Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Commute...Commuté

No doubt you've seen those new McDonald's commercials to promote their McCafé coffee where they add an accent to the end of standard American words to make them sound more leisurely and high class. And while holding a McCafé mocha with decadent chocolate syrup, whip cream, and fudge topping might make your commute more enjoyable, it still does not make public transportation any less frustrating.

Let me just say that I love how easy it is to get around Chicago. As someone who hails from Denver where public transportation is almost nonexistent (though I hear they are improving it) I find it incredibly refreshing that I don't have to jump in my car everytime I want to go somewhere. There is usually always a bus or a train that takes me to exactly where I need to be. That being said, the convenience factor can be forgotten when buses take forever and trains creep along the track at a snail's pace. I've been the victim of stop and go El trains on numerous occasions, and it can be especially frustrating when I need to get somewhere by a certain time. When the train does seem to be running smoothly, usually the interior is a bustling mess of people crowding close to one another so others can board. And more often than not, there is always someone whose own needs and space come before anyone else's. You know who I'm talking about: The person listening to their music at the highest decible, or the person with four bags that take up space equivalent to two people, or the one who has to lean against an entire pole so no one else can grab a hold and are therefore thrust into other passengers.

Traveling from one part of the city to the other is pretty easy and saves me the hassle of driving downtown or getting stuck in traffic. But public transportation has its flaws as well, and it makes it difficult to appreciate the practical benefits. For instance, it definitely saves me money on gas. It forces me to walk, which helps with excercise and saving the planet. So despite the times where I want to shoot myself when the train decides to stand for what feels like an eternity, or the guy next to me has a problem with personal space and hygiene, I find myself grateful for the buses and trains that get me where I need to go. And for those intensely irritating days, I'll just grab myself a treat--a McCafé perhaps...with extra chocolate.

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