with all the problems that using the CTA entails (trains that never come, never-ending slow zones, endless waiting making me late for work, trains on fire, and i’m not even going to start with the busses), this is a brief summation of why i don’t habitually drive to work:

0825: Ready to leave. Schedule after work involves coming straight home, babysitting cat while feeding him and then injecting him with insulin, then carrying spinning wheel and accessories to car to go to Loopy for Spinning Class, Mark II, to be there by 1830. Decision:

  1. Blue Line: Walk to subway (10 minutes). Wait for train (5-15 minutes, if very lucky). Ride train (20-25 minutes). Walk to work (10 minutes). Best case: 45 minutes; worst case: 60+ minutes. Also, no knitting as the train will be packed.
  2. Pink Line: Walk to North/Ashland (10 minutes). Wait for #9 or X9 (5-10 minutes). Ride bus (X9 – 8 minutes; 9 – 12 minutes). Wait for train (2-10 minutes). Ride train (10 minutes). Walk to work (2 minutes). Best case: 37 minutes; worst case: 55 minutes; typical: 45 minutes. Can knit the whole time.
  3. Red Line: Walk to North/Ashland (10 minutes). Wait for #72 (5-10 minutes). Ride bus (10-12 minutes). Wait for train (2-7 minutes). Walk to work (15 minutes). Best case: 40 minutes; worst case: 53 minutes. Can knit on Red Line and while waiting, probably not on #72.
  4. Drive: 10 minutes to get downtown; ??? to get across downtown to Clark/Van Buren. Probably make it in less than 30 minutes, though. Have to pay $20 to park, plus no knitting, but driving would make it easier to come home fast, to feed/medicate cat, then go to Loopy, without having a mad transit dash home.

Winner: after-work convenience wins out; driving it is. Okay.

0832: Put car in gear. Drive to end of block, turn south on Ashland.
0835: Turn southeast on Milwaukee. Bicyclists are everywhere; drive with caution. Don’t make it out of second gear until Augusta, at 0840.
0843: Decision: go south on Des Plaines, or continue east on Milwaukee and try to sneak in the back way? Des Plaines sucks, the lights are all timed so you hit every light when it’s just turned red; let’s try the new way.
0845: Oh goodie, the new way crosses Metra tracks. Here’s an inbound train … now an outbound train … there’s another inbound train a little ways off but they lift the gates anyways: punch it!
0848: Head east on Washington. Realize that there’s no way I’m going to make it to the parking deck before 9 (when the parking rates go up from $14 to $20). Sulk. Get cut off by dickhead cab while trying to leave space to let in a Jeep who didn’t realize his lane was ending. Morons in charge of motor vehicles are simply everywhere.
0852: Turn south on Clark. There’s a brief, tiny, oh so slim possibility that I might make it to the parking deck five blocks south by 9, if the lights favor me. Engage in more aggressive driving than usual, with lane changes to take advantage of gaps. At one point, downshift from third into second to punch it in order to make a light. And yet, I always stop before the crosswalk, because I’m awesome like that.
0857: Stopped at the light at Van Buren, with half a block to go until my parking deck. Come on, come on!
0859: Pull in to parking deck. Hope their clock is not ahead of mine…