Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CTA Profiling

Although Chicago is a very diverse city, let's be honest, the neighborhoods are not so much. And although a lot is segregated based on race/ethnicity, from when the immigrants settled in the Windy city, I feel like it's almost transforming more into lifestyle differences than anything else. It's like Chicago is a giant high school cafeteria and all the cliques represent the neighborhoods.

What made me think of this, you ask? Tonight I was meeting friends for dinner on Southport and took an irregular (for me) commute from work. From the Merchandise Mart, home of my new Cubicle, I hopped on the Brown line and was all of a sudden surrounded by a number of people, clearly heading to different neighborhoods.

Knowing I had to get off at Southport, but not really wanting to pay too much attention to maps or avert my hearing from my Ipod tunes, I scanned the car looking for the likely suspect who I guessed would be getting exiting at Southport. It took about .5 seconds to spot the trendy girls in the expensive outwear and nice purses. Young, preppy and total Southportians.

Was I right?

Well, I was totally judgemental... totally stereotyping... and totally RIGHT on.

I know... I know... it's like predicting the loud cell-phone girl on the bus is getting off the 134 at Diversey and Sheridan... or the student reading their textbook will get off the Red line at Fullerton or Loyola, but for a second, I patted myself on the back for my observation and prediction, saying to myself, "Man, do I know this city or what?!"

Have you CTA profiled recently? Maybe without even knowing? Try it next time your on the bus or train. And don't judge me... it's the winter, 8 degrees and we're expecting 12 inches of snow in the next 24-hours. We might be spending a LOT of time on public transportation in the coming days. No harm in a little guessing game or two.

Stay warm, Chicago.


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