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The Tribe of the Train, Part 3

In the final part of this series, I will describe the rules that defines the civilized community that sets Metra apart from the barbarous world of the CTA.

These rules–The Commandments of Commuting–are passed down from clan to clan. Of course, various clans may have different variations of these Commandments, and these varying interpretations often rise to feuds between clans. Sometimes, these feuds can engulf an entire coach, in which the losing side of the feud will disperse to another car, or in rare cases, another train. (I encountered one former commuter who no longer took the train because her clan was on the losing side of a feud; she now drives to and from the city.)

Commandment 1: You will not save seats. This is one of the most controversial commandments, for clans are extremely territorial, and they have been known to violate this Commandment in order to preserve the cohesiveness of the clan. Thus, a more accurate interpretation of this Commandment, as it is actually applied by the clan, would be “You shall not save seats not reserved by the clan.”

Commandment 2: You shall not put you feet on the seats or railings. Nomads and Tourists often violate this Commandment, but an established clan will not. In fact, this is one way to determine if you are dealing with a Nomad or a displaced member from a clan.

Commandment 3: You shall talk softly on your cell phone. Tourists yell into their cell phones. Clans police themselves, gently informing their kin if their voices are exceeding an acceptable volume.

Commandment 4: You shall not take your shoes off your feet.

Commandment 5: You shall not clip your nails on the train.

Such are the Commandments that make commuting a civilized experience, as opposed to the anarchy of the typical bus ride or L ride on the CTA.

What other Commandments have I neglected to include? You can add to this list by clicking on the Comment button below.


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