Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Atlantic City

* Early Vanpool conversation strays from the perils of working for a firm being taken over by private equity and moves to a discussion of Atlantic City. After a quick recap of various "comp" trips given, Charlie chimes in.

"I'll tell you what," Charlie says. "If you ever want to feel young, hang out at the Atlantic City bus station for a while."

* Conversation somehow transitions to a talk about foreign language learning skills. One of the older guys who rides up front has lived in several different countries, including France.

"My technical French wasn't bad. But my accent was awful," he says. "I had a tutor and she told me that the only way you could truly learn French was to take a mistress."

Someone asks him if this was a proposition.

"She was young and very beautiful," he says. "So no."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Strategic Tree Pruning

* Nick/Saul only has a $10. This complicates the Vanpool paying process. It costs $6 to ride, making a $1 bill of the utmost importance. Luckily, a new Asian lady (whom I haven't heard speak yet) had change -- all in singles.

I only have a $20, which further complicates the paying process. The lady said she could make change for me, too. Once again, this is all in singles.

This lady had at least $30 in singles in her wallet.

* Barbara has a youngish dog that she's trying to teach to swim.

"Are you going to throw him in a pool? That's what we did with our dog," says one of the men who sit up front.

"I think I'm just going to coax him in slowly," Barbara responds.

* The men up front have a lengthy discussion about "strategic tree pruning."

"I don't think my neighbors would mind if I trimmed what dangles over our fence, but that always complicates everything."

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Without getting to into detail (for fear of disclosure), a guy I was talking to this morning said:

"I was once attacked by a pack of albinos."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


* The ride begins with Nick/Saul saying hello to Barbara.

"What are you saying high to me for," she asks, but playfully.

Nick/Saul laughs.

"You are the bright spot of my day," Nick/Saul says. "One day when you weren't here, we were talking about you and we all said that."

"I'm sure," Barbara says. She pauses.

"I tell people at work that I can be mean sometimes. They all say, 'Not you,'" she says.

"You were born to put a smile on the face of the world," I say.

She gives me a dirty look.

* We pull up to get our newspapers. The girl who Barbara once labeled as "Precious" was not there.

"Leon's girl isn't here today," says one of the older men who talks about home furnishings a lot.

"Leon's not here, either," Barbara says. "I bet they ran off together."

* "Anything knew in the world today," Charlie asks, referencing the newspapers.

"Oh, just a rash of drownings," says Mr. Home Furnishings.

"People don't respect the ocean," Charlie says.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Downhill Racer

* I made it to my office at 8:05 AM after being picked up at about 7:30. This is the fastest any person has ever made it from near the Willowbrook Mall to Midtown during the morning rush in history.

* The Vanpool was eerily quiet today. At my stop, a bunch of us got out.

"It's all downhill from here," says Charlie.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Charlie Bond

* The morning begins with, as per custom, Nick/Saul sprinting across the highway at the last possible second to catch The Vanpool. Someone has since cut the median so it is no longer a Vietnam-style jungle.

"Watching him run across the highway isn't as dramatic now that they cut the hay," says one of the semi-regulars who sits up front.

* Further down the highway, Charlie pulls one of his patented driving maneuvers -- cutting people off dramatically at the last possible second as we get off at a crowded highway exit.

"What do you call that move, Charlie," someone asks.

"James Bond," Nick/Saul says.

"More like Charlie Bond," Barbara says.

There's a pause.

"Bond. Charles Bond," she says.

No one says a word.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Constitutional Convention

* Barbara brings her dog to an area "camp" for periodic dogsitting needs.

"It's great. I go to the spa nearby and get a facial. We give our dog a little towel which she sits on and she plays with the other dogs and everything. It's really cute. They have all these Poloriods up of captions of what the dogs would say if they talked. It's adorable."

* Nick/Saul brought his umbrella to work. I noticed it was awfully large. I also noticed that it had a clamp on the bottom, which means he uses a deck umbrella in everyday activities.

* A power struggle over Vanpool heating needs once again developed.

"It's not for me since I'm getting off, but the other people back here are dying," Barbara said. (Not one person suggested such a thing.)

"I only had them turn the air off because you said you were too cold," said Scott, a semi-regular.

"I think there should be a rule. You have to wait three minutes to get acclimated to the temperature before you can ask to change the air," said John Krazinski's Sage Uncle.

"I don't have to get acclimated to anything," Barbara said when she got off.

After she left, John Krazinski's Uncle said, "I really think we should make that a rule."

"I think we should draw up a charter," I say.

He laughs.

"We really could use a Vanpool constitution."