Loaded Transit

photo of subway signage hanging on tunnel wall across platform. main sign says logan square.

(freewriting from today’s commute)

Writing during today’s trip downtown. Kimball bus to the Blue line. Didn’t have anything in mind as I left the house, so tried to remember my go to prompts from when I taught.

  • remember /forget
  • remember /reflect
  • I wonder
  • ode
  • pebble
  • grateful for
  • angry about
  • the important thing is

Mid day service can be spotty, especially with Covid, so I felt some urgency. But when I saw the bus pulling away, I didn’t panic because I knew one was close behind. Put the transit tracker app on my gratitude list.

Maybe bus bunching falls in the I wonder why category. Eh, I kind of know why. Maybe that’s a better prompt for younger writers. Maybe worry is better but I already pick at that thread plenty. Or maybe why can’t we? Like why can’t we provide better funding for transit and housing… or why won’t we… and why haven’t I… and while these are all good questions, I need more knowledge and screen real estate to write about them.

My teen recently insisted we exit from the back of the bus. I usually go for the exit closest to where I’m sitting and/or where I’m going. They reminded me that the recorded announcement asks passengers to exit from the back which makes sense for traffic flow. Got me thinking about the little choices we make in public space… as well as how I don’t notice the announcements anymore. Just the background music. Even though it doesn’t matter as much when it’s not crowded, it’s a good habit and reminds others to do the right thing. Kind of like masking early on in the pandemic.

I was confused when they said people don’t move to the back of the bus because of the stairs. What stairs? The realization that despite years of taking the “new” style of bus, my muscle memory puts the stairs at the front. I’m rembering struggling to wrangle a stroller up those stairs. And don’t I have an unfinished post from a few years ago about the green limosene?

Odes were my signature. I could give CTA the Neruda treatment.

Can’t believe it took me 15 years to figure out the Spaulding entrance. Thinking about insider transit knowledge and all the micro decisions and tricks. To be closest to the station exit at Clark and Lake, board the front car. But if you decide to go one more stop, perhaps to access the pedway because we are still in why do I live where my face hurts weather, the front car leaves you so far back you are basically in the subway tunnel.

These plus 100 other threads were dangling before me as I hit the first step down. By the bottom they were Chem trails

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