A Young Writer’s Diary Entries From Early January, 1985

Tuesday, January 1, 1985

Noon. It’s 1985. I just got up with a bad sore throat which is either the start of a severe cold like Ronna’s or (hopefully) the result of a late night of partying.

New Year’s Eve was memorable in a lot of ways.

Teresa was really crazed yesterday after she came home. She said that Sharon wanted to move in tonight and sleep here; evidently she had misunderstood the agreement. That, and the fact that she brought her whole life in boxes here, made Teresa very uneasy.

She called her sister and brother-in-law, who advised her that if Sharon wanted to sell the furniture, change the locks, etc., Teresa couldn’t do much about it.

This made Teresa frantic, and we talked about the situation over and over, turning it around every which way. Basically it’s a matter of trust, and Teresa’s gut instinct is to not trust Sharon.

Eventually she decided that she’ll have to forgo the extra money and sublet the apartment to Amira, a friend whose loyalty is proven.

Amira was delighted at the idea of moving back to the West Side, of course, and the plan does have advantages.

For one thing, Teresa can stay here when she comes back from California to visit in May and September. For another, Amira will move in only her clothes and a few personal effects, but the character and tone of the apartment will remain Teresa’s, just as it was when I lived here alone.

And of course, Amira will give up the apartment when Teresa wants it; Amira can go back to her own place (which she’d sublet in the interim) or even stay here with Teresa.

The hard part will be telling Sharon, and that’s got to be done today. I don’t want to be around when that occurs, for I’m certain Sharon will freak out. Who wouldn’t in her position? How is she going to get all her possessions out of here? Where will she live?

Teresa plans to offer her the Brooklyn co-op (at half the price of here) as a kind of karmic gift, because Teresa knows what a miserable start this will be for Sharon’s 1985.

Still, in the end Teresa has to look out for herself.

For me, this is a much better situation because I don’t have to worry about getting out today or in a few days. Amira said I could always stay here if I wanted to. Basically, it will still be Teresa’s home – which it wouldn’t be if Sharon stayed here.

With this decided and with several vodkas under her belt, Teresa was in a festive mood when our guests began to arrive at 9 PM. She even told me how sexy I looked with my hair slicked back and in my short-sleeved imitation Izod shirt.

Bruce and Laurie came early, as did Tracy Guggenheimer and two of Teresa’s friends from Fire Island, Joan and Suzanne.

Amira was here, naturally, and after she managed to persuade me to dance with her, I began to lose my usual self-consciousness. I just moved to the music and didn’t worry about looking foolish, so I didn’t feel foolish.

Judy and Brian dropped by from next door, and Amira’s mother, Anna Brody, and her sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Philip, stopped in after dinner at  a restaurant.

We had a sumptuous buffet: turkey and lots of side dishes that everyone brought, and plenty of drinks.

Even Gary made it just before midnight, coming with two Fire Island friends, Mitchell Oreskes and his date Lisa.

I was glad that Gary was able to come after he left his cousin’s party. Being with people is good for him, especially now. We reminisced about the snowy New Year’s Eve we spent at Mark Savage’s parents’ Trump Village apartment in Coney Island fourteen years ago.

When midnight hit, we all kissed and congratulated one another.

Gradually our guests drifted off to different parties. Gary stayed till 3 AM to make sure he got his LIRR train to Bayside. The last to leave were Amira and Laurie and Bruce, who’d fallen asleep in a chair.

I had a great time last night, managing to enjoy myself without any liquor or grass.

*

11 PM. New Year’s Day has been awful. Not only was it dreary and rainy outside, but this sublet incident has soured the whole day. I’m not directly involved, true, but I’ve been forced to become indirectly involved.

Teresa and I have been crazed today, and for the first time, we were really screaming at one another; I guess it was to release all the tension we feel.

Sharon took it real hard when Teresa told her the lie about the landlord finding out about the illegal sublet. She found this out on the phone, and I couldn’t bear to listen to Teresa lie that brazenly to her, so I went into the bathroom and ran the water.

I lied, too, by my silence and deference to Teresa when Sharon came over.

Instead of being angry and vengeful, as Teresa expected, Sharon simply seemed crushed; she kept crying, and looking at her eyes, I thought of a helpless wounded animal’s.

I felt shitty, and Teresa felt worse. I’ve never seen Teresa so upset over some wrong thing she did. Basically, Teresa overreacted to Sharon’s stuff taking over her space.

Sharon acted in good faith, and Teresa, acting out of fear of losing the apartment, reneged on the deal. Neither Teresa nor I now thinks Sharon would have tried to steal the place.

It’s a horrible mess, and I feel in the middle of it.

The other day, Alice said she felt all New Yorkers were trapped in their apartments because of the housing crisis, and she was right. All anyone ever talks about is real estate; the entire city is obsessed with housing.

Teresa may not have acted properly, but the real villain is the city itself – and the ridiculous housing situation, fostered by the greed of the landlords.

Even Teresa tried to be part of it and take her share of the profits – but every one of my friends is the same way.

What will happen when middle-class people finally realize they can’t afford to live here? Where will the poor go, and will they continue to be so resigned about New York’s contempt for them?

Behind this Yuppie glitter, there’s something very ugly: greed. I’ve been sucked into it, too.

These are issues I’ll have to think about in Florida, which now seems like a haven from all this complexity.


Wednesday, January 2, 1985

Noon. I’m still in my bed (sofa bed), listening to classical music on WNYC. Soon I’ll go out to wander around Manhattan, and later, to pick up my check at John Jay and prepare for tomorrow’s classes, which seem anticlimactic.

I slept deeply and didn’t want to get up this morning. The whole thing with Teresa and Sharon has really got me down. I feel like Teresa’s accomplice in this even though I’m not really involved.

Of course, Teresa never would have decided to move to California if I hadn’t planned on going back to Florida. But as Alice said, I can’t let myself feel responsible for that.

It’s a dark, rainy, cool day. Days like this are fine, but I long for the sunshine and warmth of Florida. My family isn’t such a bad bunch, and I hope I can behave better than I did when I was in Florida last August.

Maybe even Broward Community College wasn’t that bad. Working there brought me a lot of good experiences as well as frustrations. I can appreciate South Florida a little more now.

The emptiness of the cultural climate and my lack of friends there gave me time to think, to read and to write (well, not enough time to write) and to discover new talents I had.

Perhaps I’ll even stay there till June rather than rushing back here in May. I’ll see how I feel.

Last night Victor/Victoria was on TV, and I remembered that Saturday afternoon in May 1982 when Sean and I saw it at the Broward Mall. I felt surprised when he took my hand and held it all through the movie.

While it’s not easy to leave New York behind, South Florida is an important part of my life – or it has been, anyway.

Banal to say, but each place has its good parts and can be a Heaven or a Hell. Milton said, “The mind is its own place.”


Thursday, January 3, 1984

3 PM. It was good to go back to work today; I need to feel more productive than I have been the past two weeks.

My students wrote today, and most of them have improved a great deal. If only they do as well next week, I’m sure most will pass the final exam.

Doris gave me my next-to-last paycheck and agreed to mail me the last paycheck in two weeks.

Carol Stanger of the Writing Center told me the morale in the department has been terrible because of the wholesale firings of adjuncts. Apparently, I’m the only one who didn’t care about coming back.

Lucky me – or smart me, to know that adjunct teaching is just a good way to make a part-time buck and that one can’t count on continuing employment.

Yesterday I was in the library reading much of the day. For dinner, Teresa had over Amira and her boyfriend Adam.

The son of an Iranian-Jewish father and an Italian mother, Adam came here from Tehran at 15, has a master’s degree in computer science from UCLA, and is director of computer services at the Museum of Modern Art.

He’s a little oily and debonair, and I was suspicious when he kept offering to do us favors. But Adam seems kindly and he certainly is one of the more intelligent people I’ve met.

Today Sharon is looking at a studio with Perry; he figures to take in his key money so he can benefit from the deal.

Teresa has stopped feeling guilty about Sharon, whom she says should be more on the ball instead of folding up like a deck of cards. (Two clichés in one sentence – pretty poor writing, but Teresa’s around and talking to me as I write this. Being under the earphones of the Walkman isn’t helping).

I made a reservation on an Eastern flight for next Sunday just in case I miss Friday’s flight; the Sunday flight would mean I’d miss Saturday’s FIU class, but it would be $30 cheaper than the Friday flight on Delta.

Now Amira plans to move in here this weekend, Adam is going to sublet her place and also move in this weekend, and Teresa will leave next Wednesday afternoon.

I can relax a little more now that Teresa’s apartment will be “in the family”; I can even leave some stuff here if I need to, and I don’t have to worry about my mail and can keep West 85th Street as a permanent address.

Ed Hogan sent me the American Book Review and Another Chicago Magazine reviews and wrote that sales of I Brake for Delmore Schwartz have slowed to a trickle.

According to Ed, Zephyr Press is “looking hard for a new book,” and he mentioned that I Brake is by far their biggest seller.

Maybe Zephyr would like to publish another book by me in 1986. It’s worth my asking Ed and Miriam. It would be the first time I’d be published twice by the same firm.

I called Pete Cherches, who’s so busy with end-of-term schoolwork at NYU and planning for job interviews afterwards that he can fit me in only at dinner on Sunday with Michael Kasper, who’s coming in from Massachusetts to read at Darinka.

This evening I’m having dinner with Stacy.

*

11 PM. Tonight I had a great dinner with Stacy, who still looks very attractive to me.

She came home late after a hectic, migraine-filled day at the Transit Authority, during which she had to sit in on a $60 million decision on whether to buy new subway cars or renovate old ones.

Stacy and I went to the Cactus Cafe on Broadway and talked about the usual: her trip with Jeanne to St. Pete over Christmas, hassles at work, old college friends, Yuppieism, and the New York scene.

Because I knew she was tired, after we walked to a Citibank ATM, I took Stacy back to her building and kissed her goodbye as I went home myself.

For the first time this winter, I found the below-freezing temperatures bracing and invigorating as I walked to the Astor Place subway stop.

On the way there, I almost bought a punkish sport jacket at the Unique Clothing Warehouse before realizing I couldn’t wear that in Florida.

Back here, I assumed I interrupted Teresa and Richie, but after he left, she said all he did was talk about his work as a commissioner and political operative and Governor Cuomo’s confidant, so I didn’t feel that bad.


Saturday, January 5, 1985

4 PM. I’m in Teresa’s living room. In her kitchen are Teresa, her friend Ellen, and the two pregnant women, Teresa’s sister and Barbara.

Last night I slept pretty soundly, though I had a headache because of my sinuses being clogged. A couple of inches of snow had fallen during the night, and the temperatures were quite cold.

I went to Brooklyn Heights to meet Josh for brunch. First we went to the post office to pick up his Grinning Idiot mail: all submissions of poetry (one from some woman in Davie).

Josh is definitely going to London in March to visit Wanda. He’s anxiously waiting for his apartment to go co-op.

I read the article that Josh wrote about the RAMIS fourth-generation software product that basically responds to standard colloquial English.

Josh feels that this is the wave of the future and that many computer programmers may become like the Maytag repairman – “the loneliest guy in town” – because eventually everyone will be able to program computers using normal language.

In the library after brunch, we read some books. Josh is going through all of Philip Roth and starting Barry Hannah (on the recommendation of James and Beau).

It was hard to say goodbye to Josh, but I’ll see him in four or five months. Tonight he’s going to the theater with Simon’s sister and her boyfriend.

Back here, I found the pregnant ladies’ kaffeeklatsch. Ellen’s son Jeremy went next door to play with Judy’s kids, and little Heidi’s been asleep since I got here.

Sharon will be moving out her things tonight, but I’ll be going over to Ronna’s and then we’ll head over to Park Slope to have dinner with Susan and Spencer.

My stomach is pretty rocky and my throat is sore, but I guess I’ll get through it.

I am starting to get nervous about the move. Teresa is, too.

(Privately, Barbara told me she expects that Teresa will end up fighting with Amira over this apartment, with Franny over the San Francisco apartment, and with her cousin Rosemary over the job.)

Teresa admits she really doesn’t want to go back to work – which I can’t understand, since she hasn’t really worked in over a year.


Sunday, January 6, 1985

Noon. I’ve just come out of the shower. I arrived back here a couple of minutes ago, just in time to see Teresa leave for her grandmother’s.

Sharon’s boxes are all out of the apartment, and I hope I can put that whole horrible episode out of my mind.

Teresa’s friends were over last night to take her to a farewell dinner, and Sharon and her moving friends came over then.

The funny thing was that Oscar thought Teresa was being ripped off and came up here from the super’s apartment with a machete to defend the apartment.

Teresa drove me to Ronna’s yesterday after I helped her put some boxes in her sister’s car.

While Ronna was getting ready, Lori and I talked about banking, a subject I enjoy for some reason.

Because I try to read the business pages every day, I do keep abreast of that world, but there are only certain businesses that interest me: banking, airlines, retail stores, the computer industry.

Ronna and I bought flowers – two bunches of red and white tulips that looked like radishes – at the Korean market and then entered the subway for the trek to Brooklyn.

Although the D train used to be “my” train when I lived in Brooklyn, I’ve hardly ridden it at all this past year and forgot how pretty the view over the Manhattan Bridge can be.

Susan and Spencer had a fine dinner planned. First, we sat around nibbling on veggies and dip; then there was chicken and delicious boiled potatoes and salad; and later we had tea and coffee and ice cream and cookies (Pepperidge Farm lemon drops).

As Ronna said later, it’s a pleasure to be with a couple who don’t seem to need to air their tensions in public.

Susan and Spencer seem totally relaxed and comfortably with one another, and they made Ronna and me feel at home.

Susan has an interview at Hunter tomorrow about teaching creative writing courses.

Originally excited about it, she now feels it’s best to take a wait-and-see attitude. She already has her Hunter developmental writing classes at a time she likes and doesn’t want to lose that.

We all talked about New York vs. other places in regard to culture, about Brooklyn foods (the old Ebinger’s lady fingers, Mrs. Stahl’s Brighton Beach knishes), about our jobs and the choices we made.

Ronna and Susan are getting to be good friends, and I expect they’ll see each other while I’m in Florida. Susan and I consoled each other about not getting NEA fellowships.

It was hard to look at the literary faces of Jayne Anne Phillips and David Leavitt in the story in today’s Times.

Both of them are younger than I, and what really hurt was Frank Conroy’s remark (self-serving, Ronna thought) that “every major American writer under 50 has now won one.”

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer never did, and I’m sure I could think of others who’ve been left off the list.

Susan Mernit thought the winners were a “Reaganite” bunch – mostly safe critical successes and well-connected academics.

I can’t help feeling that time has passed me by and that I’d better start thinking of myself as something other than a writer if I’m going to try to live successfully.

The plain truth may be that I’m just not good enough; maybe I should just accept that and go on from there.

Back at her apartment at 11:30 PM, Ronna and I went to bed. We hugged and kissed, but our lovemaking wasn’t very energetic because we were both tired and knew that she had to get up early to catch the train the Pleasantville to visit her father and stepmother.

Still, we were affectionate – even though Ronna’s unhappy that I’m going and bristles at the mention of Florida.

I had a bad sinus headache during the night; her room was so hot, I couldn’t breathe, but after two Tylenols, I got to sleep and dreamed about being on a date with Ronna and Jordan and Ivan.

Earlier, Ronna had said that when I talk about seeing Stacy, it makes her wonders about Ivan, where he is, and what he’s doing.

Well, it’s 12:30 PM, and I’ve got to get to Sue Ribner’s in half an hour.

*

3 PM. It’s not all that cold out – or else I’m getting accustomed to winter.

I just got in after having lunch with Sue at the Happy Burger on Broadway and 92nd.

She’s in a strange place in her life: her book contract with Harper and Row is up in the air and she’s almost afraid to find out about it, though she’s continuing to work on the book; her sister and father may be dying; and the lover of her best male friend has been diagnosed as having AIDS.

Book contracts and NEA fellowships don’t seem to mean much when you compare them with life-and-death situations, but we’re human and have to have something to grumble about.

Do you think, I asked Sue, that Dith Pran – the Cambodian who went through the living hell described in The Killing Fields – gets annoyed now when his subway is delayed or when he has to wait on a long line at Citibank?

Probably, said Sue.

Oh well. I’m just glad I have moments when I rise above the petty and the mundane.

Writing helps – and for that reason alone, I’ll always be a writer, if merely a private, and not a public one.

I think I’m going to take a little nap now. I’ve got to go out tonight and I’ve got a hectic, stress-filled week ahead of me.

*

11:30 PM. Tonight was a nice change of pace.

I got to Pete’s place while he was working on a program, a real brain teaser on how to solve a problem in fewer steps. Pete is attracted to the technical side of programming and would rather be involved with that than the more people-oriented world of most COBOL systems analysts.

Allan Bealy, editor of Benzene, and his wife Dayna Burnett were coming along with us, and I was glad for their company.

Michael Kasper took a bus from Northampton and brought along his new book of writing and art (mostly conceptual pieces), All Cotton Briefs, published by Robley Wilson’s North American Review Press.

Michael had just come back from “a terrible vacation” in Florida: he, his wife Mary and son Toby, 10, visited Michael’s parents in North Miami Beach.

Naturally, everyone put down Florida, and I guess they’re probably right; it’s going to be hard for me to live there again.

The core of my life is in New York, and I see now that it has been all along, even during the years I worked full-time at Broward Community College.

Still, with an Arctic air mass about to descend on the Northeast and frigid temperatures expected, I’ll be glad for the warmth of Florida.

We had dinner at the Royal, one of those Indian restaurants on East 6th Street and First Avenue, and though I am not as familiar with Indian cuisine as the others were, I enjoyed all the appetizers and my main course, chicken tikka.

At Darinka, in order to hear Michael read his stuff, I had to first sit through a confused story by this well-meaning but kind of dopey guy and a group of energetic, sophomoric and predictable poems by some black East Village hippie.

Although I expected Michael to be good, I was surprised how wonderfully he read. He’s an excellent showman with great stage presence.

Before I left, I said goodbye to everyone, including Joel Rose, the editor of Between C and D, who told me he’s writing a big-money script for Miami Vice.

“I’m tired of being poor,” Joel said.

Moi aussi.

I need to get to bed.


Tuesday, January 8, 1985

9 PM. It’s the coldest night this winter, and the most bitter cold I’ve experienced in years.

Last evening Teresa came home after a three-hour wait at Unemployment. I helped her pack her suitcases and took them to her car.

While she went to her parents’ in Brooklyn, I took the subway to 14th Street and met Mikey at Tony Roma’s for dinner.

Yesterday Amy was cutting a bagel when she sliced open her finger; it bled profusely and required stitches at the emergency room at St. Vincent’s, so she was resting at home.

Hopefully, the severed nerve endings will grow back together, and she won’t get an infection.

Mikey and I talked about marriage (he’s obviously happy and would like to see everyone just as happy, so he beat the drums for Ronna and me), the high cost of living (if he and Amy have kids and live well in Manhattan, they’ll need a $200,000 yearly income, Mikey estimates – four times what they now earn), and how we’ve all changed since Mikey and I met in first-term English at Brooklyn College sixteen years ago.

In everyone I talk with, I sense an untapped nostalgia for the simpler times of the late ’60s and early ’70s, and I’m more certain than ever that a novel about college life then will eventually become a bestseller. Whether I write it is another question.

Back here, Teresa was in a state of anxiety as she tried to explain to Amira some of the details of paying rent, depositing checks, working the VCR, etc.

We three spent our last night together. All of us are beginning the new year with a change of residence.

After a few hours’ sleep, I got up to go to John Jay and hugged Teresa goodbye. I tried not to get sloppy, but I did tell her how happy I’ve been and that I look on her going to California as a trip, not a sea-change.

She left the house at 8 AM, I presume, and is now in California; I expect she’ll call in tonight. (She took the answering machine with her, and its absence is both a relief and an unaccustomed inconvenience.)

My students were surprisingly blasé as I went over the reading passage for their final.

It was an odd day, since I had to get someone to get into Doris’s office to get the papers, and then the door to my own office wouldn’t open until a Buildings and Grounds guy came and jiggled the lock.

I met Justin for our farewell lunch at TGI Friday’s. He’s been ill – like almost everyone – with a cold virus or flu, but he felt better today and was busy dealing with the attention caused by Eddie’s appearance on the Newsweek cover.

The story was written by Gene Lyons, the Little Rock writer who’s done great criticism of the Fiction Collective and Associated Writing Programs (he hates both).

Justin says Lyons is a great guy: an affable, athletic man who’s both intellectual and street-smart. I’d like to be like that.

Incidentally, Justin says Lyons loves living in Little Rock and missed it a lot while he was here in New York interviewing Eddie.

When Justin had to go back to the office, I took the bus uptown and another to the West Side.

This afternoon I got into bed and spread Raintree lotion all over my dry skin. My fingers have begun to crack from the cold; in their folds, I have little cuts that look like they were made with a razor blade.

Going out only to get some Sichuan food for dinner, I’ve enjoyed the solitude. For many months, I’ve had trouble hearing myself think because Teresa’s presence and personality are so strong.

Last spring and summer and during Teresa’s November trip, I had the best of both companionship – with Ronna and others when I wanted it – and solitude.

If I gained a lot in the last eight and a half months, I also lost a little: that sense of myself that I have when I’m alone, as I’ve become dependent on the TV, the VCR, and the answering machine, and so I’ve neglected my reading and my studies.

It will be interesting to see how I’ll feel when I’m in Florida and whether my perceptions and values change.


Wednesday, January 9, 1985

5 PM. It’s been freezing: the temperature was in the low 20°s all day, with the wind-chill factor now at -10° Fahrenheit.

Snow is expected tomorrow night, and that may have an effect on my travel plans. If I have trouble getting out of the city on Friday, I’ll probably cancel my flight and go to Florida on Sunday instead.

Tonight may be my last night with Ronna, but it will be interrupted by her appointment with a new shrink from 8 to 9 PM.

I have to get up early tomorrow for the final at John Jay, so I can’t really stay up beyond 11 PM. Still, I expect I won’t get much sleep.

Since I felt obligated to visit Grandma before I left, I went to Rockaway via Queens at 10 AM. Even though I had to wait only fifteen minutes for the bus at Broadway and 78th Street after getting out of the subway in Jackson Heights, the trip took two long hours.

Grandma served me chicken soup with rice, baked chicken, baked potato and carrots. (Since she usually talks mostly about food, I can note the menu, too.)

Aside from that, Grandma was in her usual spirits: a terrible headache had been plaguing her since she got up, and she went into the story of how her next-door neighbor, Rose Lubin, died on Monday.

At least Grandma won’t be bothered by the woman’s loud radio anymore.

Grandma said that all Mrs. Lubin kept saying the last few months was, “I want to die.”

I suppose it’s important for me to hear about that final, depressing side of life but I don’t know if I learn anything from it.

I do know that life can be filled with terrible pain and suffering and that so far I’ve been extremely lucky avoiding both. (Grandpa called them “P & S” in reference to his lawsuit from an auto accident.)

This may be neurotic – or it may be realistic – but I wonder how much longer I can keep P & S from my doorstep?

Last January, I figured 1984 would be a hard year, but instead it turned out to be a piece of chocolate layer cake or some Mrs. Fields semisweet chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts.

I came home through Brooklyn. When I got on the IRT at Flatbush with a bearded man in white Sikh garb, I realized it was Anthony – or Dharma Singh.

But it took a while to catch his eye since he was immersed in the Daily News.

He told me he’d been at Brooklyn College to check out courses for his B.A. He’s working as a respiratory therapist in Newark, where he goes by car for 12-hour shifts.

Avis – he called her that – is still at the Bayerische Landesbank, but she wants to quit soon so they can have a baby.

Anthony said they’re living with a woman in a $1300-a-month duplex on Dean Street.

He told me I should call Avis, and he gave me their number on a card: New England Acupuncture, he calls his business, which he’s trying to build up so that Avis’s large salary won’t be missed so much.

Anthony was in Orlando for the 3HO winter solstice gathering, and he mentioned that he and Avis also got a wedding photo form Libby, whom they would like to visit one day.

I’d always hoped to see Avis in her unmistakable white garb and turban while I’ve been in New York, but it was good to see Anthony and to find out what Avis is up to. Actually, her life seems to have changed little in all these years.

Amira said she’d come over tomorrow night and go over some things with me, so I have almost no free time left before I leave.

Ronna will be here within the hour, and we’ll spend tonight together.

Tomorrow shouldn’t be all that crazy, as I’ll be through at John Jay by 12:30 PM, and during class, I should have time to read and relax a bit, though my students’ tension will probably be catching.

I haven’t heard from Teresa as yet. Several people have called and asked for her California number.

I wonder how her training session is going, and how she’s feeling in San Francisco.

I should be in my Florida International University LOGO class at Broward Community College tonight – Patrick’s there – and I can’t help feeling I’m missing a lot.


Thursday, January 10, 1985

4:30 PM. I’ve been in bed since I arrived home at 2 PM, trying to make up for the little sleep I got last night and expected restless nights today and tomorrow.

Teresa called from her cousin’s and said that all was well. She got into the airport fine, traveling first class because the airline overbooked;

Deirdre picked her up and they put her stuff away in Franny’s place, then drove to Rosemary’s, where she’s spending her first few days.

Getting a bed and a car is proving a bit more difficult than Teresa had expected; she needs to do more shopping.

I met Ronna for dinner at Dosanko on 69th and Broadway last evening. Despite the fierce cold, I still enjoy moving around Manhattan, where everything is so close. There’s more to do and see just here on the West Side than there is in all of Florida.

We had a pleasant meal, she went off to her initial appointment with her new therapist, and I returned home to exercise and relax.

At about 9:15 PM, Ronna came here. She was happy because she like the new shrink, a lady in her sixties.

We got to bed pretty quickly, snuggled against the cold (Ronna forgot to pack her nightgown), made love, watched TV and tried to sleep.

Because I had to be up so early, Ronna had to get up with me, but she managed very well. It was warming to wake up next to her, even if I hadn’t slept all that much.

She went back to her place to get ready for work, and I went to John Jay to give my final exams.

I got frustrated at my students who don’t seem to take the test – and hence the course – as seriously as I do.

I probably helped them more than I should, but I don’t think I did any harm; no one who wouldn’t have passed could pass because of my assistance, since all I did was tell them to correct spelling errors and add commas.

Bob Crozier asked me when I was leaving and we had a friendly chat. It’s important to leave John Jay in a good way. Who knows? Maybe I’ll return some day.

In my office are my roll book and final grade sheet and cards all ready for tomorrow. Our grading session of the finals begins at 9:30 AM, so I can sleep till 8 AM.

I feel time pressing in on me a little. But I’ll be back in New York in a few months and then I can pick up my friendships and my relationship with the city.

Certainly, I have more of a life here than I do in Florida, where, except for my family, there’s no one I’m close with – except maybe Patrick and Lisa, and I barely see them anyway.

Still, I have no doubts about returning tomorrow. If my winter is a disaster, it will mean that I’m doing the right thing in leaving Florida and coming back here.

And if I find I love it there more than I love New York – well, that’s important to learn.

At the very worst I’ll be warm in Florida and miss the worst of winter up here.

Snow is expected tonight. So is Amira, coming over at 6:30 PM so I can show her how the VCR works and go over other details.

Teresa’s unemployment check came, and I have to deposit that in her Citibank account, and I also have to get someone to mail my own unemployment claim on Sunday.

Frank phoned (he was mentioned in the Times today); in giving him Teresa’s number, I told him I was leaving tomorrow.

I was very touched when Frank said if there’s anything he can do for me, career-wise, I should let him know. That made me feel that even distant acquaintances can be helpful to me in New York.

I still have some serious packing. Tomorrow will be pretty hectic, but I’ve gone through this much unscathed.

If all goes well, I’ll be sleeping in Davie tomorrow night. I don’t know why I’m making such a big deal of this trip; people go from New York to Florida and back every day.

It’s not really all that far. But to me, it’s a big psychological distance.

Anyway, all things considered, I did very well for myself here in the Big Apple.TC mark

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