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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

A Day Out In Chicago


I had to run downtown to pick up Nesko’s check yesterday, so I took the 151 Sheridan bus because it picks up a block away from the apartment and drops off almost directly in front of where I needed to be. I stuck Nick in the sling and off we went! Since it was like 1pm there was hardly anyone on the bus except for old people and students. The handicap priority seating section at the front was pretty full of frail looking elderly folks with canes. At one stop, a woman in a wheelchair was waiting, and just about everyone in that section cleared out as quickly as they could (which was pretty slowly). One old guy who looked to be in his late 70s or so and had a cane and shaky hands put up some seats so she’d have a place to park herself, and sat in the first row of fixed seats. She had some troubles getting on the bus and in place because her chair was manual and the bus aisle is kind of a tight space to work in. But she made it and we were off, and I was all “oh, Chicago, I love you. Chicagoans take care of other people.” I’ve seen this happen before, frequently, with folks helping other folks with strollers or wheely carts or what have you on and off the bus, or helping people dig out their cars after snow storms, or pulling over to help push or jumpstart cars. Chicago’s a big city, but it’s also a pretty friendly city. Which makes the random assholes really stick out.

As we trundled along a lot of people got off the bus. Old dude moved back up to his previous seat, which was the first front-facing handicap priority seat. Because he has a cane, it was easier for him to get up and down, as there were no seats in front of him. See? Anyway, he was on the right side of the bus and nobody at all was sitting on the left side of the handicap accessible seating. A woman in a motorized wheelchair boarded and started yelling at him to get out of her way. He politely put the inward facing seats up for her so she’d have a place to park her chair. He didn’t have to do that. There was much more space on the other side of the bus, and he didn’t owe her anything. He could have let HER put the seats up herself. She continued yelling at him, telling him that she needed to be where he was. He didn’t move, so she BACKED INTO HIM, PINNING HIM TO THE SEAT.

“What are you doing?” he asked in a highly offended voice.

“I TOLE YOU I NEEDED TO BE WHERE YER AT!” she bellowed at him and moved slightly forward so he could get up.

It was hard for him to get up, but he managed it, and even put the seat up for her, his old man hands shaking. She zipped into place and locked her wheels. The bus driver did absolutely NOTHING about the assault that just took place, and we set off. She got off about ten minutes later and old dude moved BACK to his seat of choice. After about fifteen minutes ANOTHER person in a wheelchair got on. Old dude tensed up. The third person in a wheelchair maneuvered his with his mouth. Had one of those special controllers. He was also the most graceful of the three. He ALSO took his place on the left side of the bus, where nobody was sitting. Somebody put the seats up for him because, again, Chicago is pretty awesome.

Nick and I got off the bus and picked up Nesko’s check and some tax forms and then walked to the Ogilvie Train Station, which is in the Citigroup Building, which looks like a waterfall made of glass. I was going to stop by Garret’s Popcorn, but then decided not to because that would just complicate matters, so we walked to the train station. Because I get lost at the drop of a hat I did go slightly out of my way, but I didn’t get LOST lost. It was about a mile walk, much of it under elevated trains that roared by overhead. The noise barely bothered Nick; the sun in his eyes did and he screwed his face up against it. Walking a mile with a baby strapped to my chest with 3 layers of jersey knit fabric made me sweat a fair amount, I’ll admit it. When we got to the train station my feet hurt because I need new shoes, and we trudged inside into the coolth. I took him out of the sling and put my jacket on a table and put him on top of that so he could look at the ceiling and de-sweatify a bit. I bought and ate some shitty bourbon chicken at the food court. In retrospect, I should have gotten a gyros. I bought and drank a bottle of water and a bottle of lemonade. I found a Garret’s Popcorn stand at the train station. BOOYAH! We had an uneventful train trip to Nesko’s office.

On the drive home we encountered a one-two punch of the sun being in Nick’s eyes and him being hungry, so we pulled into a McDonalds to feed him and refresh ourselves. I was still thirsty as all hell, so Nesko got a jumbo McLarge huge soda. There were some old ladies Holding Court and I learned the following:

  • People from the Islands of Greece are totally different from people from the mainlands! They didn’t specify why, so if you know, please tell me!
  • Nesko is totally diabetic because he got THREE REFILLS OF SODA omg! (note: he only got 1 refill and we (I) only drank half of the second refill). Excessive thirst is a sign of diabetes! And too much sugar causes diabetes! It is a one-two punch of irony! He is OBVIOUSLY in his THIRTIES and it is SO SAD that he HAS DIABETES and DOESN’T KNOW IT and is GOING TO DIE. MAYBE HE SHOULD GET THAT LOOKED AT.
  • We are UTTERLY TERRIBLE PARENTS for hauling our baby around in upper 70s degree sunny weather with NO COVER AT ALL on him. NONE. There was NO COVER on that baby we were carrying. HOW SAD. What a POOR BABY.

They were pretty loud with their personal, judgmental observations, unlike the douchebag who sat next to us and Held Forth to his sister about what filthy whores women are!

Did you know that the most people a woman should ever date is two? That’s it! Any more and she’s a HOOOOOOER. And they should never ever ever cheat on a dude because it’s much harder for a dude to be cheated on than a chick. And if a dude cheats on a chick, that chick should just suck it up and deal, because it’s dudely nature to do so, and far too many chicks turn into hard unfeeling bitchez when dudes cheat on them. WHATEVER, BITCHEZ.

He then ran down Shitty Girlfriends He’s Dated.

  • The chick who kissed someone else before they started going out. Sure, she denied it, but he totally knows the dude she kissed and he totally said she did it, so it totally served her right that he told all her friends she was a giant whorebag slut and ruined her reputation and made all her friends hate her. Because she was a giant whorebag slut. Seriously. What kind of girl KISSES a DUDE? She should have held herself forever pure in anticipation of dating HIM! Bitch.
  • The chick who didn’t understand the complicated directions he gave her over the phone. What a moron! Good thing he told all her friends what a complete and utter retard she is and made them all hate her! I mean, if she wanted friends she shouldn’t have dared question him, amirite?
  • The chick who came over to his parents’ house for Christmas and got all upset when he ignored her for half an hour to text other chicks. What a bitch! Good thing he cussed her out and made her cry! Bitchez, gotta put them in their place, amirite? How dare she expect basic human consideration and for her host to act like a host and not ignore her to focus on other people who aren’t even there! She should have made stiff, polite conversation with his parents who she doesn’t know instead!
  • That cunt he dated who farted all the time. Don’t worry. He made sure to tell EVERYONE that she farted constantly and that they were RAUNCHY AS ALL HELL. Bitch should put a cork in it and stop assailing his delicate nose with her bodily functions. Don’t worry. People stopped talking to her for a LONG time after he spoke with them! THAT will show her!

There was also a dude pacing outside the restaurant talking on his cellphone.
“I don’t know what to do. I’m essentially useless without that wand, but I could sell it and buy a lot more wands!”

Oh, fast food restaurants. You expose such a delightful cross section of humanity!

posted under baby, Chicago, cta | Comments Off on A Day Out In Chicago

ridin’ the bus


I was one of “those people” on the bus this evening.

I slid out of work and picked my way carefully over slushy icy pavement to the Belmont bus stop, where I ran into one of my co-workers (one of my favorite co-workers, too, and I’m not just saying that because she reads my blog). I got on the crowded bus because she did, and I wanted to talk smack about someone with her, because I’m petty and horrible. If she hadn’t been there, I’d have waited for the next bus, which would most likely have been almost entirely empty.

Instead, I stood in the aisle crammed up against people.

At one point I fell over, crushing into several people, and groped my co-worker. Uhm. I am so, so sorry. Seriously. Next time, I’ll buy you a drink first, ok? I also smacked not one but several people in the face with my bag as I flailed about haplessly.

A few minutes later, another passenger pointed out that there were a whole bunch of seats in the back of the bus and she wanted to get past me to sit down in them. As I scrambled to get back there also, I managed to block the rear exit doors, almost causing someone to miss his stop.

I was in rare form. RARE form.

But now I am home, and Nesko hauled out the Christmas stuff from storage, so all we have to do is tidy the living room and vacuum and we can set it all up. I want to rent a steam cleaner and clean our carpet and chairs, but I’ve been saying that very literally for years now, so I don’t know if it’ll actually happen or not.

My ears are also still doing better.

Nesko and I stopped into this body jewelry place on Harlem last night. It’s called IGUANA or something like that. It contained far more bongs and pipes than it did jewelry, and most of the jewelry it did have was toe rings and crap like that. It also smelled funny. I didn’t see cheap incense for sale, but that’s totally what it smelled like… like “Summer Africa Rain” and “Green Patchouli Ocean” and “Calming Mist Effervescence” and “Peace” and other crap incense that you can only really tell apart by the color because honestly it all smells pretty much the same, and totally doesn’t fool anyone when it comes to covering up the smell of your pot/dirty laundry/ferret/whatever.

I asked the woman behind the counter if her store sold Titanium jewelry (and kept wanting it call it joo-ry all night, I have no idea why). She said yes, and pointed to a selection of toe-rings and cellphone fobs. I said no, no, BODY JEWELRY. She said no, but I could take a look at their body jewelry and pointed me over to the case on the other side of the room. The middle room, I should note, was taken up with sunglasses, Chanel knock-off bags, and drug paraphernalia.  I mosied over to the other display case and saw some of the ugliest fucking belly danglies I’ve ever seen in my life. Like 80s earrings, but for the belly button, and caked in pink cubic zirconium. All the “serious” earrings were kept on a peg board behind the counter, in the dark. I couldn’t see them. At all. Yes, yes. I’m a glasses-face who needs a new prescription. But still. She hauled over a couple for us to look at, and they were uniformly shitty. Made of some cheap-ass metal, with big gaps between the edges of the ring and the ball. You know, because you WANT part of your earring to collect blood, lymph, crusties, shed skin cells, and bacteria, right? That’s a feature, right? That’s as designed, right?

We walked out of there empty handed.

There’s big old ice storms sweeping across the Midwest. Those of you in the area, keep warm and dry and safe, ok?

posted under cta, life | 4 Comments »

Two Appalling Drivers


I was at the Cumberland CTA station waiting for the bus (they’ve very cleverly timed things so that the bus pulls away just as the train pulls in, leaving passengers stuck at the CTA station for 10-20 minutes waiting for the next bus) and amusing myself by watching idiots drive the wrong way down the circular kiss’n’ride area. This area is both clearly marked and also designed to make it difficult to go the wrong way (and obvious that you’re going the wrong way), but people persist in going the wrong way anyway. Possibly they do it on purpose because they’re assholes, like those dipshits who honk at pedestrians who prevent them from blowing through stop signs. So, anyway, I’m pretty used to watching people fuck up the kiss’n’ride and get all flustered  at people who are driving correctly. I’m also used to people driving nonchalantly through the buses only area, like it ain’t no thing.

Yesterday, however, was a day for very special drivers where “very special” means “rampaging asshole of epic proportions.”

The first driver started off by going the wrong way kiss’n’ride. He did some fun stuff like honk at people who were trying to go the correct way. However, unlike most drivers who pull over to let people pass or who pull into a bay to wait to pick passengers up or who turn around… he chose a different route. A route less traveled. A… unique… route.

Motherfucker drove over the raised sidewalk and into the no-cars buses-only area.

This little silver compact car heaved itself up over the curb, across the very wide section of sidewalk, and back down into the very clearly marked bus area, where it met a passenger who didn’t seem to be carrying anything heavy, and also didn’t seem to have any physical disabilities which would have made it necessary for the driver to spare her from walking an additional ten feet to the kiss’n’ride area.

I am very glad I wasn’t standing on that sidewalk.

The second driver was wearing a turquoise polo shirt. I know this because she and her party had parked their cars in the “no standing, drop off only” zone and then stood around on the sidewalk for ten or so minutes, and they all were wearing turquoise polo shirts and white pants. They piled into their SUV and drove off, only to return about ten minutes later. This time, they avoided the “no parking” area and instead pulled into the very clearly marked buses only area. A lot of people do this. The many signs saying “buses only” and “no cars” can’t possibly apply to them, you see, they are far too special. Their very special passengers can’t possibly be expected to walk a few additional yards. Their legs might fall off or something! So, y’know it’s pretty common for people to just blithely drive around the bus area.

The turquoise party, however, pulled up in front of a bus, and then honked at it. Because apparently, that bus was where they needed to be. The bus did not flee their turquoise polo shirted wrath, however, and in the end they sheepishly backed up out of the bus’s way. This was good, as it allowed the bus to pull a few additional feet forward, load up its passengers (including me) and get us all the hell home.

posted under cta, life | 1 Comment »

Blog Roll & CTA


Why are the majority of personal blogs I read by people with kids? I have no clue. I have no driving goal to have kids OMG RIGHT THIS SECOND, and I’m not kid-crazy or anything. But I enjoy reading these peoples’ blogs and reading about their kids. Maybe they’re just writers I like, who happen to have kids, and who happen to write about them, and that’s all there is to it. I don’t know. If you mosey on over to my Blog Roll you’ll see that most of the sites linked there are 1) moms with kids or 2) not really blogs, but sites I find interesting. HUH.

Tony sent me flyers talking about the CTA and its funding issues. I put them out on the counter that rings the desk I sit at. I’m a receptionist (among other things) with a lot of foot traffic, so people have been taking the flyers. One dude stopped to talk to me. He asked where they came from, I asked if he was going to hearings, that sort of thing. He said that while he’s been to hearings in the past, he doesn’t think the CTA will raise fares as high as they are threatening to. “It’s bully tactics,” he said, not in a disapproving way. “It’s just threats to make legislators act.” They’ve made those threats before and not gotten enough action, so I don’t think it’s just threats. I mean, the money has to come from somewhere, and Chicago has some of the least funded public transit in the country, if not the world. We have what could be a first class public transit system, and instead it’s second or even third class. We have this great infrastructure, and it’s falling apart and under served and understaffed and getting more and more expensive. And that’s depressing and not right.

posted under cta, meta, work | 2 Comments »

The CTA, suspensions of service, fare hikes, and you.


Those of you who live in Chicago are probably aware that the CTA (and mass transit in general) is woefully underfunded and has been operating at a deficit. The CTA is once again proposing fare increases and service reductions.

In addition to the in-house changes (elimination of positions, reductions in wage, tinkering with benefits and retirement packages), the following changes have been suggested as necessary for the CTA to continue operating:
Under the plan recommended by Huberman, only routes that currently operate on Sundays would be retained.

Service would be suspended on 63 bus routes, but the remaining 91 routes would continue to operate at current levels.

Rail service would be suspended on the Purple Express rush hour service and on the Yellow Line. All other rail routes, including the Purple Line, would operate at current service levels.
Fare increases for individual rides would range from 25 cents to $1.25, depending on the time and mode of travel.

Rail fares would be priced higher than bus fares.
Higher fares would be charged during rush periods. $2.75 for bus. $3.25 for rail.
In off-peak hours, cash fares would rise to $2.25 for bus and $2.50 for rail.
Transfers would double from 25 cents to 50 cents.
Prices for unlimited ride passes would increase an average of 63%
You can read more about this here: http://www.transitchicago.com/news/ctaandpress.wu?action=displayarticledetail&articleid=115293

Here’s an itemized list of service suspensions: http://transitchicago.com/news/motion/board/0705routecuts.pdf

There will be four hearings, giving you, the consumer and commuter, chance to comment on what’s going on and here the whole plan. I took the dates, locations, and times from here: http://transitchicago.com/news/whatsnew2.wu?action=displaynewspostingdetail&articleid=111532

Tuesday, June 5, 6:30 p.m.
Sherman Park Fieldhouse
1301 W. 52nd Street
Chicago, IL 60609

Wednesday, June 6, 6:30 p.m.
Michelle’s Ballroom
2800 W. Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

Monday, June 11, 6:30 p.m.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Student Center East
750 S. Halsted, Room 302
Chicago, IL 60607

Wednesday, June 13, 9:00 a.m.
CTA Headquarters
567 W. Lake, Chicago, IL 60661

I’ll be at the June 11 UIC one if anyone cares to join me. Maybe we can get dinner or something before or after.

I take the CTA every single week day to get to and from work, and also use it to shop and visit people. This very much affects me, and I have a feeling it affects a lot of you guys as well.

If you want to contact state legislators in the easiest way possible, go here: http://www.savechicagolandtransit.com/actnow.asp and fill out the forms. You can send and email and a fax with the click of a button. Make your voice heard!

posted under cta | 5 Comments »

100 words: train ramp


She walked down the ramp, air hanging like dog’s breath around her. Cars zooming past on the highway banking either side of the concrete strip of the train station created a thick breeze that wafted her shirt up, exposing her belly. The breeze also flicked through her hair, caressed her scalp. The wind was warm, but cooled her scalp where it rifled through her hair. She kicked a glossy green round of broken glass, the bottom of a beer bottle, ahead of her as she walked. It skittered across the fractured surface of the ramp, hit the bank of the wall with a chittery noise. The wind fell still, and then picked up again, blowing through the top of the wall as she walked towards the train in the distance.


130 words

posted under 100 words, cta | 1 Comment »