Yawn

Hallowe’en. Booze. Frolics. Drunks.

 

Saturday night was a fat time here in the Tropical Midwest, what with all the Hallowe’en parties and onset of bearable weather.

I didn’t partake of the party side of things, except as an observer from my limousine driver’s perch. The Boss gave me the prime run of the night – one of his golfing buddies wanted an eleven seater for three of his mates and seven wenches. I knew we were in for a big night when they needed a wheelbarrow to cart all the booze from the house.

My town has only three or four places for the kind of frolics that involve belly shots, women in (mock) S&M gear and Columbian Beach Sand, if you get my drift, so everyone under the age of 30 was at one or other of them. Man, were there some hot looking babes strutting around, making a mockery of my notable failure in the chick dept. As one of the other limo drivers opined, where the Sam Adams are these women during the day? Are they all vampires snoozing in a coffin?

Another Floridian mystery – do all the ninety year old women with one foot in the grave take a step out and lose seventy years when the sun crashes into Mexico each night?

Hanging around waiting, I was approached by three couples (tanked) looking for their cars which had “disappeared”, two young guys wanting to know what it was like driving around “rich arseholes” and one youth looking to urinate on my limousine.

Just joking doood, he said walking headlong into a dumpster.

Sequins

Big events.

I could lie to you and write that I drove the Homecoming Queen on Saturday night. Alas the truth is more prosaic. How about five fifteen year-old girls?

Yes, that was my fate, a night of giggling behind the privacy screen, hooting at pedestrians and what felt like slam dancing. At one point I swore there was a herd of kangaroos back there.

From my one-night experience Homecoming is no more than an excuse for dressing up and going out. Not that there was any hard-core partying going on in any of The Boss’s limos.

Unsure of what to expect, I chatted with him beforehand. The problem, of course, is booze. If any of the under-age crowd (21 here in Florida) is caught drinking in the car, the driver is liable too. On nights like last Saturday the place is lousy with cops, apparently able to stop and search on the flimsiest of evidence. Whatever happened to probable cause? Oh, the young man baring his buttocks whilst holding on to a full champagne flute. Fair enough then, officer.

None of that worried me, because the young hostess’s parents were first rate. Obliged to explain the drinking in the car problem to the father as we completed the paperwork, he was with the program, having made it clear to his daughter and friends that there were to be no (illegal) shenanigans.

Off we went to dinner followed by an hour of touring the hot-spots of our coastal town, then to the dance at the science and technology museum. Surprisingly, the parents were there to meet us, a canny move I thought, making sure of good behaviour with a surprise check.

After the dance, and with heels in hand, they went to the designated sleep-over house. I was finished by 1:00 after cleaning the smallish mess in the limousine. Easy.

So that’s Homecoming. I learned that fifteen year-old girls might be close to complete women physically, but they’re really still just kids. I learned that the hot fashion this year is sequined dresses, and the hot colour is turquoise. I also learned that the best asset a kid has is two good parents, who might indulge them sometimes, but do their best to guide them through the thicket of teenage years.

Those two get my prize of the night.

Oh, and turquoise sequins will be found in the back of that limo forever, I’m certain.

Trim

Infidelity and cars go together like drive-ins and teen pregnancy.

In a Top-Secret, for-your-eyes-only mission last night, I discovered that Harry has a little piece of arse on the side.

Harry is my boss at Harry’s Limousines, where we convey the rich and expense-accounted around this here piece of Florida swamp. He called me mid-afternoon, with specific details. This is a direct quote:

Okay, so the job is collecting a lady friend of mine – if you can read between the lines – take her to a restaurant, and drive her home when she’s done.

There was to be no record of the trip. He left an envelope with cash for me, tip included, and I couldn’t even refill the car with gas when done, because that would leave a paper trail as well. All very clandestine.

Harry is 57 years old and a grandfather. He’s a good guy, always ready with a story, although he does express himself with passion, meaning that he shouts a lot. I have noticed that his hair has been professionally cut of late, with some blonde added to the spiky tips. Now I know why.

Between that first call and me picking up his flooze, he called me four times. No kidding, he even called at five minute prior to pickup time to make sure I had found the house.

Look, it’s none of my business, and I’m interested only because it’s fun to write about. The way he is like an overprotective den mother demonstrates that he is smitten by this woman, completely giddy with something approaching love. He’s as moony as a ten year old in the back of the bus, if you read between the cheeks.

Silly man, he’s going to get his heart handed to him.

Rumpled

This was me, then. And now, really.

Moonlighting for The Boss’s Limousine Service means hanging around airports a lot. Despite the meagre pay, this isn’t an imposition; I like airports.

Fear and expectancy are in the faces. Nervousness competes with complete boredom, and happy travellers mix with exhausted travellers. It’s an emotion incubator with expensive food.

Mostly I’m a little bit smug, having no fear of missing flights, nor missing luggage, no exasperation at the horror of row 32, seat B which comes fully equipped with a colicky kid in row 32, seat A.

More than anything I notice how poorly people dress. Almost always I’m the best dressed person in the airport, and often in the limousine too.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t say much. I’m in the regulation driver’s uniform: black suit (off the rack), black belt, white (slightly rumpled) cotton-blend shirt and black tie (coffee stains hopefully not visible). I call this style Chauffeur Chic.

Chauffeur Chic means that your trousers are slightly larger than optimum fit because of all the sitting and waiting – believe me, if you’re hanging around in Florida in August, you don’t want zoot-suit style pants. And the suit jacket is rumpled at back from driving with the thing on, necessary to create the formal atmosphere our clients like.

Notwithstanding the fact that my uniform is how tramps dressed in the thirties, it’s the gold standard compared to everyone else there. I shall refrain from describing the nightmare, except to say that middle-aged men who are 100 lbs overweight should wear neither lycra shorts nor Crocs, and especially not together.

What America needs is a dress code.

As the only man within a thousand miles in an ironed shirt and a necktie, I get to criticize.

Crush It

If they were really snowbirds, we’d be able to shoot them, right?

This is the lull before the storm, a period of quiet before the Snowbirds rock into Florida for the winter. It’s locals only at the moment, but before long there will be Michiganders doing U-turns all over, and Illinoisans in vast caravanserais of Recreational Vehicles all over I-75.

[Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October pronounced Recreational Vehicle the best way ever, in that Rrrrrrrussian accent of his, every syllable e nun ci a ted, every R rrrrrrolled.]

The lull means quiet times at The Boss’s Limousine service. Last night I did my first job in ages, collecting three youngish Chicagoan women from an area airport. While two argued the point about one of their bags still sitting at O’Hare, I got chatting to the third. (BTW, budget airlines mean budget baggage handling. Why don’t you understand you get what you pay for?)

After a while, I realized that her half of the conversation was slightly off-centre, as if she wasn’t understanding me. I put it down to flight fatigue, until on our way out to the car I saw that she was wearing hearing aids.

Many moons ago I wrote about imperfections in women, and how attractive they are. Whether that is because it makes them appear vulnerable – or the corollary of that, makes men feel protective – I’m not sure. Either way, there was a noticeable warming of my feeling towards her.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if I wanted to chase her romantically, but her minor hearing problem did change my attitude. I even let her smoke in the limo, an indulgence sure to rile The Boss.

Sheesh, I’m a soft touch.

Horrors Come to Pass

Written years ago, and yet look at the prescience. Awful. Things are so much worse now in 2016.

Dr Braithwaite and his wife are becoming fixtures in my travels at Harry’s Limousine. He’s a retired physician who flies to Houston for chemotherapy every couple of weeks, proof that cancer is an equal opportunity disease. I drove these charming and urbane folks home last night, passing the time with a good-natured discussion about everything from New Zealand green-lipped mussels to the criminality of Senator Edward Kennedy.

Dr Braithwaite was at Haahhhvahhhd when fat Ted was there, and explained to me that when he was caught cheating in 1951 and tossed out, a donation to the university made it all go away. How surprising.

Waiting for their bags at the carousel, our conversation turned to the TSA. The good Doctor, not normally given to cussing, was hot under the collar at the idiocy of airport checks. Taking toothpaste from sick old white men is keeping us safe, apparently.

He’s right to be angry, because giving authority to people who would otherwise have none is a sure pathway to making them martinets. It’s not the flunkies’ fault though; the fault lies with their bureaucratic masters. Political correctness doesn’t allow the profiling that would actually add to our security. Arab-looking or Muslim men are obviously the greatest threat, but the folks at TSA aren’t allowed to discriminate between a thirty year old Egyptian flying school wash-out and my nice dying doctor.

What this cluster-fuck does is to inconvenience the maximum number of innocent people, and add only marginally to aviation safety. Diversity nuts and lefty PC police, listen up: you will kill us with this idiocy.

Maybe that’s your aim.

Dr B drew the obvious conclusion. If you want a universal healthcare system, run by the federal government, consider the TSA, because that’s what happens when government runs anything.

As PJ O’Rourke wrote, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”