Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Casey Jones you better watch your speed.

This morning, it was my own fault that I overslept. I didn’t set my alarm. So I was late, I knew I was going to be late, so I called my boss and let them know. I hurried through my shower, skipped shaving, and ran (literally) to the train. I looked up, and saw that a train was pulling out of the station. The little voice inside my head told me to hail a cab, but the other little voice in my head said it would cost too much and not really save any time, as it was rush hour, and traffic was, as usual, completely insane.

Knowing that I had about 5 minutes, I picked up a paper and walked up to the platform. Today is the first day of winter here in Chicago, as we’re finally experiencing temperatures below freezing. For me, that’s when winter starts.

The trains, not surprisingly, were packed. I crowded in like a good sardine, and resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to sit down or be comfortable at all, until we got downtown. Unfortunately for me, I would have plenty of time to consider the what-ifs of my situation, as there were switching problems.

This is why I’m so mad at the CTA, again. Communication. I understand there is going to be unforeseeable problems from time to time. But this was a problem that was known about. The train conductor pulls out of the Sedgwick station. We go maybe a quarter of a mile before the train stops dead. The driver comes on, informs us of the problem that lies ahead, and lets us know that we’re going to be standing there for a while, and when we do move, we’re going to be moving very slowly down the line. Why on earth were we not informed of this before, or while we were stopped at the Sedgwick station, where we had other options (buses, cabs, walking) to get downtown. Instead, we’re stuck in the goddamn train car, packed in uncomfortably, and not moving. For 20 minutes.

After that time, magically, we moved about 100 yards or so. After another 10 minutes, another 100 yards. Finally, we pull halfway into the Chicago station. To put this in perspective, we moved approximately 1 mile in about 40 minutes. Chicago Rapid Transit my ass.

This isn’t the first time a simple announcement would have made a lot of people happy. About 3 months before, I was stuck on a train that was circling the loop, as there was a fire just north of the loop which shut down all northbound Brown and Purple lines. The CTA announced that the best thing to do was to take a Red line train north to Fullerton or Belmont and then transfer back to the Brown or Purple line, as needed. That announcement was made one stop after the stop you can transfer to the Red Line. What, dare I say, the fuck?

So, here I am, at work late, pissy with myself and pissy with the CTA. I'm going to be stuck at work late, as well, to make up for the time I missed this morning. Which means I'm stuck in the horror of rush hour transit again today. Today, my friends, is a not good day for Dave. I require some good news. Soon.


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