Uh, hi. I’m new here.

1. Dave and I board the Clark Street bus for the first time. I slap the CTA card against the scanner twice – once for Dave, once for me – and then grasp the bar as the door closes with a smack and the bus lurches forward. The driver rotates to glare at us and barks at Dave to scan the card again, “You didn’t tell me you were paying for two! You have to tell me you’re paying for two!

An elderly woman dressed completely in Cubs garb stares at the empty seats with handicapped symbols printed on the backs as Dave and I grip the bars. She stares up at us, “Why don’t you two take a seat?!”

2. Dave and I are on the El to catch a movie on Southport. I nervously study the station map above the train door. Next is our stop, Next is our stop, Next is our stop, I say to myself, should I forget in the next two minutes. The train stops and the doors open. “This is our stop,” I whisper to Dave. 

I’m looking down at the tracks and see CTA workers hopping off one by one, but it doesn’t register. “No,” says Dave, pulling me back into my seat. “This isn’t our stop.”

3. Dave is waiting for his router to arrive via UPS. He leaves for work and I get out of bed. Just as I’ve put on my glasses and some shorts the door buzzer buzzes. It’s not just buzzing, it’s yelling at the me to OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR. I see the UPS truck on the street below and jab at the buttons to let the man in, but I don’t know how to work this obstreperous contraption. I fly down three flights of stairs, barefooted and panicked, and open the front door to see Dave’s router on the sidewalk and the UPS guy hauling ass back to his truck. As I close the front door, I realize I’m locked in the front entrance. It’s just me and Dave’s box trapped between two glass doors. People pass by on their way to work and do double takes at me, the girl wearing minimal clothes. I stare back helplessly. Finally, my neighbor, who has come to check the mail, lets me back in. 

4. I’m taking the El by myself for the first time. I exit with a flock of people. They go one way, I go the other. I see the stairwell a few feet away, and as I approach it I notice the entrance is wrapped in plywood. There’s a makeshift plastic handle attached to one side of the plywood. I give it a tug, then a push, and nothing happens. I look down the walkway and see the that everyone has exited through an operable stairwell. Everyone except for one man, who is watching me while he waits for the next train. 


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  1. * ~A says:

    Three and Four make my list of all time favorite things you’ve ever done. Thanks for your contribution to continued joy in my life. :o)

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  2. * mike says:

    Haha. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough. When I first got here I hopped on a bus and realized I had no idea how much bus fare was anymore. So I put $1.25 in the money slot (that’s how much it was the last time I’d taken the bus … about six years earlier). The bus driver didn’t say anything, so I kind of took a step toward the back of the bus. Then he yelled at me. I was just glad I had more change in my pocket.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago

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