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There was a lot mumbling and muttering (or whatever the equivalent is in written form) about NYC during the Das Boot section, and whether or not Jay would end up there next. Well, sure enough, in these pages we find out he did. This section takes up almost directly after leaving the boat, and tracks his efforts during the first months to navigate the city and find a job and, maybe, love. Continues for several months in this fashion.

Hello, NYC! i (10/26)

February 27, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

I think I found out that today is the 27th. Which means tomorrow is (or would be) the 28th and the last day of the month.

Made lots more theoretical cash today in more ways than one. 1st off, dragged myself to 22nd Street and proofed for 6 hours, with an extended break for Chinese lunch. I don’t ask questions, neither do they. I just do my work as best I can, which involves much staring at quivering print while my mind darts to + fro, loitering for substantial periods in the land of my imagination; then snapping into focus on the substance, the content and, most importantly, the orthography of the text beneath my elbows. What a joke! Especially since my mind was sharpened to a sleep-starved franticness, like a hungry dog. And caged.

But made some amount of $$ and tomorrow, at the request of Eliz, I venture (10:30am sharp) to 89th and Columbus to proofread again, for them this time. But, and before tomorrow… more today. Home from proofing to find letter from Annette, card from mom: a beautiful watercolor curlycue along with the check/loan I had requested and I gratefully saw the check and admired the card and hung the card w/o (!) reading it, and admired it some more, and it wasn’t ‘til later that I mused and realized that I had never read the card so I did and it said “gift” from M+D. My mouth gapes. How utterly confusing. Like a puppy whipped then cuddled I don’t know whether to cringe or fart + wag. Probably both. I’d like to send it back uncashed but my principles only run so deep and, let’s face it, not very. Then, and here’s the kicker, P.S. calls and invites me on this impromptu road trip vacation / adventure with him and Chris and Alex and Andy all the way down the coast to the southernmost tip of Florida for that strange phenomenon known as ‘Spring Break,’ and would I like to join them. Really? Would I? It is, in fact, possible, especially w/all this theoretical dough I’ve been making, AND the recent GIFT from parents (see above). Still, utterly irresponsible, especially given the side-eye glances I’ve been getting from Dad about getting my act together. But, what is life, if not one irresponsible venture after another?! But, to Fort Lauderdale? At 25 yrs old? Grandpas of the party, I guess we would be. Still, PS claims we can do the whole thing, 2+ weeks, down and back, for $200. Child’s play. I make that in… let’s see… 13 ½ hours of typing. But, on the other hand, if there is no typing…? What if they give my exalted and much fought-for perch to another in my absence?

Good thing is that I don’t need to decide until next Friday, so I can punt ’til then. I could always also head back prematurely, via bus, if I ran out of funds or just wanted to bail out. And nothing really holds me here either, for that matter, other than fear of parent’s disapproval, what with the recent gift of $$ etc. One thing for sure: better get that cashed and counted, first and foremost. Lock it in before they find out my plans and rescind it. So why not?

And one thing for certain: if I do go, I will not, under any circumstances, try to participate in the extravagance or the extravaganja, but instead I go as the OBSERVER… nothing more! I will linger in the shadows, the outskirts, the background, the fringes. Turn around, there I am… watching. I embrace my role as carnival correspondent and spy. It suits my temperament. And besides, I know better than to try to integrate more formally; for I would doubtless fail.

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