April 2, 2007, 7:15am: My alarm pulled me from a particularly disturbing dream that involved my mom yelling at me to leave RIGHT NOW else I was going to be late for the test. I hadn’t showered and upon looking in the mirror I noticed that my hair was approximately six shades darker than normal on account of having not been washed. There would be no time for that now.
When I finally freed myself from sleep, I realized what day it was (it’s finally here!) and forced myself out of bed. I needed to leave early because today was the first day of unknown variables, of questions, of the public transportation nightmare that will plague the northside of Chicago for months--scratch that--years to come.
This is the day we all knew was coming. We’d been warned--countless times. Two years, three tracks, one of the busiest train interchanges in the city compromised, and a message from the Chicago Transit Authority: good luck with that. We begged for mercy and when refused, we strategized, mapped alternative routes, considered moving to the southside, prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best. And here we are.
This morning the streets were lined with uniformed security personnel and authorized vehicles ready to intervene should a disruption in service occur. The #11 crawled down Lincoln Avenue and we pressed our faces to the window as we passed eight buses parked on the side of the road, one after another, just south of the Trader Joe's at Grace... poised for battle.
So it begins.