Sunday, April 30, 2017

Philadelphia Story

At the end of William Goldman’s 1960 novel Soldier in the Rain, Eustice Clay, a beleaguered soldier who’s been on a run of appallingly bad of luck, looks up into a stormy sky and expresses his true feelings.

“Fuck you,” he says to the angry clouds.

After the week I just went through, I know exactly how he feels.

I, too, was standing in the middle of deluge, only I was outside Pennsylvania Station, and instead of directing my rage up to the stratosphere, I aimed my anger straight into my smartphone.

“Fuck you!”

And I wasn’t talking to the Almighty, the Fates, the weather gods or any other such supernatural being.

I was shrieking at a car service dispatcher who just told me that there would be no car to pick me up on this horrific night—even though I had reserved a vehicle the day before to take me and my luggage the hell home.

This was a fitting climax to my three-day business trip to Philadelphia. Nothing seemed to go right during this conference. I was bouncing in a dozen different directions, I was making bonehead mistakes and I was so worried about something going wrong that I focused almost exclusively on surviving rather than excelling.

I hit the panic button too goddamn much, choosing to freak out as a first resort—as opposed to carefully analyzing the situation, attempting to come up with a logical resolution, and then freaking out.

I even forgot to pack socks—socks, for Christ’s sake! Who in the holy flying fuck forgets to bring socks on business trip? Luckily the Pennsylvania Convention Center had a gift shop that happened to sell socks, among other things, so that was one less screw-up to worry about.

I didn’t get a chance to see any of the sites or meet up with my awesome Philly friend, Ron. I barely had time to look up from my laptop.

Now to be fair, these conferences can be stressful, but I also did a lot of dumb stuff, real rookie errors, and as the bloopers piled up, I became more and more frustrated and, of course, I allowed the anger took over.

Even the weather went to straight to Hell, as sunny skies soon gave away to a storm system that seemed determined to outdo Noah’s 40 days and 40 nights schtick. By the time the conference was over, I staggered to the train station and prayed for a quiet trip back to Brooklyn.

Wheels in Motion

And then I called for my car.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this fat schmuck. Of course, I don’t know if this dispatcher is fat, having never seen him, but I imagine him as bloated and unshaven, stuffed into a stained wife beater with a rancid toothpick shoved between yellowed, rotting teeth, and clouds of flies buzzing around him.

I know this is childish but I can’t help it.

After detonating the F-bomb, I called another neighborhood car service and learned they had a driver near Penn Station, who picked me up and got me home. I sent a nasty email to Fat Fuck Charley at the first outfit and filed a complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

On Saturday I got my new favorite car service to take me and my old computer to the Apple Store in the World Trade Center so I could get out the old files and put them into a new machine.

There was a breakdown in communications, however, because upon my arrival I was told the Apple geniuses couldn’t retrieve information from a busted computer—which makes no sense to me whatsoever, seeing as how if my computer wasn’t busted I wouldn’t be buying a new one, would I?

I then had to lug this 27-inch corpse on to the R train and take it up a few stops to the geeks at the Best Buy at Broadway and Houston.

I started having a conniption fit on the train—I can’t take it, I can’t take it—but then I recalled one of my first big stories when I covered the arrest of a man charged with murdering his wife.

That night was completely out of control and I almost had a nervous breakdown, but I got through it. And I was determined to get through this day, too.

So I bought a new Apple from Best Buy and I’m scheduled to pick it up on Monday. And when I bring it home, I won’t be calling Fat Fuck Charley for a ride.


Ron said...

" but I imagine him as bloated and unshaven, stuffed into a stained wife beater with a rancid toothpick shoved between yellowed, rotting teeth, and clouds of flies buzzing around him. "

Bwhahahahahahaha! OMG, Rob, that was hilarious! I laughed my ass off at your brilliant description!

And you know, I was thinking of you on the day it started to rain (BUCKETS) here because I knew it was your last day in Philly and wondered if you got home okay. I mean, the first couple of days you were here the weather was perfect, but then suddenly it changed and rained for like TWO days. That's why I hesitated on which day to make my reservations to come to NYC because I didn't want it be on a day when it was raining. Luckily, the day I chose was great. The weather was really nice!

I cannot believe that guy telling you there would be NO car to pick you up that night?! Glad to hear you found another car service.

"which makes no sense to me whatsoever, seeing as how if my computer wasn’t busted I wouldn’t be buying a new one, would I?"

You're right, that makes no sense at all. Happy to hear you found another one at Best Buy and that you'll be getting it tomorrow. Yahooooooo!

Btw, it's funny you mentioned the "R train" because that's the train I took to get from midtown to Lower Manhattan that day.

Glad everything worked out for you, buddy. Have a fabulous week and enjoy your new computer!!!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron! I was really worked up when I wrote about that dispatcher. The rain was coming down so hard I didn't think it was ever going to stop!

I'm so glad that you had nice weather for your trip, though I am sorry we didn't meet up. The funny thing about the R train is that the Apple store guy started explaining the stops to me as if I were a tourist from Slovenia.

I told hin I was born and raised in Bay Ridge and thus spent most of my life on that damn train! It does get you where you want to go...eventually.

I'll keep you posted on the new computer and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

Bijoux said...

I think I know what storm you're talking about, because when it came through here, it was like Niagara Falls in our backyard. Crazy!

I once forgot pj's on a week long trip, it happens!

Honestly, I thought those Apple geniuses were supposed to be able to do everything!!!

Rob K said...

It was crazy, Bijoux!

I'm glad to see other people forget things, too, and apparently Apple people can't walk on water. Who knew?!?

Take care!

A Cuban In London said...

I'm still in stitches at your description of the guy. :-)

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Thanks, Brother, I did get a bit worked up, didn't I?