Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Plastic Surgeon to the Stars

* A new man is on The Vanpool today. He's from Los Angeles but grew up in North Jersey and is visiting his family.

"I'm actually from Beverly Hills," he says without any modesty whatsoever.

Nick asks him what he does for a living.

"I'm a plastic surgeon."

Without any hesitation, Christina speaks.

"Oh, really! I'm 61! I need a facelift!"

* Charlie will be on vacation for the next week, playing golf in Hilton Head. I miss him already!

Stuck in the Mud

* The glass-enclosed waiting area at my bus stop has been inexplicably torn down and replaced with the above tar pit.

* The Vanpool appears full. However, everyone insists I can fit in the back seat which allegedly seats four people. I can now assure you it doesn't -- I spent the entire ride with an Indian man's elbow stuck in my ribcage.

* Traffic's exceptionally bad today because there are a bunch of dignitaries going to the United Nations. This causes some dissent on The Vanpool.

"I might as well take the bus," says the man who watches creepy things on his fancy rich person phone.

* Charlie dubiously cuts off another vehicle and we come perilously close to an accident. Norm shakes his head.

"This is why sometimes I take the bus," he says. "Charlie's such a bad driver."

Norm says that the only reason he takes Charlie is because of the valuable savings.

I ask him how he decides the day to ride the van.

"Pure instinct," he says.

* We get our newspapers at the corner. The girl who looks like Precious is there and takes a step back to the curb when we pull up.

"We'd never run her over," says John Krazinski's Uncle.

* We're driving through an exceptionally busy Midtown. Someone attempts to jaywalk in front of us. Charlie doesn't let him. The man then shakes his fist at us like he's a supervillain swearing revenge.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Cats Come Out at Night

* I have to attend an event this morning and have the flier in my hand with the address. Jennifer asks what it's about. I tell her. It also says that there's a breakfast involved.

"At least you'll get breakfast out of it," she says.

Christina, Barbara's rival,hears this.

"You're inviting me to breakfast," she asks. "You can get me a senior discount! I like buffets."

* We arrive in the city and pull up to the corner to get our newspapers. The guy who was "sick as a dog" yesterday runs up to us.

"How my beautiful people doing this morning," he asks, and then peers into the van. "How my ladies doing?"

People just stare at him blankly.

"I'm still sick as a dog. Wanna see?"

I immediately say yes.


* I move up and sit next to Barbara. She asks me where I'm getting out. (She asks me this pretty much every day.) I tell her Fifth Avenue.

"Well, I'm getting out here," she says.

"I know," I reply. "I know everything about you."

"Oh really?"

"Yes. 142-29-2114."

Someone asks what that is.

"Barbara's social security number."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who Let the Dogs Out?

* Traffic is horrible this morning. Charlie decides to take a shortcut which causes us to drive through the austere grounds of the Upper Montclair Country Club. We initially start through the driveway, past the guard's gate, around the clubhouse, through a condominium complex and then onto another highway.

* Nick/Saul's daughter just graduated college and landed a job. She has to train in the city so she takes the van in. She's predictably adorable. We chat for a bit. She asks me what I do for a living. I tell her.

"Oh, so you must follow politics," she says. I tell her that I do. "So, what are your thoughts?" I ask her about what. She just shrugs.

"Well, in general, I think rich and powerful people have always exploited people who aren't rich and powerful. And it's always going to be that way."

People look at me as they realize how sad I am inside.

Jennifer says she can relate.

"Did you ever see The Road?" I haven't. "Well, it's about this dystopian future and the husband is trying to convince the wife to move to a better climate. So she doesn't want to keep going so she feels completely hopeless so she cuts her wrists."

* We make it into the city and pick up our newspapers. The guy who hands them to us speaks.

"I'm sick as a dog today," he says. "Do you want to see?"

He then starts barking like a dog.

"You gotta love his spirit," John Krasinski's Uncle says.

* Barbara gets out at Broadway. She has three large bags.

"Should I let you close the door for me," she says to me.

I do.

"I would do anything for that woman," I say.

One of the older guys next to me (conversation today: North Jersey racquetball leagues, architects and interior designers of choice in Morris County) says, "You'd better or you'll pay the price."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catching Up

I was away on a business trip and haven't taken the Vanpool in a while. I sit next to Jennifer who tells me what I've missed.

* Christina is an older Asian woman who does not say much. She rode the Vanpool the first few weeks I took it. She then was laid off from her job. However, she just started a two-month temp job in the city and will now be with us.

Barbara and her apparently never saw eye-to-eye.

"Oh, so I have to look at you for another two months," Barbara said when she saw Christina.

* Traffic was apparently really bad yesterday. Charlie took a shortcut through Jersey City that led them past a diner. Barbara forced Charlie to pull over so she could use the bathroom.

On today's Vanpool:

* I sat in front of the guy who moans oddly. He was muttering things all morning, including: "Mother Theresa" and then minutes later, "You stupid single minded woman."

Jennifer once road the bus back with him. His mom was sick at the time. She asked him how she was doing.

"He told me that he never liked his mom. One time, she was at a baby shower. All of his aunts were giving updates about what their children were doing. His mom said nothing about him."