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Private Lives III

the elevated train, Chicago, Illinois


The yuppies pile on the cars in their morning commute. It’s amazing to think that just hours before now these cars were littered, scattered with an occasional bum, or a gang member, a drunk. Just a few hours before this any one of these people would be too afraid to step on this train.

I see two women step on to the car, each wearing full-length fur coats. Now they have to cram into this full car with all these wool coats, I’ll bet they’re furious. It would be so easy to spill my coffee on them. I’ll bet they don’t even know what the animals they killed for this looked like. How many animals would that be? Twelve? Fifteen? Oh, no matter, that’s what they’re there for, just like this train, serving its function, taking me where I want to go.

Next stop. More yuppies pile on to the train. Most stand without a rail to hold. I hear one yuppie girl say to her lover, “we’re L-surfing,” right before the train took a turn. All the yuppie suits trying to keep balance, trying not to fall.

I hear a yuppie boy say, “It’s just like my living room, it’s so spacious." You’re the life of the party, friend. You’re in your suit, you’ll go places. I read a sign above my head that says, "Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for anonymous crime tips.”

All the signs above our heads are for graffiti hotlines, pregnancy clinics, drug rehab centers. Signs telling people not to carry guns.

I remember afternoons on the train when homeless men would walk from car to car through the train, trying to sell a newspaper to the people commuting home.

In a few hours, when the yuppies are safe in their homes, with their chldren safe tucked into their beds, the homeless man will hide home too. One of the women with the fur steps off the train.



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