Morning Routines

Chicago L
Photo Credit
I’ve had some interesting mornings people watching during my time living downtown. For the purpose of this column, I’m going to condense them all as if they happened in one morning.

WARNING READER: The following events took place on different days on dates I can’t remember specifically. I could go back through my tweets and probably give a pretty accurate break down, but I’m not going to. Ok, proceed.

I walk down the front steps of my apartment. Ugh, I left my Chicago Card in my other purse.

I walk down the steps AGAIN. There is a Mercedes G-Wagon out front taunting me as I walk towards public transportation. I look right towards the corner, these workmen are STILL fiddling with random stuff on a roof, still blocking the sidewalk I like to walk on. So I hit the street. My apartment is on a one-way, so if I walk toward traffic I don’t have to worry about someone running me down from behind. However, I do have to worry about someone coming around the corner and – oh what’s this? A city cop on a Segway speeding towards me. Not wanting to be run over by this futuristic chariot I dash across the street to the other sidewalk. I’d like to see this cop try to show off his wheels in some other neighborhoods in Chicago — I bet it wouldn’t be as well received.

I make a left. I see a lot of moms and nannies walking golden retrievers and babies. Young professionals are heading towards the L.

Here she comes. Martha. I made up the name. I see this woman four out of five days of the work week. She walks towards me, head and body bent down, she has 2 or 3 tote bags dangling off her arms, she has a brown straggly bob haircut, a cigarette in her mouth and a cigarette in her right hand, red lipstick that was carelessly applied, and she looks at me over her glasses that are precariously resting on her nose. I’m not sure why our schedules cross so often, but it’s oddly becoming comforting.

Next corner, I go to Starbucks. This homeless man stands outside every morning and opens the door for customers. I go in, I grab an Americano, and the the man opens the door again for me on my way out and tells me, “You are looking good girl. Whatever you are doing, keep it up!” Yes! Confidence boost- which makes me almost forget that I have a rolly suitcase with me for my trip out east.

I fumble with my wallet, and my coffee, and the suitcase trying to get through the turnstile at the L. I soon realize that my rolling suitcase is interfering with other peoples morning routines. People are not pleased. I am starting to become more and more satisfied. “Oh whoops! I just ran over your Tory Burch flat! My bad!”

A train pulls up. The car in front of me is crowded. I should wait and take the next train, but I get on, with coffee, bag, and rolling suitcase. I hear a few grunts. A couple sighs. One “really?” I ignore. I’m pretty sure I “accidentally” spill some coffee on the girl that said “really?” while I take off my sunglasses.

I try to wedge myself in a position where I don’t have to worry about my bag rolling all over the place. It still does. “Really?” girl sighs and grunts. I grow even more satisfied. I consider tweeting about it, but that would require digging for my phone in my bag, while holding the coffee, while balancing the suitcase — I’m not going to push it any further.

That’s when I look around. I see this man in his mid 40’s. He is holding both hands around the metal pole on the L and is rocking his body back and forth, head bobbing side to side. YES! YES! and YES! I really hope this is part of his daily routine. His music is up too high so I can hear every word. Some highlight hits on the way to the Loop: Party in the USA, Empire State of Mind, and California Girls.

Does he look craycray? Yes. Yes, he does, but maybe we could all learn how to relax during our commutes and morning routines from the mid 40’s rocker. Keep your eyes peeled for him or someone like him. I’m certain there is more than one. Lastly, never take the L with a rolly suitcase.

Bye,
Caitlin

About Caitlin Fitzgibbons

Caitlin is an UPchicago.com contributor with a bi-weekly column on people-watching in the city.

One Comment

  • Caitlin
    July 12, 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    I admit that I am sometimes like that crazy man rocking out to Empire State of Mind, great commute song *I usually hold back from the swinging back and forth. Mostly I’m the girl who doesn’t want to hold onto the metal poles 1. because they’re dirty and I’ve seen people lick them before 2. because I’m so determined to read my entire Red Eye before the end of my 10 minute train ride that I have to use both hands to hold it.

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