Sisters cart their lives onto the Red Line

At least a dozen times this winter I've seen two sisters in matching long, wool coats, matching red scarves, and matching green hats, sitting on the Red Line in the area set aside for a wheelchair.

But instead of a wheelchair, they placed what perhaps is all their earthly belongings. And it looks like they've packed a lot into a cube that's roughly 3 feet wide, by 4 feet tall, by 3 feet deep.

Their stuff is strapped tightly and carefully onto large dolly, secured with various bungy cords and crutches acting as rigid supports. (Sorry for the crappy cellphone photo, but it gives you an idea at least.)

Hoarders on a train-1.jpg

Most mornings the sisters are happily asleep, leaning against each
other. Except for one day last week, when the taller sister started
preaching, long and loud. It was amusing, if nothing else, as she spoke
non sequiturs about Jesus Christ, evil white people, Malcolm X and the art
museum in Columbus, Ohio.

I just hope they aren't living on the Red Line.

Postscript: After I wrote this two day ago, I saw these women again going
north on the Red Line when I boarded Wednesday after renewing my
driver's license (my birthday was Wednesday). They were sound asleep.

I'm not sure what to think about them. Somehow I don't want to believe they are homeless or mentally ill, but
in fact they probably are. One thing for certain - these two are smart


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  • You mean relatively smart right?

  • Millions of tourists come to Chicago every year. People like these women are the reason they stay away from transit. The Authority needs a better system for keeping homeless people, especially disruptive and space-hogging ones like these two off the trains. It's not a matter of regulars just "getting used to" them either; I've had to change suits at the office because of smells I've carried off the red line.

  • by "keeping them off," I meant keeping them from living on the trains or abusing the service as intended otherwise. They have the same right to ride purposefully as anybody else.

  • Were they upset that the art museum in Columbus, OH is 75% closed for renovation and full of Chihulys? That irritated me enough to want to rant about it on the Red Line.

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