Train Blogging: Riding Public Transit

I think it’s safe to say that living in a busy urban environment exposes you to people outside of your usual social circle. It really is quite the phenomenon and I’ve had the pleasure (or misfortune depending on how you view it) of being a frequent participant in the public transit system.

I’m not going to spend the time bashing the CTA, there are already plenty of blogs dedicated to that. Instead I want to highlight a few characteristics of public transit newbies that make them stick out like a sore thumb. Trust me, nothing is worse than the cynical sigh or eye roll that you’ll get from a public transit regular than being identified as the guy on the train that has no idea what the hell is going on.

Rule # 1: Know where you’re going.

I don’t care if the bus or train has a map on it, never look at it for more than a period of 5 seconds and definitely do not ask the person you’re riding with what stop you get off at. The snarl you’ll get from fellow passengers will be immediate and everyone will associate you as the dude that has no idea what’s going on.  Don’t even try and defend yourself, the hole is already too  deep.

Given the technology we have, you can figure out your route before hand. You can even pretend like you’re texting and look up directions to your destination.  For the love of God, do not look at the map though.

Rule # 2: Use your Inside Voice

This rule is amplified by 200% if you are riding public transit intoxicated. Nobody around you cares if your boyfriend got jealous that your ex-boyfriend asked you out to dinner.  I can’t believe how big of a dump you took either bro, my train ride just got that much more stimulating now that I know you had problems letting the chipotke burrito leave your system before hopping on the brown line (pun somewhat intended).

As your first grade teacher used to tell you, “when we are inside, we use our inside voices!” Such a marvel to see that in a cramped enclosed environment the concept of an “inside voice” is lost. 

The golden rule if you are drunk is for every funny thing you say, you say five things that should never have been said. Chances are people around you will understand why that brunette at the bar didn’t  come home with you tonight.

Rule # 3: Be Engaged

Nothing pisses me off more than people who aren’t aware of their surroundings. If you have your cool chrome bag and listening to vintage Thurston Moore on your iPod on the way to your  hip bike messaging job, do not be standing in the middle of the train when people are trying to exit. Same goes for listening to music.  Keep it in your headphones, that Young Jeezy track sounds a lot better through your iPod headphones.

Be aware of they people around you. For Christ’s sake if there is an old lady standing up on a crowded train let her have your seat. Same goes for your bag, it’s not a human, it doesn’t need a seat. If you packed something so precious that isn’t a baby or an elderly person, then it doesnt need a seat.

Public Transit can be a beautiful thing. Gaining the ire of your fellow  riders never works out for any party involved.  And for the record I’m writing this while on the purple line. Ironic? Hypocritical?  I’ll let you be the judge of that.