I consider myself to be somewhat of an “L” character on the CTA trains, with playing the Inertia Game and sometimes imitating the voice of the pre-recorded announcements. Other times, I am an aloof traveler engrossed in my journal-writing, Tribune-reading, or grading. If I can’t be academically productive on the weekends, I know that I can somehow be productive with grading when riding the “L” toward League on Sundays.
However, having taken the “L” for more than two years, I have noticed types of characters that either engage me or bother me.
* The beggars. I have witnessed a few people who have claimed to be recently released from jail or recently been removed from their homes. They always start with “Could I get your attention for a minute?” but the first time I hear them, it always startles me. When people on the train openly beg, especially if they appear to be battling some sort of mental condition, I become intimidated that some of them may be armed and/or dangerous. I probably have an irrational fear of weapons, but sometimes you can never be too careful.
* Couples going overboard on public display of affection. Although I probably realize that people in relationship are always wanting to show affection toward each other, it feels very awkward being in that situation. On the one hand, I understand hugs and/or kisses for greetings (I am a hugger myself for greetings of familiar people), but when it becomes a full make-0ut session on the train, it is rather disturbing. Yet, at the same time, I don’t think I fully understand why public display of affection is socially unacceptable. It’s an interesting thing from my perspective, since I don’t think I fully understand affection (other than familial affection).
* Travellers. This is a positive thing for me, as it seems I frequently get engaged in conversations on the train with non-locals, especially on the Orange Line (for obvious reasons–that one goes to Midway!). Oftentimes, if they entertain my curious question of “To where are you flying?” it leads to some sort of conversation related to their place, or some other similar conversation starter may happen. Actually, though not on the train, there was one time where I was on the bus, overheard someone say something about Carter Lake, Iowa, and that immediately started a conversation. Granted, at some times, like I have mentioned in my “autism” posts, I can imagine that some people might feel that my conversation topics and attempts to engage in conversation are unwelcome, but I am unsure about how to take the nonverbal cues that they don’t want to talk with me.
Although questionable people ride on public transportation, I think that the majority of riders are “normal” people, but every rider has a story to tell.
Today’s counts and nugget:
Today is Day 13 of MAPLE.
היום שישה ושלושים יום, שהם חמישה שבועת ויום אחד לעמר
Happy Mother’s Day to Mom, as well as all other mothers out there!