Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The mentally ill on the Chicago 'L'

Case one was a guy who got on the train at Cermak. He wasn't dressed badly but he still had a homeless look. He didn't look clean and he sure didn't look like he should be wearing heavy boots during the summer.

In any case he started rapping on the train. I didn't totally comprehend what he was saying, but he was loud and vulgar. That much I was certain of.

Someone on the train was talking about him loudly and this guy moved on. I quickly figured out what he was rapping about. A white lady was on the train with us and after he got off the train I figured out that he was saying, "Get your ass up off this bitch!" He directed that at this white lady who got off the train at 35th.

On a whim he also got off the train at 35th. Thank goodness! Before the train pulled off he gave a nice solid kick to the train and we the passengers on board heard a nice little thump! As she moved away from him he was still yelling at her and she kept going although I'd be concerned that he'd try to make an assault.

You know maybe he didn't like her because she was white, but she didn't deserve that. Whatever did she do to him. If some white woman did a number to him many years ago, settling the score doesn't involve talking about some random white woman on the train.

Also I ran into a guy I thought I've seen on the train before. This guy was begging and unlike the last time I saw him during the past winter, at least he wasn't talking about hating people and that he "should kill you" and also spitting all over the place with little regard for where the phlegm landed. You could still tell he had some problems that should be apparent, but he knew enough to still beg for some change.

Another passenger on board the train was complaining under her breath. Today had to be the day for these crazy people on this train. I was thinking the same thing, when you think about it.

I wish I can say this doesn't happen, but it does. I wish I could tell you how long I've been riding the 'L' and I can't say that I've ever had a day like this. Of course there have been people with issues on board the train in the past. Whether they're homeless, mentally ill, or in one case an obvious drug addict.

Let's talk about the drug addict.

A few years ago I was on the train and it was almost rush hour and some silly kids where really humiliating this drug addict who got on this train begging. This man looked horrible there was a moment I saw that his skin was peeling off.

In any case to get more money the kids told him to go up and down the aisle singing. I don't remember the song, but I'm sure the song selection would have been humiliating to the drug addict although he was getting his he may not have cared. He got his money from the kids (or I should say teenagers who looked like they were high school aged) and even he realized he was being humiliated and indicated that he'd have enough.

The stories one can tell by being on the 'L' and the people out there who required help in their lives. Especially to get off the streets, mental health help, or even help with addiction. Of course they won't seek help if they refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem. Too bad that we'll know, hear, or even read stories like this.

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