Chicago Sun-Times

Travel tales

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I'm probably going to regret asking this, but what's the strangest/grossest/funniest thing you've seen while riding public transportation?

I always like reading the CTA Tattler blog for its humorous posts on odd happenings in transit and would love to hear some of your stories, too.

As always, CTA riders aren't the only ones invited to play along. I'm sure you Metra and Pace riders have seen some weird things, too.


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One evening I was riding the Red Line (America's Favorite Commuter Train) south from Jackson. Since I disembark on 79th Street, I try to always get on the farthest car north so I will be close to the exit. The next to last car was kinda crowded, but the last car was almost empty.

I boarded the train on the last car and was hit by the most god-awful funk I have ever encountered in my life. I mean it was so powerful it cut your breath off in mid-inhale, like you had sleep apnea or something. That richter-scale funk was causing my eyes to water and my skin to peel. I managed another half breath as I moved to the south end of the train car. I opened the door (CTA be damned) and proceeded to the next car where I was greeted with quite a bit of 'got to you too' laughter.

When the trained pulled into Harrison, most of the people on the last car, ran to the next-to-last car, they too were greeted with laughter. From where I stood in the second car and depite the fog of nuclear funk in the first car(it had a brownish glow), I could still see one or two people, other than the emmanator of that sensory neutron bomb of funk, (it did not seem to effect the plastic or metal in the car), sitting in there. I can only surmise that they had already lost most of their olefactory sense or all of their others ones in order to sit anywhere in that car.

At 35th Street, someone started praying, saying that only the devil or the 17th century dead could smell that bad and they did not want to take chances.

An otherwise fairly normal-looking guy on the Red Line takes out a pair of scissors and starts frantically cutting his own hair. Gross, yes, but the funny thing was noticing three other guys who, like me, couldn't stop watching. I'm sure we were all thinking the same questions: Was the guy going to flip out completely? What would he look like when it was done? Was he putting on a show, or would he do this even if alone? How gross is his hair on the floor?

One time I saw the strangest thing while i was riding in a subway. A grown man was picking his nose and wiping it on another man's knapsack! It was gross!

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on June 11, 2007 7:00 AM.

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