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Photograph: H. Michael Miley/Flickr

11 things you should definitely never eat on the El

Written by
Sara Freund

We’ve all seen it (and maybe even done it). The evidence is everywhere—popsicle wrappers, peanut shells and even pizza crusts on the floor. It seems some of you have forgotten you're not actually permitted to stuff your face on the train. Well, enough is enough. It’s time to stop eating while using public transportation. Plenty of horrible things happen on the El as it is—like that time a woman carried a live alligator on board or, more commonly, that time you sat in a mystery puddle. Still, some people insist on commuting to and fro while chewing on sunflower seeds or going to town on a pound of fried chicken. We may not have the power to stop you, but please, please stop eating these 11 foods on the El.

 1. Cheetos. Any orange, flaky snack should be forever banned. This includes any Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell. No one wants to hang on to the pole after you've left sticky dust all over the place.

2. Ribs or wings. The sauce will inevitably get everywhere and I don’t want to be part of your meal.

3. Powdered doughnuts. This is a mistake. As soon as you take one out of the bag, more powdered sugar will be on your clothes than on the actual doughnut.

4. Meatball subs. Hot, spicy meatballs dripping in marinara sauce. Of course you got this to-go without any napkins.

5. Popsicle. This seems like a nice and innocent food, but it’s not. First, you're down a hand, then it starts dripping and you start slurping. It's a mess and you're embarrassing yourself.

6. Dips of any kind. This is a complex snack with way too many steps. You need two hands and a strong sense of balance, but even then you'll encounter an infinite number of ways for this to turn into a disaster.

7. Hard-boiled eggs. Sure, you’re trying to be healthy, but the same hand that grabbed the El pole is now holding your snack. Plus, it smells up the entire car.

8. Noodles. Absolutely no spaghetti, chicken noodle soup or pad thai. Do not submit other passengers to the smell, slurping and spillage.

9. Bananas. Sure, you think you’re safe because the banana has a peel protecting it from the CTA grossness. But what do you do with the peel when you're done? Hold it for your entire commute? Drop it on the floor? And what if you accidentally make eye contact with someone while snacking? Awkward. 

10. Soup. Why would you do this to yourself? Can you not just wait? 

11. All shelled nuts. Your snack is making everyone miserable. Not just while you’re eating it, but well after you’re done passengers will have to make their way through the path of your chewed up sunflower seeds, peanut shells or pistachios. Thanks a lot.  

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