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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 (20/26)

April 5, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

I was euphoric. I can recall the state as an abstraction and as words, but only as such. No feeling accompanies the memory. In fact,all I feel at the moment is somewhat under… somewhat blue. It’s true. Because I’m tired, for one thing. But this is NYC and (as Dex Lightmore likes to say), sleeping is a waste of time. Well, perhaps. And perhaps I could have held on, returned to that cavernous hall, precipitous balcony perch, knees jammed into subsequent row, feeling weak + watery in 80°+ and heavy air while I tried futilely to focus at least my eyes (never mind my brain) on the rambling performance below. Luckily, I knew when to clap by the oceanic roar which would sporadically engulf me. Once I really reined my brain in tight and held the time and played it w/beautiful commitment and it was I, myself, me, and maybe one other stimulated acolyte who launched an entire frothy wave of applause. We were FIRST to recognize the perfect moment to begin clapping, and the whole place followed suit, erupted. It was glorious. But usually I was woefully behind, languid and lackadaisical, distracted, only reminded of my spot in the audience, and the performance, by the noise of more engaged participants around me. Really, though, surprising and impressive, was the percentage of thought-time that went into evaluating and re-evaluating the layers of meaning around my system of clapping. Did I subconsciously (unless I truly focused) simply follow Dex’s lead in both intensity and duration? I began to consciously vary my display; sometimes long, loud and extended, with maybe even a whoop thrown in for good measure… sometimes, au contraire, not at all. I would sit stoic, adamantly closed, chin on my fist, elbow on the armrest, jaw set, as the catcalls and whistling ballooned and billowed through the hall. Sometimes I would jerk upright spasmodically and whack my palms like a seal for long seconds every after everyone else had returned to silence. I am my OWN man when it comes to applauding, goddam it! It was hot as hell + cramped in those seats.

So there I was, w/Dex, outside on the mezzanine by the pretzel cart during intermission, and I say, “If X is 150% of Y, what fraction of X is Y?” Then, after he mulls + murmurs + produces a semi-correct answer, I say, “I don’t think I’m going to hang for the final set.”

He says, “Huh?” Then, when he sees where this is going, he adds, “But sleeping is for wussies and wags who don’t appreciate what NYC, and by extension LIFE, that great golden orb that we’re only gifted for so many, and not very many, seconds, has to offer.” In so many words, he said this.

Well maybe I didn’t dig it, or maybe it didn’t dig me, but I saw where the night was going from the moment Dex’s call interrupted my rinse cycle (clothes, not hair). In fact, my premature departure had been growing so unavoidable in my mind, that it surprised me somewhat that Dex didn’t already know it. But he acted surprised and irked and maybe a trifle disappointed?


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