Attention Passengers...

My love/hate relationship with the CTA is well-documented. Last week, the CTA and I went through a rough patch when I left work early and didn't make it home until 6:30. It should never take nearly two hours to travel a little over three miles. I could have walked home faster, except the announcement system kept saying that our delayed train would be arriving shortly. If there is one thing I remember from my abysmal attempt at studying economics in college, it is the sunk costs fallacy, but I still fell into its grasp. There's no conquering human nature.

Much as I was fuming over that situation, the CTA redeemed itself slightly today. Ever since a bizarre incident last fall, in which a baby strapped into a stroller was allegedly caught in the doors of an El train and dragged off the platform (and yet, was miraculously uninjured and lacking in witnesses and evidence to prove that it actually happened), CTA conductors have been compelled to make an announcement at every station, along the lines of, "Attention passengers, please do not attempt to board the train, the doors are closing." This is in addition to the normal, automated message that plays whenever the doors are closing, which consists of two chimes followed by a man's voice saying, "Doors closing!" It's easy to tune out the pre-recorded message, but hearing the same long, garbled message from the conductor, station after station, gets old quickly.

That's why I was so pleasantly surprised during my moring commute when I discovered that my conductor for the day had clearly consulted a thesaurus in crafting his announcements. At the first station, he asked that the passengers not alight the train. Next, he requested that they not embark. Throughout the course of my commute he threw out enter, get on, and my personal favorite, entrain. When was the last time you heard somebody use the word entrain in real life? I'm not sure I've ever heard it. It was impressive.

It may seem like a small, insignificant occurance, but it always makes me happy to encounter people who have an expansive vocabulary. I believe you have to take your pleasures in life where you can find them, and delighting in the precise use of language is a simple thing that brings me joy. I'm sure this sense of goodwill towards the CTA will be fleeting, but I'll just have to endeavor to savor it as long as I can.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that the alleged stroller incident happened just a few weeks after the incident in Australia. Makes you wonder? But who would make a story up like that? Yeah, never mind!