North America | United States of America (USA) | Great Lakes | Illinois | Chicago – Week three
My goal for day one was quite simple: turn in a job application. The reality of accomplishing that goal sounded simple, too. All I needed to do was find the bus, successfully transfer to a different bus, find the museum, and drop off my application. Problem number one: I didn’t have any idea where the bus stopped. A quick visit to Powell’s bookstore (one of the thirty or so bookstores populating my small neighborhood) solved problem number one. Once at the stop, I discovered problem number two: busdrivers. I didn’t know that busdriving required a special dialect of English, understandable only to the drivers themselves. I underpaid, got a transfer anyway (turns out he was new to the experience, too) and found a seat somewhere near the front.
After a while, I realized I had no clue where the bus went, or what bus to get on next. I nervously examined the people around me, realizing that my initial belief that I was ‘color blind’ was incorrect. I couldn’t help but notice that my skin was the wrong color. I asked for help anyway.
That’s how I met Michelle. She must’ve felt sorry for this utterly lost white girl venturing out into Chicago for her first time, ’cause she offered to help.
‘What! You got no friends girl?’ Which led to ‘Haven’t you heard of a currency exchange?’ Except it sounded like ‘kuh-an-see’ so I didn’t understand!
With a mother hen’s instinct, she briskly led me down to the currency exchange, helped me successfully buy my first CTA card, and got me on the right bus to find the museum. Her worry was evident: I obviously was less prepared for city life than my previous experiences led me to believe!