Today had to be the worst Monday in a while. Ok that’s a bit of an overstatement. More than once, though, I thought I could hear the theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm playing in the background, though.
Everything started off with an eerie calm – I got up and all of the sudden things got very quiet in the neighborhood – no delivery trucks, no garbage trucks, no cars, no N Judah and a bunch of police officers on my block. Odd. As it turned out, there was a “suspicious package” on Irving around the corner from my place, and they’d cleared the area and were keeping people out of potential harm’s way. At least tweeting about it was easy since I could just sit in the bay window and watch, but still, it made a lot of people fairly miserable on their morning commute. Sensing opportunity, Muni used the chaos to invent a new way to screw up West Portal trains, causing more commuting misery.
I had some critical business to take care of today, but a last minute call about a potential job meant I had to stay at home and rush to create a proposal, even though I really needed to get downtown ASAP. OF COURSE this mean the computer began to be uncooperative, etc. etc. I managed to get it out the door quickly, but I always have that lingering worry of “did I proof it enough.”
I managed to complete some business at the bank without any trouble because my bank is awesome, but then had a nice long wait for the N Judah with the Operator from Hell. While waiting, I noticed something odd. There was this kid in a brand new white BMW that was double parked in front of Pluto’s. I figured he was waiting for someone. While he was there, a DPT officer was handing out tickets. Ironically, he didn’t give a ticket to the double parker. He did, however begin to write a ticket for a City car, but the City employee ran out and yelled at him. After a while, the City employee’s car wasn’t ticketed. Hmm.
It got better. Double Parker did an illegal U-Turn (almost causing an accident) and double parked on the other side of the street. Mind you, by now there were plenty of spaces available- 2 across the street and one 1 car down from where he was double parked on the south side of Irving. He kept doing this little double parking ballet dance until finally a spot opened in front of Pluto’s.
By now I could barely contain my laughter at this over privileged kid in his stupid BMW, wasting gas and causing traffic problems, all so he could get a spot right in front of Pluto’s and refused to take one one door down from the place. As he walked by I said “something wrong with this spot here?” and he glared at me with all the rage a 20-nothing nerd could do and mumbled something bout “not wanting to waste time walking to his car.”
At this point I was realizing that today might be a Larry David Day, so I just laughed at the wealthy child while I waited for an N that was nowhere near.
Naturally it was late and I had to wait forever for a train downtown, but upon arrival I went to board the 2nd car and the doors wouldn’t open, despite all of us pushing the buttons quite hard. Finally half a door opened and we boarded.
Then Operator Dick decided to yell in the microphone, mocking us for “not pushing the buttons hard enough,” and berated passengers for not using the Clipper Card readers. News flash, Einstein: all but one of the Clipper readers were broken in the second train. Of course there was no way to tell him this, but it was annoying to hear his mocking, asshole-y tone at every damned stop. Of course, we then had a long delay at Duboce and Church because he had to berate more people boarding there. I’m sure the union leadership gives guys like this a medal and a bonus, while the good guys and gals get nothing.
All of this, as I read that Muni Big Boss Nat Ford is said to be looking for another job, again. This is the fourth time he’s done this on the taxpayer dime (and remember all those vacation days he took last year?), and he won’t guarantee he won’t quit. Not only is he doing this in the midst of critical negotiations, he’ll get paid the rest of the money for the remainder of his contract for not doing his job. See? Even Muni bosses get that “pay me not to work” benefit. Needless to say, reading this didn’t help the mood.
Finally I got to Civic Center and took a walk to the Federal Building to unsnarl a costly IRS mistake, one I made five years ago. Somehow I not only managed to underpay by about $200, but the penalties were MORE than the actual amount by about 3x. I’m happy to pay my taxes and understand I made a small error, but paying this much in penalties was a bit much when GE and the wealthy don’t pay a dime in income taxes.
However, the matter was cleared up pretty quickly, and it was put to rest. Bonus points to the poor IRS employee who had to listen to this insane guy waste her time (and those of people waiting to fix their problems) who was babbling loudly like a nutjob about “selling the IRS a new computer” and wouldn’t shut the f*ck up. If I was the IRS employee I would have thrown him off the top of the building for being a) a nutjob and b) an asshole, but she was polite and eventually sent him on his way. I can only imagine what kind of crazy stuff those folks deal with.
I had a burger at that Horrible, Yet Horribly Good fast food place nearby and dreaded the N ride home. I just assume that waiting for an outbound N at the far end of the tunnel is going to be forever, so I resigned myself to it. Still, hearing the clarion call of endless Ls Ns Ms and a million Js, know that only one super packed N will show up is no fun. And as you can see in the image, today didn’t disappoint. At least another N showed up relatively quickly, and by some weird coincidence almost everyone at Civic Center got on the Ls (but not the Js or Ms), so I was able to board, and no one was lame and all was well.
Overall I was just glad today was over. I think what people at City Hall and the MTA don’t understand is that an unreliable, crappy, demoralized Muni makes any day (good or bad) crappier. When it ruins the former, it sucks, but when it enhances the latter, it’s really bad. Ideally a system could be run so that it’d be one less thing to worry about, and we could just do what we needed to do.
I wonder whom, if anyone, in charge understands that concept.