It has been a very bad week commute-wise so far.
Monday I was excused the need to deal with the Bloody Long Island Railroad on account of being asked to be a pall-bearer at the funeral mass for the father of a very close friend.
Tuesday I arrived in reasonable time with a good connection at Jamaica (not the good one) but had to leave at 1:30 to dash to Doc Rubberglove's House Of Pain so I could get an injection of whatever it is he gives me to stop these blasted allergies1 in their tracks2. I also spent ten minutes sucking on Doc Rubberglove's Patent Electric Fog Bong which did for the wheezing and coughing and increased the billability of my visit.
The Bloody Long Island Railroad missed the opportunity to deliver me late to this jab'n'bong fest, something in which they have been assiduous since I've been riding the wretched thing. Such was my discomfort that I didn't take note of this at the time.
But on Wednesday they more than made up for the inadvertent delivery of acceptable service.
I was forced to miss the earlier rush-hour trains on account of needing to send the taxes on Chateau Stevie to the Receiver of Blood Squeezed From Stones by registered mail, which in turn required the Post Office to be open for business. This was an almost painless operation and so it was with the usual trepidation I found myself standing on the platform a few minutes before the 9:33 am train, my so-called "safety train", was due to arrive.
At 9:38 am, with no announcement of incompetence underway, I began to suspect a major problem was at hand.
The alacrity with which the Bloody Long Island Railroad offers information varies inversely with the scale of the disaster. Delays because the on-board staff cannot get a grip and anticipate scheduled stops at long-existent stations require that they open the bleeping doors will be five-minute diatribes on the PA system. Announcement of "equipment problems" - trains not starting when the Go Button was pressed because the veeblefetzer fell off (again) - will be delivered when the train is in sight by someone emulating Rod McKuen's vocal technique while crumpling cellophane next to the microphone. Derailed trains will be announced four or five days after the train has been re-railed as a parenthetical addendum to an advertisement for train "service" to some baseball game. No announcement means Big Trouble.
So I fired up the Stevie Portable Interwebs and the iSlab of Usefulness3 and pulled up the Bloody Long Island Railroad schedule for Wyandanch (Pearl of the East). Yep. Okay. There was my problem.
the bleeping Long Island Railroad had removed my "Safety Train" from the schedule. No doubt this was another attempt to improve the rider experience by reducing the opportunities to be stuck riding a Bloody Long Island Railroad train. It sort of jibes with the usual levels of smart deployed by the Bloody Long Island Railroad. So I boarded the 10:02 in high dudgeon, now facing arrival at work sometime around 11am. Magic.
But the Bloody Long Island Railroad were not done enhancing my rider experience yet.
By the breathtaking strategy of taking almost a full hour to do the 40 minute journey to Jamaica (still not the good one) the Bloody Long Island Railroad managed to strand me there for half an hour waiting for a connection to replace the one I'd missed on account of an excess of rider experience enhancementations.
There are worse places to pointlessly kill half an hour of your life I suppose, but when you need to get where you are going I'd be hard pressed to name one that has to do with mass transit. I usually ride into Penn and take the subway back to Metrotech in Brooklyn when this happens. The magnitude of the resulting lateness is the same but at least I can use my laptop or my iSlab or read a copy of Analog or a book while sitting down as the lateness is being larded upon me.
But this time I stupidly assumed that the Bloody Long Island Railroad would hold the connecting train. I mean, they canceled half the trains going to Atlantic Terminal the day they reopened it after the refurbishment so as to avoid wearing out all the new granite and marble by having taxpaying commuters walk on them, so it's not like the traffic patterns are overloaded in and out of that monument to overspent taxpayer monies. No doubt there are reasons to do with not wanting to un-enhance the rider experience of the people on the connecting train.
That doesn't explain why when I am sitting on the bloody thing it often gets held for five minutes waiting for another connecting Penn-bound train to catch up, but no doubt there is a good reason for that which cannot be spoken of for reasons of National Security.
I eventually managed to catch a train to Atlantic Terminal which delivered me to the subway station, where I was greeted by a seven minute delay in catching a train to take me the two stops to Hoyt Street. From there 'twas but a five minute lope through the building site that was once the network of streets between the subway station and Metrotech and I was at work.
- Which left untreated leave me wheezing and coughing, blind from the ooze from my eyelids and trying to claw out my own sinuses in a desperate quest for relief from the itching↑
- I tell people I'm off for my "allergy shot" and am told there is no such thing. Doc Rubberglove confessed last year that it is a "slow release steroid". Is there such a thing? I have no idea and I don't care. As I tell the would-be medical experts leaning in to advise me, it could be sugar water for all I care. All I know is that whatever it is it works like a charm. I tell a lie: I know that it usually hurts just like a steroid shot does - i.e. it is a completely painless affair until I am safely out of the doctor's office and walking back to my car, whereupon I get kicked in the wherever-I-was-injected by an invisible horse↑
- Still trying to work out how to do actual productive work - like writing for this blog - on it, but I'm sure it's just a matter of my finding the right "app" rather than the fundamental inability of the iSlab to provide the levels of productivity support all those famous people4 claim it can↑
- Such as early adopter and famous author Charles Stross↑