Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » Essay

Reader to Reader



I was standing at one of the CTA fare-card machines, unsuccessfully attempting to recharge my card: my $20 bill was repeatedly spit back. The agent on duty, an older man, approached and asked if I needed assistance. I began to complain about the CTA expecting us to use this system when the machines didn't even work. The agent smiled and plucked the bill from my fingers. "Oh no, miss," he replied. "This machine is a female. And the women, they always take the money." With that, he smoothly reinserted the bill. I watched as the machine completed the transaction and returned my card.

--Marjorie Isaacson

Reader to Reader welcomes (and pays for) anecdotes, overheard conversations, and slices of city life from 20 to 200 words in length. Send yours to Reader to Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611, or E-mail to

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →