Often, as CTA riders will tell you, riding the CTA can bring you surprises from the public, both good and bad. This is the nature of public transportation, where the public is part of the show.
I have a friend of mine who is blogging who has encouraged me to add more personal experiences to my writing here, so in the spirit of this post I will mention the time I was riding the No. 72 North Avenue bus, eastbound one day, on my way to the Red line El, though then it was called something else, when a young woman wearing only the tiniest bathing suit I had ever seen decided to sit next to me on the bus. I was 22 and it was very hot on the bus that day.
She was about 8 years older and clearly out of my league and the 2 silent miles we rode together until I sadly got off for the El were ingrained in my mind for a long, long time as a very pleasant CTA surprise indeed. There are those of you who might perhaps think I lost an opportunity that day. I refer you to Joao Gilberto's version of The Girl from Ipanema and rest my case.
For those of you who think after all of the arguing about transit funding for CTA in the region that there is nothing fun about riding or being a customer of CTA, here is some proof that at least some of CTA's customers have a sense of humor.
On Saturday, January 12, 2008 a group of about 70 people participated in "No Pants 2k8 CTA Chicago" organized by a New York group called Improv Everywhere - We Cause Scenes which has hosted similar No Pants events for a number of years in New York City. In addition to NYC, this year's event has included Chicago, Boston, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Toronto, Canada and Adelaide, Australia, at least so far.
The group, founded by Charlie Todd, sets up its events, or missions, through "underground operatives" organized via web postings, email, and facebook.com pages, cell phones, pagers and other methods to organize scenes which are supposed to be surprises for the general public.
So there could be more No Pants 2k8 events, in addition to the 10 already sprung before the year is out depending on response to what already has happened this year. On the other hand, the group has also sponsored many other varied missions, so who knows what its next Chicago mission will be? One can only hope that they will do something equally exciting on CTA, perhaps in nicer weather. I can't help wondering if their participation would have been greater in nicer weather.
Now before you get too excited, I should point out that all of the participants in these videos are wearing underwear. The objective of the event is not to shock observers, but to give them a laugh and a story to tell the people they know. Something to dine out on you might say. "Hey, you'll never guess what I saw on the Red Line Saturday!"
It probably won't hurt the story that most of the participants are young and good-looking either. Though anyone can participate, and that's the way it should be. If you look at the New York Video at the end, where the mission has a longer track record, you will see that the crowd is not only much larger, but much more diverse.
The first video, is the CLTV, well, coverage of the Chicago event by the local cable news outfit. I note the pun at the end that it was pretty nippy weather out there.
The second video is footage that seems to be from someone from the group, or several some-ones in the group and seems to record the journey of the train that picked up the participants station by station as the red line train they all joined proceeded back North picking them back up. During this trip, interestingly, they were joined by a few instant volunteers who got into the spirit of the event.
The group was not a rowdy group by the way. Part of the event was they all ignored each other and their own pants-less state. If anyone asked them why they were wearing no pants, they were supposed to look down and say something on the order of "Oh, I forgot!".
For and overview, here's the Today show clip talking about the national scene followed by some coverage from Boston and New York.
Here's the very funny Fox News coverage from Boston's No Pants 2k8, catch the comments by the MBTA policeman in charge of security at the end of the clip for the best laugh in the clip.
This post would not be complete without coverage from New York City where 900 people participated. This video, compiled by participants was very professionally done and has lots of priceless reactions from New Yorkers.
I can't help noticing, how clean Chicago's CTA looks after seeing this video. I think the CTA mantra of Clean, Safe, On-Time and Friendly has really paid off over the years.
I hope you enjoyed these. Lots of fun. Nice to see someone out having fun on transit.
Everybody laughs at kumquats! Why is that?
Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary
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