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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 (7/26)

February 21, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

Yesterday, on a whim, I called the Princeton Review, again, and this time… Bingo! they set me up with (thus far) 8 hours of typing. Now this might not seem a lot, or much of anything, to the uninitiated, but crikey, if my previous entries have not indicated, let me set the record straight: I’m in semi-desperate need of funds! It’s just, you see, this needling, wheedling necessity to make some greenbacks, even just a few for groceries and rent and a frosty favorite here and there… and so far it’s been less than lavish in return. A scarcity, you might say. So, to actually be doing actions that result in reciprocal payment, regardless how meager or menial… it’s a good thing. Eight hours of typing, more today, AND she (Eliz Barre) set me up with even more work at Amsterdam News, proofreading. (Just like Miller in Cancer, yah?! And the similarities do not end there, let me tell you). 

Oh, a strange rush of joy to be noted… walking toward the 1/9 on 22nd, I’m fixating on these people (Mexican + NY) constructing a storefront, all sorts of the usual thoughts twining through the sponge of my brain, and so enthralled am I, by the spectacle of it all, that I trip on a board extended onto the sidewalk and almost fall, and this sets off a reaction the result of which is that a 2×4 falls from vertical into the space where the men are working. Embarrassing. The bossman stares daggers. I’m befuddled I mutter, “Sorry,” and pause while my body twitches back and forth between helping resurrect the (admittedly precarious) structure or simply continuing on with shoulders hunched around lowered head. One of the Mexicans turns and smiles and this cuts my confusion and I continue toward the subway with a big, embarrassed, sheepish grin on my face which melts into a genuine smile of love + joy at the beauty of a NY that could, in such a brief flash, teach me so much.

S.H. for example, born and raised here, will wear plaid flannel shirts and a big farm-boy grin and offer strangers fortune cookies on the street. In the movie, he twists around and asks if anyone would like some popcorn; later, Goobers. As though on a one man crusade to correct the shoulder-hunched cynical reputation of the place. Big, guileless schoolboy grin on his face at all times.

So, to recap, I’m typing and proofing and making some cash.


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