Man Pushing Way Onto Packed Blue Line Train At 8:30 AM Just Wants To Get In On The Fun
DAMEN BLUE LINE—In a refreshing display of enthusiasm for mass transit, copyeditor Thomas Everson, 26, pushed his way onto a packed blue line train during the morning rush just to get in on the fun. The Blue Line, which experiences extreme congestion each weekday surrounding the traditional 9-5 working hours, has long been a sore subject for commuters heading into the loop from western neighborhoods. “A lot of times, four or more packed trains will go by before I can get on one,” said Everson, beaming with pure glee. “The train is so popular every single day, and I feel lucky that I even have the opportunity to ride it.”
The Blue Line’s O’Hare branch, running between O’Hare International Airport and downtown, has experienced unprecedented ridership in the last decade, attracting many more rush-period commuters. “I’m in awe of the whole thing,” gushed Everson, wedged between several realtors in charcoal pea coats. “The way people are drawn to the train, and how we all try to fit inside, pushing and shoving each other deeper into the car. Then, the closing of the doors! The conductor’s voice! The drama of it all, the passion! I live for stuff like this.”
The every-day dramas playing out during rush times never cease to delight Everson, who often mouths “Are you seeing this?” to grimacing strangers. Today, it’s a man attempting to maneuver a stroller out from the middle of a car at the Division stop, requiring a dozen people to exit, then reenter the car. “I’m so delighted by the story this tells,” said Everson, shouting over the trains’ mechanical shrieks and groans. “First, the man has to make his needs known, and everyone knows what has to happen, even if it’s kind of a hassle. So everyone starts getting off, and the man smiles a little bit, like “Can you believe this is what life is?” and a few people smile back, and there’s a baby in the mix which is fun. And the man and his stroller and baby get off the train, and everyone sews themselves back up inside the train just like before, and the doors close and the train keeps moving. Isn’t that nice?”
Spat out at the Clark/Lake stop at 9:02 AM, Everson allows the tide of people going to work to pull him along out into the street. “I work from home, so my hours are pretty flexible,” he said, skipping through the Thompson Center. “Maybe I’ll stay here for a little while, maybe I’ll take the train out of downtown again. It’s great, isn’t it? The way the trains take you anywhere?”
Openly displaying the kind of optimism generally attributed to a golden retriever on a lab safety poster, Everson disappeared into the crowd, the train groaning on in the distance.