The Tying Thread

In all of the apartments that I’ve had in Chicago one thing remains the same. Public transportation. Rather, falling in love with women on the public transit system.

The CTA.

Since being here, I’ve lived in a walk-in closet, a studio with an ex-girlfriend’s ex-roommate, a half-rehabbed crackhouse, and a gem of a place that I miss sometimes.

I now have the benefit of living in Uptown. (If you click on the link, you will see two tall apartment buildings facing each other. I sit between them. Last night I found out that the one to the right is called Crisco Tower for all the gay “tricks” that happen there.) Ten years ago it was different. It wasn’t a benefit. It was more of a sentence. One was asking to be raped living here. Then, as it happens every time, the yuppies find out that there’s cheap real estate and building after building are turned into wonderful, “affordable, quaint one bedrooms with hardwood floors and spacious living areas”. Luckily I found one that is owned by a precious woman that is just waiting to die. She informs me that her daughter will take over when she leaves.

This is not about apartments. This is about falling temporarily head-over-heels for the women on the CTA.

The #148 – Clarendon Express

This, for me, is the ideal bus to take on the way home from work. It scurries up and down Lake Shore Drive pooping people out at their destinations faster than you can fall asleep in the puddle of head grease left on the window from the prior passenger. It is rare that I ride this bus because, more often than not, I feel like I am running late and hop oto the first one that pulls into the shelter.

If I ride this one home, though, I know things are going well.

I am in a wonderful mood so the patrons are bathed in an exalting light because of that.

The girl with a pleated skirt and a black cardigan. Her forehead dry as a sidewalk…but not stained. In her lap rested her bag and a thick book, the title I couldn’t see. I wondered and imagined but didn’t stare.

Bored? Content?

Her legs sculpted like she took long walks. Hands not calloused, though. Easy job. Boring job?

She got off at Irving Park. There are too many possibilities for my whiskey-soaked mind to fumble though.

The business girl in New Millenium Stretch Pants listening to her iPod. It could be great or deplorable. All I know is that her ass actually fits those pants. Suprisingly. I know, though, that she is going home to, in her eyes, a wonderful man. A man that doen’t talk except for things that he heard on “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

An older woman, beautiful for her age (maybe 56?), sits next to me. “You know he’s gonna be on Charlie Rose tonight?”


“John Updike. He’s going to be discussing his new book.”

“No. I didn’t know that. What time is it on?”

“8:00 and 10:00.”

“What channel is that on?”

“Do you have cable?”

The book I am reading is Rabbit, Remembered. It is about sex with older women. Instead of pulling the cord to get off on my stop I wanted to dry hump this woman until we were thrown out, walking the rest of the way to work. “No.”

“I think it’s on 19.”

“I’ll make sure and watch it. Thank you.”


She got off at the next stop.

The #135 – LaSalle Express

Fuck this bus. I ride it when I don’t have cab fare. It drops me off in front of the Trump building under construction on Michigan. The drivers, the people…forgotten.

The #145 – Wilson Express

Always the sky. Always the waves punishing. Sit on the right side (which is the left side if you are to see the sunset while driving Lake Shore) and you will know peace.

Always there. Good to take downtown, bad to take home. Not bad. Acceptable. It just takes longer. But it comes on a more regular schedule. It is this that I rode home tonight.

Coming up Michigan, the “Magnificent Mile”, tourist after toursit boards, asks a question, disboards, and standing shaking head. “Fuckin’ Chicago” through their head.

As we depart on the same stop I wonder where they are going. The women. The army of them. The sheer multitude astounds me.

A woman sits across the aisle. Both of us sitting where we could have to get up for the elderly and the handicapped. Bus stop. Doors open. Neither of us look up to see if they are stepping, or rolling, into our “priority” seating. She is holding a book and a large bag housing carry-out. From an ethnic restaurant I guess, from the “HAVE A NICE DAY” printed on the side.

She doesn’t have a singular style. Beige business suit. She’s soft, though. Not a bitch. Tender eyes and hair that can be toused in a moment of pleasure.

This woman has secrets and I aim to find them. “What are you reading?”

She looks up and the sun is setting over her shoulder. Through the bus window. The volleyball nets are being taken down and the bathers are going home. It is because of her that I saw this. “Saul Bellow.”

“Ah,” I say. “Chicago’s Updike. Master of letters, describing the Neighborhood City.” I’ve heard my friends describe my glaring blue eyes. “Scary,” they said. I tone it down. “Have you read Herzog?”

“I’m trying.” She holds up the cover. Herzog. Pengiun Classics edition.

“How do you like it?” Her matching jacket-skirt coupled with the Bellow drove me crazy.

“Better when you leave me alone.”

“Wow,” is all I could say.

“What!?” is what I said to the patrons that I thought were looking at me.

“I have nothing,” is what I want to say.

I say instead…

“I have nothing except this…going through my mind the live long day.”

I describe this picture.

Because obviously, she can’t see it.

She looks at me like I am completely insane.

“Enjoy your Thai food!” My eyes fed an honest well-blessing.

“Why do you think it’s thai?”

“I would only hope that that’s what you would bring home to me.”


She was disgusted and so was I.

God, mom, tell me what a hug is again.

5 Responses to “The Tying Thread”
  1. No need to laugh, miss Switzer. Bread making is a serious thing. Just ask Chris Burke. According to a song on his album, “…Singer With the Band”, he declares “Eating is fun, eating is serious”.

  2. kate says:

    1. if you don’t make a missed connection about this, i will.
    2. you will make some lucky woman and wonderful third husband.

  3. Komeddyk says:

    Somebody using pheromons to attract women, whether is real it?
    Where they can be got?

  4. lakBoypodyNal says:

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

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