Friday, January 9, 2009

Teaching By Example

A quick lesson on how not to start you day.

Step 1: Make sure the steps and walkway to your driveway are not covered in black ice. For those reading from warmer climates, black ice is this fabulous invention from Mother Nature designed to sucker you into a false sense of security only to jump you from behind in an attempt to cause permanent brain injury.

In this case, Boston had a snow/sleet/rain storm the previous day then proceeded to warm up so most of the slush combo melted. Then it froze again over night. So when I walked out my door on the way to the gym it simply looked like the steps and walkway were wet. Instead it was covered in a thin layer of ice.

Comedy and many potential traumatic injuries ensued as I slipped, tripped and slid my way to my truck.

Step 2: Be prepared to fight your way into your car. When said walkway and stairs are coated in a layer of ice chances are your vehicle is, too. Any attempts to enter said vehicle will amount to more comedy pratfall routines as you can’t gain any traction while trying to force the door open.

Step 3: Once you do get into your vehicle, do not assume the anti freezing agent in the windshield washer fluid will actually work. Instead it will freeze on top of the ice already covering it. On the plus side, it will be a pretty, blue ice and not the boring, clear kind.

Step 4: Take your time driving to the gym as a truck on ice can quickly turn into a two ton, metal toboggan of death you have absolutely no control over for a few terrifying moments. Trust me on this one.

Step 5: Once at the gym do not – repeat DO NOT – accidentally engage in a conversation with an elderly man who starts things off with ‘Good! I’m not the only crazy person coming to work out this early!’

I replied ‘We’re not crazy, we’re elite!’ which, considering I was barely awake was pretty quick if I do say so. And I do.

Step 6: Always attempt to short circuit a conversation before ‘You ever seen a hernia before?’ is asked by the other person. Oh, I wish I were kidding. Before I could answer he whips his shirt off to show me a disgusting, disfiguring bulge in his stomach. ‘Doc says it should only take 30 minutes to fix, but can’t fit me in until January 26th!’

During the course of this rant, I learned that the bulge actually WAS his stomach which had squeezed between the muscle and attempted to escape his body. ‘Does it hurt?’ I asked as I was quickly walking away. ‘No, not at all.’

‘Good luck with that!’ as I exited the locker room with as much casual swiftness as I could muster. If you can't avoid this encounter try not to think about the fact that his stomach and the gym floor are currently separated by a thin layer of skin.

Step 7: Drive to work. I do not. I take the subway from my town to Boston. If I drove I would not have been subjected to the most poorly managed disruption of service I have ever experienced. I left my house at 8:25, walked to the train station and waited with hundreds of other people while no trains came. And waited. And waited.

Announcements informed the increasingly angry mob that there were ‘delays in service’, which should have had a Baby Huey ‘DUH, REALLY?’ and a Three Stooges ‘Boing!’ sound effect following it.

If you do have to take the train, expect the following to occur in the 20 minutes after you arrive at the already crowded station:

1: No trains at all to arrive in either direction.

2: Grumblings and mumbled obscenities from passengers who are also frantically thumbing away on their BlackBerries.

3: 75-100 more people pushing their way onto the platform and nearly reenacting the battle from ‘300’ where people just keep toppling in slow motion off the edge and onto the third rail below.

4: After another 10 minutes of no trains, an announcement to inform you that buses will take passengers to the next station and where you can board and take the train to Boston from there.

Step 8: Stop! Do not get on those buses! Either hang out at the train station for a bit and enjoy the exhilaration of not being bumped by 42 different bags (Ladies, really! Do you need to take a bag the size of a Prius back and forth to work?) or fight your way through the throng and go home.

If you insist on getting on those shuttle buses as I did (Stupid!! So STUPID!!!) expect another 20 minute wait while everyone piles on in front of you and takes aggression to a level where pitbulls would be envious and afraid.

Once on the bus, expect to stand nose to nose with some dude that forgot to brush his teeth and shower the morning after having 22 full cloves of garlic for dinner while She-Ra’s duffle bag slams you in the sciatic nerve during every slight bump in the road.

Good times!!

Step 9: If possible sprint as soon as you get off the bus. Hopefully, you've positioned yourself by the doors of the bus to get a head start. This way you get in front of the roughly 1,432 other people disembarking from all the other shuttle buses at the same time. Push children and old ladies out of the way if you have to.

I did neither.

Step 10: Do not look down on the tracks while walking from the bus to the station. For you will undoubtedly see a train coming from the same station at which you were just waiting before being cattle prodded onto the inhumane shuttles. Anger will rise in your throat like a bad fish taco and taste ten times worse.

Step 11: Don’t bother rushing to catch this train. Take your time. If there is a coffee shop nearby (there wasn’t) stop and take a load off. See, what happens when you take an entire platform of passengers and bring them to another station that already has it’s own platform full of passengers…well…I don’t really need to tell you now, do I?

Step 12: Watch from a safe distance as four trains come and go in the direction you should have been headed nearly an hour before. If you insist on wading into the crowd things will not be pleasant.

Once the fifth train is in sight, head on down to the platform and position yourself accordingly. The crowd will have thinned to a reasonable number by this point and it will be business as usual.

Step 13: Write me a gracious thank you note for having gone through this ordeal then given pointers so you won’t have to.

Consider this my charity work for 2009.

By the way, I finally arrived at my office at 10. My commute usually take 35 minutes.

Today’s distraction: The inner workings of a man’s mind. Ladies, this is just comedy and not at all a frighteningly accurate of what we’re thinking. Seriously.


Hammen said...

If you live in North Dakota, take Steps 1-4, and do that EVERY SINGLE MORNING from basically November through February. And then a few more times in March and into April. Hell, sometimes even a couple days in October and May too!

At least we don't have the public transportation snafus that big cities have.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

45 minutes to get to work today in chicago by train. I could have walked in that time. Pretty lame public transportation, pretty lame.

BeachBum said...

Why can't we get public transportation as efficient as the Europeans? They seem to have it down to a science.

I've spent more than my share of time in Chicago (love that city!) and would choose sitting in traffic to taking that train. Even from the outside it looks nasty!

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

Yeah the trains here are not very efficient but I guess it's better than paying $20 for parking every day.

Anonymous said...

I was about to type pretty much the same words Hammen did, but since he already did, I won't. What I can tell you is that we do not have to worry about anything thawing and then re-freezing because the temperature doesn't get above zero from November to March. However we do get lovely glare ice on the roads because no one knows how to drive and packs snow down so tight it becomes a freakin' ice rink at every intersection.