A Young Writer’s Diary Entries From Early May, 1983

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Sunday, May 1, 1983

10 PM. Without too much pain, I managed to survive one-third of 1983 as well as this weekend’s memories of last year at this time, when I began my relationship with Sean.

As much as I miss Sean, I have to respect his feelings and his right not to see me or hear from me anymore. Maybe I’m kidding myself and perhaps he just lost interest in me, but I wonder if he could be avoiding me because he knows I might have advised him against moving in with Doug.

It reminds me so much of Shelli and Jerry getting married about this time of year in 1972. Shelli told her shrink of the marriage and then walked out of the session, afraid to hear what the therapist would say.

Sean knows I always pushed him to be independent. Last October, when he made those late-night calls to me from Gainesville, he was very depressed. I told him to make friends and get involved in campus life.

When he called Doug, he probably got the response he wanted. Doug would drive up there on some weekends and make Sean feel safe and less alone, something I’d never think of doing because I assumed Sean needed to find his own way at UF.

But Sean didn’t want to be independent; he needed someone as a crutch, and Doug is obviously happy in that role.

I am 100% certain that Sean and Doug love each other and want the best for each other – just as Shelli and Jerry did – but I don’t think they can build a wall around themselves any more than Shelli and Jerry could.

Unlike Jerry, I never wanted to marry Shelli. Unlike Doug, I never wanted to live with Sean. Unlike Brad, whom I spoke to last night, I didn’t want to keep my teenage lover a kid; I wanted him to grow into a mensch, and to do that, I had to let go of him.

I think my response was healthy. I’m sure Sean will do fine, and of course now that the decision to move to Tampa with Doug is a fait accompli, I would never think of criticizing it; all I can be is supportive.

I do wish both of them luck. Really.

You know, I probably loved Ronna more than I ever loved anyone else, but I never wanted to marry her, either. I was pretty sure she and Jordan would get married, but they’ve been together for years now, and surprisingly, that isn’t happening.

Ah well.

This morning Teresa called with bad news: her grandfather (father’s father) died. She was going to Long Island to stay at her grandmother’s with the rest of the family.

I felt bad – of course, I understood – but Teresa said she felt sad but not devastated: “Four of my friends have lost their parents this year. My grandfather was 91 and a great-grandfather.”

The funeral is on Wednesday, so Teresa will be home on Thursday morning; in any case, I could always get the key from Judy next door.

Poor Teresa – but she’s so strong.

Grandma Ethel spoke to Marty while I was at her place, and he told her to stay in Florida at his mother-in-law’s condo as long as she wants.

But Grandma will probably go back home to Rockaway in a few weeks. (Teresa said summer has arrived in New York.)

I took Grandma to see my apartment and for a short drive around West Broward, then spent the rest of the afternoon working on my tan.

I feel handsome tonight; it’s so rare that I do. I feel happy, too. Life excites me.


Monday, May 2, 1983

8 PM. I woke up in the middle of the night and decided that I love sleep too much to get into Newark at 2 AM, so I called People Express and changed my flight to one leaving West Palm Beach at 11 AM.

The extra $30 is worth it to me if I can avoid getting my system all screwed up. I know how I am when I travel, and I’ve been dreading flying in the middle of the night. I want to arrive in New York feeling fresh and not ready for the funny farm.

I’m very sleep-sensitive and don’t want to get myself sick. Of course, I expect to get sick in New York because I haven’t been sick in Florida – not even a cold – this entire year.

There will definitely be bad days in New York, but I’ve got to remember not to blame my problems on the city.

Florida is becoming oppressively hot, and what would I do all day here for the next six weeks? Sit in my air-conditioned bedroom?

At 5 PM today I went over to Lisa’s and brazenly invited myself to dinner with her and Debbie. Lisa will drive up to New York on Thursday with Debbie and her father.

It is a great relief not to have to teach anymore.

This morning I had an interview on KPSI in Palm Springs, and then went to Broward Community College, where I picked up my five summer paychecks.

I deposited the $2280 in the credit union, but after writing out checks, I realized I’m down to about $800 to get me through the next two months. But all my credit card bills are paid off.

For now, I owe nothing – although once I get to New York, I’ll have to start living on credit again. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be financially solvent.

After lunch, I rested for a while and then had my penultimate workout on the Nautilus before I go to New York. I hope that in the city, I can exercise at least twice a week.

I sat by the pool until 4 PM, when I came in to prepare for my interview with the English Department hiring committee at Long Beach State.

There were seven of them, and it was very strange; I feel I was articulate, but I don’t know how they were reacting. For all I know, they could have been making faces as I blathered on.

I didn’t get a good feel for them, either, though they seemed nice enough. Prof. Lim, the chairman, said he’d let me know by the end of May.

I sent him a thank-you note and a copy of the new book, but I’m sure the job will go to someone more experienced or someone they’re interviewing in person.

Still, the interview was a good experience.

Tomorrow I’ve got an interview at 7 AM with WERE in Cleveland, and then at 6 PM a guy is coming from Fort Myers to do a story on my Presidential candidacy.


Tuesday, May 3, 1983

10 PM. Late last night, Lisa phoned and said she’s taking a $99 Eastern flight from West Palm Beach tomorrow night, but I think I’ll do People Express during the day.

The problem is that I don’t know if there’ll be anyone to let me in at Teresa’s, and I can’t reach her till tomorrow night. Oh well, there’s no deadline on my trip; I can go anytime. In the meantime, it’s great not to have to go to Broward Community College.

After doing the Cleveland radio interview at 7 AM, I went back to bed.

Today was quite hot, and driving without air conditioning is uncomfortable.

At the mall for lunch, I ran into Monica, who was just trying to call me at a pay phone to tell me that there was a P’an Ku meeting scheduled for 1 PM; of course, I didn’t know about it.

Apparently, there are meetings scheduled all this week. But I don’t intend to go.

Monica told me she got injured when the shower ceiling at the Howard Johnson’s in Tallahassee fell on her. She attended Blake’s graduation in pain, but I guess she felt proud of him more than she hurt.

He was with her today. He shook my hand limply. I’m pretty sure Blake’s gay, and he could be a cute, together guy if he didn’t have Monica for a mother.

Back home, I read my mail. Rochelle Ratner asked if I’d review a book by Marvin Cohen for American Book Review; I’ll tell her that I’m no critic, but I’ll try.

I got what looks like another great letter from Blair Apperson, but I decided to save reading it as a treat for later.

I’m off the Brooklyn College Board of Directors, replaced by Eric Wollman; obviously I couldn’t attend meetings from Florida.

At 5 PM, Ray Weiss arrived from Fort Myers – actually, from Fort Lauderdale, where he’d gone before coming here; he went for a job interview at the News/Sun-Sentinel, which is expanding and preparing to roll out a Sunday magazine. I guess that’s a lot better position for him than staying with the Fort Myers paper.

We got down to business right away, and it was a fine interview: I was funny, bright, and said some good things.

It sounds like it could be a good story because Ray, like most journalists who are baby boomers – and almost all the ones I’ve met are – seemed to be on my wavelength.

We talked about the media a lot, as I do with all reporters, and I learned some things I didn’t know.

He took photos of me at the pool, dangling my legs and reading my book; I wore my tacky blue shirt with palm trees all over it.

I have to admit it was fun posing for photos and being interviewed. Being a celebrity is exhilarating.

I feel that life is going to get even more exciting.


Thursday, May 5, 1983

10 PM. Teresa’s in bed, asleep with Hill Street Blues on. I’m in the living room, with the couch bed made up.

I was up early today after an okay night’s sleep and made the final preparations for leaving the apartment. I went to the post office, where there wasn’t much mail, and then to Mom’s.

After Marc had breakfast, we drove up to West Palm Beach on I-95. It took about an hour to reach the airport; after I checked in, we went to the coffee shop.

Marc now seems to have made a complete adjustment to living in Florida. He’s got his schoolwork, his work at the flea market, and a couple of friends, including Adriana, his Bolivian girlfriend, who he’s been seeing a lot lately.

After Marc left, I hung out for a while, then boarded the People Express plane. It was crowded when I got on, and they wouldn’t take off till every seat was filled.

The plane was a 727, with three and three seats across. We took off at about 11:15 AM, behind schedule, and the takeoff was quite smooth. Right away the customer service managers (not flight attendants) came through with drinks we could buy and with the cart that took cash and credit card payments for the flight.

I really wasn’t nervous at all during the flight; I was just bored. The flight was uneventful, but we landed at Newark a bit late, at 1:50 PM.

It was cool when I stepped off the plane (People Express has the old-fashioned outside ramps), but quite pleasant: about 65°.

I got my luggage and took a bus to Port Authority for $4. Sitting in the back, which smelled of urine, I listened to some pompous Pakistani lecture two young Indians about life.

Still, it was exciting – and different – to see grimy New Jersey, the turnpike, the tunnel, and finally Port Authority, which has been remodeled and looked almost good. There I called Teresa and got her machine, so I called Judy next door, and she said she’d be home to let me in.

The taxi made it up to 85th Street in 15 minutes, and Judy – who just had her third boy a few weeks ago – let me in. Teresa arrived a few minutes later; she had gone to Brooklyn to pick up her car, and she’d run into heavy traffic in Manhattan.

After we did some errands, I went downtown with Teresa to Joseph, her hairdresser, who lives in this sumptuous $1,700 apartment with his lover, Frank.

They’re both sweet, funny guys who’d just come back from a two-week Florida vacation. I chatted with their guests, a gay couple from New Orleans, and the various people who came in for haircuts.

When Teresa and her friend Juliana were through with their haircuts, the three of us went to this Ninth Avenue Italian restaurant, R. J. Scotty’s, for dinner.

Although I feel quite at home in New York, I’m still amazed at how many stylish, intelligent, good-looking people walk the streets of Manhattan. I’ve met more interesting people here in one day than I would in Florida in one month.

Teresa said her grandfather’s funeral was an awful Catholic service. Since none of the immediate family were Catholic, they didn’t know what to do and were unprepared by the impersonal nature of the service. I felt the same way when I attended Janice’s funeral at the church in Canarsie in 1980: it was basically just a regular Mass.

The last three days were horrible in one way for Teresa, but also pleasant because the whole family was together, and Teresa got to cook and play with her niece and see her cousins.

She plans to go up to the country with her friend Amira tomorrow, and they want me to come along, but I haven’t decided whether I will. I feel as if I don’t have my bearings yet.

Flying is so magical, it’s hard to believe I traveled 1300 miles today. Still, I am getting used to it.

Adapt or die, Grayson. Try to enjoy yourself for a change. Don’t worry about your career. Enjoy New York and your friends. You have no responsibilities now, and you can do whatever you want – within reason.


Friday, May 6, 1983

3 PM. I slept reasonably well last night. The heat was on this morning, and unused to the dry air, I’ve got a sore throat, dry skin and chapped lips. I guess it’s about 70° out, bright and sunny, a gorgeous spring day.

With Teresa off in the Berkshires, I’ve got the apartment to myself for a couple of days, which will give me time to adjust to New York.

I haven’t been able to reach any of my friends, but that doesn’t worry me; I left some messages. Everyone I know has a busy life.

Some reflections on New York:

This visit isn’t very shocking to me, since I was here only six weeks ago. I’ve been out in the streets, walking up here on the West Side and in midtown (on Fifth Avenue during lunch hour, yet), riding on buses and subways, and the chief thing I notice is how people’s faces and bodies have a character here that is missing in Florida, where everyone dresses about the same for their age, gender, and race.

In New York people not only dress more idiosyncratically and individually, but everyone looks as if he or she is unique.

A reaction to the big city? Today I must have seen 10,000 people already, and one only has a few seconds to make an impression. There’s an air of knowing here, of street-smarts, of a kind of jaded yet optimistic sense that nothing is ever really new and that everyone’s on the make.

Does this sound like bullshit?

It’s terrific to see the trees in bloom again. Florida has so little foliage, except for palm trees.

Teresa made about a zillion phone calls today; as usual, she’s got more projects going than she can handle.

It sometimes strikes me that Teresa makes work for herself just to fill up time, but that seems to be true of her friends, too. Here everything is a project, from finding a birthday gift for a 4-year-old to getting just the right kind of black bread at Zabar’s.

Teresa seemed to be more peripatetic than usual this morning. I drove with her to the East Side to pick up her friend Amira, who works at the 92nd Street Y.

Amira is cute and lively, and I might have gone up to the country with them if I’d known that ahead of time.

That’s another thing about New York: I constantly meet people I could be friends with. In Florida, as I’ve said before, there isn’t a large pool of well-educated people, baby-boom professionals, to choose from.

I wandered around the city today, running into one person I know: Artie, at the Gotham Book Mart. He was on his lunch hour from CBS.

At the moment, I feel a bit tired and restless at the same time.

*

Midnight. Josh was good enough to come uptown after work, and he treated me to dinner at a Greek diner. It was fun hanging out like old times.

He looks good and seems happy although he’s bored with his new girlfriend, Susan, who lives two blocks from here. Josh said she really likes him, and he’s being “nice enough” not to take advantage of it and lead her on.

She wanted to see him tonight, and he wanted to get laid, but he didn’t want to have to talk with her. Same old Josh. We talked writing and teaching and computers, and up here in the apartment, we looked through Teresa’s photo albums and my (one) yearbook from college.

Josh’s company now has him consulting for Merrill Lynch, so he walks to work over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Around 9 PM, Justin called and said he’s fine, but I didn’t speak to him long, saying I would get back to him tomorrow.

I walked Josh to the subway, picked up Saturday’s paper and two bran muffins. I love being in New York.


Saturday, May 7, 1983

10 PM. I just got home. Yeah, I’m becoming – or turning back into – a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker.

I just picked up the Sunday Times and a bran muffin on Broadway, made my way past a group of Puerto Rican kids taunting a young Chinese guy walking a poodle, and tried not to look too menacing to an old lady coming in the opposite direction from me on West End Avenue.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I stayed up till 4 AM watching Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

While I was up at 9 AM this morning, I couldn’t really move, so I stayed in bed until after 1 PM. It felt slightly sinful, but I needed the rest. I found a jazz station from Jersey and drifted in and out of sleep and thinking.

Justin’s call awakened me – or at least it gave me the impetus to get up for the day. He sounds fine despite his problems at his job: he has completed another script, a teleplay about an acting coach, and we agreed to get together soon.

Soon after that, Alice phoned, and we decided to meet for an early dinner at 5 PM, so I had the afternoon to myself. It was a bright, mild day, and I walked down to Columbus Avenue, past all the trendy boutiques.

For an hour or so I browsed at Endicott Booksellers – I wanted to buy so much, I ended up buying nothing – and then had a slice of pizza at Ray’s.

At 81st Street, I walked into the park, which was crowded with a wide variety of New Yorkers. It brought to mind Galsworthy’s phrase “the infinite variety,” which I once hoped to use as a title.

As I made my way past sunbathers, jogging soap opera actors, soccer and lacrosse players, lovers, old bench sitters, giggly Puerto Rican girls, punks, skaters dressed all in purple, radios and Walkmen attached to people, babies crying in their carriages, middle-aged men and women lined up to dance folk dances of Norway, Rumania, and Armenia – I felt as though I were in love.

It’s a feeling I haven’t had in a while, that sense of being in love without a lover, but I felt I was in heaven.

My mind raced as I began to think about my novel, began to get ideas, began to solidify and crystallize the vague notions I already had.

Coming to New York has already been worth it: the past three days have presented a whole new world of possibilities.

I almost think that I can handle New York only in small doses, that if I lived here again, the stimulation would become surfeit and I’d lose all sense of myself – as if I’d OD’ed on some drug.

Used to Florida weather, I felt chilly and somewhat amazed at the people in shorts and T-shirts; I kept my jacket on all day.

I walked all the way to Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street, where I exited Central Park – which has to be the best urban park in the world – and got on a downtown bus, observing Manhattan as it made its halting way down Fifth Avenue.

After browsing at B. Dalton (15 copies of my book were on the shelves), I rang up Alice, and she treated me to a Sichuan dinner of sweet-and-sour chicken and cold noodles in sesame paste.

She looks great – Peter had just left to give a speech at his old high school in Boston – and we had a terrific evening together.

Alice is not a snob at all, I’ve discovered, and she’s not crass, either. She’s warm and funny and pragmatic and insightful. Whether we were eating halvah-flavored yogurt, watching lesbians eating each other on a videotape from Crazy Eddie, riffing about polyester-dressed Brooklynites or the virtues and pitfalls of publicity – I always enjoy time spent with Alice.

She now enjoys her job as editor-in-chief at the magazine very much, and it shields her from disappointments like the meager $2500 advance offered for her Thin New York book (which she turned down).

Alice’s mother is arthritic and obese, and she’s just begun talking again to her brother, who’ll be going to Bangkok for the next two years.

Alice and Peter seem to be as happy as ever. She showed me his Kaypro word processor and his neat book for Scholastic, A Boy’s Eye View of Girls.

We went out to Azuma, and I felt as if I were back in 1969, my first visit to the Village in those hippie days of peace symbols, coconut incense, shoulder-length hair and tie-dyed shirts.

I feel in love with life.


Monday, May 9, 1983

11 PM. Despite myself, I’m having fun. Why “despite myself”? Well, you know what a stick-in-the-mud I am.

I’ve been teasing Teresa about her phone calls – she easily made about sixty calls today. Yet as annoying as her constant talking is, I admire her energy in being able to balance so many different projects.

Whether it’s trying to help Ronna land a job with Bess Myerson (the new Cultural Affairs Commissioner) or helping Juliana find an apartment on the block or buying a new couch or preparing her court case tomorrow, Teresa always does attack a project head-on.

And that makes up for being a bit bossy. As her sister said yesterday, “I can’t recall ever seeing Teresa embarrassed.”

I went out with Teresa to do some errands, and she walked me to Columbus Avenue, where I took the bus to midtown.

I had made a 1 PM lunch date with Justin. At the penthouse apartment across from the Russian Tea Room on West 57th, Justin works the desk at the Flora Roberts theatrical/literary agency.

He had to answer a million calls while I waited for him, but I was happy to get a chance to read Publishers Weekly and look at the posters of the agency’s plays, from A Chorus Line to The Miracle Worker to all of Sondheim’s musicals.

We decided to go across the street to the new New York Delicatessen, the Art Deco restaurant that used to be a Horn & Hardart Automat.

Justin is a sweet guy, but seeing him today made me realize I’m not attracted to him; I think it was his herringbone cap that convinced me.

He’s unhappy at work and has feelers out for other jobs, but aside from his father’s heart condition, the rest of his life is going well.

Justin is writing again, his plays are being sent around (still), his therapy is going well, and I think he may be dating a woman. After we parted warmly at 2 PM, I came back to join Teresa in watching Another World.

I got a call from Steve Higgins at the College of Staten Island Alumni office. He said President Volpe had sent me a letter about my new book and they seem proud to have an author as an alumnus. Steve said I should come by for a visit, and maybe we can arrange a reading for next year.

Teresa and I went across town to the 92nd Street Y, where I paid the $9 guest fee because we couldn’t find Amira right away.

While I enjoyed working out again, their weight room is really quite primitive; they have only a few Nautilus machines, which were very old models, and some Universal equipment which I had trouble with.

Teresa said I was one of the best-built guys there – real bodybuilders don’t go to the YMHA – and I was flattered when Amira asked me to flex my bicep so she could feel it, but I was too shy to do it.

Still, I liked what I saw when I passed the mirrors in the locker room. If only I could get rid of my love handles, I’d be fine.

We went over to Barbara’s on 79th Street; the apartment she shares with Stewart Klein is surprisingly small and dark (despite the Emmy on the mantelpiece).

Barbara was cranky because her period was late. She’s already had two abortions, one with Stewart, and they can’t afford a child until his three get out of college.

“If I’m pregnant, I’ll jump out the window,” she said, startling me because of her apparent obliviousness to the fact of her mother’s suicide.

She suggested we get stoned, and we passed around a very good marijuana cigarette which got me pleasantly high.

I thumbed through the galleys of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, a roman á clef about how Carl Bernstein cheated on her during her pregnancy; it’s the kind of novel I hate to admit that I enjoy.

After getting some money from the Citibank ATM, Teresa bought us some Sichuan food on Third Avenue; we found parking on Riverside and came upstairs to gobble up the chicken and – my favorite – cold noodles in sesame paste.

I called Ronna, who told me she’s still job-hunting and doing volunteer work at Lilith magazine and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Ronna has been out of work since October, and she’s living from hand to mouth now. She mentioned some ad for jobs at Queensborough and with Bess Myerson, and I put Teresa on the phone to give her some suggestions (which were good).

Alone again on the line, Ronna told me that she and Jordan seem to be in the process of breaking up; I said I had hoped they would marry one day.

Ronna thinks that’s still a possibility, but for now Jordan wants to sow his wild oats. He’s been seeing Ronna’s therapist – professionally, that is – and Ronna’s sure he’d like to see other women.

He doesn’t have much experience (“Going with you for four years is all the experience anyone needs,” I told Ronna), and Ronna thinks it will drag on for months because Jordan’s scared to be out of a relationship.

She’ll be at the Book Fair this weekend with her friend Pat from Pennsylvania, and I’ll try to see her before I leave. We got on very well, a fact which pleases me enormously. She even offered to set me up with her friend Annette.

All of a sudden I feel attractive.


Tuesday, May 10, 1983

3 PM. I just got in, and Teresa isn’t home.

Tonight is the big small claims court case, and I’m going along to Centre Street for moral support; Amira will be a witness, and hopefully Doug will show up to act as Teresa’s attorney.

I slept till 8:30 AM, when Juliana arrived after seeing the apartment across the street. She was depressed because it was very tiny, with a kitchen right by the bedroom.

Nevertheless, it’s clean, on a good block, and the price is right: only $335. Hell, for that kind of money I’d take the studio. It’s $60 less than I pay in Sunrise, and I don’t need all that room.

If ever I decide to move back to the city, I’ll make sure Teresa tries to find me an apartment.

Today we stayed home till noon and then went out to pick up Barbara at work around Columbus Circle; Teresa had to drive her downtown to have some of Barbara’s head shots redone and duplicated for her modeling work.

I got off at Broadway and 47th and roamed around midtown. It’s a chilly day – only about 60° – but bright and filled with energy.

I really couldn’t locate any of my friends, but I left messages with Pete, Gary, Mikey, and Susan Mernit.

At this point, I feel so far removed from that shithole called Broward Community College.

Of course, I feel myself going from one viewpoint to another: New York is either the only city in the world that matters, or else it’s a place of arrogance, where only the illusion of importance reigns.

Of course, the first attitude probably leads to the second.

Myself, I like the fact that I know my way around Manhattan, know people in the know, and can keep up with them. I’m now almost sure that someday I will be living here again. But I think the two years I’ve spent in Florida and a few more years there won’t do me any harm.

Living in Florida, what I miss most is the excitement and energy – and of course, seeing people my age who aren’t either rednecks, nerds, or fascists.

I think about some people at BCC and I can see them in perspective here: they’re like contemptible insects who think they’re important.

I want to be really important, which is why I realize that all my little publicity in Florida is shit.

Maybe it’s folly to think on the scale I’m aspiring to – but if I don’t think that way, how can I possibly get there?


Wednesday, May 11, 1983

3:30 PM. I’ve just come in from walking Teresa to her Democratic club meeting. It’s dark and chilly out – surprisingly cold for mid-May – but I am invigorated by the breezes.

Across the street, at an apartment on our level, I notice this guy cooking dinner in his kitchen; then another guy arrives with flowers; they touch; I look away from the window, an intruder.

At 5 PM or so I had a revelation on the sixth floor of Bloomingdale’s: Wherever I am, I always want to be somewhere else.

This is not true just in the sense of place, but also in the scene I’m in.

Among trendy young Manhattan singles like Teresa and her friends, I scorn their “shallowness” and “smugness.” But when I’m in Florida, among the bores, I pretend to be the hip Manhattanite.

When I’m in the small press scene, I feel like being commercial; when I’m with slick magazine and New York publishing people, I’m the literary artist.

I feel rebelliously anti-academic on campus, preppy among rednecks, street kid among preppies, Jew among WASPs, secular among Jews, etc.

Probably this is part of the way I see myself as a writer and a person: I live to be perverse. (And if we talk about that, I never feel more gay than among homophobes and less gay among other gays).

Ah, Richie, you’ll never grow up.

Last night was weird, to say the least. Teresa and I picked up Amira and drove downtown to the courthouse.

Doug arrived late, and I waited outside with Amira for a very long two hours while they went on with the case inside.

That arbitrator must be a total moron to let the hearing go on so long. Sam, the lawyer who’s suing Teresa, is clearly an asshole, and he proved that by playing like he was at the Supreme Court.

The case all started – and I feel like a fool writing about this – when he piggishly refused to get up from the couch and let the other renters watch TV.

The two JAPs with him obviously don’t like him and are now probably sorry they let him involve them in the case.

Amira’s testimony about the night of the incident was disarmingly effective as she described it, and Doug and the arbitrator were clearly taken with her.

I felt the whole thing was a farce and I couldn’t suppress snorts of disgust (for which Sam tried to have me ejected from the room).

The whole thing symbolized the triviality of the lives of these middle-class baby boomers; in effect, they were kids arguing over a toy.

Yet because they’re chronologically adults, this was being taken seriously, and it involved time and money and the law. I have little respect for lawyers, and this hearing made me feel that they’re just unproductive leeches.

Granted, they’re all not as sleazy as Sam, and I know Teresa was forced to get down in the mud with him, but I left (with Amira – Teresa gave me cab money to take her home) feeling disgusted with everybody, with people in general for being so petty.

Amira was too hyper and exhausted to want to go home right away, so we went out to eat at 10 PM at some greasy spoon. She’s a nice girl but screwed-up; the guy she’d spent the night with was in court all day on an assault charge because he broke the jaw of a black guy who “messed up” his friend’s girlfriend.

Amira’s “type” are macho Puerto Ricans, and obviously I don’t fit that category. Still, it was great to be of use; I kissed her at her door, and then, a bit hyper myself, walked down and across to 86th and Lex and took the crosstown bus.

Teresa was already home, on the phone of course, chortling over “blowing Sam out of the water” with the testimony of Amira and herself.

She was also touched by Doug’s concern for her welfare and what she felt was the surprising renewal of his feelings for her.

We talked till 2 or 3 AM, going over details of testimony that are interesting but ultimately inconsequential. It was like doing too much Monday-morning quarterbacking and post-election analysis.

In the end, even Teresa agreed that the whole proceeding left her feeling a bit soiled, too.

This morning, Juliana came over after seeing the vacant apartment in this building. To Teresa’s puzzlement and dismay, Juliana was waffling about it.

Teresa finally convinced her that this was a great little studio in a terrific building for a reasonable rent ($410) and that she should run across the street to the office to sign the lease and leave a deposit.

Juliana is a bit of a whiner, but she didn’t need much convincing.

There were dozens of phone calls – Teresa’s hand may one day have to be surgically removed from her Trimline – and we ended up staying in bed till 1 PM or so.

Then we had lunch, went to the bank, came back here to watch soap operas, went downtown and to Bloomie’s and to the supermarket, and had a chicken dinner – Teresa is a superb cook – after someone came over to pay the fee for the Berkshires house’s summer season.

Teresa claims that the last three days have been a blast for her, both because she’s been off from work and I’ve been here to play with and keep her company.

Mom phoned and said she got a call from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where I’m a candidate for a fiction-writing job. I’ll call them tomorrow, but I don’t think I’m meant to end up in K.C.

I spoke to Mikey, who sounded tired; he’ll be in D.C. this weekend, so I’ll catch him and Amy next week.

Gary left a message that he’s on his way to Mexico and will be back in ten days.

Aunt Arlyne called to say that Wendy got a high-paying job with Marty Zweig, that top market analyst, in Manhattan; she starts part-time in June and will join the rest of the kids trying to make it here. Maybe Teresa can find Wendy an apartment.

Tomorrow Susan Mernit visits, and Kevin and John arrive for the Book Fair on Friday. TC mark

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