The Following People Will Get in Your Way in Chicago:
The Chicago Doorstopper. I don’t recall seeing this happen too often in New York. Of course, I haven’t ridden the subway there in quite a long time. But I do think that in New York, a person who lingers in front of an open subway door fully expects to get knocked over or pushed out, so they don’t do it. Not so much here in the friendly Midwest. The Chicago Doorstopper just stands there with their over-the-ear headphones as people squeeze passed them, as the conductor tries, in vain, to implore them via the intercom to make room for passengers exiting and entering the train.
Now, keep in mind that the Chicago Doorstopper only exists when the doorstopper has a choice to sit or to stand somewhere other than in front of the train car door. And when you’re catching the Red Line anywhere above the South Loop at rush hour, there’s a good chance you will end up wedged into the doorway, and this isn’t your fault. But if you can sit down or move away from the door, then do as the conductors say and move away from the door.
I have purposely walked into Chicago Doorstoppers. Saying excuse me and trying to push around them takes longer than simply walking into them and forcing them to move. Even though everyone thinks that being confrontational in New York means you’d get shot. [You’ve heard this before. If you live on the East Coast or somewhere close to it, someone at least once has said to you, “Oh yeah? Well if you did that in New York City, you’d. get. SHOT!” Even after Guiliani’s reign, even after everyone forgot about Bernie Goetz.] But it could actually happen in Chicago, because we have something called conceal and carry, so if you get into a confrontation with someone in Chicago, you actually *could* get shot, though the chances of someone who has a conceal and carry license pulling out a handgun and shooting into a crowded L train because someone bumped into them is slim, since a person who walks around with a hand gun is probably more vigilant than those who do not. So, if someone is standing there blocking the door, chances are if you plow into them, nothing will come of it.
Usually, the just hold out their hands and give you this look of incredulity, as if you have some nerve to walk into them, as if they were just standing in an open doorway of an L, minding their own business, and here you come, insisting on getting on the train when they were busy listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and being greasy on purpose in the middle of a doorway.
But usually, they realize that if they don’t want to be suddenly knocked into a railing, they need to get out from in front of a door.
The Lotto Linger. I work in a building in the Loop that houses one of the largest and best known personal injury law firms in the country. I do not work for that law firm, but I do work for one of the many smaller firms who rent an office in this building. This building is on the Chicago Pedway. It has a convenience store, too, and apparently, one of the biggest attractions of this store is that it sells Lotto Tickets.
Now, coming from New York, I’m used to the idea that the person buying Lotto tickets is second priority to a person buying anything else, especially if that gambler is rattling off numbers or trying to pick out scratch-offs to waste their money on. Not so much here; it seems that there is confusion over whether the person buying just an energy drink should should have to wait ten minutes, or if the person who is clearly is making a lunch break out being at the convenience store by playing scratch-offs should have to wait. Compounded the problem, there are two separate registers for real purchases and for lottery tickets, such that if there is one clerk, they must switch back and forth.
Today I went to the convenience store and heard a man after my own heart. He got his drink, interrupted the woman rattling off a list of various scratch-offs, handed the clerk exact change, all the while saying, “See? In and out. In and out. Simply as that. In and out.”
The Escalator Rush-and-Stand.
The Public Transportation Screamers.