Friday, June 15, 2012

Bugger This Buggery-Bastard Buggering Buggery

Life has been particularly trying of late.

The Bloody Long Island Rail Road continues to degrade in performance, with train delays now so frequent that the text message alerts can run my phone battery completely flat overnight as a situation at ten o'clock gradually overwhelms the LIRR in waves of delay, dithering and dimwittery. I am not making that up. A brand-new freshly charged phone battery, dead as a very dead dead thing in less than eight hours of texting. Even better, some of the messages are so long and meandering that they truncate before they actually say what is going on.

The situation on the platform isn't much better, what with that daft sod who announces the times the next train would have arrived at stations more than 45 minutes down the route had it not been still sitting in Ronkonkoma subject to "equipment problems". Seriously stupid to talk to people who won't actually be there for another half hour at the earliest.

Take this last week. I drive to Wyandanch, Pearl of the East to discover that the entire Ronkonkoma line had been switched off thanks to someone in Central Islip who didn't understand that whole thing about not going around the barriers when they are down until he was tumbling down the track in his somersaulting car of fiery death after having been struck by a train that by a million-to-one chance was traveling right down the tracks. I mean, what were the chances of that?

So I turned around and that was when I noticed that my road inspection sticker was out of date by over a week. I drove to the place I got the Mrs Steviedad's car fixed (see below) and told them I needed to make an appointment to get an inspection, new brakes and a service. They could have fitted me in there and then but I couldn't do that because there weren't any trains running locally - I needed to drive to Babylon, nearly ten miles away, to get to work. They said "Tomorrow, then" and I drove off to the little car-park I'd found out about last month.

I parked, and as I was attempting to read the number on my space so I could pay the $2:50 it would cost me to stay there ten hours, an SUV roared into the space next to me, the driver - who was clad for tennis - threw some sort of permit against his windshield so he could avoid the $2:50 charge for parking and we both left. He to the train to the Manhattan tennis club, me to the machine for a five minute quarter-feeding session.

The trains from Babylon at that time are local and take half as long again to arrive at Jamaica as the Ronkonkoma one does, so I was late anyway.

Work is still not what it should be. I joined to be a Unix admin and have been systematically prevented from doing that in preference to working on Project Millstone, which is underfunded, has no training budget and is about as popular with everyone except the person who bought it as a dose of jock-itch. Unmotivated? Moi? I can't be buggered to be unmotivated.

The day passed intolerably and I arrived back at my car to discover I had been served a ticket for not having a current inspection sticker which entitled me to pay a fifty dollar fine. As I was reading this document and practicing some new Words of Power I noticed the ticketless SUV in the next space with its bit of cardboard in the window and I contemplated justice: specifically, the justice that could be served by stabbing all four tires of this git's brickmobile.

I didn't of course.

Oh right, the Mrs Steviedad's car episode. I forgot to blog about that. Or to be more precise, I couldn't lever myself out of the depths of my depression about the whole situation to write about it. It happened like this:
The Mrs Steviemom needs to be driven to the stores so that if she has reaction to her medication she won't crash at high speed and hurt anyone. The Stevieling needs the driving practice. "Two problems with the same answer" I hear you say, and so did we.

Two weeks ago I received a phone call from Mrs Stevie to say that the Stevieling had crashed the Mrs Steviedad's car while reversing out of a parking space by means of the old "select drive instead of reverse and smash into a light pole" error of judgment. No-one was hurt and the car had "some minor damage".
These words should send shivers down the spine of any male.

I had them send me some photos to my phone. How is it possible for women to look at a damaged car and say "That's not bad, a few scratches" and a man look at the same car and scream "Argh! That's gonna cost me at least three grand to fix!". Both have the same experience in getting cars fixed. Yet the man is nearly always right, and if he is wrong it's because he has low-balled the estimate. I gripped my head and moaned for a bit, then told Mrs Stevie to have the car taken to a body shop.

The damage was a bit over two grand to get fixed. What I couldn't understand was how the Stevieling managed to get that 1990 Ford Taurus Estate moving so fast in such a small space. The impact absorbing bumper was a total write-off, insides twisted up like a pretzel. The Mrs Steviedad loves the car, of course, so the job had to be done.

Once the job was done, each sibling and sib-spouse took time to tell me what a waste of time it was to repair a car for a man who shouldn't be driving. I told them that I had no right to remove the old man's car, though they could if they felt up to it (they didn't). I also told them that he doesn't take any notice of me, and that if the sons thought he shouldn't be driving they should visit him and tell him that to his face, then give me first refusal on buying the car. That was the end of that discussion.

There's more stupidness, but to be honest I can't face talking about it now.

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