Erin Payton has been riding Chicago’s CTA rail system to and from work for 15 years. Mondays, she roasts and celebrates our collective commute.

Brown Line toward Loop – morning

I get on the Brown Line in the morning at the beginning of the trek from Kimball to the Loop. As the cars don’t start filling up until the Western stop in Lincoln Square, the train is usually pretty empty when I plop down.

It was on a next-to-empty train one fine morning that I looked to my right and saw a dude, about 20 feet away, changing his clothes. All of them.

I’ve cooked up scenarios since that day, trying to imagine why this guy was naked on the Brown Line. Because I figure he had to drop trou in public, right? Here are some possibilities with legs:

  1. He plowed through a bag of of chips, not realizing they were prune flavored. An oopsy poopsy later and he was in desperate need of a change.
  2. He has been living a double life for the past eight years and had to take off the birthday boxers that wife #1, Antoinette, gave him and put on the anniversary boxers from wife #2, Wanda. As Antoinette dropped him off at the train and Wanda was picking him up, and since there was no elevator to change in ala The Secret of My Success (you know I’ve loved you since “Midnight Madness,” but your new NBC sitcom needs some major re-working, MJF) he was stuck derobing on the train.
  3. Overzealous bee.

Once I realized that I was being treated to a complimentary strip show, I looked around to see if anyone else had seen the main attraction. There was only one other person in the car and she was out of view to my left. I was almost disappointed. I didn’t want her to be subjected to the horror displayed before my sensitive eyes (fear not– while I caught most of his act, I thankfully saw neither franks nor beans), but I wanted to share the moment with someone other than the skinnydipper himself.

In the age of oversharing,[ref]Says the girl who is oversharing on the Internet.[/ref] it is a rare thing to have something crazy happen and not see it on Twitter or Facebook 34 seconds later. The gentleman in question was the only other person available to record the event. He was too busy putting on clean drawers to videotape The Happening (not to be confused with this terrible movie or this TV show that was cancelled before we could find out what the damn event was),[ref]If a writer from the show wants to send me a private email with where the show was heading I promise not to publish here.[/ref] so it was up to me to become a YouTube overnight sensation, right? Sorry to disappoint. As I am incapable of using technology quickly or efficiently, I took the high road.

Also, I get it . . . kind of. I have changed my clothes in my car plenty of times–only once when I was driving–and in the last seven months I have breastfed and/or pumped in public more times than I’d like to admit. While I myself have managed to keep all of my kibbles and bits away from prying eyes, I understand that sometimes your luck runs out and you find yourself naked on the CTA.