in 4 years!" He said this with something verging on pride. "I just got out of prison and I haven't been with no woman yet."

I was stuck between wanting to burst out laughing and trying to think of something to say that would allow me escape so I looked down. It was then I saw the ring on my left hand ring finger. "Sorry," I said, lying, "I'm engaged and I don't think my fiance would appreciate it if I started dating someone else." "SO WHAT?" the man replied with much emphasis, "what's he got to do with me?" It was hard to argue with that logic, but I continued the lie. "It's just that he's also my baby's daddy," I said. The man backed off a step or two. "OHHH," he replied, "that's different. I don't want to mess with nobody's mama. Sorry to bother you." At least its nice to see the prison population still maintains some respect for people's mamas.

(Hey. I just stumbled upon this site, and YAY for it, I say. The below was taken from my blog. Is that allowed? I swear I wrote it. But if this isn't okay, oh, man ... I have plenty more stories where this came from.)

A spam-talker boarded my eastbound bus the other day.

Spam-talker: n. Obviously mentally ill individual who spouts a continuous stream of gibberish, at full-volume, with little regard for the people around him/her.

Name inspired by 2 kb spam mail, from unknown senders, e.g. “Ella Guru,” usually accompanied by the subject, “hi,” or "Re: hi."

Text of email is comprised of phrases which are incomprehensible to those who do not speak fluent Subliminal Advertiseze, e.g. effluvia snake-nails blueberry toast packets … three square meals from bottled peroxide … tooth vacuum rumble shaker penis penis penis … last all night long … amorosi dei giorni que tesoro … fuck HARD the motherfucker where’s the beer?

See also: fucking nut job.

We’ve all received those emails in our junk folders.

This spam-talker had a really interesting voice and cadence, and his nonsense would have been musical had it been accompanied by Tom Waits or Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. People would have paid good money and worn ridiculous berets to hear it, snapping their fingers in appreciation of his surreal poetry. The man I saw today had nothing to accompany him but the bus transfer and pack of Newport Menthols he held in his fist. As such, he was conspicuously ignored by the rest of the passengers.

Now, there is a hierarchy of seating on public transportation. When the bus is nearly empty, seating is first-come-first-serve, but as the seats fill, The Fit are expected to relinquish their seats for the sakes of pregnant women, little old ladies, the physically handicapped, etc. If, say, the bus is full of little old ladies, and a pregnant woman boards, a judgment call is involved. Such as, if there’s an able-bodied senior on the bus, and the woman who boards is pregnant with a whole litter, the expectant mother should be able to sit.Think of it as a reversed Survival of the Fittest. Imagine all of the passengers on the bus are being hunted by a pack of lions. Realistically, who would be first to get picked off? That person gets first seat on a crowded bus.

Spam-talkers transcend the entire hierarchy.

It don't matter if the bus is full of African American/Seminole, albino, quadruple-amputee hermaphrodites, whose remaining trunks have each been shoved into separate roller-skates remote-controlled by joysticks held in their teeth, and they’re each carrying an Immaculately Conceived fetus of the next Messiah.

If a spam-talker gets on the bus, that poor, sick sumbitch can sit wherever the hell he wants.

OK, so last winter I was with some of my friends on an eastbound lawrence bus. We got on at Hamlin, and made are way to the back. As we're sitting, discussing some random topic, I notice an attractive eastern european girl in the rear facing seat...staring at me. normally that would have been fine, but she was crying. she was crying and staring at me for the whole busride. We all noticed this girl, and I made eye contact with her several times. she just stared, and cried, looked out the window, looked back, cried and stared some more. and it went on until we got off at Sheridan. And to top it off, I looked back at the bus after we got off and crossed the street, and she was still staring at me! why!? did I remind her of someone or what?

a few months ago on the irving bus eastbound maybe around california westernish i was in one of the the back seats that face sideways, a 19 or 20 yr old hispanic girl had the window seat of the seats to my right, but across the aisle and an old white dude was sitting in the aisle seat next to her- ok so one of the random side street stops came and another young hispanic girl gets on and walks over near us, then the 1st girl asks her something and they talk a bit, the old dude looking at the fist and second girls as they talk, then the guy asks the 1 girl " is she your girlfriend?" i knew what he meant but it was funny to see the girls reaction, she made a weird smile and was like noo? then after an awkward pause of about 5 or 10 seconds the girls talked some more and the guy again looked back and forth at them, he asked again, "are you 2 girlfriends?" the 1st girl said " no were just friends " he said "oh thats what i meant , because i was gonna let her sit here" he explained as he got up to move , the 1st girl said "ohhh ok thanks " or something, then the guy sat down closer to me and was just looking kinda pizzled about the whole thing and mumbling to himself and making hand gestures, pretty funny stuff. i wouldve just gotten up when they started talking, forget interveiwing them its just a damn bus seat...

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