Trip to Revere from hell

By | July 30, 2010

I just spent a gut-wrenchingly unpleasant three-hour swath of life. I’m hoping that maybe pouring it all into a blog posting I’m sure no one will read might be at least a little cathartic and might perhaps loosen the angry fist that has been painfully gripping my stomach for the last hour and a half or so.

It all started when I decided to drop off our broken dehumidifier this afternoon at the repair guy’s house in Revere. This was already aggravating, because:

  • it’s the second time it’s broken in the past two years;
  • it’s been broken for months and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to be able to bring it to the repair guy;
  • therefore, our basement has become oppressively humid again and the air, laundry, etc. down there have all started to smell; and
  • instead of having a decent number of major repair shops under contract to do warranty repairs, all LG has is little work-out-of-their-houses shmoes in inconvenient places like Malden, Dorchester and Revere.

Having said all that, I decided that since it was 3:30 and the drive to the guy’s house in Revere would probably take about 40 minutes, I could get there, drop it off, and get back before the worst of rush hour. Hah!

On the way there, I idiotically misunderstood the Google Maps directions and turned onto 93North before the tunnel when what I was supposed to do was go through the tunnel and then get onto 1A North. I’d never done that before, and my brain was unfortunately stuck in “It can’t possibly be right that I’m supposed to go into the tunnel, because the only thing through the tunnel is the airport, right?” mode, and I knew that Revere was north of downtown, so I figured either the signage was wrong or Google Maps had simply forgotten to mention the whole 93 North thing.This was stupid.

But it wasn’t too stupid, or so I thought, because I realized my error quickly and told Google Maps to recalculate the route from 93N, and it’s just about the same distance and time than the original route it had recommended. So off I went on my merry way, dealing with Friday afternoon traffic which was not nearly as bad as full rush hour, but bad enough to cause continuous low-grade aggravation and grumbling.

Speaking of which, please let me take this opportunity to say: If you don’t know how to drive, then get off the roads, you idiots. This means you, the old guy who couldn’t see over the steering wheel driving 20 MPH below the speed limit with nobody in front of you. This means you, the guy in the P.T. Cruiser who for some inexplicable reason was driving 30 MPH below the speed limit on a straight, open road. And these were hardly the only morons I encountered on the road during today’s drive. Sheesh.

Did I mention that during this entire drive, my Blackberry Bold, which although it’s only a little more than a year old has decided that half of its convenience buttons no longer need to work every time they’re pressed, kept hanging, arbitrarily turning off it’s display for no discernable reason, etc.? Well, yeah, that was going on too and contributing to the rising aggravation level in the vehicle.

Did I also forget to mention that the one and only way in which the Blackberry is inferior to my old Windows Mobile phone is that on the Windows Mobile phone, my GPS location updated smooth and continuously in Google Maps, whereas on the Blackberry, it seems to only update when it feels like it, which is sometimes after the turn you were watching for on the map because you don’t know the area well enough to be sure of where it is on the street? The significance of this will become obvious in a moment.

Aside from the morons, the drive went OK until I’d just about reached my destination:

My phone picked just this moment to freak out and stop updating my GPS location, so I missed the turn. By this point, of course, I was screaming at the GPS, screaming at the traffic, screaming at my radio…

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the radio. I was listening to podcasts on my Blackberry through an “iTrip”, which is one of those little FM transmitters that plugs into your car power jack (If I call it a “lighter jack” I’m an old fogey, right?) and your mobile device of choice and broadcasts to your car radio. You need to use one of these devices if your the idiots who manufactured your car declined to include an auxiliary input jack, though why any car manufacturer would do that in this day and age is completely incomprehensible. And, alas, the FM airwaves in and around Boston are so saturated that it’s impossible to find a frequency to set the thing to that doesn’t experience interference, which means that at critical points in the podcast, you get static, clicks, or just silence for seconds at a time. So yeah, I was screaming at the radio too.

Now, you might think that missing my turn would have been no big deal, right? Just make a U-turn at the next opportunity and go back, right? Except by the time I realized I had missed the turn, I was already over the General Edwards Bridge, and that’s when things got real interesting, in a rather morbid way.

Suddenly, there were a lot of cars on the road not moving, and a plume of black smoke came into view. It turns out that these people…

had just carried an unconscious driver to the side of the road after extracting her from this:

I wasn’t going to be turning around and going back in the other direction for quite a while.

The driver of the car and truck involved in that accident were obviously having a much worse day than I was, perhaps even fatally so, so now in addition to all the aggravation coursing through my veins, I had to also deal with the self-loathing resulting from being conscious of the fact that although clearly some perspective on my silly little suffering was called for, I just couldn’t seem to muster up any. I was still less concerned about the accident victims than about my own wasted time driving around in circles. I suck.

In any case, because of this awful accident which failed to activate the perspective center in my brain, instead of being able to get to the repair guy’s house like this:

I had to get there like this:

By now we were well into rush hour, and it took about 45 minutes to drive the 8 miles.

Alas, the location at which Google Maps had placed the house I was looking for was just wrong enough to cause me to drive past it and then not be able to turn around because of all the traffic on Lynnway backed up trying to get onto the bridge, which was by now backed up for miles. So I had to park 3 blocks away from the house, walk back to the house to confirm that it was the right place, walk back to the minivan, get out the dehumidifier, and roll it three blocks back to the house.

On the way there, one of its casters fell off. Really. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Ah, but here, to my amazement, things started to go right. My first rummaging through the van in an effort to find something I could use to hammer the wheel back on was a failure (no, I don’t carry a toolkit in my vehicle; maybe I should). But just as I was resigning myself to either carrying a heavy dehumidifier for three blocks or pushing it on three wheels, it occured to me that perhaps the handle of the flat-tire jack might be usable as a hammer. Lo and behold, it was, and the wheel was successfully restored to its former glory.

A block later, one of the casters fell apart. But surprise, surprise, I was able to put it back together.

Two blocks later, the dehumidifier was successfully delivered to its destination, and I walked back to the van, got in, and drove home without further incident, if you don’t count the ten minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic in between the 1A South entrance onto 90 West and the 93 South exit from it.

In the “icing on the cake” department, when I got home, I discovered that the washing machine had decided not to do a proper spin cycle on the load of laundry I’d started before I left. And when I clicked the “Publish” button on this blog posting, I discovered that my Internet connection had just gone down (temporarily, thank God).

So, that was my day. How was yours?

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6 thoughts on “Trip to Revere from hell

  1. thirdwheel

    That’s a rough day. It does seem that when you’re pressed for time, things seem to conspire against you.

    What model of Bold do you have? We find that the scrolling wheel on the 9000s stops working after awhile (dirt gets in and wrecks them) – loved the 9700 and 9800 Torch with the touchpad.

    They’re not without their flaws though – we had a Blackberry come back not receiving email, and nothing we did would make it work. We sent out a replacement which has since stopped recieving emails again. There’s one on a shelf with a mysterious JVM error as well.

    On top of that our BES Express server takes forever to send emails and activate new handsets – they have been decidedly unhelpful (with their best resolution being to buy the full BES at $15,000 plus CALs) to the point where we’ve considered going with Zenprise (which does not only BB but also iOS, Windows Mobile and Android phones).

    And as an “in your face!” to Sam, GPSes aren’t immune to catastrophic failure either – on one occasion I’ve had one nearly send me off a cliff!

    1. jik Post author

      I had a 9000, which has since been replaced with an iPhone, which I’m much more fond of.

      I’ve heard a lot of complaints about problems with the scroll wheels on the 9000’s failing. I’ve also heard from our IT department that they, too, saw weird problems with the 9000’s like the ones you described. You’re definitely not alone in that.

  2. E.T.

    What an awful way to spend an afternoon! I’m glad that at least Shabbos is late enough this time of year that you didn’t have the added stress of worrying about not being home in time.

  3. Sam

    This is one of the reasons I have a standalone GPS in my car. It’s rock solid, and I don’t have to worry about my phone flaking out at the worst possible time.

    Of course, I also don’t use a Blackberry, which is another thing I’m happy about. WebOS, all the way!

    1. jik Post author

      Wow. Thanks for the sympathy. “It’s your own fault for having a bad phone and no GPS!” Gee, that’s great.

      Pity that I don’t really have the money to spend on expensive toys like standalone GPS’s (hence the fact that I drove all the way to Revere to drop off my dehumidifier to be fixed — I could have gotten it fixed much sooner if I had the money pay for it myself rather than invoking the warranty, which required an authorized repairman in the middle of nowhere), nor do I have the money to buy the newest toy smartphone that strikes my fancy — my phone is paid for by my employer, and they won’t pay for anything but a BB.

      A little more sympathy and a little less bragging about your expensive toys would have been nice.

  4. Anonymous

    WIthout the casters and accident, Jen and I made the same mistake going to a beach, probably Revere, years ago and spent the same amount of craziness in the low tech way with bad street signs that didn’t match the map books and directions at gas stations that didn’t match either and missed turns all over the place. At the time we thought GPS would be cool.


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