I had a realization today. I hate the el. A year ago, it was exciting. The idea was so great. But now the honeymoon period is over, but I have learned something valuable.
Let me better explain myself. Let me take you through the relationship between the el and me. Place yourself in my shoes for a moment.
At first you love it. It took you a good seven months after coming to college to finally ride it all by yourself. You don't even know the difference between the red and purple line. They are all the same. This naive romance continues for sometime.
And then you realize that sometimes the el will decide to stop for 10 minutes just for fun when you are already late to work.
Sometimes it will not be on time. Actually that is all the time.
Sometimes it will make sudden movements and you will spill coffee on your white shirt on the way to an interview. You hyperventilate.
Sometimes it will just decide to run express without telling you and skip your stop. You make up new curse words.
Sometimes it will be packed with loud smelly Cubs fans. When they all climb in at Addison, you fight the urge to punch them all.
Sometimes it will be on the opposite track with the wrong name on it. You are confused.
Sometimes it will not go north past Fullerton because of a fire. You have to find another way home by relying on impatient commuters, sassy cta workers, and minimal phone abilities.
Sometimes you underestimate the size of your bag and you get stuck on the turnstyle. You feel awkward.
Sometimes you will find yourself closer than comfortable to your fellow Chicagoans underground waiting to leave the station because of a reroute. You are then met with angry Cubs fans who are waiting to get on. They are late for the game, and they don't say nice things to you.
Sometimes the one day you wear your heels to work, you don't find a seat on the el and you are rerouted and therefore gain a lovely extra hour to your already hour commute. Your feet hurt. A lot.
Sometimes you will lose your footing when the el stops, and you throw your phone unintentionally at someone.
Sometimes you make the poor decision of sitting behind someone who talks very loudly on the phone. You find yourself knowing way too much about their life and giving them advice in your head.
Sometimes you realize that if you put all the money you spent on the el in the last six months, you could probably go to Lollapalooza.
Sometimes you find yourself thinking the wise words of Kristen Wiig.
But then you realize that all this hate and anger means something. It means you are officially a Chicagoan.
You are no longer a newcomer, a tourist. Even though you see greatness in public transportation, it is a struggle, and it will make you mad and impatient.
It's like an abusive relationship. You get beat up, but you can't stay away.
This anger gives you something in common with every other Chicagoan. You can officially say you are part of Chicago.
You feel great pride. The el has made you angry, hurt, late to work, late to dinner, late to a lot of things. But it also made you part of the city.
By the way don't even get me started on Chicago buses...