Since the Chicago Transit Authority announced it would be making several significant cuts to both bus and train routes, Melanie Pickett figured she’d never again be lonely on a bus.
Last Monday evening, however, that was not the case.
Pickett was taking the #22 almost to the end of it’s route, when she looked around. There were only two people on the bus. Within a stop, the other passenger was off the bus and she was alone. She looked around in excitement.
Out of habit, she sat towards the back of the bus since she was used to not getting a seat in the front. This particular night, she found that it made her feel like she was being personally chauffeured around. Beyond that, her proximity to the driver made her feel like she was in a limousine and the driver would drop her off exactly where she wanted.
The only other time Pickett had been in a limousine was when she was headed to her senior prom. The memory suddenly made her feel very elegant, and she pretended to be wearing an expensive gown and headed somewhere important.
The driver, who remained unaware of the elaborate scenario being played out in her only passenger’s head, drove as most CTA drivers do…fast and bumpy.
Pickett pretended to be disgusted with the rough nature of the ride and began mumbling things under her breath. She told her driver that she would not be getting a tip this time around and threatened her if anything happened to her intricate updo.
The driver, noticing her only passenger seemed to be talking to herself and looking up in the mirror constantly, began to drive even faster to finish her route. Pickett responded with louder complaints about her chauffeuring skills and how she would not be using her services again. Pickett continued to complain about the ride, claiming that she would give the driver a piece of her mind if she could only figure out how to make the window that separated them go down.
The driver, at this point hearing everything the woman was saying, began to consider other careers-ones that ideally don’t require interacting with bizarre human beings on a daily basis.
Finally, Pickett’s stop approached and she signaled to the driver that they were almost there. She got up, discussed with herself how nice it was that limousines were now big enough to accommodate walking around, brushed off her imaginary dress and touched up her hair, and walked off the bus.
Once the freezing wind hit her face, accompanied by clumps of ice and snow, Pickett snapped back into reality.