Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I've noticed that on my train commute there is an automatic audio announcement for every stop, and I kind of find it funny that it treats each stop differently. I don't pay attention in the morning because there are only two announcements: Oak Park and Ogilvy. But in the evening?

My first stop is Kedzie. There is no pleasant way to say that word. It always comes out awkward or distasteful. It's so bad that no one gets off there. Only two cars are on the platform at the time. Metra doesn't care about Kedzie. (As a side note, remember the time I talked about the bum who got kicked forcefully off the train? It was at Kedzie. Just to add some flavor.)

Then we get to Oak Park. Might as well be announcing we're all breathing today. It's too matter of fact. Water is wet, folks. As you were.

The next stop I'll mention later, but after that is Maywood. Again, not much of a fuss. Just grass growing. Melrose Park, on the other hand, seems like it's a surprise to the automated response. Melrose Park? We're stopping there? Really?

Next up is Bellwood. The robot doesn't know what to make of the word. It gets it wrong every time. It sounds vaguely right, but it's a mish-mash. Ugly.

The next two stops are Berkeley and Elmhurst (my stop). Both times are like Melrose Park, except it's not just a surprise. It's a pleasant surprise.

But there's one I haven't talked about. One that is completely different from the others. I think the robot is very happy about this one. It's the third stop: River Forest. When it announces this stop, it is completely pleasant and impressed, like River Forest might be the greatest place on the planet.

And sure, it looks nice. It's not bad for a mid-level suburb of Chicago. Doesn't look rundown, but it doesn't look very civilized, either. Some of it is actually pretty beautiful. No wonder this computer likes it. I imagine if it was trying to become a sentient being, emotion and all, it would want to commute from River Forest everyday.

Is my train becoming self-aware? Oh shit.

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