not public transportation

I used to drive and then for about 10 years I didn’t drive, then for the last year or so I drove sometimes but still too the train to work, now I only drive.

It’s good in some ways, especially during the past two unseasonably cold and snowy days, but I find it a little lonely and boring.

Watching this video reminded me of the one thing I don’t miss, people talking loudly on the phones!!!


documented heat wave

since just hopping in my (imaginary) car would be too easy i took the harlem ave bus back to the blue line and took that to my stop. full circle as michael palin would say….check out the chicago CTA map if you are curious about just how far that is.

so on my way back, waiting at the blue line in the hot sun…in march…i had this sign staring me

if you’ve ever had lemonheads or red hots-they were made in this factory next to the blue line with the very informative clock and thermometer!!

a little retail therapy

first, we are having a record breaking spring heat wave-and Miss No-TV doesn’t need to be told that by some overpaid meteorologist. i am acutely aware of march weather in chicago as it leads up to my birthday and i can remember everything from stunning 70’s to cold rain and even snow after. so a week of 70-80s is indeed amazing!!

on top of that, yesterday was the first day in almost a month where i was able to get around fairly well.

so, i started out on my local train, the blue line to my usual work stop-took the ashland bus to rose’s to drop off a package for her-have a look at my view

i returned down ashland to the green line train and took that to harlem ave and the main oak park shopping area.

i did some shopping…checking out old and new shops including this one and this one

and this is what i boughtcandles, yarn, cards, knife

breaking the rules

actually breaking my own rule…the one about talking on my phone on public transportation. today during the middle leg of my circular tour of england..i was on a crowded train wedged in a window seat when my phone rang….and i did a rare thing indeed…i answered it.
it was phil jackson-not chicago’s phil jackson.  (i couldn’t figure out why that name seemed familiar.)

he was filling out some forms to get access for me to visit leeds and was confirming the information…and for some reason they wanted my birthdate…i tried to lower my voice slightly and said 4th of april 1958…thinking great!… now everyone within a 5 seat radius knows how old i am…

i finished the call as quickly as possible and didn’t break the rule about turning a business call into a personal office therapy call~~

i did take some pictures of middlesborough train station and hope to have those soon-i’m just hoping that body start too relax-i have been in pretty much constant motion since sunday when i got on the plane.  i was feeling a little nauseous from all the constant moving at high speed.

here’s a map of my journey-in yellow-heading north, then south and then northwest

delayed, slow, delayed, cancelled, delayed, crawl, delayed!!!

when i started this research job about 15 months ago the travel seemed exciting~fun! i even started a public transportation page to try and document my wacky adventures. the reality has been a generally tiring, frustrating experience interspersed with a few stunning visuals that i embed in my brain. later when i am stuck waiting for a train or squished in a corner train seat, legs aching to be stretched out i recall the lovely fields of sheep…cows, horses, pigs…the  rolling hills, sunrises and sunsets as an antidote.

my travel experience has become an endless routine of hurry up and wait. it’s amazing how standards slip, the unacceptable becomes acceptable and you rationalize that a situation is not as bad as it could be or as bad as what happened last week.

this week has set a new low, the limbo bar is one step lower. one morning i set out for Leeds. i left my house on the bus which gives me one opportunity to jump off and catch the local commuter train which i did because the bus was crawling in traffic-one word explanation-rain. i got to town with 5-10 minutes to spare only to find my train was delayed….usually they give an expected arrival time. is it delayed 3 minutes or 10 minutes? enough time to nip to the loo or 30 minutes? enough time to have a good browse through the magazines or get something to eat. nope my train just says “delayed”

it was delayed 35 minutes, not a good start….. here’s where the rationalizing comes in because i was meeting sarah and her train was cancelled~lucky me! that train journey was 2 hours so total door to door? 4 hours on public transportation and i still had to get home.

our meeting went a bit longer than we’d planned but that’s okay because i had an open ticket. we arrived at the station, at 5pm-the height of rush hour even in Leeds. i only had 6 minutes to get my train so i raced in, weaved in and out of the commuters, asked a train guy which platform and the train pulled in. i glanced around and noticed there was a lot of people expecting to get on…a lot of people who apparently play this game everyday because when the last passenger disembarked they shoved and squeezed (in a very polite british way, of course) onto the train until not one more single person could get on…the aisle and vestibule was full all the way to the door.

now i could have joined the swarm-i don’t mind standing- but i am not going to stand for an hour to the next stop crushed between people doing god knows what on their phones or worse blabbering on and on and on…so i thought okay, i’m hungry, i’ll go get something to eat and wait for the next train-even though it wasn’t due for another hour…

one hour later i’m standing on the very same platform feeling quite happy because the platform was considerably less crowded than an hour ago…the train pulls in and me and a few other savvy travelers head to the last cars which were tantalizingly empty…there was a reason they were empty-they were blocked off because as it was announced…”the last three carriages are not in use on this train due to insufficient train crew to service them” fffffff….i ended up standing for an hour but i had the vestibule all to myself. 4 hours after i arrived at the station to return home i actually walked in my front door….4 + 4 =8 hours of public transportation for a 3 hour meeting.

just to emphasize that UN-randomness of that journey, the next day i had to go london. i was in possession of the magic ticket-an anytime ticket!! so i took my time getting started set out to the bus and watched it drive away just as a i rounded the corner, waited 20 minutes and got on thinking no problem i have an anytime ticket. about halfway tto town the bus came to a complete stop interspersed with occasional crawling…to make a long journey short, the 25 minute drive at night/early morning took at least 90 minutes….

during that trip on the bus i had plenty of time to consider my options and one of them was to turn around and go home…i did stick it out though…caught the 8.30 train which encountered a “switch problem” around watford junction..translation…crawl…i arrived at the office in london close to 11am…another 4 hour journey.

going home was uneventful-a brisk 2.5 hours. leaving london i had a really lovely view of the BT tower lit up with the countdown to the olympics in the distance behind the camden rowhouses-chimneys which were behind the rail yard, tracks. i remembered my first glimpse of england in 2000 when me and my kids took the picadilly line from heathrow to ealing. it was that feeling of awe, seeing something for the first time that reminded me of how hard i have worked to get the opportunity to be delayed by trains in england.

have bus pass…


will travel!

yep that’s how it works. now that i have a bus pass i am free and easy….no more counting out £1.70 or £3.50 for a daysaver…

yesterday i took 7 buses!!! three to get to work and 4 (over two hours) to get back from my bosses house…

speaking of the meeting at my bosses house~he’s been firm but incredibly supportive. we’ve redone some of my slides and tomorrow will be cut and paste (literally) my notes on to 3×5 card day…and practice, practice, practice!!!!

i am hoping mr a and i will be able to enjoy barcelona~it seems like everyone i talk to has been there~~

i hope we have at least one magnificent moment……