Friday, September 22, 2006

At The End Of The Day

The New York Daily News, fresh from whatever it was that it just got done (the illegal parking going on by court officers in Chinatown I think) has decided to take on the 'lack of politeness' by the LIRR commuters. This is a bit rich. Although they definitely have a point about people not behaving politely, reasonably or even rationally on the LIRR everyone knows that it is the railroad itself that is the source of all annoyance, inconvenience, bad humour, poor intelligence and poor service. The rude commuters are simply a symptom of this deeper ill, this malaise, this blight on civilisation. One cannot deny facts like that.

Besides, no-one writing at the Daily News actually rides the LIRR for any meaningful length of time on a regular basis. I don't mind people joining in the call to, for example, tar and feather anyone taking a call on one of those misbegotten squawkphones with a bleep so loud it loosens fillings while on the train. Nor do I object to having the filthy bastards that dump old food and beer on the floor at 2:15 pm so the evening commuters can enjoy them later revealed as the animals they are. But if you are going to write the stories, at least have people who ride the bastard trains to realistic destinations do the writing, eh? Rule of thumb: If you can get there by subway, you aren't a LIRR commuter because you have options. If you ride to anywhere neare than Jamaica you aren't a LIRR commuter because you both have options (' E ' from Sutphin Boulevard for one) and barely have the time to notice whatever is wrong before you disembark. And if you only commute three days a week, you don't count because you are an affluent git who probably can afford their own airship in the event of trouble.

If the NYDN wants to get the real story, it should have it written by those sterling souls who commute from Port Jefferson and further away, no less than five days a week. Only these poor buggers have the investment of time on the system, investing as they do three or more hours a day on the bugger.

And Just When It Reaches The Point Of Not Being Able To Get Any Worse, The Wheels Come Off And It Does

I finally got a very stupid, annoying, overlong-in-the-solving-of, boring [ three pages of adjectives ommited for brevity ] rse-end of a job to run properly last night and so I celebrated by going home for my tea. I should explain that for this conversion of an old job to a new transaction environment I checked all the error handling first (really the only bit I designed myself) and when that was airtight I tested the working condition and I had the world's best error-handler that actually wouldn't do anything useful for the longest while because of a stupid switch setting and some legacy architecture that wasn't being helpful. The ear-whistle is also having a detrimental effect on my concentration (still). Gah!

When I got to Wyandanch (Pearl of the East) I was walking across the car park towards the Fabulous Steviemobile when I cam across a Toyota Something missing a few feet of expensive rear bumper and four wheels, posed artistically on two axle stands placed under the sills midway down the car's body. Mr brain milled for a moment and then leapt to the conclusion that someone had stolen a vehicle, driven it to the carpark and stripped it for crack-money (it would be difficult to envisage a less businesslike attempt to divest a vehicle of the valuable bits). Crackheads are bad news because they cause a lot of damage in their attempts to get small but valuable bits from one's car, and once they start they often go on a spree. With some trepidation I approached the Steviemobile, but all was well1.

I fired her up and coasted round to the sculpture, intending to get the number so I could call the police and report the "stolen" car, when I came upon two gentlemen standing nearby, obvious LIRR commuters by their dazed expressions and haunted looks. I wound down my window and asked if anyone had already called it in. "Yep", said one, "When I called in the report on my own car". It seems that the car hadn't necessarily been dumped after all, but may have been one of several that were jacked up and had their wheels stolen while their owners were at work. Magic.

Wyandanch is a depressed area, with a large population of people in what is usually described as "reduced circumstances". Pink Floyd put it rather better in Breathe2 when they used the phrase "quiet desperation", but occasionally things aren't so quiet. What galls is that there are often plenty of police around writing tickets, typically at the month's start or end (nope, no ticket quotas here in NY, nossir), but there is always more broken windshield glass lying around than anyone is comfortable with. This new level of skullduggery is a bit much though. You'd have thought someone would notice three cars losing their wheels in less-than-optimal circumstances.

1: I try and park so my car is either fully visible from the street or is next to the fence of a local autobody shop. Anyone thieving from my car would be seen straight away. It is my hope this drives the skittish and shy Thievingus Crackheaddium to greener pastures.
2: From Dark Side Of The Moon. Keep up!

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