Standing silently with other commuters at the bus stop. Only when the bus arrives, it’s not a bus, but a giant claw machine! The two dollars you slide into the bus vendor box gains you admittance inside the claw machine.
Do you love the claw machines where you use a joystick to try to pick up a toy and drop it into a dropbox chute? I do. Ever get frustrated with the claw dropping the toy? The hanging claw may look menacing with its curved metal fingers, but often the toy slips from its loose grip. At that point you want to climb into the claw machine box and retrieve the toy yourself.
As this 81 Lawrence bus pulled up, it was like a dream on wheels. A giant claw machine you can walk into! Only this giant claw machine held a mystery. You slide your money into the machine, but you aren’t allowed to touch the toys. The social norms of being inside a bus full of toys puts up a glass window making the toys inaccessible.
In fact, it’s not even clear whose toys they were. Nobody was sitting by them. Perhaps they were free after all. A public art project on a bus. Free toys for those brave enough to take them.
[Update: Gapers Block selected this photo as the featured Chicago photo in Rearview for July 29, 2014. Thank you, Gapers Block!]
[Update 2: Fun! My inflatable bus photo is currently the 396th best photo on Flickr for July 28, 2014. ]