1 15-passenger van
17 Total riders assigned to van
13 Full-time riders
4 Part time riders - I know precious little about this crowd as they only appear about once or twice a month. Not sure if they get a discount as the full monthly price is hardly a bargain for a few rides.
From here on all data reflects Vannies only, no part timers.
Of my 13 Vannies:
Two are male. One married, one single. One is generically white and wears short sleeve shirts with the occasional tie and talks about his barbecue acumen, the other is Hispanic and sports a truly bitchin' neo-pompadour, but has the annoying habit of sucking air through his front teeth.
Three are Asian. I noticed early on that this is a rather cliquish group. No one talks to them, but they talk to each other. Of the three Asians, I'll call them Tall, Grande, and Venti (she's got to be at least 6'). Venti appears to be the linchpin, Tall and Grande chat up a storm with her, but seldom talk to each other.
Van Mother, she is the public face of our vanpool. You must go through her when joining or leaving the vanpool. Van Mother is the Alpha Vannie and the very picture of a suburban working mom. With Van Mother, it's all precious anecdotes about her offspring and spouse. I thought I would like Van Mother but following The Big Stink incident (refer to Big Stink post) and after she sort of tuned me out when I responded that no, I don't have any children, during the first 12 seconds of our first conversation, I really don't have much to do with her.
It, I don't care for It or her real life androgynous name. She is a squat woman with a short, gray perm who lives with her mother. 'Nuff said. It is also a dog breeder or breeder enthusiast or some fucking thing. Inexplicably, Van Mother and It have forged what appears to be a friendship.
One Hispanic woman, we share a drop off and have managed some light bonding. She has started taking the stairs with me in the morning and asks me about my dogs and weekend plans. She can be spotted forcing herself to ingest green tea out of a pink ceramic mug roughly the size of her head.
One rather hip older woman, who looks a bit like a geriatric Gap ad: all ballet flats and well cut t-shirts. She is quite possibly the most disarmingly personable human being on Earth; pleasant without being tiresome and just a bit feisty.
Two middle 40's women who radiate an aura that says, "I don't give a shit." I love them. They refrain from talking in the morning (due in large part to the fact that they are sleeping soundly with their faces suctioned to the window), rarely if ever talk about their kids, and seem to be just as annoyed as me when the Asians are hypercaffeinated and trying to talk over each other.
One Black woman who left on maternity leave shortly after I joined the van and we recently heard that she won't be returning. So, be on the lookout for news about our newest member whenever s/he arrives.
Then there's me, a solid decade younger than my van ilk and probably the only Democrat, judging by all the Bush/Cheney '04 stickers on their SUV's. I'm the only one who reads on the van, except for the generic white guy who occasionally brings the paper (of course). Me and Venti listen to music and, incidentally, Venti loves metal. I know this because she turns her music up loud enough that I can actually sing along with the Zeppelin.
This is the motley cast of characters that populate my vanpool life, these are the everyday folk, the hardest core Vannies.