Here are some pointers learned from more than 2.5 years of riding buses point to point.
What your bus line says about you
>>No. 36-Broadway: You have a sense of adventure and may have lost the rest of your sense.
>>No. 56-Milwaukee: You're too cool for the bus. Shouldn't you be on a bike?
>>No. 151-Sheridan: You're a tourist in your own town. To the left is the Willis Tower. To the right, a fanny pack.
>>No. 66-Chicago: You are a patient person. You would the voice of reason on a reality show.
>>No. 29-State: Your jams are all slow.
Ways to annoy a bus driver ... or a first date
>>Pay less than half the tab.
>>Talk loudly on a cellphone.
>>Throw food on the floor.
Five fashion don'ts from and inspired by the No. 36-Broadway
>>"World's greatest friend" medallion
>>A Santa hat in September
>>No pants at all
How you know you're primarily a bus, not a train, rider
>>You still have your iPhone.
Things left behind on a CTA bus
>>A newspaper from last week
Timelines on Twitter from Tracy's bus rides
>>July 2, 2010: my #cta bus driver is wearing a flu mask. im not fond of navy pier tourists as much as the next gal but a lil extreme...
>>Aug. 3, 2010: the guy next to me spit on me + yelled "she's no good." yes, this no good. no good at all.
>>Aug. 3, 2010: extra nice so woman doesnt stab me w/big toe.
>>Sept. 3, 2010: found rules dont apply in priority seats. ppl eat + talk loudly + noone complains. its a lawless society, a #gilligansaisle.
>>Sept. 23, 2010: witnessed 2nd cat fight in 2 wks in #cta priority seating. let's see if they have enuf jello in their purses for wrestling.
>>Jan. 28, 2011: is entering hour 2 on #cta no. 151 to union station. like being in a mobile retirement home w/milton berle as entertainer.
>>March 11, 2011: driver yelling "no 120" out the door at each stop b/c bus has "no. 66" signs. jesus or anyone w/a #cta map, take the wheel.
>>May 12, 2011: van just sideswiped #cta bus + now we're waiting as accident reports are filled out. no injuries or damage to bus. a #tracysbusride first.
>>July 14, 2011: guy on bus has live chicks in a brown paper bag. pretty sure this isn't allowed + the chicks are tweeting their disapproval.
Best pickup lines heard during Tracy's bus rides
>>"You got kids?" --a pickup line on the No. 75-74th/75th
>>"You're on the wrong bus." --all the Avon workers on the No. X98-Avon Express, designed to take workers to the Avon plant in Morton Grove
>>"Are you a terrorist?" --a bus driver on the No. 50-Damen asking about Blackberry photographing of the sights along the route
>>"Hey, Lindsay Lohan." --a male passenger on the No. 15-Jeffery Local
How you know you've been riding buses for too long
>>You set up priority seating at the dinner table.
>>You begin all your sentences with "Your attention, please."
>>You open your door so strangers can ask you for directions.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @tracyswartz