Last week I had a day of such unremitting suckage I simply could not put fingers to keys to report it, but having re-lived the Project SinkingShip Meeting Outrage for my eager reader1 I have girded my loins and hitched my skirts and like that and will tell all in the interests of catharsis.
It started well enough with a trip to the Wyandanch Car Park under a cloudy sky, but when I had walked the hundred yards to the station there was an announcement that "due to *garbled* all trains into and out of Ronkonkoma were canceled until further notice."
My fellow would-be commuters either stared unwittingly into their phones with their earbuds in, oblivious to the cock-up in progress, or were staggering around, clutching their heads and moaning desolately. I looked around to see if any of either group were known to me or were trustworthy-looking enough to risk sharing a ride with, then walked the hundred yards back to the car park and drove the fabulous Steviemobile to a pay-as-you-go car park in Babylon, a mere three hundred yards from the station.
This is my emergency commute solution of choice as at a quarter for an hour the rate is not usurious and I can usually find a space there, unlike the situation pertaining to the next-to-the-station car park, which is always full by the time I get there.
I finally got to work, but the train was of course a local, which on the Babylon line means about 154 stops at stations I've never heard of, so I was at the very end of my "not late for work" window, which meant I'd have to work late that night and commute out of Penn Station.
Work was tedious and very tedious by turns, and when I finally walked out of the office it was looking like rain. I was mildly concerned because I didn't have a raincoat or umbrella with me, just my Wrangler jacket. I remembered not to get the Ronkonkoma train just in the nick of time and boarded an even-more local train back to Babylon (stopping everywhere there was even a hint of a station) and rode back reading a book on my 'phone.
For yes, I have a smart phone now, a rather neat Samsung J3, which I have fitted with the Kindle app and can hence access my library without either my Kindle or my iPad to hand and – you could have knocked me down with a feather – the readability of books on the phone is very good indeed.
My usual Kindle Consumer device is the iPad, but I find it and the keyboard I need to make it even remotely useful as a content creation device makes it rather heavy and awkward to carry around, and to be honest it has never been able to become a replacement for my laptop when it comes to getting life stuff done. If the software can compete with the PC-available stuff I have, the keyboard becomes problematical 2 and I hate that I have to have a cloud-based transfer in order to move anything out to my PC via the web.
So it was that I was paying no attention to the weather's doings as we rattled from Little Point to Wayster Space, on, ever on toward Babylon.
I alighted onto the unlighted platform at Babylon into a deluge like unto that Noah prepared for. I ran first in the opposite direction to the car park in order to find shelter from the rain and a toilet for the Sudden Onset Urgent Need To Wee I suffered due to all the splashing and waterfall noises, then I walked back under the station3 and waited under a bridge for the rain to slacken or (forlorn hope) stop altogether.
After about ten minutes the rain dropped to a light drizzle and I ran across the road, dodging the puddles and fast-flowing streams in search of a working drain, and began the three hundred yard walk past the softball field and fire house to the car park.
At approximately the halfway point, the heavens opened with a vengeance, thunder began crashing and lightning started poking the signals off to the west, around Lindenhurst. I picked up my pace but was resigned to a damn good soaking before I reached the Steviemobile.
The weather spirits, noting my resolute step and resigned attitude, increased the volume and velocity of the rain, to the point that I now was having trouble seeing due to the water sluicing off my glasses. My jeans were beginning to soak through, but my jacket was doing a fine job of stopping the wet getting to the new phone4.
I finally came to the Steviemobile, and I dropped off my wringing-wet backpack at the trunk, slammed the lid and sprinted for the driver's side door.
I've already mentioned the vision issue, right? Because it, along with the total lack of illumination other than the aforementioned lightning was the proximate cause of my not seeing that the car was sitting in a shallow lake of rainwater that had given up looking for a working drain and decided to just hang around until the storm stopped. I say "shallow", but it was actually one-and-a-half sneakers deep, allowing my feet to get into the spirit of things.
By the time I actually got into the car and shut the door on the rain I could not have been wetter had I jumped in the river flowing a few feet beyond the trees in front of the Steviemobile. The sleeves of my jacket had given up the fight and soaked through, though the torso-covering bit was remarkably dry, considering.
I started the engine, the heater and the a/c in that order. Once the air was warm I alternated using the defroster and the passenger-de-damper vents as I drove homewards. The rain got even worse, and Deer Park Avenue was now a series of shallow rapids because even the working drains were full, the pipes leading out to sea not having been cleaned out since the Roanoke colonists set foot in Virginia. It was a surreal experience, which I was not free to enjoy fully as no sooner had I cleared the windshield of fog I started to leak all over the car as various layers of soaked clothing drained. Also: wet feet. Possibly the worst misery of all.
Naturally the rain let up as I turned into my street, and naturally the heavens opened up again with renewed ferocity as soon as I stepped onto my driveway. But things were about to get much worse.
I squelched into he house and Mrs Stevie said "Oh, is it raining?"
"Yes" I said. "I'm going to throw my jeans and jacket in the dryer."
"I'd better empty it then" she riposted and went down into the basement.
I stamped off to undress and sling my clothes in the dryer as planned.
By the time I got down to the laundry room Mrs Stevie was standing before the dryer with "The Look" on her face. And two socks. And some underwear.
I was puzzled by her facial accouterments but in no mood for silliness. I opened the dryer and found it still full of clothes.
"Why haven't you unloaded this yet?" I demanded kneeling down to get a better look.
"You're so eager, you do it" she wittily replied. "You need to do something about the static clong."
"You mean static cling" I snarled sticking my head into the drum to see what was what.
There was a blinding flash, a loud CRACK! as the pile of static-charged clothing discharged a billion volts to my wet nose, my muscles all contracted violently, including the all-important ones in my back and neck, and my head jerked up and met the top of the drum with a loud and resonant CLONG!"
"I know what I mean" said Mrs Stevie, smugly as she left for the comfort of the living room.
- Still have one according to Google Stats↑
- a Bluetooth compact keyboard, it has "moods" during which it generates artifacts like double and triple keystrikes and is more trouble than it is worth. When it is in such a mood my own mood can dip south of homicidal very quickly too.↑
- I should explain that the South Shore line from Babylon to Jamaica (not the good one) is raised on concrete piers to a height of perhaps 30 feet. This was done because at one time all the people who mattered - City gents and the board of the LIRR - lived on the South Shore and they got fed up with flooding and people walking on the tracks and all the other stuff that happens to the other branches so they spent a bleeping fortune to lift the trackbed above ground level. Sadly, the branch sufferes from catastrophic signal failures every time there's a thunderstorm because lightning hits the signal masts a lot, but you can't make an omelette without having all the breakers blow out↑
- and voiding out the warranty↑