Yesterday the heavens opened so widely that the windows in Chateau Stevie began leaking, thus the watery assault on my domicile was now coming from two directions: Up through the basement floor as always and down through the kitchen floor.
As a result of all this wet several things happened. First and foremost, the Bloody Long Island Rail Road stopped working as a variety of their electrical equipment proved unequal to the task of being weatherproof. This included the brand new signal system that replaced the old one that caught fire and for which the commuting public paid deep in the purse.
Not only that, various tunnels flooded and stopped being useful for moving trains under rivers. The upshot of this was that I was late out and consequently late home.
This morning I reacted to the late finish yesterday by oversleeping past my good train, my okay train and my safety train. The Bloody Long Island rail Road deleted my no-so-late-it-will-be-a-public-relations-disaster train from the schedule weeks ago in an effort to improve on-time service, so I was set to be over an hour late for work today.
I decided to take a corkboard I had in the garage and bring it to work. I've been threatening to do this for years, ever since I brought it home from work in fact1 and this seemed like the ideal opportunity. The damned thing is just too large to carry comfortable under my arm and the improvised handle I made for it when I brought it home allows it to bang into the floor, an event that can tear the cheap frame into matchwood. By the time I got it from my car to the station my arm was killing me from having to carry stuff while bent. Ruddy thing was heavy too, much heavier than one might think cork would be.
Of course, all the near-the-station car park spaces had been snarfed up by Rich Git Lawyers so I had to park out by the ambulance station, several hundred yards away from where the train would be.
When I got to the platform it was covered in small lakes because it has no drainage. These lakes form right where the people stand for the doors for maximum passenger convenience, and some of them are almost an inch deep. Oh for a hole in the mastic joints so it could all drain away.
I parked myself on the salt bunker, a sort of mini shed about two and a half feet high for storing the ice-melt they need to thaw out the aforementioned lakes in winter lest a lawsuit arise, and within minutes the corkboard had tumbled from it into one of the lakes, soaking the brown paper wrapping completely through. Just when I though things were at an all time low the platform filled with vacuous off-peak on-vacation idiots with their noisy phones and inane chatter.
After what seemed like only eight hours or so a train hoved into view and stopped. We all stood around while the conductor tried to remember what he'd forgotten, and within minutes the doors slid open to let people off and admit the hoi-poloi. The only available seat was now one of the drop-down, abandon in the event of wheelchair ones which offer nil back support but allow one to enjoy the "Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea" locomotion of these bedamned new trains to the fullest. I parked me and my backpack on one and fished for my John LeCarre novel, at which point my bag toppled off the chair to the floor so hard it cause my hibernating laptop to take a stop, forcing me to reboot it to check it was not seriously damaged.
The train passed over various novelty sections of track which serve to magnify the rocking of the trains until they threaten to derail. The inane blither of my fellow travelers was augmented by the moans of those who had drifted off in the window seats and were now sporting concussions and contusions. Is there any feeling so exhilarating as that induced by waking after a good head bang against glass only to realize your head is traveling at speed towards the glass for another go?
We reached Jamaica but put in at a different wharf to that normally used for a transfer to a Brooklyn-bound train, inducing panic in the amateur commuters. The Atlantic terminal train pulled in opposite us, but the train doors once again did not open for a full two minutes. The Bloody Long Island Rail Road wonder why assaults on staff are on the increase. I'd hazard a guess that not opening the bleeping doors once the train has stopped and the connecting train is flashing its 'doors closing" lights is high on the list of assault-inducing stimuli. I mean, how hard is it? The train stops at a station and the doors need to open. That is the entire point of the exercise! Conductors take particular glee in keeping people standing outside in the teeming rain in the winter months. bleepwits.
Eventually I got to Brooklyn, where the improvised handle on my package broke so I was forced to mess around with a very uncomfortable under-the-arm technique that has all but dislocated my shoulder.
I unpacked the thing at the office and discovered that I had sandwiched it with old desk calenders back in 2004 in some brilliant plan to protect the corkboard in transit or smuggle two foot by one foot sheets of cardboard out of the workplace, I'm not sure which now. Had I noticed these and removed them before starting out the wretched corkboard would have been about one-third the weight I carried all the way from Long Island.
And I have to stay late to make up time so I'm a bit grumpy today.
- When we shifted from Manhattan to Brooklyn↑