Ellie May Goes to the Big City

I am not a hayseed. Not really. I mean, I’ve lived in Manhattan, been in most major cities in Europe, and lived in downtown Chicago two years ago. I have a degree from a Big Ten university. So I did escape the farm. More or less.

However, I find that having been raised on a farm still colors my point of view in some ways. I guess it’s true what they say: You can take the girl off the farm, but you’ll never get the damned hog manure smell off of those hip boots.

Here are a few of my recent ruminations about living in urban areas.

First of all, the train RULES.

When I was a kid, my parents had to drive us hundreds of miles to some “kiddy land” or other so that we could beg them ceaselessly during the entire trip, “Please…Pllllleeeease let us ride the train. Can we ride it? Huh? Can we? Now can we?” When we went to the zoo we made them shell out extra $$$ so that we could take the ALWAYS exciting train trip around the park.

Now I ride the train from the 'burbs to get to my job every day. And every day it’s fun! I like to sit by the window. Everyone else is talking on their phones, or reading, or complaining. I guess they aren’t that excited to be on a train. I can’t figure out why!

For only a dollar, you can take the train almost anywhere. I don’t even have to beg anyone’s permission now…I can just hop on and go. It’s like an amusement park ride every day. I feel sorry for people who don’t get to ride the train.

Secondly, pigeons are cool, do you hear me? Cool! They make that sweet little sound and they will almost come right up to you and eat out of your hands. Yesterday, I found out that pigeons do not like beef jerky. They don’t know what they’re missing.

My next observation is this: I used to have to mow my lawn for six hours on a riding tracor lawn mower. Now I use a pushy thing and do it in 30 minutes. I like to mow, so I think this is very sad. Where the hell are you supposed to plant a vegetable garden around here?

Which brings me to another thing: store bought tomatoes. What’s with those things? Does anyone really EAT them? They’re all orange and plasticky. Blech! That’s not what real tomatoes taste like, in case anyone was wondering. No wonder kids don’t like to eat their vegetables. Ptooey!

Also, I don’t have to store stuff in case of power outages or bad storms. If there’s a storm, I can just trudge through the snow to the local grocery store. I can’t get good tomatoes there, but I can be sure not to be stuck without toilet paper or milk at a critical moment. I only need one refrigerator and enough stuff for a week or so!

In fact, I can hear my neighbors right down stairs! They’re not quite as “interesting” as the clan that used to live a mile down the road from us, occasionally shooting at squirrels or coyotes and riding their ponies down the gravel road. But they’re nice and if there’s an emergency people are always close.

I find it interesting that MOST people in the world are afraid of bugs and stuff. If you get a bug, you just get a paper towel and squish it and throw it in the garbage. It’s not a trauma. I thought everyone knew that, but they don’t.

One day a friend of mine had a rat. He was AFRAID of the rat. Do you know what a rat is? It’s just a little critter! He found it in his kitchen, so he put up a 2 foot barrier between the kitchen and the dining room so it wouldn’t get out! Two feet! I had to tell him that rodents can climb over stuff. How did he think it got into the kitchen in the first place?

He was standing on the furniture and squealing like a six-year-old girl. He was scaring the rat. So I had to scoop it up in a tupperware container and take it outside so he would stop moaning and sweating. He was mad because I didn’t want to kill it. But I think it’s mean to hurt the poor little guy…he’s not doing anything wrong. Plus, he never came back in the house, so all is well.

We used to get rats and mice in the barn sometimes, but now we have too many coyotes that eat them up.

There’s no coyotes in Boston. Which is good, because they’re mean.


I’m not laughing AT you, I swear, I’m laughing WITH you. :slight_smile:

(But only a buck? I thought commuter rail was ~3 and the T was .85 … have prices changed?)

The commuter rail from my neck of the woods is about $2.75. But the red line will take you anywhere for $1.

You know what else I remembered though? The red line (train) from Porter Square to Harvard Square is bad. Wanna know why?

Because when I get off the commuter train, I have to get on the world’s longest escalator. It’s in a giant tunnel at a 45 degree angle to reality. It goes down into the bowels of hell. Then it comes back up on the return trip. It takes 20 minutes to get to the bowels of hell on an escalator.

All during the trip, I can’t look at anything but the ass in front of me. Because if I look around at the tunnel, I get dizzy and disoriented. The tunnel to hell creeps me out! I know they have those for the Underground in London too. But still.

I take the bus. It costs $.75 and isn’t as fun as the train. But it doesn’t involve the escalator of doom.

So, the answer is yes: it’s not strictly a dollar. But still.

Yeah, I grew up in Nebraska.

I thought I had gotten the hick stink offa me… I mean, I’ve been in Paris, New York, Amsterdam… but you should have seen me do a complete brainless meltdown trying to get the CTA card into the slot correctly on the Chicago subway system.

Once a hick, always a hick.

Of course, I also blame rich snobby Chicago friends who had me always, always taking cabs on my other visits. I mean, I’ve been to Chicago 20 times, but I’ve never ridden the el until I came to see normal people (Dopers) like myself.

When I went to ChiDope, I tried not to let my ‘hickness’ show. I mean, I’ve been to Cleveland, Columbus, Orlando, Washington DC. . .


Before that trip, I’d never used public transportation IN MY LIFE. I’m pretty sure I looked like a fool when trying to add money to my CTA card, and saying “Oh my God! We have to walk how far???”

I did think the train was super cool, though. I kept thinking how if I lived in Chicago, I wouldn’t even have to own a car! It was so cheap! I got to see weirdos on the train! Exciting!

And yes, store bought tomatoes are gross. There’s nothing like getting fresh vegetables out of your own garden.

Where do you live Jessica? My parents’ farm is in Illinois. Maybe we lived close to one another!

There are lof of weirdos on the train and they can be pretty exciting.

I don’t think anyone who comes to a big city knows how to use the public transportation system the minute they show up. Every city is different, so how are you supposed to know?

It doesn’t mean you’re a hick!

I’m in Gallipolis, Ohio. . . I’d say it’s a little ‘hick’ but more ‘redneck’ than anything you can possibly imagine.

Yes, the weirdo guy on the train was exciting. Especially when he was pulling on the waistband of his underwear and talking about his gun.