Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The CTA: You Are Why We're Crazy

This doesn't excuse the crazy-ass CTA bus drivers who never mastered the nuances of gently applying the break or who scream at a packed bus about how everyone needs to move to the back despite the absolutely lack of space.

But I can see why some of them are crazy.

This morning I was sitting on the number 8 Halstead heading south towards work. Minding my own business. Casually leafing through a copy of the Redeye free newspaper.

Suddenly, a ruckus erupted towards the front of the bus. The morning commute chattle and I snapped out of our collective trances and craned our necks to see what the fuss was about.

A young lady was engaged in a spirited argument with the bus driver in which the young lady accused the bus driver of trying to splash her with water while driving through a puddle.

The bus driver was trying to explain that if she were trying to splash her with water while driving through a puddle she would have driven faster and also the young lady was not, in fact, wet so what the hell was she talking about, are you crazy or something?

But the young lady was convinced, despite the fact that she had been standing at the bus stop right in front of a puddle and that anyone driving a bus to that stop would have to drive through the puddle in order to get there and also despite the fact that she did not get splashed, that this particular bus driver was deliberately trying to get her.

It was the kind of uncomfortable thing where everyone else was pretending not to notice anything was wrong but it was clear they were all listening. I didn't care. I was staring with amusement.

I wanted to know why. Why would a bus driver deliberately try to splash a puddle onto someone who they knew was going to get right on that bus with them? More importanly, what scenario had crazy lady created in her head that convinced her the bus driver was out to get her? Or, was there a past history between this particular bus driver and this particular lady?

I figured if there were going to interrupt my morning somnabulance that they at least owed me a little back story.

But there was no back story and no explanation. One called the other crazy, then the other threatened to report her and took down the bus number, then the bus driver said something like, "what you think - I'm still gonna have my job, sit down."

It made me want to know how often bus drivers have to deal with that kind of random ridiculousness. I mean, no wonder some of these bus drivers end up shouting at passengers and blaring their horns at bikers and the like. I'm sure if I had to deal with 'the public' on such an intimately stupid level everyday I would probably crack too.

Doesn't excuse them. Just saying I understand.


Chris Othic said...

First cabs, now buses. What will tomorrow bring?

Anonymous said...

Any job that deals with the general public is a crap shoot, in my opinion. Enjoyed the read.


GW said...

There should be more understanding people like you in this world, Nat Topping. Good post. I love CTA stories.