Toby was no fool. He’d lived in Chicago for 8 years and knew full well what awaited him on a northbound 36 bus at 2pm on a Tuesday. 30 minutes of silence and dodging looks from the chronically unemployed and homeless. It was the middle of the day and rather than walk 2 miles to his home or shrug 4 blocks to the train station, he had chosen the laziest option available. He would stand completely still for 30 minutes in the cold and wait for a bus that would deposit him directly in front of his studio apartment.
Toby took the path of least resistance in all matters of physical exertion. He took to ellipticals at a particularly young age. “To save my knees” he told his friends. In truth, running just seemed like too much work. He also found the lies of the elliptical’s calorie counter and mileage calculator too generous to resist. Often, after a particularly grueling ellipses, he would treat himself with a cigarette or three - small reward for trekking 3 faux miles.
But real miles were to be avoided at all costs. Toby hated walking. The city charged him 100 dollars a month for an unlimited fare card and he squeezed every cent he could from those monsters. So in all travel, Toby took the CTA. He knew that once he had exceeded 35 trips on the el or the bus systems, he was, in effect, getting a free ride. It pleased him greatly to think that he was screwing the city.
When the bus pulled up to his stop, Toby threw his newspaper to the ground and strode to the bus’ entrance.
“You shouldn’t litter, fat man. It’s bad luck.” said a voice.
He turned to see a woman living in a cardboard lean-to adjacent to the bus shelter.
“You know what’s bad luck? Being homeless.” Toby high-fived himself on the inside. Top notch stuff for a Tuesday, he thought.