Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Near Death and a New (Sort Of) Rider

First, the big news: We have a new (sort of) rider. Evidently, it is a small vanpool world in which we ride as our new passenger isn't so new to me: She was a fellow rider on my previous van.

As I was settling into my jump seat Monday morning I heard, "Why, hello vAnnie!" I turned around and (stunned by my own chipperness at 6:38 a.m.) I trilled, "New Rider, how are you?" I couldn't stop myself - I even added a "So good to see you!" before turning back around and stuffing headphones in my ear canals, effectively blocking further communication. At this New Passenger wrinkled her nose. If she remembered anything about me besides my name from the previous van it was that I largely kept my nose in a book and never spoke that cheerfully to anyone.

I'm sorry to report that I don't recall any element of her appearance or personality significant enough to inspire a nickname or actor to portray her in The Vanpool Chronicles Show. So, until she invokes my ire or gets a truly horrendous hair cut*, she's going to be referred to as New Rider.

In other news, I recently stared down Death in the form of a reversing 15 passenger Ford Econoline van. The Van nearly cut short the life of a talented librarian, mediocre blogger and dyed in the wool pain in the ass. I was filing out of the parking lot last Friday when, out of my periphery, I noticed a lumbering white steel mass bearing down on me. I froze and thought, surely they see me...surely they SEE me...SURELY they SEE ME!

Since Houston is my adopted city, I have acquired a number of local habits including rabid and unnecessary horn use. Texas the Drive Friendly state, my ass. After blasting my horn (which is surprisingly menacing for such a small car) the van stopped and I proceeded out of the parking lot to begin my weekend with a new found gratitude for life.

And who of all people was behind the wheel? Gap Lady! She was presumably going to gas up the van for the coming week, that or she planned to tool around the city in it over the weekend eliciting looks of envy at her sweet ass ride.

The next time we saw each other she said, "We know your horn works now, don't we?"

And I said, "Oh, are you talking about last week when you tried to kill me?"

Nervous laughter filled the cabin.

*As I typed this yesterday, I felt a twinge of guilt as we have all suffered through a bad haircut. Payback is indeed a miserable shrew. I learned a valuable life lesson last evening and it was this: Do not book the last appointment with your stylist the day before she leaves for a two-week trip to Peru because, baby, her mind ain't on your hair. When I get tired I tend to become exceedingly indecisive (strike two) which meant I gave my stylist carte blanche (strike three). What was supposed to be Katie Holmes' fab new 'do mutated into something resembling Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann. Lesson learned. It's Saturday morning appointments only from now on.

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