Chicagoan.

I’ve taken a step this year to be more of a Chicagoan: taking the L to work. I and hundreds of my closest friends do this every day via the Brown line. Others do it on the Red line. The thing we all have in common? We’re paying $2.25 for a seat on a train that may or may not leave on time and may or may not give us a communicable disease.
Little is certain when you use public transportation. Oh, you changed the bus routes just for today? Oh, this train is an express to somewhere I don’t need to go? Oh, this station is closed?
Oh, we’re stopping for “signal clearance?”
At least the view out the window is pretty constant. There’s nothing quite like the Chicago skyline and all that surrounds it.
I and my commuter friends rarely talk, except for that time last week when I sat next to a chatty woman who happened to be a fashion designer. She gave me her card. And sometimes we joke about the strange things that happen or how packed we are when you have to stand shoulder to shoulder on the red line on the weekend nights.
But most of the time, we ignore each other. And it might be okay. We’re letting each other have our quiet, peaceful commute in our less than comfortable seats on this slightly jerky train.
It’s a gift, most days.
Sure, I’m always at least five minutes late to my internship because that’s just how the train schedule works, but it’s not a bad ride.
It’s an initiation into the city people group.
Welcome, the first step in membership is to have sirens around you all the time. The next step is to always feel like your hands are less than clean. Third step : take the CTA multiple times per week and assume the correct posture and behavior. You are on your way to becoming a bona fide Chicagoan.
Considering this is only week three, I’m guessing I’ll have many more moments like this. Yes, I spent a year and a half here before I went abroad, but I think Chicago makes you start over.
Here’s to readjusting.

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