Tag Archives: Comedy

Advice: Staying Warm While Waiting For The Bus

Dear Samuel, 

Long time reader, first time caller! Love the blog! It’s great! Quick question- Waiting at the bus stop is becoming horrendous in this cold weather. Any tips, you good-looking son of a bitch?

Love, Samuel Z.

Great question and one I can totally relate to, Samuel!

Winter is here and for those of us living in the colder urban environments this means that standing at the bus stop is really a pain in the tuchus. Of course winter doesn’t just mean cold waits but also inclement weather that can delay buses. What does a delayed bus mean? Longer waits. Whoop-de-fucking-loo. Here are some of my great suggestions:

  • Exercises to keep your blood flowing. My favorite is to ride an imaginary bicycle, although with my bad knees I can’t do this for long. Jumping-Jacks are also good.
  • Urinating on yourself may seem like a good idea at the time but soon that warm liquid will freeze and then your thighs are frozen shut.
  • Use what resources you have. If you’re in a three-sided shelter like we have in Amherst than maximize its efficiency by pushing it over and positioning the entrance away from the oncoming wind.
  • The more people waiting for the bus the better. Huddling for warmth is good but get as close to the center as you can. During this time of year I carry a blue permanent marker with me so that in times like this I can color my hands and face and tell people I’ve got hypothermia. Their sympathy means that they’ll put me in the center so that I don’t die.
  • Stay positive. Instead of thinking that the bus is late because the universe is punishing you for cheating on your French quiz in Sophomore year, think that it’s late for a good reason. Maybe they ran over someone you really don’t like. Imagine the bus crushing your least favorite celebrity (Jack Nicholson) or relative (Ken).
  • Super cold? Fake a heart-attack so an ambulance is called. Once they’ve picked you up tell the paramedics that you left your health insurance information at your apartment. They’ll pull up at your apartment, you run inside to “get your health insurance information” and then you lock the door. Free ride home!
  • Take this opportunity to learn new things about your body. If there’s a willing partner you two can stay warm by engaging in a frisky exploration of the other’s body. Why limit it to just you two? Invite everyone waiting with you to join in! (This is how my Great-Aunt Hortensia met her second-, third-, and sixth-husband.)

Stay warm out there!

-Samuel

Well that’s all I’ve got. Anyone got anything to add? Leave a comment below. And if you’d like me to answer a question from someone who isn’t me feel free to e-mail it to me: hypatiaofvermont@gmail.com

Why Two Elderly, White, Upper-Middle Class, English, Fictional Retirees Are My Personal Heroes

Image from Waiting for God’s Yahoo fan group.

Are you familiar with Waiting for God? You are? Awesome.

What? You’re not? That’s terrible. I’m so sorry, but you do have the privilege of getting into one of the greatest shows to ever come out of Great Britain. Think I’m joking or being sarcastic? Wrong. I take my BritComs very, very seriously.

Waiting for God is the story of Tom and Diana, retirees confined, sorry, living in the same retirement community in rural England. Simply put it’s about two feisty pensioners making life a living hell for the insufferable management and tormenting their empty-headed children, all set in a facility where every resident is more eccentric than the next. That’s the simple description of it but in reality it’s far more marvelous than that.

I’ve been re-watching all of WfG, starting from the very first episode, and I’ve begun to realize how big an impact Tom and Diana have had on my life. Upon watching episodes that I haven’t seen for years I’ve been astounded to see how many of my principles and  ethics can be linked to watching Tom and Diana in my formative years.

Those who know me can make the easy connection between me and the acidic Diana. Like an avenging Fury draped in shawls and leaning on a cane, Diana delivers her own form of justice with a glee that borders on the sadistic. During the five seasons that the show ran she smacked impertinent middle-aged idiots with her cane, stole cars, humiliated those who deserved it and carried out more acts of vigilante justice than I can remember. What makes Diana so fucking brilliant is that while she definitely takes pleasure in dispensing justice she is dedicated to true justice. Well, true justice according to Diana’s moral compass. There’s something of the New Woman about Diana. Fear? This is the woman who spent her sixtieth (or was it her fiftieth?) birthday hanging from a helicopter while photographing a war zone. With a stiff GnT, sarcasm to spare and an unblinking gaze, Diana tackles every injustice she sees.

Oh Tom. Dear, kind, daft, balmy, old Tom. A man who has lived a quiet and pleasant life, Tom’s entered his dotage with a cheerful resolve to have adventures. Despite an aging body Tom spends his days climbing Mt. Everest, hanging with JFK and preventing World War II by properly negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. Tom’s adventures are almost entirely the product of his active mind and I take inspiration from the way in which he creates joy around him. He’s the wonderful counterbalance to Diana’s borderline cruelty. Like his companion, Tom is single-minded and eager in his pursuit of justice. Where Diana is marked by her piss and vinegar, Tom is full of optimism, good cheer and unshakable faith in the innate goodness of humanity.

What’s lovely is the fact that Tom and Diana are both just as effective as the other, it just depends on what the situation is. Sometimes Diana’s bulldozer-esque tack is called for and sometimes its the disarmingly cheerfulness of Tom. Tom and Diana aren’t two different people who happen to get along, they are two parts of one person. Yes, they are comic exaggerations of intense personality types but they can’t exist without each other. Tom without Diana is a mild-mannered accountant with a fantasy world and Diana without Tom is a bitter woman with vindictive tendencies. Once united they are an unstoppable force bringing progress from the retirement home’s management to Whitehall.

You taught me that in order to stay alive I needed to be bloody-minded; thank you, Diana. -Tom Ballard; “The Christening”; Season 1, Episode 4

How could you not love this show? (I screencapped this image from some episode...)

How could you not love this show? (My own screencap)