Theory proved: Nothing good comes from those crossing between rail cars

As I’ve written before, only trouble walks between cars.

This time, it happened to be one of the new Series 5000 prototype rail cars on a trial run on the Red Line. It was rush hour and the train was packed with people.

A middle-aged guy came hustling through the door at the end of the car. He took a seat that had just been vacated. I looked at him and saw that his zipper was down on his pants. Was he urinating between the cars, I wondered? He nonchalantly pulled up his zipper.

He waited till the car emptied at Loyola, and then lit up a cigarette. I was at the other end of the car, but smelled it right away. It’s really an unmistakable odor.

I yelled at him to put out the smoke. He said no. So I walked over and pressed the call button. I was about 10 feet from him at this point. As soon as I pressed it he protested: “OK OK, I’m sorry. I’ll put it out.” And he did.

When the operator answered, I told him a guy was smoking in the car — but that he had put it out.

I got off at the next stop. He remained, glaring at me.


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  • Joe O and Connor (on The Score) had a discussion last night about how you can smell urine in the L cars, but whether anyone had actually seen someone urinate. One of them said yes (it's hard to distinguish them on the radio).

    So, I guess you had another variation on that theme. Maybe there are statistics on how many passengers have been thrown while between cars.

  • Ah, what's the goddamned point. Yes, Kevin, because you don't like the guy you saw coming through the door -- and I'm not here to defend him -- anyone who'd want to use the door is a public urinator who smokes despite the laws. You're right. You win.

  • On one of those brutally cold nights a few weeks ago, my entire car yelled at a guy who crossed between cars and left the door slightly ajar. I started it and was happy that my carmates all joined in. My favorite was the curmudgeonly old guy who asked, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

  • Bob, you ask what my point is. My point is that more often than not, the people who cross between cars are up to no good. They are:

    * Panhandling
    * Smoking
    * Selling stuff

    No, I don't win. I lose because I (we) have to put up with this stuff.

  • People opening the emergency door tick me off, but I don't say anything, especially if they're leaving (they may be trouble, but they're going away). Worst experience was when I asked a guy, "What's the emergency?" and he said, "What are you, a [bleep]ing Republican?" Oh, the insult! Took me a while to get over that one. :)

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    Oh yes! That hurts, Scott.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    I have a coworker who has be ticketed a couple of times for using the emergency doors to vacate cars full of rival gang members glaring at each other. His defense has been that it's an actual emergency, but he's learned to exit at the next station by the appropriate door and run to the next car instead.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    So whomever observed him crossing between cars and issued him the ticket, must have observed his reason for doing it - but they left that developing situation (probably with other innocent people left in the car) to pursue him to issue a citation.

    G R E A T

    Thanks Chicago Po-Po; I sure am effin' glad I live W A Y out in the suburbs.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    The police would not have necessarily seen what he saw. He may have known some of these guys, or at least known which gangs they belong to.

  • I love the CTA when travelling in Chgo. I do question why everything is filthy on the CTA. When riding the transit in DC & San Fran it was very clean. Now I haven't ridden those at all as much as CTA, but just saying. Speaking of Republican, I suppose in Chgo that is a terrible statement, for some reason everyone keeps electing those same idiots over and over again. Just saying.. I'm from the outside looking in, so not all the details.

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