Friday, April 22, 2011


Seen on the Purple Line Train to Linden at about 8:10 a.m., April 21st, 2011

Jackson loved the CTA.  Everything about it. He liked to sit on the hard seats of the L and look out the window, watching the neighborhoods go by.  The dive into the tunnels at the center of the city thrilled him. He enjoyed riding the buses, memorizing the street names and listening for the "ping!" whenever someone requested a stop.  Even when the trains and buses were delayed, Jackson didn't mind. For him, the ride itself was more important than reaching his destination.

Some surmised that this obsession grew because he shared his name with an L stop at the very southern end of the Loop. However, Jackson's favorite L stop was actually "Chicago," for the name encompassed the whole of a thriving city. He had a backpack with the red "Chicago" stop sign printed on the back of it. He also had several CTA t-shirts, a coffee mug, and a shower curtain that displayed a map of the L. 

Jackson often felt like the city of Chicago was a giant beating heart, and the trains and buses were its arteries.  He was only 19, but one day he hoped to become a train conductor. He would proudly guide the people of Chicago--the blood that kept the city going--along the elevated tracks, and deliver them safely to their homes.

So I feel like the city-as-a-heart comparison is probably cliche and overused, but...oh well.  It works for now.  I saw "Jackson" yesterday morning.  Now I'm visiting my family in the suburbs for Easter, so there may not be an entry this weekend.  I don't know. We shall see.  Anyway, I hope you're still enjoying the blog. Share with friends!  Many thanks for reading. 

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