Who's Excited to Be Back at Work!?

One thing I will not do is write a "New York is way better than DC" post. I just will not do that. Comparisons between the two cities are moot since the cities are radically different. New York has 16 times the population! The cities have different purposes, different wants, and different needs. Saying one is better than the other is like saying a six-course meal is better than a midnight snack.

That being said, yes, obviously, New York is a better city than Washington.

But I will not write about that! I'd rather focus on the Vamoose. The Vamoose is a cheap bus service. What makes it a cut above the rest of the DC-NY bus lines is its location of departure: Tenleytown! Catching a bus four blocks from your house is significantly more convenient than catching a bus in Chinatown or Union Station.

Unfortunately, next time I make a trip to NYC (granted, it could be a while), I will not be using the Vamoose. Taking this bus was a Hellish experience.

To wit: on the way up to the city, they played Shall We Dance. Hellish doesn't even begin to describe this film. Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, ball room dancing! How can this go wrong!?

The best part was when Richard Gere was meeting his overworked wife, played by an under-utilized Susan Sarandon, to share a romantic ballroom dance at her office. It was really quite the dramatic and totally unexpected plot twist. Kind of like the end of An Officer and a Gentleman but with more wrinkles.

Anyways, the entire dance is to the lamest song ever. I have taken the time to copy and paste all of the lyrics. Especially egregious lyrics are in boldface. Really, these lyrics are astonishingly bad.

The book of love is long and boring/No one can lift the damn thing/It's full of charts and facts and figures/ and instructions for dancing/But I/ I love it when you read to me/And you/You can read me anything/The book of love has music in it/In fact that's where music comes from/Some of it is just transcendental/Some of it is just really dumb/But I/I love it when you sing to me/And you/You can sing me anything/The book of love is long and boring/And written very long ago/It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes/And things we're all too young to know/But I/I love it when you give me things/And you/You ought to give me wedding rings/And I/I love it when you give me things/And you/You ought to give me wedding rings/And I/I love it when you give me things/And you/You ought to give me wedding rings/You ought to give me wedding rings.

The temptation to put the entire thing in boldface was almost overwhelming, but I needed to find a way to draw special attention to the brilliant line "Some of it is just really dumb." And who doesn't love it when people give me things!? ***

Ok, so, eff you Vamoose for making me watch that.

The ride up was mildly annoying due to the presence of a Jennifer Lopez movie. The ride back was what really drove me over the edge. First, the bus failed to show up on time. It also failed to be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 59 minutes late. it didn't show up until a full 61 minutes after we were scheduled to leave. The first excuse was bad traffic. The second excuse was the bus's A/C didn't work. So, my friend and I had to stand around Penn Station for an hour twiddling our thumbs. It sucked, but it probably would have sucked less than being stuck in a bus with no A/C.

I was still in a pretty sour mood on the ride back to DC. This was exacerbated when (surprise, surprise) it became apparent that this bus didn't have a working A/C unit either. If you can imagine what it feels like to be stuck in a bus for four hours without a cracked window...take my word for it, it's horrible. Just as bad as I imagined.

So, no more Vamoose. You can't put a person through an hour delay and a non-air conditioned bus ride and expect to keep their business. From now on, Greyhound or bust.

*** UPDATE: Thanks to a reader who informed me that this is a Magnetic Fields song off of 69 Love Songs. I haven't really listened to that album but most of my friends seem to enjoy it. Apparently the song is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. Well, the Peter Gabrie cover used in Shall We Dance is definitely earnest. Which makes the whole ordeal even lamer.


  1. On the Chinatown bus I rode from NYC to DC yesterday they played "Into the Blue" which I assumed sucked, but I wouldn't be able to tell you for certain as there was a squealing baby sitting in front of me drowning out the movie. I don't know whether to thank or curse that baby from saving me from having to hear Paul Walker try to act.

  2. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    That song from the movie is a Magnetic Fields song that is on 69 Love Songs. It's a very good album. Every song is a genre song. It's an ironic/tongue-in-cheek song, but don't blame the song for showing up in a crappy movie.

  3. In the movie, the song was performed by Peter Gabriel.

    If the song was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, Gabriel (and the screenwriters who decided that the song would fit) absolutely ruined it.

  4. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    I drove up to NYC this weekend w/ an Indian guy. Had to listen to Indian music all the way. "It's good b/c it has microtones," he said. Whatever.

  5. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    There's a reason it only costs $40 round trip...

  6. I actually love Vamoose. I took the Chinatown bus twice, both times it smelled like pee on the way there and like noxious chinese food on the way back. Both times the bus almost left without us (we were ON TIME).
    Compared to this, Vamoose is a pleasureable ride. The seats are better, there is entertainment, (I prefer crappy movies to sitting in silence- and i bet you do too, since you could always have turned on an ipod and closed your eyes) and the fare is cheaper.
    The problem with Vamoose, which you obviously discovered is that their Friday/ rush hour bus leaves at the same exact time as it does on non-rush hour days. Therefore, the bus is always late those days, as though the driver/company are totally unaware of the pending delays. The Tenleytown stop leaves on time, but the last time I took Vamoose, it took us an HOUR AND A HALF to get to Farragut.
    But overall I still prefer Vamoose, which you should try taking on an off day. The trip is less than 4 hours to NYC.

  7. I don't have an iPod :(

  8. neither do i. and i'll never give into the fad. mostly because i have rent to pay.

  9. In fact, Rusty had an iPod but he lost it.


  11. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    i LOVE those lyrics, absolutely hilarious. i also love that you love boy meets world. please post your 400 word essay or whatever on boy meets world asap as i expect it to be very entertaining.

  12. My Boy Meets World thesis would probably take up 25 pages on Word (12-point Times New Roman, natch). I don't think that's fair to people who just want me to complain about DC.

    I highly recommend you check out the BMW Wikipedia entry. It's fantastic.

  13. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    The thing is...many of the buses are not the best experience...I took one from Chinatown a few months ago and even though it is supposed to be a non-stop trip..theys topped in Baltimore and Philly...argh..but the best part was hearing the driver swear in half-english/half chinese at a cab driver that cut him off...In NYC, we had people selling tickets on the street, in the office and then you had customers who had bought online tickets..needless to say there were some angry people...who couldn't get on the bus. BUT AT LEAST YOU GUYS BOTH GOT MOVIES! Or didn't get sick from a red-bean pastry...oye

  14. I got fed up with some bad Chinatown bus experiences and decided Greyhound or bust too. Then I was on a bus from DC to NY for 6 hours with no A/C. Then I decided Amtrak or bust but given the power failure last week, I might never travel again.

  15. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    Buses suck in general. When I went up to NYC 2 years ago on Greyhound, the bus driver screamed at me for talking on my cell phone. Because I was calling my sister to tell her I would be 2 hours late since the bus was 2 hours late. While I was waiting for the bus, this guy came up to me and asked if I wanted a cookie. And that he was going to the bathroom, but leaving his bag there just in case I wanted one.

  16. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    My last Chinatown bus ride to NY resulted in an unplanned stop on the side of the Jersey Turnpike - because it broke down. Thanks Apex bus. The best part was that the driver did not explain anything about what was going on at all, and no one knew what was going to happen until some state troopers pulled up and forced info out of the driver and his translator. Thankfully a bus on its way from Philly stopped after an hour and miraculously had enough empty seats for everyone. Oh yeah, and no AC on the way up or down. But still, that's what you get for $40.

    And on another note, the street theater that takes place in Chinatown NY between arguing rival bus company ticket sellers beats any movie.

  17. Jennifer Lopez movies are a requisite part of the Vamoose experience apparently. Last time I went to New York, it was Jersey Girl. The suffering was unbearable.

  18. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    Two things:

    1) Ben Savage spent the summer here in DC a few years ago (interning? maybe a question for the girls at the Reliable Source). Some claimed that he had an apartment in Foggy Bottom, but I could never verify. I did see him out at bars a few times though, and upon yelling "Boy Meets World!" or "Corey Matthews!" he'd become immediately sullen. I almost got into a cab w/ him and some of his friends one night to go back to his place to party, but sadly, the car couldn't accomodate all of us.

    2) Magnetic Fields is perhaps the worst band of all time. Might just be my opinion, but it's the correct one. I used to work at the Birchmere when they did a 2-night stint, and the amount of demands they made were unbelievable. They flipped out about everything, saying it was distracting: dishes being washed in the kitchen, toilets flushing, chairs creaking, telephones in the box office ringing, glasses clinking, etc. Yet they demanded to be in the front room (aka the dance hall) where all of the non-music activity takes place.

    Oh, and their music sucks.

  19. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    C'mon Irina -- show us your tits.

  20. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    Last time I took the Chinatown bus to NYC I could smell alcohol on the drivers breath/skin as I walked by.

  21. AnonymousMay 30, 2006

    "upon yelling "Boy Meets World!" or "Corey Matthews!" he'd become immediately sullen."


  22. I luv the Soho area. Thats usually where I go in NY.

  23. AnonymousMay 31, 2006

    Get a sense of irony, dumbass. Weren't you alive in the 1990s? Are you aware of the concept of irony?

  24. AnonymousJune 01, 2006

    I took some other iteration of the bus-from-hell (mine was $35 RT) - on the ride up, they played Taxi (Queen Latifah & Jimmy Fallon); on the way back, the driver listed to the NYC/Philly/DC hip-hop stations...meaning that we got to listen to the same music 3 separate times. Not better.