Most people see garbage - paper, Styrofoam, plastic bottles, rotting peels and worse drizzled with rivulets of exotically colored sauce of unknown origin - as refuse. The bureaucrats at the CTA see it as high art.
That's the only possible explanation for their inexplicable move to collect the garbage at the agency's subway stations in painfully clear plastic bags. I can't believe it's been over three years since I first wrote about the bags popping up along the blue line. Naively, I believed that this idea was so appallingly bad that it would be immediately apparent to anyone still emitting brain waves, and would be quickly remedied.
But there's no underestimating the bureaucratic brain, and the deployment of clear bags actually appears to be expanding, mucking up even the brightest of stations. Could anyone explain to me what the point is? And please don't say it's a security measure. What easier way to conceal a destructive device than in a discarded newspaper? How can it be a security measure when traditional closed receptacles still stand only yards away?
How impressed Olympic officials must be when they tour Chicago's subways. Joseph Cornell would be green with envy (or maybe just from nausea). How perfectly the found objects in an overstuffed clear plastic garbage bag express Chicago's consumerist, commuterish angst, especially when hanging from a column rotting with dribbling rust. World class all the way.