I scrambled to get a rental car reservation and arranged for a pickup last night. Because Enterprise picks you up, just as their slogan claims.
My mom also picks me up, and she usually does for rental car drop-offs. But she is a teacher and yesterday was her first day back to school, and my reservation was extremely last minute, so I decided to get a ride with Enterprise. Stevie and his Honda Odyssey showed up in my driveway promptly at 5:15, and he was the most cheerful person I've come across in a long time.
We got to talking about the weather, and Stevie told me that he was looking forward to experiencing his first winter in Pennsylvania, because he just moved here six months ago from New York City. He said he loves Pennsylvania so far, it seems so calm and relaxed compared to NYC. I asked Stevie what brought him to suburban Philadelphia.
"Well," he said, "a woman."
He asked me if I was traveling for work (yes) and what I do (child welfare) and then he told me that he spent the last 17 years working in the medical examiners office in New York City. He has his bachelor's degree in mortuary science, his master's degree in forensics.
He worked in the medical examiner's office in New York City on 9/11.
I cannot even imagine and he said he will never be the same.
He said that when he moved here and became a service manager with Enterprise, people in his life kept asking him if he was going to try to get a job in his field. He said no, he is 54 years old and doesn't want to be surrounded by death anymore. He vacuums cars,picks people up and drops them off, and finally doesn't think about his work when he goes home at night.
Stevie told me many stories about his time as a medical examiner, including one which I'm not sure is true or not, but he claimed his team was performing an autopsy on a homeless man and when they opened him up A RAT JUMPED OUT OF HIM. He said an intern got sick to her stomach when she saw it and had to quit, and as someone who fainted in freshman year nursing biology lab when I saw a blood cell under a microscope, I can sympathize.
I wonder if that intern changed her mind and got an English degree like I did.
Anyway, he also said he saw some famous people, including Aaliyah and Keith Ledger.
I think he meant Heath. Heath Ledger.
Stevie also had many memorable quotes, including but not limited to "Some medical examiners make a 'U' cut. Some make a butterfly cut. But once that first cut is made, you just crack those ribs and fillet it like a fish.
And "I will never forget the first burned body I saw. I ain't never eat anything off a grill again."
You may be wondering how far we traveled for Stevie to have enough time to tell me all these stories. About three miles. First of all, he talked fast.
Second of all, there was an awkward moment when we stopped for a train crossing, and then the train passed and the railroad arms went back up, and Stevie did not proceed forward into the intersection.
For about eight to ten minutes.
He just kept that Odyssey in park and told me about autopsies and what happens to a body as it decomposes. After opposing traffic went through two or three light cycles, I gently suggested that Stevie move the old Odyssey up a few hundred feet to trigger the sensor to turn the light green.
"No, no," he said, "This is a weird intersection. The stop bar is very far back. The light must be malfunctioning or something."
Stevie. You may have spent decades in the Big Apple but I have spent my entire 29 years in this town. I know how this intersection works. Finally a car that had been sitting (and sitting, and sitting) behind us passed us (illegally and quickly) and Stevie followed suit.
As we pulled into the Enterprise parking lot, Stevie wished me good luck at my meeting, reminded me not to lose heart even when work is depressing, and NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT AT NIGHT.
Its almost like he knows my new birthday motto.
I got back from my meeting around 6 tonight, and Matt picked me up at Enterprise. Stevie was great, but I'll admit, after a long day I sure was happy to see Matt in his old F-150. He even had dinner ready when we got home.
And it wasn't grilled.