Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Stupidity, LIRR Style

Last night we got four inches of snow.

Naturally, this was a pain in the backside which cried out for the complete and utter failure of the snow plow infrastructure to get in gear, so that the trip to the radiation clinic that now forms part of my morning commute took almost 45 minutes instead of the normal 20 as idiots tried to get vehicles monumentally unsuited to the task to move in a controlled fashion on roads completely clogged with inches of snow. About halfway through this ordeal by snowstorm it began to rain, revealing a nice coating of ice polished to a high sheen by the morons I was sharing the road with who don't ever seem to get the point about not spinning their wheels for the sake of it.

By the time I got to the station a fine sleet was coming down. I drove to the small side street I now park on, and was truly impressed by the number of idiots determined to see how quickly they could lose control of their expensive vehicles. I decamped and walked to the station through an increasingly bitter icy drizzle. As I did so I narrowly missed being run over by one of the Long Island Panzerführen.

This one was a doozy. Back and side windows obscured by at least three inches of wet snow. Lights completely covered by same front and rear. Small patch of windshield scraped "clear" but the hood and roof retaining their nice deep cover of snow for camouflage purposes.

Which made it all the more puzzling why the idiot driving the Deer Park Fire Department vehicle, for such it 'twas, had bothered to turn on all his blue flashing roof lights. All that trouble to avoid detection by the other motorists was jeopardised by the bizarre need to light the blanket of snow from beneath with what looked like three watt blue bulbs.

I ducked into the station house, where the nice new computer display informed me that the next train was on time and was due in at 9:33 am. Mr Casio Wristwatch, now synchronised to Jamaica time, informed me that it was now 9:33 so I left the warmth of the station house and made my way down the packed snow and ice which coated the entire platform until I reached the aluminium shelter erected about halfway down. I usually don't ride in the front of the train to avoid noise from the train's klaxon.

No sooner had I completed this journey, all of about 60 seconds of travail, than I was privileged to hear a recorded announcement that the train was now an estimated eight minutes late. In the space of one minute, the train went from being "on time" (though nowhere in sight) to eight minutes late. Magic.

I passed the chilly time by observing the LIRR crew who had invaded the platform with snow shovels in the quest for a snow-free environment and passenger safety. They were very busy, shoveling like madmen, which is why I found it so utterly perplexing that they had chosen to begin work at the extreme East end of the platform. Since the station house is at the extreme West end of that same platform and passenger turnout was almost certain to be light at this time in the morning compared with the period from 6:30 to about 8:15 - not to mention the effect the weather was having on getting people to just stay home - this pretty much guaranteed that they would have no chance whatsoever of clearing any of the platform people would actually be using to board that next train unless it was really, really late.

The train pulled up a few minutes later and we all tramped out to the doors so we could board. We stood and we stood as freezing rain soaked us through, but at no time were we in any danger of being forced to get on the train. In all I estimate we stood around getting drenched for about 45 seconds before someone got a bleeding clue and pressed the "open door" button. By then my coat was soaked through, still is as I type in the early evening, and the change at a very windy Jamaica was pure misery as a result. At least I had the reason for the train being late.

There wasn't a single person on board the thing that knew how to work it.

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