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Jasmine Takes the Bus

(Photo: Would this face of celebrity ride the bus?)

The following is a Chicagoans Project guest post from local Chicago blogger Jasmine Davila. For the genesis of this project, please see here. To tell your story, email me at mike (at) chicagocarless (dot) com.

“I loathe the bus. There has to be a more dignified mode of transportation.”
–Samantha Baker, “Sixteen Candles”

36. 135. These are the buses I take on a regular basis. The 135 on the way to work, and the 36 on the way home in case I decide I want to stop at Aloha Eats, Lito’s Empanadas, or Crisp to pick up dinner.

I try not to make these fattening, though delicious, stops too often.

If I happen to have a free seat next to me, I like to count the number of people who get on the bus and bypass that free seat before it’s taken. I imagine people may avoid that seat because I’m not a small person. I’m not super-big but I don’t imagine that I look so bulky that people would rather stand than sit next to me. Last I checked, being fat isn’t contagious? Or is it? (See

In any case, I don’t spill too much out of my own seat. I shower regularly, people tell me I’m funny, and I usually have extra reading material. So if you see me on the bus, please sit down and introduce yourself. I’ve got a copy of Us Weekly you can totally have.

I want to lobby CTA president/hottie Ron Huberman to rename the 36 bus “The Hot Mess Express”. Beyond the usual loud cellphone talkers and the folks who block the aisle with their shopping carts, this line seems to attract a special kind of people whose grasp on reality is just this side of tenuous. Like this lady I once saw who was attired entirely in blue. Blue denim jacket, spandex bike shorts, sneakers. Blue eye shadow, nail polish, and lipstick. She looked like a Smurf that had exploded into a full-size human lady.

I also love the 151, as it seems to embrace humanity, in all its levels of sanity. Once I saw a man strut up and down the aisle of the bus, like he was determined to reenact “Paris Is Burning” for this crowd of Saturday afternoon tourists, before he got off at Michigan and Oak. Truly it was like the spirits of Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and the other great supermodels had converged in this young man in the pleated acid wash jeans who wore a flannels scarf wrapped around his head like a turban. It was kind of amazing though I seemed to be the only person who thought so.

I’ve never taken the bus from one terminus to the other, but I was thinking of making that my summer project. 8. 36. 49. 55. 56. 72. 151. I think I’ll start with these.


Jasmine Davila writes when she isn’t procrastinating, eating empanadas, watching television, working at her day career, or riding the bus. Visit her blog, News from the Flip Front, or browse for more information, clips, and, um, that about sums it up.

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Mike Doyle

I’m an #OpenlyAutistic gay, Hispanic, urbanist, Disney World fan, New York native, politically independent, Jewish blogger in Chicago. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I write words and raise money for nonprofits. I’ve written this blog since 2005. And counting...

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3 replies

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  2. Pleated acid wash jeans? Plaid scarf around his head like a turban? Sounds like a Revolutionary Outfit to me. People like that make cities more interesting, and add to the “color” and “flavor” of a city (provided they behave and don’t start screaming and soiling themselves in the middle of the bus, as sometimes happens here in San Freakdisco). I personally think he may be on to something, fashion-wise.

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