Sunday, December 16, 2007

Boston -- where incompetence rules supreme

I've come out of my new job haze (sorry to be so lax in blogging, new job takes precedence and all of mental energy, apparently) to speak up, again. It seems that in addition to about 20 inches of snow, incompetence has taken hold of Boston and won't let it go. Let's rewind through the past week, shall we?

Early last week, our local meteorologists predicted a late-week storm that was to be the precursor of the jim-dandy of all storms later in the weekend. All of us hearty Bostonians shrugged off the threat of the late-week storm, we've been there, done that. And after all, they were saying it was to be a mere 2-4 inches in the Boston area. That's nothing to a native. Fast-forward to Thursday, when we got clobbered with snow from noontime onward, causing just about every non-essential employee to be released from work simultaneously. The gridlocks that ensued in the train stations, highways and city streets was insane. A commute that usually takes me an hour door to door took...two and a half hours. But that's not the least of it.

The powers-that-be at City Hall, Beacon Hill, the media and private enterprise are all pointing fingers at each other over exactly who is to blame for the gridlock and nightmare commute. City Hall says employers shouldn't have waited for the State of Emergency before letting people go at 2 p.m. Beacon Hill says City Hall should have acted sooner. Everyone says the meteorologists should have forecasted more accurately. And private enterprise is like, "huh, we're just doing what we're told." So there.

On a micro level (because you knew this was going to come back to me, didn't you?), standing in North Station, shoulder-to-shoulder and chest-to-back with my fellow rail commuters, I found myself cursing the train crew. The public address announcer kept making announcements declaring that "All trains are running at or near scheduled times." This despite the fact that it was 3:40 and I was still waiting for the 3:15 to begin boarding. I guess that "at or near" is subject to interpretation. This really should be no big surprise to any of the daily commuters who are subject to the scrolling marquis boards at all the train stops, which regularly announce that
"All trains are running at or near scheduled times.....Monday, November 27, 2007 4:25 a.m."
Except that it's Friday, December 14, 2007 7:25 a.m. when I'm waiting for said train that is allegedly running at or near schedule. Which leads me to believe that the veracity of the message board needs to be examined.

Later on the same day of said commute from hell (I was one of the lucky ones; there were reports from other members of the Battis family which indicated that a commute from Salem to Beverly -- about 4 miles -- took nearly an hour), we were "surprised" with over 8 inches of snow. Nearly double that which was predicted. I suppose if the meteorologists took a page out of the MBTA's book and just forecasted that snowfall would be "at or near" 1-20 inches, that would about cover them in any eventuality and I would have nothing to gripe about.

But here's my any other position at any other company, both the meteorologists and the MBTA announcer would be fired (if not shot) for their continued failure to be right and do their jobs accurately. How many times do we need to suffer at their hands before something is done? We know from local history that meteorologists can get it right...hell, they used to cancel school the night before a storm based on Don Kent's forecasting ability. And he was right. Now, with all the technology in the world, they can't figure out the difference between 2 to 4 and 8? Yikes.

Oh and to top it off, the "jim-dandy" storm of the weekend threw us another 4-6 inches. Not nearly as nasty as the "pre-cursor" storm of Thursday. Another missed forecast. Tra-la, tra-la. Is no one else getting worked up over this?

I'm installing a scrolling marquis sign over my desk. It will continuously scroll
"Amy is at or near some level of productivity today."
We'll see how long I last.

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