5 Thoughts You Have While Commuting in Chicago
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5 Thoughts You Have While Commuting in Chicago

The good, the bad and the "eh"s of riding the train

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5 Thoughts You Have While Commuting in Chicago
Tracy Webb

As a college student in Chicago, I ride the CTA fairly often. Between tracking how close the next train is to the "L" platform or searching for traffic updates on Lake Shore Drive, Chicago's public transit has become a prominent part of my life. And with any impactful person, place or thing that you see on more than just one occasion, it's only natural that you start to develop feelings towards it, right?

1. Will I make it in time?

You're on the other side of the CTA gate and the train is rapidly approaching. You hear its thunderous presence coming to a stop on the tracks, and it is in this moment that you know you must make a decision. Do you sprint to make it through those quickly closing doors, or do you just wait ten minutes for the next one? And honestly, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I've almost been crushed a few times.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F10%2F636091441164767314436478940_michelle.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=365&h=6b0f7a375a735205b95d226fe3bfe75cfda181a746d475ac2f52704b7c58ba39&size=980x&c=3874756972 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F10%252F636091441164767314436478940_michelle.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D365%26h%3D6b0f7a375a735205b95d226fe3bfe75cfda181a746d475ac2f52704b7c58ba39%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3874756972%22%7D" expand=1]

2. Is that my train, way off in the distance?

We've all experienced that brutal disappointment of waiting for the train in the midst of "Chibera", while all of the heaters are being used, and you think you see the red line approaching. But then it turns out, it's a purple line train, your eyes deceived you and ironically enough, your hands are starting to resemble the same purple hue that just zoomed past you and left you in the freezing cold.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F11%2F636091515797104806-1561226877_snow.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=735&h=3a0b0b3d690b636f70b6541f1e2b85b9c56d2f0afa72b08f9fe13c405b2bf010&size=980x&c=4195015920 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F11%252F636091515797104806-1561226877_snow.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D735%26h%3D3a0b0b3d690b636f70b6541f1e2b85b9c56d2f0afa72b08f9fe13c405b2bf010%26size%3D980x%26c%3D4195015920%22%7D" expand=1]

3. Yes, an open seat. Praise the CTA gods.

Nothing can beat the feeling of relief when you grab a seat that's empty on either side, but especially when you aren't expecting it. Sometimes it's nice to have your own space, and let's face it, those seats can get pretty squished.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F11%2F63609151423570492157993990_ha.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=53&h=0ee02615cd21acc3f217428b6b33c9ecf7fae79f679bd2087a3645839bb32fdd&size=980x&c=2325437697 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F11%252F63609151423570492157993990_ha.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D53%26h%3D0ee02615cd21acc3f217428b6b33c9ecf7fae79f679bd2087a3645839bb32fdd%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2325437697%22%7D" expand=1]

4. Really, why is the train packed right now?

Similar to the excitement you feel when you're unexpectedly blessed with an open seat, you can also get really disappointed when the train is unusually packed. Make sure to always check traffic updates for bus routes and train lines, because you never know when construction or popular festivals will strike.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F10%2F636091466670755841-930787015_todd%2520.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=439&h=826a6459b93d5686ff70f8f02d2360b415561752aa12cfd98aba70cf5043dc01&size=980x&c=3659535322 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F10%252F636091466670755841-930787015_todd%252520.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D439%26h%3D826a6459b93d5686ff70f8f02d2360b415561752aa12cfd98aba70cf5043dc01%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3659535322%22%7D" expand=1]

5. Commuting is what you make of it

Despite the little annoyances public transit can present, it's the small victories that make the experience all the better. Scoring that open seat or making it into the train car in the nick of time brings some joy to the commuting process, and even if you do have to sit in a seat that's squished between two other riders, at least you're still getting around the city.

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