In 2013, I moved to Chicago with bright eyes, an open mind and absolutely no idea how to navigate it. Nearly every person that lives in the city will tell you, “All you have to know is which way the lake is, then you’re set.” When you first move here, I’m going to argue that’s not helpful information unless,
- you live/work in a high rise
- you live/work near the lake
- you’re a human compass
I am none of those things.
A year and a half ago, I went full CTA reliant. Some guy that was probably drinking and driving totaled my barely functioning car and fled the scene. My reaction to that accident was not my proudest moment. I ran down the street chasing his car screaming expletives when I could have been a rational human being and caught the license plate number or snap a photo as the jerk drove off so that I could have pressed charges. A month later, the junk yard came to pick up the old Nissan and gave me a sad $150 for the whole thing.
Now I’m carless and I love it.
I’ve come to enjoy public transit, particularly the El. I live near a Brown Line stop and after living off the Blue and Red Lines, I feel fortunate and spoiled. My chances of sitting alone in a car that doesn’t smell overwhelmingly of stale body odor is much lower. On a related note, it really impresses me how badly humans have the potential of smelling.
The best part about taking the CTA? The time that used to be spent driving on my commutes are now mine to do as I please: read, write, scroll through social media incessantly, the possibilities are endless. Let’s be realistic though, it’s mainly spent scrolling through social media.
The worst part about taking the CTA? Taking busses. I’m terrible at them and I don’t like them. I do what I can to avoid them as often as possible, because when I don’t, here’s what happens:
1 hour and 2.5 miles later, I made it home by foot.
Turns out the furthest north the 52 bus goes is Addison. I could have figured this out in a variety of ways including reading signage, putting 2&2 together, asking for help or I don’t know, maybe using my smart phone to navigate my way home.
Google Maps also offers directions via public transit in Chicago and this may be hard to believe, but it’s very accurate and helpful. 12/10 would recommend unless you want this video to be your future as well.