If you have ever lived in a major city with a solid public transit system, or have visited and had to navigate your own way around, you know that it can be a tricky situation. How often do they run, which stop do you get off at, do you need to change lines, etc.
However, the system in Chicago is actually pretty simple. There are a limited number of color-coded train lines you can take, all of which are clearly identified on easy-to-read maps. And if you can’t make sense of it yourself, the people here are nice enough to help you if you have a question.
Sounds simple, right?
Wrong. Well, sort of.
Today I was heading home from work and switching from the red line to the brown line. Once I get onto the brown line train, I only have one stop until I get off and walk a few blocks home.
Just. One. Stop.
My commute on the brown line is a whopping three minutes, if that.
Welp, count on me to mix things up.
I had my nose in a book (what else is new) and walked onto the purple line train instead of the brown line. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue. Get on the wrong line and you just get off at the next stop a minute or two later and head back.
However, the purple line train I got onto was a non-stop express straight into the suburbs. Once those doors closed, I was stuck for a solid 25 minutes with nowhere to go but in the wrong direction.
Want to hear an embarrassing confession?
I’ve done this before… the only difference was the book I was reading.
To be honest, I was instantly annoyed. I would have gotten home around 7 o’clock if I had gotten onto the right train, but now I knew I was adding almost an hour onto my commute. I was tired, hungry, and wanted to watch the Yankees vs. Red Sox game!
But since I knew I was stuck with no other place to go, I griped for a minute and then decided to cut my losses and make the most of it.
So I laughed at myself on Twitter and then used the extra time I had to knock out a few more pages in my book.
And instead of taking the (correct) train home, I called an Uber and had them drop me off at a sandwich shop around the corner from my apartment where I ordered a meatball sub and a delicious side of mac n’ cheese (comfort food, obviously.) While that is certainly not in line with the healthy eating habits I try to follow, tonight certainly felt like a justified “screw it” occasion.
And through it all, I couldn’t help but realize the importance of rerouting. Whether you’re (literally) heading the wrong way and need to redirect yourself entirely, or just need to make a slight adjustment, there is a constant demand to adapt time and time again. Yes, it can be frustrating. But I would argue that trying to resist the inevitable curveballs will only make it more difficult to get back on course later on.
And do you want to know what the greatest part of the entire situation was? I still made it home, am sitting on my bed blogging, and truly believe I am exactly where I belong.
It’s funny how taking a different path can still get us exactly where we’re meant to be, isn’t it?