Let me relate to a story of a bad day and why the CTA's "technology" fits largely into it.
I came home one day from work at a rehabilitation hospital on the West Side by my usual pre-pinko line madness: blue line to green line. Walking off the el at 63rd and Cottage Grove, I noticed that people were running (literally) inside their homes as I passed by. Never one to miss cues to "something might be up" as I walk through the Grove Parc project.. wait, have you noticed how many CHA projects took their cue from Ludacris when they were named: Lake Parc, Grove Parc, others. Hmmm, maybe someone should have taken that as an omen about the CHA's management ablility. Anyhow, as I walk past a group of young fellas, I hear the words every white male walking through the 'jects longs to here: "get the f out of here, cop!" Whoowhee! So I haul myself to my house, relieved to be home, only to realize I've left my keys "out west." Whoops.
Now I have three options. One, walk back through Grove Parc to the el. Two, walk 8 blocks to the Metra train station and ride south to my in-laws, where Sarah and Hannah are. Three, take the bus and meet my boss halfway to collect my keys. Option one is out, for perhaps understandable reasons. Option Two: I don't have any cash and Metra conductors are notorious for not letting people ride free. Jerks...
So on to option 3. Which means rolling up to Cottage Grove to catch the #4 or 4X or something... anything.
In the span of 30 minutes, 6 buses cruise by heading south. Not one north...
On to plan d... run up to 55th to catch the bus to the green line... which I do. Only now, my CTA Chicago card decides not to work and the CTA bus driver has no compassion for me... so I have to empty my pockets of change, probably stuffing about 6 dollars into the damned machine.
As the evening progresses, it becomes apparent that my Chicago Card is kaput. According to the lovely CTA person I talk to on the phone, this happened because of credit cards, etc. in my wallet. So they'll send me a new one, and since its May, they'll wave the fee for a new card.
As Mike Doyle would say... WHAT??? are you kidding me? Your card is so fussy that it can't reside in the same pleather space as my Discover card and had it not been the month of May, you would have charged me for assuming the CTA had made a card that could actually be used for more than one month? I hate to be a snide New Yorker, but no ones card in NYC suffers such trauma from plastic mixing.
So now my wallet is one pocket and my Chicago Card in another one. I feel like a woodsman with all these things in my pocket.
Just no nail clippers or I'll be taken down by Homeland Security.