Thursday, January 22

40 minutes flushed down the donicker

A short physics lesson is in order.  While “time” is a difficult concept to define, one thing which is abundantly clear is that it flows only in one direction.   It does not flow backwards, which among other things means that time spent on Activity A cannot be reclaimed and spent instead on Activity B.  This lesson was hammered home last night courtesy of America’s Most Incompetent Transportation System, namely the LIRR.  The 40 minutes lost due to some never-fully-explained delays on the 5:22 from Penn to Ronkonkoma are, Clementine-style, lost and gone forever, and can never be reclaimed for use in something more productive and/or entertaining.

I must admit that the morning went as smoothly as can be expected.  A delay in leaving the house quashed my plans to take the shuttle from Medford, and instead I drove to Ronkonkoma for the 7:32 to Penn.  I could have gotten the 7:19 express, but the crowding and high SCA density on that train seemed particularly unappealing.  The 7:32 was a better choice, not too noisy – few SCA’s to babble incessantly about the Super Bowl – and with no delays.  A somewhat chubby woman of about 25 sat next to me, but despite her somewhat higher-than-optimal BMI she still occupied less space than the typical SCA who would’ve been next to me had I taken the 7:19, so it all worked out well.  For most of the ride I read a book I had just bought, The 10,000-Year Explosion by Cochran and Hardpening (Gregory Cochran is an occasional contributor to Gene Expression, one of the blogs on my blogroll).  About the only down side was that after I arrived at Penn, the 2 express to Fulton absolutely crawled for most of the distance from 14th to Chambers.  While the total delay was probably no more than five minutes, for hard-to-explain reasons being on a slowly moving subway is particularly frustrating.

Of course, the morning’s subway frustration was nothing compared to the delights that the LIRR served up in the afternoon.  A quick ride on a 3 got me to Penn in time to catch the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma, despite a somewhat late departure from work.  Lucky me, I thought.  The 5:22 left on time, but partway into the East River tunnel came to a stop.  And stayed there.  The first PA announcements didn’t come until at least five minutes after we stopped, and were barely audible.  The conductor seemed to be saying that we were at a “stop signal” due to “congestion ahead of us.”  After another ten minutes or so passed, which made it obvious that there was more than a stop signal to blame, the announcement changed.  This time it said, or seemed to say, that there was some safety-related issue with one of the cars, and that we’d be moving shortly.  “Shortly” soon changed to “five minutes.”  Of course, the aforesaid five minutes soon went well over that mark.  We finally got underway after nearly a half-hour’s delay.  Not that this was the end of our woes, because the disrupted schedule lead to especially long Jamaica and Ronkonkoma crawls, hence the lost 40 minutes.   About the onlygood thing is that I had been sitting next to an average-sized woman in her 40’s rather than an elephantine SCA.  Even that benefit was partially negated, unfortunately, because the woman kept shifting around in her seat to talk with a man she knew in the row ahead of ours, and of course each time she shifted she pushed into me.  Still, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, and on a positive note I scored 77,000 on cell-phone Tetris, my highest score in at least a month and just below my record of 79,120.  Although, all in all, I’d gladly trade a decline in Tetris-playing ability for the chance at getting back the lost 40 minutes.

Gym: a fast session, a 4-minute Tabatha sprint routine on an elliptical followed by 30 minutes on a different elliptical at 7.5 mph.  It’s still hard to believe just how draining the Tabathas are.

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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