7. The costumed horror It is impossible to frequently ride the El without running into someone wearing a costume that simply cannot be explained. Whether it's a group of young Asian men dressed as the Teletubbies or two middle-aged women dressed as salt and pepper shakers, every costumed horror will bring a mixture of confusion and awe to your CTA experience. If you ride the CTA on Halloween night, you will see everything you never wanted to see and you will never be able to live your life as you once did.
6. The adorable old ethnic lady
She is wearing a dress that was made by her great-grandmother Katarina during the unification of Italy. She will spend most of the El ride speaking over the phone in a foreign language, but not before she spends twelve minutes trying to figure out how to open her flip phone. She will make you smile, but she won't know that, because she's probably blind.
5. The high schooler
This breed can be found on both the CTA and the Metra. They will board the train in packs of 4 to 30, mercilessly ravaging the peace of mind of anyone within earshot. They think it's really, really funny when Jessie accidentally leaves her foot in the aisle and someone has to say "excuse me" in order to walk by. I mean, to their credit, it was hilarious when that happened. It was, like, soooo awkward! She was just like, not paying attention at all. Jessie, what are you thinking?! Haha! You're inconveniencing the older people! I can't stop laughing! This is so funny!
These people are taint managers and should not be allowed to be in public without shock collars.
4. The obvious tourist
There are certain things that could only be uttered on the CTA by someone who has no familiarity with the Chicago metropolitan area. Lines like "I've heard the South Side is nice" and "We'll have to transfer at Howard but that will only take a minute" are giveaways. Bonus points if they "wonder if it costs much to go to the top of Sears Tower" or "think it would be really cute to take a picture in front of the Millennium Bean."
3. The prosthelytizer/panhandler
It's the nightmare of every CTA patron. They are sitting in their seat, quietly attending to their crossword puzzle and trying not to wretch at the scent of cat piss and marijuana, when suddenly they hear it. "Ladies and gentleman, I'm here to tell y'all about our lord and savior Jesus Christ!"
Oh god damnit.
"He saved me from the depths of despair and he can save you too! It was just four years ago this winter when I was living my life in sin! But then our lord Jesus came to me in a dream, and told me that I would bear him a son! He said my son oughta be called Tropicana, and that's what I named my boy! So sure enough, I went and knocked up my lady and she popped out my little man, Tropi! The power of God saved me and it can save you too! All you need to do is sign up for just one magazine subscription! It can't be the ESPN magazine though, too many new Christians already bought that one."
2. The human embodiment of delusion
The moment this person steps on the train, they start shouting things at nobody in particular, and they will not stop hollering incoherently until they leave the train. The rest of the train will vigilantly avoid eye contact, knowing that if eye contact is made it could result in a one-on-one interrogation about the relative merits of farmland bestiality. It isn't until right before he steps off the train that you realize this man has been reciting the entire third act of Titus Andronicus and is actually a genius.
1. The businessmen who just can't anymore
This type is more often seen on the Metra than the CTA. It's a Friday afternoon and he has to endure a long ass Metra ride back to his home in Wisconsin, where his wife has cooked him spaghetti and meatballs for the 11th night in a row. Instead of sleeping on his Saturday morning, he will have to go to his daughter's soccer game and don a facade of fulfillment and love for his family. Over the course of his journey from Chicago to Kenosha, he will consume two bowls of Panda Express Orange Chicken, three tall boy PBRs, and fourteen fluid ounces of NyQuill.