I’m madder than the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island” when the coconut he turned into a radio didn’t work because Gilligan was off somewhere with Mary Ann instead of riding the stationary bike used to provide electricity, over the fact that some days, I have so many problems with today’s modern technology that I’m constantly hankering for the old days when there was a whole heck of a lot less that could go wrong.
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher is on the cutting edge when it comes to having all the new toys with all the bells and whistles that have turned kids today into zombies along 86th Street (if they ever go outside), but because of my utter dependence on fancy products like cellphones, transistor radios, the Twitter, dot-matrix printers, heavy-duty Rascals, Fruity Pebbles, and the old Zenith in the living room, I now have to worry about all the problems I might have when these necessary accoutrements fail me.
Take, for instance, my trusty steed Tornado, who recently had to go into the scooter hospital for an overhaul because he was starting to creek under the weight that is my perfectly rounded superstructure.
So instead of riding around on Tornado, this week I was on his temporary (and much bigger) replacement, Hurricane, and getting atop him was no easy task.
But I’m not going to get into that problem today, because I adhere to a strict word count.
Instead, I’ll tell you about how difficult it was for a man of my size and stature to get to and from an extremely important Sandy disaster meeting at Coney Island that the entire media ignored.
Now, this was the fifth meeting I’ve been to and, to tell the truth, the federal help promised is slow as molasses. But I digress.
My day started at 3 am when I was on the phone for three hours with the technicians in India trying to get my Banana Jr. computer to play nice with my Epsom Workforce 545 printer.
I begged off the standard, tenacious sale pitches to get to the meeting that was already in progress a half hour. I hopped on Hurricane and headed straight down Stillwell Avenue to the Boardwalk and scooted into the meeting at Tom’s Corner where, of course, my presence was announced to everyone by Eddie Mark, chairman of Community Board 13. Following the two-minute standing ovation for me, I stuck around for the meeting until it ended around 10:30 am.
My plan was to get on the D train at the Stillwell Avenue Terminal and go three stops to the Bay Parkway Station at 86th Street, which has the only handicap elevator in my neighborhood. Once there I would scoot my way back home after a visit to the new “Deals” store for cheap goodies and the drugstore to pick up some of the prescriptions that keep my heart pumping.
But once in the mammoth Stillwell Avenue terminal, I realized I needed a global positioning system to get around, because there was nary a MTA personnelperson to direct me to a handicapped entry, which I finally found after an Elmer-Fuddesque hunting expedition.
I saw some automated teller machine machines that take cash or credit cards to give you a new MetroCard or add funding to your present card, which I needed on my handicapped -old-timer-half-fare card.
For some reason, the machine wouldn’t take my half-fare card, so I opted for a new one. Then, the machine wouldn’t even take my cash, spitting back my crumpled 20- and 10-dollar bills I dug out from mattress under the floorboards in the attic.
Finally, I got a new card using my credit card, and I zipped off to the handicap gate, which wouldn’t open no matter how many times I swiped, or how loud I yelled at the machine. Again, finally, I relinquished my spot to two waiting mothers with strollers, who miraculously got the gate to open without yelling at it, and then swiped me in.
That’s when my second adventure — the one where I had to find my train — began.
To save a couple of hundred words, lets just say I finally got down to the D line where two trains were waiting. Now, the trick was to find a car whose doors were level with the platform, which is quite a feat. Those of you who don’t use four wheels to get around probably don’t know that trains could be almost flush with the platform, or could be up to four inches higher (which is usually the case). I found one at the right height and got in, however once in the car, you have to contend with getting off!
That was easier said than done. I watched the exit doors as they stopped at Bay 50th Street, then 25th Avenue and, when at Bay Parkway, I blocked the doors from passengers coming in and, like Evil Kneviel in Vegas, launched myself onto the platform.
The lesson here? I need to throw out all those bags of tokens I have next to the mattresses under the floorboards, because I’ll never get to use them.
Screech at you next week!Read Carmine's screech every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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