Generic White Guy had been missing for at least three months now (granted, it took me about a month to notice his absence). I desperately tried to overhear the hushed tones the other ladies used when talking about him, but all I could gather is that he had surgery and was facing a long recovery.
This was his first week back and it was good to see him. He looks somewhat worse for the wear, a little fragile and extra pale, but in high spirits. I thought my heart would literally rip in two when we picked him up at the end of his first day back and I watched him stumble and nearly fall while trying to hoist himself into the van.
Someone tried to make a joke out of it, something along the lines of, "We all know you're ready to get home, but pace yourself! Har-Har!" But I think everyone in the van just wanted to give him a hug.
The other fellow is a vanpool first: Young. Younger than me. Young. On all of my vanpools, I have been at least a decade or two younger than the other vannies. I've caught the new guy looking at me the way I know I look at him, a look that says, "What are you doing here?"
It's kind of like getting caught enjoying something you know is lame. You feel a little ashamed and a little self conscious and feel a little hate for the person who discovered you.
Unfortunately, the whippersnapper has yet to reveal himself. He's quiet and unobtrusive, cloaked in the rumpled anti-style of the heterosexual man in his early twenties. The only catty thing I have on him is that he needs a haircut.
I know Generic White Guy won't let me down, as soon as he gets to feeling better he'll be reading aloud what's on sale at the grocery store and commenting on weather patters and gas mileage, but the new guy is still a mystery.