Too good for the rest of us

By Samuel Charles

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to having my cell phone out on the train. Some combination of Words with Friends, iTunes, texting and my free crossword puzzle app usually graces my iPhone’s screen. But it seems like every time there’s a piece in the news about someone being held up on the train for their phone, it’s almost always one of the Apple variety. You’d think that would make me more leery and aware of my surroundings.

With a quick glance around a morning Red Line train traveling from the North Side to downtown, one would see—besides an obnoxiously crowded and uncomfortable train car—dozens of iPhones, Blackberrys, Kindles and even a few laptops and iPads.

It’ll be a cold day in hell when I knock my fellow iPhone users, and I’m a convert from the Church of Blackberry, so I can see why someone would use one regularly. And Kindle owners apparently find solace in their digital books, so why not use it during the hectic commute?

But the line is drawn there.

If you take out your laptop on the train, you are stupid. It’s not a debate. The same goes for your iPad. It’s hard to feel pity for people so willing to risk their investments. Besides being stupid and irresponsible, having an iPad or laptop out is a pretty smarmy move.

“I’m so busy that I couldn’t possibly finish my work at home or at the office, so it looks like I have to finish these TPS reports on the train. Oh, you want to sit down? Sorry, I need that seat for my laptop case. I should be done by the time we get to the Clark /Division stop, but no promises.”

That’s usually what I imagine people with their laptops on the train are saying to themselves. I’m pretty sure it’s accurate, but who knows?

Being a go-getter is great. More power to you if you want to burn the midnight oil to bring your company into the black. But there’s no need to be a jerk about it.

Last week while taking the Red Line north from Jackson to Sheridan, as I often do, I noticed a woman sitting across the aisle from me switching back and forth between her iPhone and iPad. Seriously, is one piece of technological brilliance not enough for you? Get over yourself. Come down from your ivory tower and be miserable with the rest of us for the hellish 30 minutes we all must spend on that godforsaken train. And don’t think I don’t notice when you become visibly happier when we get to the North/Clybourn stop because the nearby Apple store makes your wireless signal stronger.

Phones and eReaders are one thing, but a laptop or iPad is wholly unnecessary, especially considering—believe it or not—that things are actually stolen on the train.