You know how yesterday I was saying my back was getting a lot better, except when I had to stand for long periods of time? Well, apparently the Long Island Railroad reads my blog and decided today would be good day to put that to the test.
Yes, I went in to the office today, rather than work from home. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but that ship kind of sailed last Friday when I didn’t take my work laptop home with me. Instead, I decided to attend a sales presentation this morning and not carry a heavy bag back and forth while my spine was still adjusting. It worked out pretty well, and wasn’t too bad for a Monday, except of course that the Long Island Railroad is perfectly horrible and awful.
My morning train into Queens was first in that window of not-being-on-time the LIRR likes to pretend isn’t “late” — I think it’s six minutes beyond the scheduled arrival — and then properly late by everyone’s reckoning. I had a seat, but on what became a progressively less comfortable and more crowded car, as we stopped at several more stations than usual. I made the mistake of getting up at Jamaica, because I’d made the earlier mistake of believing the conductor when he said my connecting train was waiting on the opposite platform. It wasn’t, of course, and no other train was headed in the right direction for another twenty to thirty minutes. (And that’s assuming that train wouldn’t be delayed or cancelled.) I wasn’t able to squeeze back on the train I’d just disembarked — I’d lost not just my seat but any room at all — so I had to wait around for another five minutes or so for another train headed to Penn Station. I was lucky there was at least someplace to stand on that one.
The problem with the Long Island Railroad isn’t that equipment breaks down — although it does seem to do so with a disturbing regularity — but that they’re horrible about communicating this, explaining the delays, giving you correct information when your train has already left, or is delayed, or isn’t coming. The schedules they’ve set up rely on clockwork precision, but they’re a little like my iPad’s clock, which weirdly seems to lose or gain minutes depending on how long it’s been on, or off, or just on some weird whim.
The New York City subway isn’t a whole lot better — just as crowded, just as prone to delays — but at least it’s a little easier to switch to a different line if you need to, and at least you can usually assume even if you miss your train, you probably won’t have to wait twenty or thirty, or sixty, minutes for another.
Still, though, my back didn’t rebel too much at having to stand. This is the first day in a while that I haven’t taken anything for the pain, and while that isn’t because the pain’s gone away altogether, I do seem to be on the mend.
Hopefully tomorrow the LIRR will be able to say the same.