Lost Blueprint

LOST BLUEPRINT: Serious, slanted, fictional journalism



by Razz Trumble

Need a primer on how to speak CTA-ese? Of course you do--language is dynamic and there is nothing more dynamic than the official language of a feckless infrastructure. The following is a list of curent CTA-isms with their definitions. Please be aware that certain phrases may change their spelling depending on context, tense, or mayoral whim.

WHAT THEY SAY: "Attention, passengers. We will be standing momentarily."
WHAT THEY MEAN: The train is on fire. Probably it's the last car. Probably, it has something to do with frayed wires, an electrical current, and an insouciantly tossed match.

WHAT THEY SAY: "A ___ Line train, toward the Loop, will be arriving shortly."
WHAT THEY MEAN: You can lean over the platform and look down the tracks for as long or as often as you'd like, but the train isn't really coming. We're just telling you that because we spent all our money on this really groovy PA system and we have to use it to justify the cost. When you're not around, we turn on the house music and the disco ball and have dance-offs.

WHAT THEY SAY: "There is another train immediately following."
WHAT THEY MEAN: The interesting thing here is, the next train will be packed with sardines. Not people packed into the cars like sardines, actual sardines. The sardines will be going to some warehouse on Fulton, so they'll need a transfer, and a bus. You are not allowed to ride in a train or a bus with sardines, that breaks all kinds of codes.

WHAT THEY SAY: "Due to construction, the _____ station will be closed. Our next stop will be ____ ."
WHAT THEY MEAN: When you're in the midst of a budget crisis while operating a mass transportation system whose mechanical operations were considered high-tech in 1924, the best thing to do is make it look pretty. Reconstructed lattice shelters at the south end of the platform will make everyone forget about the fact that the train falls off its own tracks. Especially important, we only rehab the stations on the North Side of the city. Honkeys love the rehab.