Whoops, There Goes My CTA Pass

Bus


The other day I mentioned I rode the bus for the bus time.  I can (sorta) laugh about this now, but at the time it was not funny, and I was so mad at myself. 

Eric and I bought 30 day CTA passes the other day.  They're $87 dollars, and you can take the L or the bus as much as you want.  Eric tried out his pass earlier in the day, and rode the bus downtown.  When he got back to the apartment he told me how it works, and what to expect.

He told me you have to be quick when you step on the bus.  Apparently the bus driver snapped at him to hurry up.  He said that you slide your CTA pass in a machine when you first get on.  The machine is by the driver, on the right.  The machine scans your card and pops back out.  Then you must take your card and find a seat immediately, because the bus starts moving.  If there are no seats you have to stand up.  If there’s no room everyone has to keep moving towards the back to let more people on.  When you want off you have to tug this pull cord, get up, and press on the doors when the bus stops.

So we walk down the street to catch a bus to Trader Joe’s.  I got very nervous about how this whole bus-thing was going to go down.  I mean, I was really nervous.  I don’t know why I get so worked up sometimes.  When I get nervous, I make stupid mistakes. 

The bus pulls up.  Eric quickly steps on and I’m right behind him.  He scans his card incredibly fast, and I can’t really see around him to see what he’s doing.  It all happened so quickly, it’s hard to say what I was really thinking.  I see a machine on the right side and stick my pass in, as fast as possible.  I mean, I was quick!  More people were behind me who needed on the bus!  We can’t leave them behind!  The bus driver shouts NOOOO and lunges towards the pass going in the machine…. the pass not popping back out.  Then he said, “It’s gone.  I can’t get it back.  You’re going to have to fill out some forms to the CTA to get a new one.”

I had stuck my pass in the machine that takes CASH.

I look at Eric.  He’s just shaking his head.

I’m such an idiot. 

Let’s just say that trip to Trader Joe’s was a depressing one.  Not even a bucket of Ginger Cats could cheer me up.  No one likes to fail on their first bus ride.  Since then, I have successfully taken the bus seven times, and the L once.   The CTA has already mailed me a new 30 day pass. 

But now I take my time when I get on the bus and pay attention to which machine I’m choosing.  The machine for passes isn’t always on the right!

The End.

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50 comments:

  1. I do things like that all the time. Actually I had a particularly absent-minded-professor-day today and did about five things like that...while nannying. Sigh...

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    1. Oh no! Me too. We need to pay more attention!

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  2. I get nervous over those types of things too! Glad to heard I'm not the only one. It seems that it was quick in getting a new card back to you. I can picture Eric shaking his head at you because my hubby, Bruce, would be doing the same thing and saying "what am I going to do with you?!" You did the right thing about going back on the bus, you wouldn't want the fear to handicap you to never riding the bus again.

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    1. Exactly! Eric was like, I can't believe you just did that. Hahaha. The CTA was very fast. Only took about three or four days to get a new card.

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  3. Oh, Emily I feel your pain! I too can get very nervous in new situations where there is an expecatation to do something I have never done before...with lots of others involved/watching/waiting. I am happy you can laugh at it now and have successfully navigated trips around the city. I love these "getting to know Chicago " posts. It is fun to read about your new adventures. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for reading! I'm glad someone else can relate!

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  4. HA! Sounds like a case of country girl in the big city or something. :) I probably would have done the same thing out of nervousness!

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  5. awwww, that's so sad! Yet I totally understand. I got so nervous going through the metro gate for the first time that I jammed my leg in between the wheel and side-wall. Got a bruise that lasted for a MONTH! :-o

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    1. Hahaha that's funny. I'm sorry about your leg, though!

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  6. I must admit I am laughing...but feel for you

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  7. Yikes! The machine ate your card. Really? It should've at least rejected it if it recognized it wasn't currency. Blah, machines! Before you know it, you will be an old pro. ;)

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  8. I think almost everyone I know has done this once. Consider it a rite of passage. :) And get a plus card - you just touch those, so there is no confusion about sticking them in something.

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    1. Really?? Well that makes me feel better. Yes, it seems like the plus card is the way to go. I'll probably get one of those when I go to school downtown.

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  9. I love that story. That's exactly the kind of thing that I would do.

    I've been following your blog for some time now and love it. It inspired me to start my own, though I only have 7 posts to date...

    http://baguetteandbalsamic.tumblr.com/

    I look forward to hearing about and getting inspired by the things you bake up in culinary school!

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    1. Thank you for reading, Leila! I can't wait to check out your blog!

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  10. Those boxes can be confusing. I've seen that happen before. If I didn't have a Chicago Card that you just tap and go I would be extra paranoid every time I took the bus, so no worries.

    Hope you're enjoying the city so far! I love the extra posts. I think I take a lot of things for granted in Chicago so it is cool to see a new perspective on things. :)

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    1. I think Eric is going to get that Chicago card. I won't be going downtown for my job, so I don't know if I'll need one yet.

      I am! Thank you for reading, Jenny!

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  11. Oops! The fun of mass transit in big cities. You know I almost never take the bus. When I'm getting around locally, I always drive. I take the train to the city. When I'm in the city I take the subway (where you have to be quick to scan your card then make sure you get all the way through the turnstile on the first try - yes I've occasionally nudged it halfway and the system counted that as my having gone through).

    Sounds like you're learning the joys of "straphanging". My husband is so good at standing on mass transit that he can actually read while standing. Once I was on the light rail in London and I couldn't get a seat and the bar I needed to hold onto was a little high for me. I had to stretch a bit to grab it. I was riding the train with my boss and I decided to just lift my feet off the floor and start swinging (and I wonder why I'm losing this job...)

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    1. You are hilarious! You should take a video of your husband for me on the bus/train. Please?

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  12. Bless your heart! I get nervous in new situations too and despoite my best efforts to calmly approach them, I just can't. I'm glad you have since overcome your fear and you sound like you're a pro (:

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    1. We're sensitive people, you and I. I'm not sure I've overcome it. I do a lot of walking. Haha.

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  13. Em...If I get nervous I can't think at all. I can't tell you how many times I feel I've done something stupid. Just because I can't calm down enough to do what it is I'm suppose to do. Jeremy can verify this!It sounds like you've got it down now. I'm so proud of you for not giving up and getting back out there. I don't know If I would have been as brave as you.

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    1. It runs in the family, I guess! What do we do about our nerves?! I have to get back out there!

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  14. All that transit stuff in a new city IS scary. I'm amazed that #1 they even give you a another pass and #2 that you got it so quickly. I think that shows they know they have a faulty system and people must do that ALL the time...so don't feel bad. Is that what you have to take to your school? And what about the famous "L"? Is it the same system for paying or do you have to learn a whole new procedure. They used to take the L all the time on ER and the doctors or nurses (or perps) were always running to catch the train, so the ticketing or token or whatever it was system seemed to go pretty quickly.

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    1. I know! I was surprised, too! It only took them three or four days! Yes, I have to take the bus to school. The train is too far away. The L is the same system. Wait, ER took place in Chicago?

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  15. Oh memories... it took me a while to get into the swing of riding the bus in my old city, too! Sometimes, instead of rushing, it's better just to take your time and not worry about holding other people up a few seconds (surely they can spare the time!). If you watch, there are plenty of other people who don't know what they're doing too.

    This is what most interested me about your post: ginger cats?

    You must elaborate!

    There's a Trader Joes about 30 min from my new house, but I haven't been there yet. Ginger cats sound interesting and worth taking a drive.

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    1. Yes, you're right! I was trying to act like I'd been riding the bus for years! So stupid. Ginger cats are delicious! You get a whole tub of them, and they're low fat. They're like ginger snaps.

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  16. You'll be a CTA pro in no time!

    Now that you have your card back you should go to Gene's Sausage which has amazing polish and german deli items http://www.genessausageshop.com ; Intelligentsia Coffee (enough said) http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/ ; and Hoosier Mama Pie for when you really need a pick me up hoosiermamapie.com

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    1. Yes, yes, yes to all of them. I like sausage, coffee, and pie. I've seen one of the Intelligentsia Coffee locations. I don't know if there are more. So many coffee shops in Chicago!

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  17. I feel ya about the bus being confusing for newbies. When I first moved here, I wasn't sure if the bus was going to just stop and pick me up, or if I had to flag it down? So I'm sure I looked like an idiot. THEN, I was standing at the back by the doors, and the bus stopped and I just stood there thinking the doors would swing open, but nothing happened. So the driver yelled at me so everyone on the bus could hear, YOU GOTTA PUSH IT OPEN! Pretty embarrassing, but I just figure I'll never see these people again!

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    1. Hahah. I would have done the same thing if Eric hadn't told me to push it!

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  18. GINGER CATS ARE THE BESTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!! You should try it again...those always cheer me up!

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  19. Don't feel bad, Emily, we all have a bad bus story, and mine is much worse than yours :) Years ago on a busy NYC bus, I kept shoving my metrocard in the wrong way. After about 5 embarrassing tries - and retries - and crabby people muttering behind me, I dropped the card on the floor . . . that was filled with dozens of old discarded cards. I picked mine up and finally got it in the right way and ran to sit down, mortified. As the bus pulled away, the driver tells me over his microphone that my card is expired. I knew it wasn't expired, as it was a 7-day card and it this was only day 2 . . . obviously I picked up an expired card from the floor and mine was still down there somewhere. I tried to will myself to just disappear from this earth because there was no way in hell I was going up there to try to find it with the whole pissed off bus watching me. That's when I knew I had married an angel who would do anything for me . . . as I watched my husband go up there on his hands and knees and look through every one of those cards to find mine. I think Eric would do the same for you :)

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    1. I LOVED this story, Patrice! So funny! But I bet it was awful at the time!

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  20. You should definitely try Trader Joe's chicken tikka masala and garlic naan. Really good for frozen food!

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    1. I bought the chicken tikka masala! I haven't tried it yet though. Is the naan fresh or frozen?

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  21. i Can totally relate to this. I too am working on controlling my emotions. When i get in those nervous state I begin to lose focus with the present moment. I actually feel "checked out" in the head. And that's when the blunders begin. Quite entertaining actually. But in the end it's OK. I know myself enough to admit I need work on being relaxed and present with myself. Love your site. So many adventures and recipes. You have a fun Life. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Aw thank you! I appreciate you reading.

      I wonder what we could do to control our emotions more? Drink? Ha! Just kidding.

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  22. Don't feel bad! I recently moved to the LA area, and tragically lost my car. My first experience using public transportation on my own was a huge trip, involving three different buses. Well, somehow even though I had written down directions, I made a mistake somewhere, because I ended up in an entirely different city, 40 miles away, stranded! It happens.

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    1. Oh no! That sounds exactly like something I would do!

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  23. Girrl! The CTA can totally suck sometimes. Get yourself a bike! It will be the best thing you do in this city. Chicago is an amazingly bike-able city and you can travel around SO fast! You never need to wait for the bus or train to come and you don't have to deal with CTA mishaps or smelly peeps. Just wear a helmet :)

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    1. I want a bike so badly! I would definitely wear a helmet. I had a bike accident when I was six and had a concussion. Do you know where I could find an affordable bike?

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    2. Hi Emily! I've been a baker/biker in Chicago for 6 years, and I got my bike when I first moved up here, and it's been great for me! I lost weight and made friends to ride with! I got mine off Craigslist, I like cheap used things, it was less than $120, vintage red schwinn that was barely ridden. Always bring a friend/boyfriend when checking out a craigslist item, lots of creeps out there of course. I haven't been in a bike accident, thankfully, but I was hit by a car while crossing the street on the crosswalk (it said walk), and they kept going after I fell off the hood, so my advice there is look twice even if it says walk! Trader Joe's is awesome, I like to get my party treats there, have you had their salted dark chocolate almonds with turbinado sugar? So sinful and decadent.
      Oh yeah and have you picked up an NFT Chicago? That was my guide to all things Chicago-y when I first moved here. It has dates for all the festivals, advice for free stuff, lists of vintage/thrift stores, festivals like Do-Division fest (craft fair/food/music festival) and just a plethora of information on living here and getting the real Chicago experience. It's almost festival season! Yay! Maybe I'll see you around town, (after all it's a small-town big city) hope you have a great time!

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  24. EMILY! OMG! I feel your pain. I HATE public transportation because I don't know how to do it. My hubby can find his way around anywhere, but not me. I was scared to death to ride the subway in New York (mostly because I didn't know which train to get on). And one time, we went to Mexico City--the largest city on the planet or at least it was--and I rode public buses there. It was scary. And confusing. But that was mostly because everything was in Spanish. But still. And the people behind you waiting to get on the bus, pressing forward and pressuring you? This is exactly why I am uncomfortable in cafeterias. I can't stand to be pressured. The worst. It takes me a minute to process my surroundings. I'm so sorry, but I'm sure you'll get the hang of it.

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    1. I thought the subway in New York was scary and confusing! I usually just take cabs when I'm there. Oh I feel your pain! That's how it was when I went to France.

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  25. PS. But it is kind of funny that you put your pass in the cash machine. Classic. :)

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  26. Awww, I'm sorry! City folk can make other people feel bad about not being city folk, unfortunately. I learned that when I moved to Berkeley from ultimate SUBURBIA for college, and had to take the buses everywhere. But don't worry, you'll get used to it fast! Within a year for me, taking the bus actually was really fun for me. Maybe I'm weird? but that might give you something to look forward to! Hope you can get your money back, too!

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