Friday, March 27

A ray of hope?
Possibly.  It’s too early to say for sure, and we all know the old proverb (a redundant term – there’s no such thing as a new proverb) about counting your chickens before they’re hatched.  Even so, it’s the first glimmer of possible good news.  The state government says it may be able to bail out the MTA, which would reduce the amount of fare hikes that will be necessary.  Of course New York State itself is facing a financial mess, as are most state governments, so whether the bailout funds will materialize is another matter.  In addition, a bailout would help the MTA get through the current crisis, but even after the economy improves and revenues increase it’ll still face long-term structural problems, for example the way most LIRR retirees boost their already lavish pensions by claiming to be disabled.  Even so, anything that might keep fares from going through the stratosphere will help.

Today’s commuting was relatively easy.  For no particular reason I drove to Ronkonkoma rather than getting the shuttle from Medford.  Though I got there in time to get the 6:56 to Flatbush Avenue, it was an M-7 consist and there is no way I’m taking that risk again anytime soon, after March 11’s horror show.  Instead I got the 7:04 to Penn, which didn’t seem too crowded by the time we left Ronkonkoma but really filled up at Deer Park.  I was riding in one of the cars a bit toward the rear (east) end of the consist, and while it was less than half full when we left Ronkonkoma all of the non-middle seats and even some of the middles filled at Deer Park.  The rest of the middles filled at Wyandanch and Farmingdale, and the few people who boarded at Bethpage had to stand.  A woman of about 30 sat next to me at Deer Park, and though not large she was somewhat annoying because every five minutes she’d root around in her (massive) purse for something.  I never figured out exactly what was the object of her quest. Even so, it wasn’t a bad ride as these things go, no delays, and I had a couple decent games of Tetris.  When we got to Penn, there was a bit of a delay getting off the platform because another train arrived at the opposite track (14, we were on 13) at almost the same time.  This created quite a crush at the stairways, to the point it probably took me a good five minutes just to reach the concourse level.  At least there was a very short wait for a 2 to Fulton, I decided to go to Fulton instead of Park Place because I wanted to get something from a deli on Fulton.

My wait for a 3 from Fulton to Penn after work was around five or six minutes.  That’s within the tolerability range, but just.  The train was of course jammed when it arrived, but at least the ride is relatively short.  I got the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma, riding in the head car.  I wanted to test my theory that this car’s proximity to the ticket windows and main part of the LIRR concourse would translate into relatively more normal people and relatively fewer SCA’s among its ridership.  Suffice to say I was right. The car was jammed, though usually the head car always is, and a moderately stout but tolerable middle-aged woman sat next to me and, unlike her morning’s counterpart, actually managed to sit still like a normal adult.  We were at a stop for a few minutes near Woodside because of a “train with mechanical difficulties ahead of us,” but must’ve made up the time elsewhere because we arrived in Ronkonkoma right on schedule.  I had a very good game of Tetris, in excess of 100,000 though just shy of my record.

Gym: Dang.  I really wanted to do three miles on the treadmill at 5.7 mph.  As I started running, I noticed that the belt seemed a little loose on the right side, but rather than switch to another machine decided to stick with it.  Bad idea.  It must’ve affected my stride in a way that caused a nasty muscle cramp to develop just above my right ankle.  It got progressively worse as I passed the mile mark and was almost intolerably by 1.5 miles.  Usually I just run through any pains that develop, but this one got so bad I finally had to pull the plug on running when I reached 1.75 miles.  I switched to the stationary cycle, which I could use without the cramp bothering me much, and did 30 minutes on it at 18.5 mph.

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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