Ten Things I Learned Riding The Metra This Week

Ten Things I Learned Riding The Metra This Week

I started work downtown this week.  On Wednesday. Weird day to start, right?

My interview was Wednesday morning at eight.  By eight fifteen, I was filling out paperwork in HR.

They asked if I was interested in starting right away once  I finished signing on a variety of dotted lines.

The absolute best part of the job so far?  Riding the rails.

After navigating through the snow the past couple of years, I am more than willing to surrender the keys for a monthly pass on the Rock Island.

Giddy up.

I’ve learned a lot in three days regarding my duties at the front desk in a fairly small high rise.  But the bulk of my knowledge this week was discovered on the Metra ride to and from the city each day.

Whether I experienced them first hand or witnessed them from my seat in the second car from the back of the train, I learned plenty.  And, so I feel the need to share.

Here is a crash course in commuting to the city each day – Metra for Dummies, if you will.


1 – Deciding on a parking space has more to do with your exit strategy at the end of the day rather than the convenience of a front-row spot at the beginning.

2 – Before you lock the car and head to the station, look up – there is a number – remember that sucker – it’s going to come in handy sooner rather than later.   And when you figure out which pay box is yours, you’ll find stuffing six quarters in the box is a hell of a lot easier than designing a line of attack when considering how to fold a greenback and attempting to shove that sucker in on the fly.  I’ve heard rumors of tokens – I’m googling that shit as soon as I get home.

3 – If you need a ticket and there is an agent on duty, you owe it to yourself to step your ass up to the window – waiting until you get on the train will incur a pricey up charge – copping an attitude because the conductor can’t break your hundo is a grave mistake I do not wish to ever witness again.

4 – Not sure which side of the platform the train is boarding – disregard everything your mother ever told you and follow the large crowd.

5 – I prefer to score a seat to myself and let someone else sit down next to me at a later stop rather than having to ask someone already sitting to ride shotgun.  Sounds weird – I know.  I have issues and I embrace them.  In the event you’re curious, s0 far – I’m 5 for 5.

6 – There are weirdos on the train.  A lot of ’em.  I find avoiding eye contact is the best repellent.

7 – I know you’re hungry – but your food smells.  And you chew like a cow.  Don’t do it.

8 – While I’m not sure there are rules in place regarding personal grooming practices, I feel the need to address it.  Something about a gal  removing a shoe and a sock to reveal what looked like a bird claw in dire need of pruning should be discouraged.  Once the toenail clippers came out I was officially disgusted.  

9 – The sign that says QUIET CAR means exactly that – CAR THAT IS QUIET.  No one wants to hear one side of your conversation or whatever the hell you’re listening to on YouTube.  It’s either going to be a long day or it’s been a long day and all anyone wants is for you to shut the hell up.  In my experience I’ve yet to see a culprit called out, however,  if eye rolls could kill you I am pretty sure I’ve witnessed plenty of deaths.

10 – They don’t call this the Windy City for Nothing – Thursday’s gusts as I departed LaSalle St. Station taught me plenty – especially as I got off the escalator and headed for Financial Place – as a gust of wind came across the plaza I was sure grateful I am built sturdy.  Bottom line – prepare for any kind of weather – just because it is dry and still when you board doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same at the final destination.  Plan Ahead.


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Filed under: lists

Tags: metra, Metra FAQ, Rock Island Metra

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