October 25, 2012

The Death of Common Decency

Let me start this post off by saying I love Chicago. I love the big city. I love that there is always something interesting going on; I appreciate that even if I'm just sitting on my couch with Oreo. Hey, at least I have the option! I love the diverse neighborhoods filled with interesting people, and cultural learning opportunities.

But there is one group of Chicagoans I absolutely hate.

I'm talking, of course, about fellow El riders. For those of you not in the know, the "El" is the train portion of Chicago's public transportation nightmare. It is shortened from the word "elevated", because most of the lines are, in fact, elevated (rather than underground like the subway of New York). These people come in every race, shape, creed, color and scent known to man, and they all deserve to be pushed right off the platform.

Never mind the fact that I am forced to sit, or more likely stand, somewhere I know someone has urinated or defecated at one point or another. Never mind the guy walking up and down the aisles preaching about Jesus and trying to save me. Ignore the Native American guy who is (stereotypically) drunk and yelling "white man" in my ear and going on about how I stole his land and raped his women (true story, folks). These things I can chalk up to inadequate mental health resources and/or the state of the economy. I feel empathy and patience for these people.

The people I am talking about are the four business men, of about 30 years of age who stepped directly in front of me as I patiently waited for people to exit the train this morning. They pushed passed those exiting, in front of me, and took the last little space on that particular car. I'm talking about the guy who makes his business call right next to me on my morning commute, obnoxiously yelling about whether to buy or sell, and laughing like a jackass. (Doesn't he know that the rush hour commutes are to be silent? It's an unspoken rule, people!). I'm also talking about the able bodied people who sit in their seats by the door, ignoring the pregnant or elderly person who they just saw get on the train. I'm speaking directly to the guys who sit, with their legs in a wide V formation, taking up half my seat as if to show the world how large their testicles are.

These people, my fellow Chicagoans, who suffer not from mental health issues, or poor hygiene due to lack of adequate housing; suffer from the greatest disease plaguing man and woman kind today. It's a lack of common courtesy. I see it every day, so many times a day doors are not held for me, I am cut off, and I am forced to listen to other peoples music and conversations about herpes.

Every day I fight the battle in my head about whether to do what is courteous, and continue trying to lead by example and being utterly frustrated with life, or to become the same selfish and ignorant asshole I am surrounded by.  I feel myself losing this battle a little more each day.

If you can't beat them, join them, right?

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