Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tom and Katie and Me

This exciting news reminded me of an experience I had last week in the casual carpool. For those of you who are non-Bay-Area-ers, it's a series of carpool pick-up and drop-off points--one of which is a couple of blocks from my house and therefore saves me some time vs. the expensive stinkiness of BART--and saves the driver the $3 bridge toll.

The downside is that riders are at the mercy of the driver's choice in listening material, driving ability and/or judgment, and bodily odors. The worst I've had to deal with so far have been centered on lousy talk radio or "lite rock"--For example, I realized this week that the Bette Midler song "From a Distance" could be used effectively during "coercive interrogations" in Guantanamo Bay, although it would most likely violate the Geneva Conventions (and common human decency).

However, last week I met my carpool match in a guy--let's call him "Jim"--who was easily the most unfocused spaz to whom I've ever had the misfortune to entrust my life. This... fellow... was on the phone the entire half hour of the commute--and not one long phone call, mind you, but many short calls, each dialed painstakingly with one hand on his cellphone (no hands-free set for this daredevil) while furiously changing lanes, swerving, and cutting people off, to no noticeable advantage in traffic speed, as women's folk music blared on the stereo. Here are a few of the snippets we passengers were treated to:

"Hi, it's Jim. Can you doublecheck the reservations for Pebble Beach? I wanted to make it to the spa but I'm not sure I'll be able to make it back from the studio in time, maybe we have an in-house waiting list? Also, confirm the guest list for..."

"Hi, it's Jim again. Can you be sure we have a screening room reserved for Tuesday, and also make sure to book us a lunch reservation, and can you..."

"Hi, it's Jim. I'm going to see the doctor later today--those acupuncturists were awful. No, I'm taking him the MRI myself--I don't trust those people..."

"Hi, it's Jim... Oh, that's Mary Chapin-Carpenter. Is it too loud? No? Good. Well, anyway..."

... And so on. Then, as we're nearing the exit from the bridge (and my merciful separation from this nutjob), he picks up the phone for one last call:

"Hi Tom, it's Katie. I'm so sorry you completely misunderstood my intentions last night. I was standing there in my bathrobe, I mean, what was I supposed to do?"

Anyway, based on all the clues this guy shamelessly dropped ("Have him email me at JimXxxx@xxxx.com"), I was able to find him on the internet when I got to work. He's some kind of lawyer, he likes spas and hates acupuncturists and he and his boyfriend call each other "Tom and Katie." At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, I wish I could have other people's privacy back.