I didn’t drive until I was 28, so, as you can probably imagine, I’ve ridden a lot of buses in my time, at all hours of the day and night. I grew up in Chicago, and practically everyone, at one time or another, takes either the bus or the “Rapid Transit,” their name for the elevated trains and subways, although we just tended to call them “The L.”
I used to hate those calls at 1 AM to tell me that an application had crashed and that I would need to go in and fix it. It meant I’d have to get dressed and catch two buses to get to the office, then walk across the Loop to the office, fix the problem (which might take all of ten minutes and was usually something the operator could have fixed because the process was carefully documented in the documentation they sent back a hundred times for me to add explanations on how to fix the sort of problem I was called in to fix), then walk back across the Loop and catch the same two buses back home. By the time I got home, it was 4 AM and the alarm would ring in two hours.
When I was in college, I used to take the L to school. It took about half an hour and let me off two blocks from school. One morning, when I had to get to school in time to take an exam, I decided that I had enough time to take the bus, and that I would find it less stressful. Naturally, the bus got stuck in traffic and I had about ten minutes to take the exam. I didn’t do as badly as you might think, but I also didn’t do as well as I needed to. That was the last time I took the bus to school.
In high school, I would take the train to Roosevelt Road then take the bus down Roosevelt to school. Then a friend showed me that I could get off the train at one of the subway stops in the Loop and walk through a corridor to another train and ride it to the U of I campus and walk two blocks to school. I saved twenty cents a day doing that, and it was more pleasant than the bus.
Those were the days…
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is sponsored by Linda Hill.