Odds and Ends: Updates and Errata

I’m sorry that I haven’t been around for the past couple of days. Wednesday wound up being Laundry Day, and my wife was on a grand tour of Bay Area picket lines, so it wound up being an all-day affair. I could have tried to keep up with them so that it wouldn’t take a full day to wash everything, but where’s the fun in that? I started in on the laundry at about 10:30 in the morning, and we finally finished drying and folding the last load a little after 8 o’clock that night. Somewhere in the middle of all of that mind-numbing fun, I had to take my son to his appointment, which ate up at least two hours. By the time my wife and I were done for the day, we kind of just shuffled into bed, as the elderly are wont to do, and I prepared myself for the massive commute that would be Thursday morning. My nephew was flying in from Mexico, and since I am the only one who isn’t making money, I was volunteered to go and meet him at the airport. That’s not to say I didn’t want to go- public transportation and retrieving people is sort of my thing- just that I was the natural candidate.

After taking David and his friend to school yesterday, I gimped back to the apartment, and assembled all the random crap one might need for an all-day excursion into Tourist Country. I’d been told that my nephew had wanted a tour of The City, so in addition to my Kindle and my iPod (to make the commute more bearable), I also schlepped my fancy Nikon along as well. I figured that if we were going to check out awesome places, I might as well get some fancy pictures of them. I left the house around 9:30 a.m. to catch the bus at quarter ’til. The flight wasn’t supposed to arrive until noon, but I tend to get a little nervous when I’ve got to get somewhere that’s so far away. I mean, it’s only a 68 minute ride on BART, but going from one end of the line to the other can rack up delays, and the last thing that I wanted to happen was for me to be stuck in the light rail system while my nephew was milling about in SFO, without a phone, trying to figure out how we were going to meet up. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but that airport is rather large, and it would be so amazingly easy to never find another person if the two of you were wandering around looking for one another, unable to even shoot off a text message to agree upon a landmark where you could meet up.

Two stations before I was set to transfer to the SFO line, my phone began blowing up with texts and emails from BART Operations (I’d signed up for alerts nearly six years before, when the BART workers were set to strike in ’09. They reached an agreement then, but four years later, made good on their promises. I love the BART, and it is integral to the workday for most Bay Area residents (I was going to say Areans, but it just didn’t feel reich), but the work stoppage pretty much paralyzed the entire region, and did as more to fuel their opponents than their supporters. tl;dr: I signed up for alerts and then never got around to cancelling them) saying that there was a massive delay emerging due to a major emergency at Civic Center. I was starting to get nervous, as that was between where I was, and where I needed to go, and there wasn’t really a better option (which I could afford) to get me there if BART went down. I took one earbud out so that I could listen to announcements, and discovered that they were stopping all trains two stops before Civic Center (in either direction). When my train pulled into Montgomery, I exited, and began investigating just what in the hell was going on.

It turns out that someone decided to jump in front of a train. This seems to be happening more frequently, and I’m not sure what, exactly was the tipping point, though I would probably put money on the lack of rain and scorching temperature. My son-in-law, Nerdenn Events, suggested that we put up Suicide Posters of the Golden Gate down in the SF BART stations, as that way our commutes wouldn’t be affected. Let me just say, as someone who has put a lot of thought into how I might like to snuff out my own light, I actually didn’t mind. We came up with some amusing slogans like, “They’re the final moments of your life. Why not choose the Scenic Route?”, and “It’s okay to end your pain, but please don’t punish us.” This may seem callous and cold-hearted, but the fact is that sometimes you just have to make a joke in the face of tragedy so that you can keep your sanity. Also, I’m pretty sure that you can get Road Rage from riding on BART when the trains are packed, and then are forced out of services due to station closures. By the way, I would totally keep the poster for the “Scenic Route” hanging  on my bedroom wall.

After forty minutes of uncertainty, they finally opened up the system to limited service. I hopped on the first airport train, and prayed (in an atheistic fashion) that I would get there on time. Years of being hours early prepared me for this day. I walked up to the airport with two minutes to spare. Figuring that I had some time before my nephew would be out of customs (not to mention all of the delays that come with domestic flights), I found the designated area, and smoked myself a cigarette. Let me go on record as saying that it was better than a post-coital smoke. Having overcome overwhelming odds to not only get to where I had to go, but two minutes early! That’s the kind of satisfaction that primal instincts can never hope to replicate. That, and I didn’t risk pulling a hammy. When I got inside, I saw that his flight had been bumped to 12:40, and sighed, suddenly irritated that I had defied the odds and gods to get here on time, only to be told that I could have slept in a little. As it turns out, these forces of shenaningry were not done with me…


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