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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 (17/26)

April 3, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

What an entirely successful day! I amaze myself.

1st thing… one waiter short at lunch so I had my own little section and, subsequently, my own little share of our communal pool. More importantly, succeeded in (I presume) impressing the ‘powers that be’ w/my poise and competence. But 1st! Rose at some insane hour and then dozed + rose + dozed and rose again at 9am w/2 curious pigeons peeking in my open window! Did they come to wake me? What did they want? To poop on our polished floor?

So… down to corner to buy what I somehow felt to be a most indispensible prop for the Princeton Review audition I may have mentioned: a pipe: $7. Money well spent! (more on this later…). Then to Woolworths to buy $10 shirt; button up, long sleeve, FORMAL COLLAR. Just what the manager ordered. So then, back here, shower, dress, on my bike + pedaling furiously through the park (stunningly clear + Springish day), locked my bike in the sub-terra lot and up to change and wait tables. Which went well, per the previous, and could net so much more coin than all the other proofreading and sundry!

But the best is yet to come. Contributing to my tenuous state of dozing and escalating cotton-mouth through the day was the knowledge of imminent crucifixion before my peers in the trial of Princeton Review teaching auditions. Not so! Although my stomach twisted and churned and dropped a nervous load of used food in the Met bathroom, when push came to shove there I was, giggling mildly but able, nonetheless, to do my spiel. My diction held steady with minimal shaky foolishness. My humor may have been, in fact, humorful. People chuckled… outright laughed! “Who can tell me the most important element for writing a screenplay? Yes, you, sir. Plot? No, I’m afraid that’s wrong. What? Character? Well character is important, true, but I’m afraid you’re wrong also. Hello? A pencil? Well a pencil is useful, on occasion, but the most important consideration when undertaking the project is…” (slide my pipe from my jacket pocket and raise it beside my face). “…image!” (Clamp the stem firmly between my teeth. Puff contentedly). And this, met by laughter!

So, I mean, but, everyone did pretty well at it, I thought, and some 120 people auditioned for 12 spots, so, I mean, there’s really no knowing. A roulette wheel at best… toss of the dice… lottery… But! I succeeded in my own mind if nowhere else, because I was pretty nervous and even until the last I couldn’t tell whether I could really stand there and say the things I planned to say and certainly I didn’t know (strongly doubted) whether I could pull of an aura of humor in all this, or if, in fact, the result might be tragically pathetic, which seemed a likely outcome.


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