Meet Malori. She's one of us. She takes the train. These are her stories.
My name is Malori and I’m a student in Chicago, Illinois. My main mode of transportation is the “L” which is our elevated subway system. I’ve lived here for almost three years and in my time on the trains and busses I’ve experienced some seriously odd sights, sounds, and smells. Rather than sharing one story I thought I’d share my top 5 best public transit stories of all time. Going in order from least offensive to most offensive—let’s kick things off, shall we?!
This is how the “L” looks--image source
5) For number five I simply want to draw attention to the way the subway smells: sort of a mix between high-powered cleaning supplies, drunk-person vomit/piss, old food, and sweat. Some cars are worse than others but for the most part it is a seriously unappealing smell. My freshman year of school I went on a field trip with one of my classes. We hopped on a train and suddenly realized that a woman sitting in the car had peed… All. Over. The. Train. At the next stop we leapt over the puddle of urine and into the next car over. I showered immediately when I got back to my apartment.
4) The train is not always reliable. Sometimes trains fall behind schedule or have to run express due to overcrowding. Earlier this year I waited for a train home from work for at least 30 minutes. Three trains on the tracks heading the opposite direction came and left in the time I was waiting. I finally got on and we went ONE STOP before the conductor announced the train would be running express to a stop that was WAY farther than I needed to go. After all of that waiting I ended up having to walk home.
3) Public transportation gets REALLY crowded during the summer in Chicago. This is a problem because everyone is already sweating and miserable from the crazy humid weather we have then we’re crushed like sardines into the train cars, which just exacerbates the problem. Over the summer I was heading home from some shopping and decided I’d rather take the train than walk the few miles home. I squeezed onto a car and waited until we reached my stop. The whole ride I kept feeling like the guy behind me was WAY too close but it’s difficult to tell if someone is being creepy or if there really just isn’t any space so I decided not to say anything. Finally, the train got to my stop. As I went to step off, the man behind me took the opportunity to full-on grab my ass. Apparently he thought it was totally okay because I couldn’t see who he was. This is not the only time someone has groped me on the train.
2) Sometimes the “L” doesn’t take me where I need to go and I have to hop on the real train (the “choo-choo” variety). This is a different experience than the “L” because it’s generally more quiet, people have a bit more space, and have to stay on for longer. This train is called the Metra in Chicago—I have to take it when I visit my brother who goes to school about an hour outside of the city. One night my roommate and I were heading back downtown on the Metra after spending some time at my brother’s school. We got on and sat down on the upper-level across the aisle from a guy who was loudly rapping. Not long after sitting down, the rap-star wannabe makes his way over to our seats. He gets too close to me, says something incomprehensible, then sits on my lap and puts his arm around me. Ummm… who does that? Seriously?
My roommate and I had been drinking so rather than helping me, she is laughing so hard she cannot breathe. As this stranger sits on my lap, he begins to tell me about the music he is rapping to which sounds something like this, “mother fucking nigga bitch…” After a couple minutes he attempts to put one of his headphones in my ear so I can listen along. I am really grossed out by other people’s headphones and there is NO way a stranger is putting their headphone into my ear. I keep pointing to the empty seat in front of me and asking if he’d like to get off my lap. Rap-star is having none of it—apparently my lap is far more comfortable than the empty seat. For the next 25 minutes he stays on my lap rapping to me and attempting to put his headphones in my ears. I spent those minutes trying to get him off of my lap and blocking his attempts to make me listen to his music. Finally he stands up, tells me to have a nice night, and goes on his way. I don’t even have words to explain how ridiculous the entire experience was. This also resulted in an immediate shower upon returning to my apartment. Some people are crazy…
1) My number one story is actually my dad’s story. My dad comes up to visit my brother and I quite often and is no stranger to horrible public transit experiences. One night he was riding the Metra from Chicago to the suburbs that house my brother’s school. A white woman sat down on the train next to a black gentleman. Apparently she wasn’t happy with her seating options so she pulled the conductor aside and complained about having to sit next to someone who is black. This woman must not have been to bright because the conductor she was complaining to was also black. Also, it’s no longer the 1800’s… I’m 100% sure that sitting next to someone who is black is no different than sitting next to someone who is white/purple/yellow/brown/teal/etc. If you’re racist and refuse to sit next to someone who is a different color than you, drive. She failed to realize that she’s an idiot and continued to complain to the conductor. At the next stop, they politely asked her to get off of the train. If I was the conductor, I can’t say I would have been so polite…
So those are my top five public transit horror stories. It’s not all bad but it’s definitely not something I enjoy doing. I’m so happy to have had the chance to share with all of you! I can’t wait to read the other posts from ladies who also hate public transit—these stories always crack me up.
To hear more from me, stop by my blog Sunday Morning Sugar. I cook, craft, and dress all fancy-like even though I don’t do many fancy things. It’s good times all around!