Wednesday, August 3, 2011


* We're driving into the Lincoln Tunnel. There are always cops there protecting against suicide bombers and the like. They usually pay no attention to anyone. Today, a female cop quickly takes three steps towards the van and waves at us. She then goes back to where she was standing.

"It must be my sideburns," Charlie says.

* We're in the city. We drive past a woman pushing a giant water cooler bottle.

Charlie points her out.

"Don't talk about her jugs like that," Barbara says. "It's unbecomming of you."

* Barbara's hair is down and is very frazzled looking.

"She looks like a witch," Christina says after Barbara leaves.

Christina claims Barbara recently shoved her when they were both trying to board the van.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's Up, Mommy?

* The inter-machinations of the Montville School District is the topic of the day. It appears many on The Vanpool are fond of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"I guess our thug teacher's union didn't like the new principal," one guy said about the deposed leader of a particular elementary school.

"I heard rumors to that effect," one other man confirmed.

* Barbara is taking up two seats today. She's carrying with her an overstuffed Lord & Taylor shopping back filled with a pink pillow.

* We pull up to the red light to get the newspapers. Roland starts talking to us.

"You know what sucks," he asks. "People tell us to stay cool. How you gonna stay cool on a day like this?"

"We have to go," Barbara says. "We can make the light!"

We end up not making the light.

"What you don't want to talk to Roland? That's okay, Mommy. Because I want to talk to you," Roland says as we drive off.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Avon Calling

* Scandal once again erupted as Barbara "forgot" to hand the collected money forward. Jennifer's 10-year-old daughter also rode The Van today (some sort of Take Your Daughter to Work thing) and Barbara tried to make her pay. Charlie, however, waved his $6 fee.

* We pick up the newspapers and Roland comes to the car.

"Hey, ladies, tomorrow I'm going to be selling some boxes of Avon," he says. "So make sure you bring some money--"

Right as he ends his spiel, the person getting out at the corner slams the door right in his face.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hey Baby

* We get the newspapers from Roland, who is now wearing a Bluetooth headset. He leans into the van and asks us how we're doing. Then a lady walks past.

"Hey, baby," he shouts at her.

"I gets all the ladies," he says to us. "Do any of you people need some quick lovin'?"

He then opens the side panel of the van. Barbara is the first person he sees.

"You, baby," he says. "You're the one I want. I could definitely love you."

He then kisses her hand.

"Don't tell your husband about that."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


* Barbara has a shopping bag with her. This is not uncommon. However, it is filled to the brim with husks of corn. She does not explain why. No one asks.

* The man who hands us newspapers is not there. We ask the girl who looks like Precious why. "He just took off his apron and ran away," she says.

* The Van is completely quiet. Finally, someone up front says, "What is it about Belgium that gives them the ability to make such terrific waffles?" Everyone then discusses their favorite waffle toppings for a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

End Times

* The man who hands us the newspapers in the morning's name is Roland, which is not what I was expecting.

This morning, we're stuck at a red light up the block from where he hands us the papers. He leans into the window. The light turns green and he tells us to take him to the corner. He then holds onto the window and surfs the van back to the corner (not quite as extreme as Teen Wolf but not too far away), going "WOOOOOOOAHHHH" the entire way.

* A woman I've only seen once or twice before is on today. She turns to the back to another semi-regular.

"You asked me what I've been up to since the last time you saw me," she says. "Well, I don't know how to tell you this on the van. So I'll tell you the next time I see you."

* The internal machinations of Morris County, NJ country clubs is also widely discussed. One man, in particular, talks at length about issues he had with the manager of a local club.

"She once told me that me and my boys couldn't go swimming during a certain hour. But I looked at the club bylaws and let the board know she was violating them. But they didn't care."

He then brings up at least four experiences where he had to cite country club bylaws to the board of trustees, and the never cared.

* The May 21 End Days prophecies are another major topic of discussion.

I haven't heard much about the May 21 prophecies and ask what they're about. People then explain it to me.

"Don't worry, Gregg," one man says. "The guy who is predicting all of this stuff was wrong in 1994."

* Residents of Mountain Lakes are inundated with people going door-to-door looking to discuss May 21, according to residents who ride The Vanpool.

"Have you ever seen those gypsies that come around selling stolen property," someone asks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Right Here Right Now

A new man is on the Vanpool. I have to explain to him the whole "I live in Philly but..." part of my existence. He looks 85% like Joe Flaherty circa Freaks and Geeks.

"One time when I was there, I went to this club and I saw Soho and Jesus Jones. They were REALLY awesome together."

He then asks me, "Say I came down to get a cheesesteak. What would you say I could do with three kids... maybe four?"