I’ve avoided taking the L lately, driving to work more often than not in recent weeks. Given the new(ish) cost of Park & Ride ($4, up from $2 only two years ago), a round-trip CTA train ride only costs $5 more than it does to park in the lot at Wabash and Adams (that is, provided I get to the lot before 9 a.m.). Furthermore, in my car, I can steer clear of the douchebags who can make CTA trips so miserable. I also have the luxury of listening to music at levels unbecoming a man of my advanced age.
I jumped on the Brown Line a few days ago, and noticed some timeless L-riding offenses in play. They inspired me to offer up FIVE MAJOR L-RIDING OFFENSES.

1) Sitting on the outside seat. Move towards the window, sport. Your strategy of “blocking” access to an empty seat, thereby dissuading a passenger from sitting there is Dick Move Number One. You want to sit by yourself? Drive to work. You and I can even carpool, if you’d like.

2) Newspapers. There is no periodical type more difficult to read on the train, and no item more space-invasive to others. Fold it or turn it however you’d like; your elbows and sports page are still going to wave in my face. Get a smart phone and pull your news from there.

3) Shut. Up. You’d think that the members of the Presidential Cabinet and the CEOs of the Fortune 500 were on every rush hour car, based on their urgent need to talk on the phone. We don’t want to hear your yammering as we’re standing ass-to-crotch, praying for a swift, hassle-free, trip through the urban jungle. Tell ’em you’ll call back once you’re home.

4) The Dining Car. Man, those hot wings sure look and smell good. Is that blue cheese to dip them in? Mmmmm. Fantastic. No, it’s cool, I get it. How could you possibly wait out the entire 20-minute commute? Of course you had to eat dinner on the train.
Eating a snack or meal on the L is only marginally better than dining in an airport bathroom. We don’t want to smell your food, and you sure as shit shouldn’t want to eat it on the train.

5) Give up your seat. I’ve seen new mothers, little kids, and the elderly alike all jammed in the center aisle, holding on for dear life. Meanwhile, young, self-important, professionals tune out those struggles and continue to Facebook on their iPhones. Show some common courtesy. Let the mother of two or the fragile grandpa have your seat. You can still “Like” your ex-girlfriend’s status while you’re standing in the aisle. The only time you’re entitled to a seat is when you pay for it. Be a better human being.

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