Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Snowbound at the Bay Shore station

The snow looked nice for a while. It was sort of flurrying down as we watched from the cozy environs of our palatial offices. I packed up as always, went outside, and was greeted by a combination of sharp little sleet needles and snow that thudded like rain. Oh well, I'd get home and cozy up in front of a fire or something.

The train pulled into Bay Shore right on time, 5:50 PM. I walked over to my car, started it up, and hopped back out to scrape the ice off. I got that nagging realization right then that I'd somehow locked myself out of the car, which was ridiculous, because...uh...the door won't open. None of the doors will open. The car's running, the lights are on, my bag's inside, my key's inside, and I can't get in. No one's at home because of the kid's hockey practice. The wind is gusting to 30 MPH, and the little pellets of ice are stinging my face. I can't go home to get a key because I can't get in the house. I don't want to leave my car sitting there running with the keys in it. There's no one who can help. I go into the shelter at the station (it's open air, just a roof and a wall) and call AAA.

After waiting for the next available operator in their call center somewhere up in Saugerties, I finally get an operator. I explain what's going on, and they ask me for a number where I can be reached. I completely blank out on my cell phone number. "Wait...I know the 631 part..." I end up giving them some number that's probably connected to a beauty parlor in Brentwood. Then I go back to standing in the shelter area.

The shelter area is quite nice. I shared the space with one guy who was drinking tallboys, one guy who kept following me around, one guy who was smoking, and one guy, complete with huge beard and limp, who kept coming up to me and asking if I could loan him a cigarette. WHen I said that no, why would anyone smoke, he asked the drinking guy and the stalker and the other smoker, and they all ignored him. Then he went up to a waiting car and asked if the driver had a cigarette he could borrow. She quickly rolled up the window. Then he went over to my running car and looked in the window to find out if he could borrow a cigarette. Since no one was in the car, he just stared forlornly into the driver's window to see if there was something he could steal.

At 7:25, the tow driver finally showed up with two wedges and a coat hanger, and tried in vain to open the door for almost 15 minutes. The sleet was stinging, the wind was howling, and the driver was swearing. He wiggled the wire, worked it up and down, tried to unhook everything on the door panel, until finally he popped open one of the rear windows. My hands were so numb that I could barely open the door by then. I'm such an idiot.

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