Another Day on the #22 Clark Street Bus

The #22 Clark Street bus is Chicago with its guard down. For my money, it’s the most unpretentious ride you can take north and south. Well, there are others, say the #36 Broadway and maybe the #156 Milwaukee, where you can get a good show for your $2.25. I got a great show one day last spring.

This little lady with a face like the map of Ireland and the clothes of the homeless gets on at the 

Division Street stop. Cheeks rouged with 2-inch red circles, a wig of black yarn, shoes with no laces and a found coat, she fusses with her bags over and over, then walks through the bus studying the ceiling. Then suddenly, “Take your feet off the seat!” she screams at a teen. “I’m sorry,” he says. “You aint sorry. You’re embarrassed,” she shouts. The teen jumps off at the next stop and she calls after him, “You’ll soon be sorry!”

“That old gal is nutty as a fruitcake,” a neatly suited man says to a seatmate. I’m glad I’m gettin’ off soon.”

“Hello,” she says to him. “Just a minute.”

She looks at the suit, “Now, where were we?”

“Driver, this old woman is bothering us back here!”

“He don’t hear you,” she smiles and twirls gracefully in a circle. “No, you won’t get what you want. That little lease deal for $23,340, aint going through. Hee, hee.”

“How’d you know about that?” he shouts.

“I aint deef y’know.” And she does the Buffalo Shuffle to the front of the bus, where she smiles broadly, showing a mouthful of bad teeth and raises her arms displaying her coat torn under the arms. “Oooooooh, look at that!” pointing to the rear window. When we turn our heads back to the front, she is gone, and everyone’s face seems to be asking, “Did what I think happened just happen?”

Just another day on the #22.


About Chicago Stories

I'm a Chicagoan, have been for fifty years. I've had a consulting business in the city for thirty-eight years, working with many Chicago companies and organizations and others around the world. Before that, I worked the city's race relations agency for five years.I am a volunteer tour guide for Chicago's Greeter Program and introduce visitors from around the world to this beautiful city. I'm also a writer of several professional books as well as poetry, essays and fiction. The city has become my inspiration, education and entertainment. View all posts by Chicago Stories

2 responses to “Another Day on the #22 Clark Street Bus

  • Soren Ambrose

    Did this really happen? Including the dollar amount? And what’s the Buffalo Shuffle pray tell?

    • Larry

      Oh, yeah. This did happen, although the dollar amount is a bit fuzzy, but it was substantial. Your question about the Buffalo Shuffle: it’s a simple tap dancing movement and lots of fun. You can find it in Google under “Buffalo Shuffle”. Larry

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