Open Letter to Riders of the CTA

Dear Fellow Riders,

We’re all in this together; there’s a solidarity in our daily sardine-can experience.  And it’s not that I don’t enjoy my morning and evening group cuddle with all of you.  So I’m laying this all out there in the most loving way possible.

1.  If you’re going to elbow your way in front of me after I’ve been standing here at the bus stop for the past 15 minutes, you’d best have your card ready.  Yeah, I said card.  Because if you just pushed past me in order to put quarters into the fare box one by one, I’m not going to be a happy commuter.  Probably not as angry as I’ll be if I’m standing in the rain while you root around in your 50 gallon purse for your Chicago Card, though, so there’s that.

2.  Sometimes, sitting in the empty seat is not about how tired and in need of a rest you might be.  It’s about making more room on the bus or in the train car.  See, because as long as you are standing in front of the empty seat, no one can sit in it.  And a void wants to be filled.  That’s just science.  You don’t want to fight science, do you?

3.  If you don’t like the fact that my leg is touching yours, maybe you should just go ahead and move your leg over a little.  See, this is my seat, and that is yours.  I highly doubt it’s absolutely necessary for you to sit with your legs that far apart.

4.  Also, if you are seated in the aisle seat and I am seated in the window seat, and I need to exit our shared seating area, the easiest and least painful thing to do is for you to get up, allow me exit, and then return to the seat of your choosing.  Because if you just turn to the side, or worse yet, slightly shift your legs, I will not be at all mindful of what my bag might hit as I am exiting.  I know you want to do the right thing here.

5.  That’s quite a large backpack you are wearing.  Have you noticed that it’s taking up the space of a whole person and has also hit the seated passengers in the head multiple times?  Take it off.  Hold it down by your legs.  See?  Legs take up less room than torsos, so there’s tons of room down there!

6.  When we are stopping at a major stop (e.g. anywhere you might transfer from a bus to the L, or any of the Lake St L stops in the Loop), many people are getting off the bus or train.  Therefore, there is no need for all 64 of you to stand up from your seats before we even stop.  Do you notice that there is nowhere for you to move to, because no one has yet gotten off?  And because you can’t move, no one can move into your seat without getting to second base with you.  The bus/train won’t leave before you get off, when 80% of the other riders are also getting off.  And there’s only so much space here – you can’t fill an already occupied space.  This is also science.

7.  The pole by the door there is for people to hold onto, not for you to lean on.  If you don’t like my knuckles in your back, perhaps you should stop leaning on my hand.  See?  Doesn’t that feel better?

8.  I can see that you are very proud of your extremely long hair.  But if you keep flipping it around like that when there are 700 of us packed on this bus/train, so help me I will not be held responsible for what I might do.

9.  For the very last time, MOVE ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK OF THE BUS!!!!!  This does not mean, “Move to the back door”.  You see those steps back there?  After the back door and leading to the back section of the bus?  Those are magic steps.  If you walk up them, we are all less crowded.  It’s a miracle!  And you should try it.  Because there are 47 of us crammed into 10 square feet up here and I’m practically sitting on the driver’s lap.

I know we can do this.


3 responses to “Open Letter to Riders of the CTA

  1. I hope you get XO back. Oh wait, no I don’t.

    I rode the CTA 25 years ago, and this post took me right back there. So now, you owe me an apology! Seriously (the use of seriously shows that the apology statement was an attempt at humor…), it’s sad that things haven’t changed one bit.

    Don’t you wish you could print this and pass it out?

  2. Yes, yes, and yes. All of it. IT all goes through my head everytime I ride the Chicago bus. Or the 147. Or, oh wait, any bus at a time when it is crowded because after all the time these people spend riding the bus, they apparently have not had the observational skills that we do to figure out what could make our collective experience better.
    Surprisingly, I’ve had good luck on the 155 Devon bus, but then again, I only ride that a few blocks b/c I’m lazy and only want to walk home from the grocery store, not to it.
    OH my, I could rant on this, but you’ve summed it up so well.
    I will add that I sometimes purposefully bump into the backpacked people more in hopes that they might realize that if they took the bag off I wouldn’t bang and lean into it so much.

  3. Pingback: Open Letter to Riders of the CTA – part 2 | Grown-Up Livin' and Other Experiments

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