James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

69: Routine Fissures

This week’s essay: “Routine Fissures”

Last week, I was headed to my south side studio in the early morning hours. When this occurs, I either take the 18 or the 21 bus to the Green Line. Bus tracker stated that the 21 was going to be fifteen minutes, with the 18 at five minutes. I figured I’d take my chances with the 18.

Walking to my usual bus stop, I noticed there was a wrinkled sheet of paper hastily rolled around the stop pole hanging by a single piece of tape. In typical Chicago fashion, this inconspicuous sheet of paper was meant to inform customers that this bus was no longer stopping at this stop for a multitude of reasons. After deciphering the handwriting, I shuffled down to the nearest stop. Well, more like sprinted since bus tracker said it was now coming in four minutes.

After reaching the stop, there was a crowd at the benches. There is never a crowd at this hour which means a couple of scheduled busses did not show up. This also meant that this same crowd of people, thanks to the smart pieces of glass in their pockets that can access a bus tracker, decided to show up at the stop right when they thought the bus was coming, which was now in two minutes.

The pulsating icon started to count down and a bunch of strangers were engaged in the similar dance of scoping the location of our missing bus. Gazes went from the glass in their hands, to other transit customers giving the look that says “yeah, this situation is fucked up, ya know?” Customers, we are experiencing a delay due to customer frustration. The routine has been disrupted.

Five minutes turned into ten, and now the glass in everyone’s hand has shifted into their pockets. Pacing begins and glances at each other become stronger. In the seventeen minutes we have spent occupying the same space, the first conversation erupts.

“Yeah, this bus is really taking a while right?”

“Yeah, it says it should be coming in two minutes.”

In two minutes, I see the blurry orange LED rumbling from down the street.

“18 16th/18th Michigan/Roosevelt”

The glances went from each other, to looking around the street, and back to the glass in the pocket.

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Responses to last week’s letter, “Beautifully Flawed”

★ No replies. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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What did I find interesting this week?

★ Writing this week’s letter was thanks to listening to Kiiara’s new song, Gold, on repeat.

★ I had a job three years ago where it was a two hour commute, one way. Bad commutes really make the economy worse.

★ I miss the days of the past, back when sports mascots didn’t look so pissed off all the time.

★ Susan Bennett, the voice behind a good chunk of our virtual assistants named Siri that lives in our pockets, goes over different techniques in voice acting.

★ Speaking of voice (pun intended), sending voice memos to each other as a texting alternative is really taking off in Buenos Aires. It’s a trend that I’ve been noticing a lot in podcasts lately as well and hope it continues.

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What’s coming up?

★ Cher and I will be recording a new episode of our podcast, Open Ended with guest Lauren Ash of Black Girl in Om! You can check out our latest episode, “Dunkin’ on Fools” with guest Daniel Zarick, on our websiteiTunes, or in any other podcast player.

★ I’ll be in a group exhibition titled Three the Hard Way at The Logan Center in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood with Ayana Contreras and David Leggett. The opening’s on July 10th.

★ I’m going to be showing a (semi) new art piece at this year’s CHGO DSGN: WHEREVER show at LVL3 in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The opening’s on July 11th.

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Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

-James

James T. Green