The Chicago Files



As some of you might know, I spend a lot of time on the trains here in Chicago.  To me, trains are much more than a means of transportation.  Sometimes I am humbled by the acts of kindness I witness; other times I am saddened by seeing homeless people riding the trains from one end to the other for warmth and some semblance of protection.

However, on the train a few days ago, I was downright angry.  I’ll set the scene for you.  I was coming home from work a wee bit late; there were only a few people in my train car.  Quite unusual not to have elbow-to-elbow seating.

A young man, perhaps in his early twenties, was speaking very loudly on his cell phone (what a surprise!).  I was just about to put on my headphones and listen to some nice, instrumental music to drown out his nonsense, when what he said next made me cringe in my seat.

Here is a summary of what I heard (and believe me, anyone who talks on their phone in a public place so the entire universe can hear what they are saying does not get my vote for maintaining any confidentiality).

This young man told the person on the other end of this disastrous phone call that she has a sense of entitlement which she ‘clearly’ shouldn’t have; after all, she isn’t his girlfriend.  He was, in fact, dating other women.  He went on to say that having a relationship is only going to bring, “emotional liability”.  What the hell does that mean, I thought to myself.  He told her that ‘if’ he came over to hers this weekend they would definitely have to discuss the future of their ‘situation’.  Discuss? What’s to discuss, I thought.  I think you’ve pretty much shared your ‘concerns’ right here on the Red Line of the good ‘ol Chicago Transit Authority in front of yours truly, and a few sprinklings of other passengers (engaged in their candy crush games or whatever the latest and greatest phone numbing activity is at the moment).


I want to provide this young man with some advice that I am quite certain he would not understand; nonetheless, here it is:

Your treatment of this young lady was appalling.  You in no way shape or form deserve to have ANYONE as either a friend or a partner in the emotional and mental state you currently find yourself in.

The words you spoke were not only the epitome of arrogance, but they were mean-spirited.  Clearly you do not understand what it means to be empathetic.

Your phrase regarding, “emotional liability” tells me you are more interested in having a transactional relationship as opposed to one based on love, caring, kindness, and giving.  I suggest you might want to perhaps invest in an automated banking machine; this will give you lots of transactions to cozy up to on a cold Chicago night.

Your tone, your words, and your selfishness speak not one single syllable about the young lady you were talking to; this is entirely your ball of rudeness.  You are projecting your own lack of self-worth onto this other person (and no doubt, everyone you encounter).  It speaks volumes about who you are, no one else.

I strongly encourage you to seek counselling.  You are an emotional wreck.  No one, and I mean NO ONE ever, ever speaks to anyone (or treats anyone like this) unless there is a huge cesspool of issues going on inside your head.

I wish you well; I really mean it.  Your going to end up as a lonely old man if you don’t get to what is happening within you now that has made you so incredibly nasty.

Oh, and to the young lady on the other end of this callous convo:  my dear girl, you too need counselling but for an entirely different reason.  To put up with this young man’s abuse speaks volumes about your sense of self-worth; meaning, you don’t have any.  You are probably a lovely young woman who is flattered by this guy’s attention and don’t think you can do any better.  Trust me, this guy is at the shallow end of the dating pool.  You deserve the deep end, my dear.  Please work on your own self-esteem; and then, and ONLY then will you find that a lovely young man will appear who treats you with dignity, respect, thoughtfulness and love.  I wish you well.



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