So, I spend two hours a day commuting to and from the day job. When I started taking the vanpool I thought those would be two hours a day that I could write. I mean, I’d heard about our vanpools.
People don’t talk on them. Ear buds in, low enough that nobody else can hear them. Laptops open. No talking. Written rules. Did I mention no talking? So it seemed like the perfect place to write a book every day. Two hours a day with no internet, no kids, no dogs. Perfect.
I didn’t take one thing into account. I didn’t get one of the lame vanpools. I got the party bus. We have rules. We even thought about writing them down. But in order to come up with the rules, we would have had to keep minutes. And that breaks rule number two: what happens on the van, stays on the van. That’s right, we’re mobile Vegas.
What’s rule number one?
No pictures on the van. That one popped up because in the early days we were kind of quiet in the morning and some people would fall asleep. And some of us might be just slightly evil enough to think that pictures of people drooling in their sleep would be good blackmail material.
But there are a couple of us who are morning people, and a couple of us who just enjoy having adult conversation, and the group grew, and now I give a speech to the new folks who join the van. It’s pretty short.
“If you were looking for the quiet van where you could work, this isn’t it. Rule number three is no talking about work. We try to keep to it, but some days are better than others. Conversation runs from Disney-rated to not-even-close. If you want to not hear anything sit up front; if you want Disney sit next to her. Do not sit next to us. We apologize in advance.”
We tried reining it in once or twice. It didn’t work. The reality is, if you want peace and quiet, you quickly find another van. One that doesn’t have parties. Or cake.
So, I know, you’re wondering. If what happens on the van is supposed to stay on the van, why can I write about it? Seriously? I’m a writer. There was an unspoken exemption. Okay, it wasn’t so much unspoken thing as them looking at me and saying, “no writing about us” and me laughing out load and saying, “right, how about no names?”
So I pretend that I’m going to work on the van. I bring my laptop. I even open it. And then I hear about everyone’s lives and get material for my books. But no names. I promise.